This month I took a break from my regular programming to attend a workshop on Blackletter from the Chicago Calligraphy Collective. Our über-talented instructor was Luca Barcellona from Milan.
The GDUSA magazines American Graphic Design Awards issue (Nov/Dec 2016) included a nice surprise for me. When I opened it up, my Bowie illustration was featured full page as the opening spread. My invitation suite was selected to be in the invitation category, but I was unaware that it would get featured like this!
Here is the entire invitation suite. Envelopes, RSVP card and the invite folded up and the flat invite inside and outside so you can see the full fold-out poster.
Paper marbling is the practice of floating ink on the surface of water, making a design, and creating a print by laying a piece of paper on the water. I decided to take a workshop last month at the Japanese Cultural Center in Chicago to learn the process of Suminagashi.
I completed a 4-day intensive calligraphy workshop with Julian Waters through Chicago Calligraphy Collective. It was a joy to learn the blackletter styles of textura and fraktur. I much prefer the Fraktur because of the movement and the contrast of strokes, where textura is more rigid and upright with strong verticals. Here are a few of the practice sheets I made during class.
SUMMER IN THE CITY
Thanks to a grant from DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) in Chicago, I was able to take a 4-day workshop taught by the super-talented Ken Barber (@typelettering) in Cooper Union, New York City this summer. The class, Advanced Techniques in Script Lettering, covered drawing script letters in Spencerian Lettering, Italian, English Roundhand, and more. We even spent one whole day practicing flourishing.
OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
A field trip to Herb Lubalin Center for Study of Design and Typography meant seeing page after page of lettering from Tom Carnase and Tony DiSpigna. It was enlightening. Being in NYC was a bonus because I visited the Whitney Museum, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, and Guggenheim Museum.
Just walking around so many neighborhoods I found wonderful gargoyles high atop buildings, hand painted signage on little shops, and lots of street art. My hotel was next to Little Italy and Chinatown so nightly walks were filled with great food (pasta, cannoli and gelato!) and great sights. Little Italy is where I found my favorite mural of the trip, painted by Ron English, shown below. It has 5 storey tall "Terrortots". I was lucky enough to find a pop up shop of English's work in Chelsea.
As a bonus, I got to have a lovely dinner and drinks in Chelsea with three beautiful women from the East Coast. I met Rozina, Melody and Molly on my trip to Iceland this March with Onward Travel and it was great to catch up and relax in a completely different locale—NYC is a fabulous location, but I do miss the geothermal pools.
I hope I can take another workshop at Type@Cooper in the future. It really pushed my work by focusing on the details, consistency and letter shapes. Here's to more lettering in the next year!
This summer release of a limited edition flavor, Passion Fruit Lemonade, from Mike's Hard Lemonade features my illustration on the can! I was thrilled they they wanted to purchase my work and that it will be available all over the nation at select locations.
I never went to camp as a child, but this summer I decided to travel to Los Angeles to attend an intensive weekend called PaperCamp. It was attended by 40 business owners all seeking information about the paper goods industry. About trade shows, booths, wholesale, sales reps, product lines, and so much detailed information from retailers and successful designers, it was exciting and enlightening. Being around people that were in the same boat as I (or in a bigger boat, but headed the same direction) helped me to believe I can do this.
My goals for 2016 are focused on getting ramped up to offer paper goods wholesale. I have a lot to do, but at least now I know what this is. It's nice not being clueless!
I also went to another Camp this month! A local event sponsored by HOW Magazine. Creative Bootcamp by Stefan Mumaw is a book I have seen around but never read. Stefan led a full day of creativity exercises which were fun and quite a workout. I usually dread working on teams, but everyone there (a nice small group of 18) was equally devoted to accomplishing tasks while honoring others contributions. It was collaboration at its finest. Stefan's presentation style was engaging and anecdotal, but we were seriously focused on fun. Oh and I won both prizes that day with partners. I won his other book by working on a team of talented designers to create a catapult out of dollar store junk. Our design shot the farthest! (Thanks Alexandra and Kim! We rock.)
I would recommend his book, Creative BootCamp. In fact I am reading it now. I am to the part where I have to spend a few minutes every day on a creative task. A nice way to start the day!
Creativity is a muscle that has to be exercised. If you don't use it, you lose it.
Finally, this week I got my Uppercase Magazine in the mail and was excited to see one of my lettering designs in print. Issue 27 is all about illustrators. Right there on the Trend pages was a basketball I painted with custom lettering. I love this magazine, so I am gobsmacked to be in it.
I made a trip to Type Camp San Francisco this March held at Adobe. Shelley Gruendler runs Type Camps all over the world, bringing great instructors together for people that want to learn more about type. Stephen Coles and Alexandre Saumier Demers were the expert instructors for my session. We spent half of the day sketching characters and the other half identifying differences/characteristics and practicing type selection. I learned a lot and confirmed that I have a crush on type, and it's growing. I hope I can attend another Type Camp soon. Here are some shots from camp along with a closeup of one of my sketches that day.
It was worth the trip alone, but I added a few days on to my trip to see a few more type, design and art spots. First I went on a tour of Arion Press/M&H Type Foundry...so much type! I got to see the typecasters, the presses, the endless drawers of type (which I really wanted to open) and the gallery was filled with fine art books to admire.
Then I made a trip out to Alcatraz where they have an installation of art all over the island by Ai WeiWei. (aiweiweialcatraz.org) I was glad I took the night tour, because there was time to spend on the regular tour, but also enough to see every installation he had made there. Remarkable since he is still not allowed to leave China. I watched a couple of documentaries on NetFlix about him before I went and it really put the work in context for me. There is even a video on the website linked above showing some of the installation process. Very soulful work.
I also made a stop at the Museo Italo Americano to see a retrospective of Primo Angeli's design work. I was there when they just opened the doors for the day and as luck would have it, Primo was there to check in on the exhibit. He came over, introduced himself and chatted with me a while. An unexpected treat! If you aren't familiar with his work, he designed lots of San Francisco posters, along with the Boudin Sour Dough Bread identity. Here are a few images I will leave you with.
I didn't even mention the murals in the Mission where I picked a few letterpress and screen-printed cards. I loved that there was so much art and design to see in San Francisco. I am sure I will be back again someday.
I spent this past weekend in Itasca at the STA-Chicago (Society of Typographic Arts) Retreat. It was filled with interesting conversation, designs and questions. Larry McDonald's presentation questioned how we could generate type and communicate without a keyboard or electricity. Aside from the manual press, it can be done with stencils. He brought in a recently acquired beast of a machine, a Diagraph Bradley stencil cutter. I've never seen such a thing. It reminded me of my DYMO Label maker from the 70s, but bigger and heavier. You insert paper, spin the wheel to the letter you want and pull the lever to punch it out of the paper, and it automatically advances. But no spaces. We all punched some stencils, mine is shown here.
Then last evening, I was at Spudnik Press for a Risograph workshop! This Japanese machine uses a stencil process, similar to screenprinting, but it all takes place inside a beige box that looks just like a photocopier. It seems a bit messy and a bit glitchy, but I think that is the allure of it. The machine scans whatever is on the glass and makes a stencil, the master, on what looks like wax paper, which then sits on the drum filled with ink. Then paper passes the drum to get an impression in that single ink color. Want a new color, switch the drums out of the machine. Want a new stencil, push the button to make the machine generate a new stencil. But of course, it looks like a copier so it behaves like a copier too. So many error messages and paper jams!
The image above is a detail of a group practice sheet we made, printed in green, then red, then black.
I love learning all the new/old ways of making stuff.
From over 8,000 entries, 5 winning designs were chosen from Keyword Design—in Identity Design, Poster Design, Creative Use of Stock, and Invitation Design categories—in the American Graphic Design Awards competition.
These designs will be published in the December issue of Graphic Design USA and are currently in an online gallery.