Tag Archives: lettering

Sexy

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With a little touch up in Photoshop, this could be a RedBubble design.

This is a card I made for a friend’s lingerie-themed bridal shower. The dark red edging around the letters is Sharpie and the rest of the design is cut origami paper, some leftovers from my 1000 paper cranes project. The word “sexy” is also cut paper. It was almost one contiguous piece but I ripped it the tiniest bit while cutting it out, and then ripped it again trying to fix it.

I’ve been mostly working on another project while obsessing over the future of humanity. Part of me felt defeated by reality and overwhelmed with helpless terror, but then I read this New York Times article and thought about what Rabbit keeps reminding me about samizdat and it’s like—yeah, one tiny voice against a hurricane, but also, a million tiny voices against a hurricane. Some people think Trump wanted Bannon off the security council because he resented the media’s implication that Bannon was pulling the strings. I drew this comic after being tagged in a Facebook status that suggested cartoonists portraying Bannon as a puppetmaster could help limit his influence by appealing to Trump’s grandiose sense of being the most (only?) important person in the world.

I’ll draw webcomics again, I guess, but 4-5 a week isn’t going to happen at least until I finish the other project. In case you’re wondering, it’s called “Close Encounters of the ∞ Kind.” I didn’t name it; it’s a collaboration. I should probably talk about about it later.

E Pluribus Unum

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Of course, she did much more than most people, with much less than most people. 

Usually, my holiday bulletin boards are sort of cheerful and joy-themed, but last night, while considering my intentions, I decided that there was a message that everyone needed to hear. E pluribus unum; one nation, indivisible, a house divided against itself cannot stand; we are one. If we can’t find a way to come together, to heal the rifts between people that brought us the most polarizing and depressing election of my almost-42 years on this planet, we can’t expect to achieve much of anything.

After settling the theme of “unity,” I researched for a while and found a lot of wonderful quote, most of which were a bit sophisticated for my primary audience, a number of whom are still learning to read. This Helen Keller quote summed up the intention in words that your average 8-year-old can understand.

Before anything else, I had already decided I wanted to go font-heavy, to use fancy lettering, which takes 4 times as long, but used to be a mainstay of this genre for me. Once I had settled on the quote, I chose the typeface by searching “19th century fonts” and “victorian fonts.” These letters are based on  Longdon Decorative. I smoothed out a few of its peculiar bumps, but otherwise feel like this cut letters are pretty faithful representations.

No visual imagery really jumped to mind, except maybe hands, reaching or helping. Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow and add a picture if one comes to mind, but I doubt it. Had I more time, I could have come up with something, but I was already 45 minutes late to help the Girl with her report about Jane Goodall, plus getting sick due to the overwhelming stench of the laminating machine. Someone said that they might have changed the type of plastic used in this machine, because they’d actually relocated it to the next room and it still smelled twice as bad as when it was behind the library desk. My head still hurts from those noxious fumes. At any rate, it seemed important to have this bulletin board and this blog post available first thing Wednesday morning.

So, what do you think? Can we just try to love each other? And if that’s too much, maybe acceptance? Tolerance, at a bare minimum. Can’t we just tolerate one another?

How and Why by Robert Graves

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How and Why by Robert Graves

This is sort of a repeat, in the sense that I’ve posted the image before, but sort of not, due to the way I started blogging, which was to create 6 months’ worth of posts in a week. It always seems so sad when someone’s just started something like a blog and you go there and barely find any content. So I decided to backdate the entries to make it look like I had been blogging for 6 months before I started publicizing new posts in any way. Consequently, there’s some wonderful content that’s been viewed by about 6 people.

I love this piece; it’s always been my intention to clean it up in Photoshop and, if I can get permission from the estate of Robert Graves, to sell prints. The original hangs beside my desk and has for years, and yet only now I’m noticing a missing apostrophe. There’s a few higgledy-piggledy lines. Ink used to make me more nervous than it does now. It’s weird that the text isn’t straight even though this was all penciled out before inking, and I used a ruler and everything.

My hand is getting better; next week comics will return. Originally I wanted to post a picture of some kids wearing QvD merch today, but apparently it’s not a good time to get permission from the family so I’m waiting to see if I can’t get a photograph of some different kids in my clothes. Otherwise I’ll share another of my favorite Trickster’s Hat projects.

Time to Learn and Grow

At least, it’s time to learn and grow if you’re a small child living in southern Arizona, where school gets out in May and starts up again as early as late July. I missed my beloved bulletin board, but we are reunited once again.

I feel like, if kids have to go back to public school, the lease I can do is instill in them a sense of magic and wonder to the process.

I feel like, if kids have to go back to public school, the least I can do is instill in them a sense of magic and wonder about the situation.

This one took 8 hours: 1.5 hours at school on Monday putting up the background and outlining the butterfly, 3 hours at home Tuesday night cutting out the letters, and 2.5 hours Tuesday creating the “spots” and putting all the pieces together. For whatever reason, the school was only stocking 3 colors of butcher paper, so my background choices were black, brown, and yellow. I typically save the black ones for Halloween (for added creepiness) and the winter holidays (to make the idea of lights pop out).

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These letter are hand cut (obviously). I just Googled “magic font” and this was one of the first ones that came up.

The quote came later that night, after I had settled on the butterfly. Typically, I pick a keyword, or a few keywords, and look for quotes that suit the idea, although sometimes I start with the quote or message and choose the illustration based on that. In this case, the keyword was “beginning.”

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I use a ruler to draw guidelines so the letters are all the same height, then sketch and cut freehand. However, when the same letter comes up more than once, I use the first as a rough template to ensure that they look more or less alike.

I had an apprentice for this piece, and she’s finally reaching the age where her help is, in fact, helpful. My stepdaughter wanted the bulletin board to feature school supplies, which I originally vetoed, since I had already settled on a butterfly, but then I realized that the butterfly could more easily have a school supply pattern on it. Originally I intended to just make a torn-paper mosaic, but this was much faster and more beautiful.

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My apprentice gets hands on.

In the past, she’s always wanted to help, which usually resulted in things taking four times as long, but she’s finally big enough to understand and follow directions. She applied the rubber cement to the paper and passed it over, which allowed me to assemble the collage more quickly. She also colored the tips of the pencils, applied the ovals to the crayons, suggested color and placement choices, and helped rip the paper.

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My apprentice feels a sense of accomplishment, and possibly wonder.

I also dropped and broke a stapler in this process, so now I owe the library a stapler. However, I did manage to unjam the one I broke last May, but we’re still down one stapler.

Update 7/31/14

I think I’m off the hook for the stapler.

Just Lucky, I Guess

When I was in middle school, I basically came home every day and wrote for about 2 hours. In grad school, I used to write every night between 10 pm and 2 am. I didn’t really think about it; during the times in my life when I was into my work, I was into my work. When I do NaNoWriMo or go on a writing retreat, I write at least 2000 words a day, and often, many, many more. Some of us are lucky in that we don’t have to discipline ourselves too much: the thing we want most is the thing we want now.

It's a sign. It pretty much speaks for itself.

It’s a sign. It pretty much speaks for itself.

I just lettered this sign for my darling husband, at his request. Usually, something like this would take me a couple days, and each letter would be perfectly spaced and formed, sketched first in pencil and then inked with a fine-tipped pen (but I would still manage to smear the ink while erasing the guidelines, and also get some on my hand and smudge it in the gutter). When I lettered the Robert Graves poem, it took me about a week, and I’m pretty pleased with it, but it still isn’t perfect to my eye. Anyway, he said he didn’t care if it was perfect, he just wanted it done. So I just quickly blocked out approximately where the letters should go.

It’s an interesting sentiment, anyway. There are times when I don’t want to draw or write, and I have to force it. There are even times when I don’t force it and just watch Netflix and maybe cry about my failure as an artist. Usually, though, I’m fairly focused on my goals. When I decide to write 50,000 words in a month, or cut out carbs, or clean my office, usually I can just do it.

A quick Google search attributes this quote to a psychologist named Augusta F. Kantra.

The Trickster’s Hat Part 9

How and Why by Robert Graves

How and Why by Robert Graves

Exercise 29: illustrate a quote. But not just any quote. It was supposed to be something with a bit of humor to it as well as depth. I struggled with this assignment for days, perusing Bartlett’s, surfing web pages full of inspirational quotes. I didn’t want to put any effort into illustrating a quote that wouldn’t be deeply meaningful to me, and most of my favorite quotes are fairly serious, primarily about writing and creativity.

Just as I was about to lose hope, I noticed a little scrap of paper tacked to the wall behind me, where I had written out this Robert Graves poem, “How and Why” from (I think) the book Ann at HIghwood Hall: Poems for Children, published in 1964. (It’s entirely possible it’s from a different book of poetry for children by the same author, but I think this is the one). I had long been fascinated with the light-hearted, but also sort of provocative rhyme, and he long intended to illustrate it with almost exactly the precise designs I used here.

It took several days to create the lettering (I made these up rather than using a known typeface), sketch everything out, and ink it in. I’d still like to do some further digital work to touch it up, but this is probably my favorite finished product; It’s framed and hanging on the wall, just as I’d imagined it for about a decade.

The Trickster’s Hat Part 1

The Alphabet of Desire was the hardest project I ever undertook. I’m not a magician, except in the sense of being an artist, and I found that the project asked a lot of me.

Some lettering work done for inspiration in the early days of the Alphabet of Desire. The font is based on Lucinda Black Letter.

Some lettering work done for inspiration in the early days of the Alphabet of Desire. The font is based on Lucinda Black Letter.

I was unable to generate momentum, for instance, until I had organized all my books (over two thousand) into Library of Congress organization. Whenever I gained a little traction, something (for example, my wedding) slowed me down.

I got married.

I got married.

I simply was not as good an artist as I wished.

After reading an advanced review of Nick Bantock’s The Trickster’s Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity, I wondered if a book could kick start my creative drive,  help me immerse myself in art, and establish the foundations of regular creative work. The book hadn’t actually been published yet, but my local library system bought it for me as soon as it came out.

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