17 April 2015

Burnt and Burnt Umber

Pen and Paint

You know that feeling you get when you are working on something and it is actually not working?  In fact, it totally sucks?  However, you say to yourself that you might be able to save it if you keep working on it a bit more.  In the end, it still totally sucks, just with added detail.  The above is the only bit salvaged from a canvas that was gessoed over again.

31 March 2015

Last Press... for Now

Gothic 60pt, Futura 10pt, lino cut

It was our last letterpress class with Andrea Taylor, and we were already nostalgic.  We all made one last print before saying our good-byes.  One classmate gave everyone his masterpiece -- the box with the pattern and logos that he designed to hold his girlfriend's handmade sea salt soap.  Wow!

My last go at the letterpress was less ambitious.  It combined a quick linocut with the logo from my recently launched portfolio site.  BTW, notice the reno to this blog and the new "PORTFOLIO" tab above?  Typefaces are close, but not exact match to what I am using on the Portfolio site (Oswald and Roboto Light).

29 March 2015

Letterpress -- Wood and Metal Type

Bold Line Gothic 96pt, Condensed Western Small,
Gill Bold 48pt, Character Face

Normally, I would post the finished image first.  However, letterpress is so much about the process of setting type and furniture that it seems more appropriate to present the work in progress above.  See the beautiful colours that the wood type has absorbed over years of use?  The metal type is made out of lead, so little nicks are plentiful and adds charm.  Below is the finished print, white ink on Kraft Stonehenge.

17 March 2015

Yes Ma'am

Getting out of my comfort zone of pen and ink to try a linocut.  It is fun seeing the final results after a couple of hours carving and wondering what it will look like when inked and printed.  This image is loosely based on an old photo that came up when I Googled 1860s, Portland, Oregon, women, for another work-in-progress.

Source photo -- top left


15 March 2015

Letterpress - Finished Product

Futura 24pt, Bodoni Italic 48pt, Chelt 72pt, dingbat

Ah, that's better!  If you saw the last post, you will see what I mean.  "The fun is always on the other side of a yes," is paraphrased from Tina Fey's improv notes.  Final proof on Stonehenge.

3 March 2015


Futura 24pt, Bodoni Italic 48pt, Chelt 72pt

The learning continues with letterpress.  Above was the first type that I set and printed.  There are so many flaws in this sample that it would induce gagging among serious letterpress artists.  However, these are my baby steps and I am happy like a kid with a new toy.  I like the methodical ritual of loading each metal letter. I like the colours and sheen that the wood type have absorbed over years of printing.  I like the motion of moving a press across paper.  Even the terminology has a certain charm:  lock-up, quoins, dissing, leading.

Over the past months, I have come to appreciate the role of typeface in design.   Typography is also a crucial aspect of picture book design.  Remember the placement of text in, The Dark?

Chip Kidd pointed out how good typeface design can also work subliminally.  Can you find the symbol in the famous logo below?  Yes, x-height matters.

Univers 67, Futura Bold

12 February 2015

Half-Timbered in Rennes

Pigma 005 to 08

This is the first time using ink "doodles" on a non-animal theme.  The above scene is from  Rennes, Brittany.  The original photo by Manfredo Q is shown below, right next to the drawing in the early stages of inking.  Using this method took twice as long on buildings as it did on animals.

WiP - photo reference for drawing