Final H.N. Werkman druksel.
Final Jim Sherraden Hatch Show prints.
Final H.N. Werkman druksel.
Final Jim Sherraden Hatch Show prints.
Hard to believe, but that spread you see there is the very last spread printed for our accordion folded book. Today was our final day of class in this Letterpress saga. It consisted of setting our polymers correctly for our body copy, the running of our spreads for side B on the press, and a fair amount of harassing Kyle.
Polymer time was very efficiently spent and was done before lunch. I was able to work on my Jim Sherraden prints with the aid of Chewbacca or "Stone age Jesus" as Jamie lovingly called him. I also used that thumb linoleum print again.
These final three are the ones I'm most pleased with.
Now that we've come to the end I'd like to take a moment to thank the following few people/things.
I'm really not good at goodbyes...
Working with polymers today we printed a large group of spreads. A polymer is similar to a photo emulsion, that which is exposed to light will harden and remain on the surface while the excess is removed. Each of us in the class had our own poem in polymer form. Jamie reminded us that if we ever undertake cutting a polymer on our own that we pay good mind to avoiding doing so sloppily. If cut without care they can have what I would call hang-nails, and those hang nails will print. Just like snagging a real hang nail on a piece of clothing again and again.
Using an inch thick metal base with a matrix on it we placed our polymer according to where we measured on our spread.
The next step consisted of peeling off the back of the polymer so the adhesive would be exposed.
This was then carefully placed back onto the measured matrix. Once adhered, there was little hope to peel the polymer up in an attempt to re-situate. However, there is a little bit of wiggle room due to the matrix plate not maxing out the width of the press. Provided one just doesn't simply slap down their polymer with no care for measurement, this was a forgiving process.
Once adhered to the matrix, one could commence their printing. This sharp looking fellow did just that.
This is the final result after a semesters worth of work.
After the group had left I appropriated some pieces from a linoleum cut that was lying around and adhered them to two one inch thick wooden blocks. There is a sticky back paper that was cut to the shape of each linoleum piece. After satisfactory adhesion, the linoleum was inked and ready to use for my explorations in Hatch Show test printing. This whole process is a wonderful, haphazard playground. I used day glow orange ink and some white to create several prints. The orange on the print just below is so much better appreciated in person.
I was a bullet dodger today, dodged the type of bullets that would have been $200 mistakes. That line of type you see up there had originally planned to go underneath the "The Thief" text block. However, with that plan, I would've chopped off about 3/4 of the letters in the cropping of the final book. The realization hit me when I was minutes away from going on press. My armpits dampened, my face flushed and I felt a tiny little pit in my stomach. I did, however, manage to pull out of this swan dive in the short amount of time I had.
There I was, face to face with the press. Like looking down the barrel of a gun. I felt ready, but I indeed was not. I had a little bit of a wonky chase that had a bend in the top that was preventing a flush setting against the edge of the press, thus causing my nice straight line of type to not be so nice and straight. I took the necessary steps to make sure that line did, in the end, end up straight. Next, I had to adjust my thief eye band to a more prime angle. After four tests, it was right where I had hoped. Couldn't have done it without Weijan and his on point commands. Make ready is just below followed by the final print.
After the 50 prints were completed I felt euphoric and a bit hungry, so I went and ate last nights curry my lovely wife had packed me. Afterwards I began to dive into my Hatch Show Print experiments. Jamie gave me a quick tutorial and let me go at it. I was to use a polymer rectangle affixed to some metallic, inch thick base. Using several brayers with varieties of inks I let loose and "painted" the surface. It was wonderful. I let my inhibitions fly painted like it was my last time in the letterpress studio (It actually almost is...).
The end results took me completely by surprise. Five of those sheets were actually black paper. That paper has now been altered, totally altered. Oh, and the bottom right one is Adele's, not mine. It's very lovely.
I printed the lovely shade of blue today after taking keen measurement and care to place it in just the right spot. I felt confident of myself as I ran my prints on the large press this go around. No more trepidation like what you read about in week 8. However, I had not sprayed my paper quite sufficient enough and still had a little bit of a sizing issue. We all worked quietly so as not to upset Kyle who was a bit of a black storm cloud today.
After a solid 50+ prints run off by team Ben, I commenced putting together the salmon portion of my print.
I then worked on the fine art of kerning. It was as if some deity had control of me and was holding the option key and the right or left arrow key to open up and close the right portions. (What an incredibly cheesy designer joke.) I felt pleased by the end result. Nothing is quite so satisfying as hand done, successful kerning work.
When my 2 year old son is a good helper he gets a piece of candy. When I am a good helper in Letterpress I get to pat myself on the back via this blog. These words are just as satisfying as sugar.
Kyle managed to get through all fifty of his prints on the ol' pull 'n pinch press. He's a glutton for punishment, that one. Collin, similarly, was able to get through all fifty of his prints today. Both of those prints are shown just below.
I was able to get in some printing later on in the day amidst the constant call of Kyle's need for more paper. I'm on the way to finalizing a look for the spread on the reverse of the paper spoken about last week. I did make a small mistake in my orientation but have righted that wrong. In that process I lost a few letters to the villain of illegibility. Foiled again! Nothing a little paper packing won't cure. Take that!
I got to know this here form very well this week. Friday was spent building up the "every" so that it could kiss the paper just right. Needed good solid letterforms to kiss that paper passionately, instead I was getting a timid peck. After getting those out of their shy phase it was time to ink and print, ink and print, ink and print, etc. Over fifty times I inked this form, fifty lovely times.
Above is the lovely lady this Druksel got very well acquainted with. The final print I was very pleased with. Hopefully Mr. H.N. Werkman would feel the same way.
My Druksel experiments had been completed, it was time to distribute. Distribute translates to taking each piece you see above and place it back in the many small cubbies and nooks that one individual piece hides in. I was like a bus driver with a bus full of people to return home all over the city.
If I could sum up today's class in three words it would be these: we mixed ink. After the first proportioning of parts of ink it all swirled together in a lovely vortex. This vortex was a metaphor for the hours ahead we would spend puzzling over why the blue became different shades of green or was too dark for the correct blue we were seeking.
After mucking through that viscous world for hours we were able to begin printing. I had a nervous flutter in my heart when I was told I was in charge of not ruining the gradient Jamie had produced and was in charge of running my own prints. I had to be hasty too because the time was ticking away before I had to depart for Doha, Qatar. I needed a bit of coaching in the way I was holding my paper as I rolled it over the type setting. Soon, I got it and was printing things hastily and efficiently with my two team members. Take the paper, secure it, run the rollers to refresh the gradient, commence rolling over my type, remove the paper away from the drum and hand it to Adele. 55 prints complete, I tossed off my handsome pink apron and rushed out the door to catch my quickly departing bus.
Today we embarked on a journey of tutorials, one of which was traversing through the underbrush of transparency. Using the communistic style of working, we all stood around while Adele did most of the mixing and inking. Below is a picture of only a small part of her efforts.
Our second journey was an uphill climb on the steep slope of startchy paper or what may be referred to as the fight against "sizing." In order to beat it's tendency to let our ink mottle we had no choice but to spray each page individually before printing. Do note that this takes time and will require a wetting after each ink application. Then you have to flatten it after it's inking is complete. This route is only for advanced letterpress climbers, be warned if you should try to embark on this journey without the proper knowledge and gear. Serious injury will occur, or your prints will just look like garbage, not sure which is worse.
After enjoying my communistic jaunt I was encouraged to try an exploration in gradients. We're talking real, handmade gradients. Not that cheap kind you make with two clicks of your mouse, you lazy sucker.
Turns out, it's hard to make these things by hand...
Inking the letter form wasn't real easy either...
I'm sorry I doubted you Photoshop. I'll never take the gradient for granted again.
After learning the basics of the chase and the perpendicular quoin, I was sent to replicate what I had seen. I will admit I should've known what I'm about to share previous to this date, but today it clicked. I realized that the wood furniture measures very well with your line gauge and can help one fill the empty spots in your composition to achieve a excellent lockup. Using my new found knowledge I hastily completed my lockup for our accordion fold book. I stowed that away with a threatening message on top of my chase and then wondered what I would occupy myself with next. I could do one of two things, hassle Kyle about his Aerosmith Tee-shirt or make some Druksels. I decided upon the latter, but fortunately, ended up doing both.
Pictured above you might be able to discern a character that I have locked up for my first Druksel test. I gave myself some boundaries of only using numbers and punctuation in its creation. Getting some feedback on it's form I attempted a version with wings and flipped the head around so that the toes of the beast would be facing forward, rather than backward as I originally had it.
Further feedback urged me to discard the wings and return to the flightless creature it was. I tightened up the eyes and brought the head in closer to the body. After this third iteration I felt liberated to print a multitude, and I did so.
I began playing with the orientation of the paper to create a more dynamic number beast. The beast became joyful, kicking in the air with excitement.
The process black seemed to create the most desirable result after trying out white and a lovely salmon color. I opened the floodgates and let the prints pour out. The black bugs filled the drying racks like an infestation; a pleasing, cute kind of infestation.
My previous weeks prints needed some final kerning adjustment. I made the adjustments with the appropriate lead on the prints pictured above. Which one do you like?
We're just about to make these prints final and get our first batch ready for printing a larger quantity of 50. I honestly thought that we'd be doing these one at a time on our individual presses. Inking and pressing, inking and pressing, inking and pressing on into infinity. I'd already forgotten the lessons I learned about the different machines we met on week one. However, I had made a Druksel with my layout, would I be inking and pressing 50+ times? I think so...
For the remainder of the class I did my first Werkman tests. I read about H.N. Werkman using unlocked letter forms to get individual unique prints. Using the aide of my thin frame and what little weight I carry, I pressed on each letterform to achieve a passable ink transfer. I ended up making around 15 prints and used them all to give my wife a bouquet of "Abel-weiss". My son's face surrounded by real edelweiss was applied to the front of these later on for maximum effect. Valentines was a smashing success. I owe it all to Werkman.
Having been greeted with a "Get to work!" request when entering class I felt somewhat unsure about my ability to jump into the pool and start swimming. I doodled a couple of layout options in my sketchbook and then dove in. I realized in my haste that I had ended up in the deep end of the pool after jumping off the highest of dives. It took me quite some time to fill in these angular open spots that I had created with my off-kilter layout. The reality of the time it took to just do one print was sobering. I managed to print 5 times within our class block. Didn't get to use Reliance (pictured below) as much as he or I would have liked but we'll remedy that as the semester grows old.
Playing a bit of catch-up this week I printed the info sheet for my shelf of text I had straightened in the previous weeks. What you see here is a Blackletter 10pt. Wedding Text, shaded. Turns out the lowercase "v" was a tricky one to identify. Looking at the metal type it looked like a 6 or 9. The 9s were missing from this case so I assumed I had found them and my lazy partner had put them in the wrong slot. Using the type taxonomy book It was determined that the little flare off the left side made it a "v." Whoops, sorry Kyle. When printing I was surprised at how little pressure it required to get the print you see above. Just like rolling over a nearly unnoticeable bump in the road.
Joining my fellow graduates we mixed paint and made a lovely shade of salmon (see above). Weijian shouted orders and I complied as we played with all these lovely colors. We came upon a nice color combo and printed a piece that had some odd sign language that spelled out the words "HEYU." These rested gracefully atop a plane shape which bore down upon some woodtype that spelled out the word "swoop." We had a masterpiece, it was clear.
Cleanup was a hefty process, hence my mention of it. We had enough used palette knifes to caulk the holes in a rock stars hotel room. Sitting there scrubbing alone reminded me of the detention time in high school days. However, scrubbing off palette knives and rollers were much more pleasant that the multitude of commodes that waited for my bristled brush.
Who's ready for more type knowledge? Doesn't matter, you're getting it anyway.
Interesting fact #1: When making a metal font, there were two punches in it's creation. The first punch took care of the outer shape followed by a second, or counter, punch. This counter punch handled the interior portions of your letterforms. This is why we refer to the interior portions of our letters as "counters".
Interesting fact #2: Our paper is classically rectangle due to the shape of skinned sheep. This is because the widest portion of a skinned sheep is it's back. I suppose people felt unnerved by the hanging limb skin, lopped them off and ended up with a rectangle.
Interesting fact #3: When setting your type in a letterpress studio you use what is called a "composing stick." You use lead for your line spacing, hence the reason it's referred to as "leading." When referring to your set type you'll use a fraction. This fraction uses the font point size over the top of that same size plus the thickness of your leading. For example, you use a 12 point typeface with 2 point leading, you would refer to that group as 12/14. With your 12/14 group you must remember to set your letterforms with the notch up. Remember, with a small font, it may be wise to utilize an em space at the beginning. This makes it easier to transport from your composing stick to the press. Another key tidbit is to make sure you use your largest filler material at the end of your line.
Stay tuned next week for the inclusion of my press printing work. I'm still just a baby here and haven't yet begun to crawl. I don't advise having a crawling baby in the letterpress studio by the way, you might as well have he/she lick the walls of your peeling walls that were painted in the 70s.
In a small group of 8 we learned the very basics of letterpress. The measurement values of Points and Picas were finally demystified for me. In the past I've always been in a hurry to change the default indesign settings to silly inches. I suppose that was all my American mind could decipher. I now know that there are 12 points to a Pica. Mystery solved.
Couple of other interesting little tidbits were as follows. Minuscules, otherwise known as lowercase letters, were originally found on the lower shelf in the early printers shop. Majuscules, otherwise know as uppercase letters, were found in a corresponding location to their name as well. Did you know that the J and U letters were added later to the alphabet we know today? Hence all this V usage in the place of U's in ancient Rome. Would you believe I didn't know that the ampersand is actually a ligature? I really had no idea that it was one of an "E" and a "T".
The California job case was then explained in detail to the class where we got a first hand experience in ordering a case in a similar fashion. We became "printer's devils" for a little over an hour. The devils themselves, in days past, were to be ordering and deciphering letters in a similar fashion for a total of 6 years. Here we were complaining about it after a ridiculously brief time. Making sure your b's were p's, your d's were q's, your n's were u's and they were all in their respectful location within the California layout. I had terrible daydreams about the scene that would ensue if one of these cases were to slip out of someone's hands, crash on the floor and spread all it's tiny contents across the lay of of the classroom. I imagine these are the types of nightmares that may awake Jamie Mahoney in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.
Honored to be among the folks that were represented in the AIGA 100 show. So much great work, and to be honored as one of the Ingot recipients was stunning. Huge thank you to the judges and all that were involved in putting on the show.
Incredible honor to be the recipient of a National Gold Addy for the Animatone Earbuds. To be alongside the likes of the Allstate Mayhem campaign, Old Spice Muscle Music, Pepsi Max's Uncle Drew and Oreo is astounding.
Was a pleasure to experience the 2013 Utah Addy show this year. Many thanks to the judges for the honor. AAF Utah did a great job with the show in general, best I've ever seen it. Put 80-90s era movies in anything, you've got my rapt attention.
Familjen. Det snurrar i min skalle. Revival Remixed.
These are a few of my most favored music videos. Videos that make me wonder why I don't do more film making. Lets start things off here with a light hearted clip from Hot Chip. Excellent surprise elements and completely off the wall ending.
I'm not much of a dancing music video kind of guy, but this is an exception to that rule. The story in this is so simple but completely engaging. Michael Jackson could move, but this miner isn't too far behind.
Ramona Falls does a video here like no other I've seen. Love the old lithograph styling and the sheer oddity of it all. Chorus comes in powerful and intimidating.
This video astounds me. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around how this was done. Incredibly clever use of things you see everyday traveling by public transport. Another piece of brilliance from Mr. Gondry.
UNKLE's "Rabbit in your headlights" tells a story of this transient looking fellow and some severely heartless human beings. Then, another wild twist ending.
Would it be wrong for me to do a 6 video post? Is there some symbolism here that I'm neglecting? Ahh well, this last one had to make it in. The Fleet Foxes have bottled up the feeling of this song in this masterful video. The animation is absolutely beautiful. If I make something like this in my lifetime, I can die happy.