Saturday, July 4, 2015

"not so" local font find #22

We have made it a yearly destination to stop for an overnight rest in Staunton, Va on our way home from visiting my family in Florida. Staunton (we learned it is pronounced "stan-ton" on this trip) is the home of Woodrow Wilson. Ash thought we should take a trip through town before risking our lives on I-81 north and the mayhem of 4th of July traffic. We drove by Pres. Wilson's birthplace and decided to stop and take a look.

At the museum next door to his birthplace, they had his Presidential limo outside. It was to be in a parade the following morning and the museum staff was attempting to get the motor to turn over. 



The head of the museum was overseeing the maintenance and saw my family passing by. He called us over and asked if we would like to take a closer look. Another man opened the back door and we were invited to step inside. My children took him up on the offer.....


This Pierce Arrow Limo is in pristine condition and quite beautiful. I'm not an extreme "car guy" and I could have stared at this machine for an hour or two.


The details were awesome.


To the point of this post, the type! The license plate looked like it was designed for this machine. It fit it so well. As we walked around this piece of art, the plate blended in with all the glossy detail. Being a font nerd, I was alerted to its beauty and classy look immediately.


If I found any flaw, it would be the font used in "antique vehicle". This is all about the numbers. The 5 and the 2 being the same makes the 5 seem unique. Love the zero as well. Anywho, if you are every experiencing the misery of I-81 in the middle of Virginia and you need a break, stop into the beautiful city of Staunton (stan-ton) and drive around town for a bit. A small slice of American heaven.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

alternative Heart of Darkness book cover

As a final project for the 2D Design class, I had my students redesign a book cover of their choice. Some research had to be done as to what covers already were in existence and a possible revisiting with the text if necessary. One of my favorite books of my youth was Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. There was one catch to the project....it had to be rendered on an existing book cover. I supplied old, large and plain canvas covers to which the students picked numbers between 1 and 100 for first choice. My examples for the students are pictured below. 

I did some preliminary sketches with marker and watercolor to find the right mix of design and color choices.


I stressed that they should keep it simple. I had them view some vintage book covers that successfully utilized simple and still looked amazing.




Each student had a front and a back to work with (giving them a test cover if needed). I attempted to solve the problem with just black paint on my red cover. I always seem to lean toward one color, usually black, from the start of all projects. The blood red river was the one element I was sure of. 


Pictured below is the final version. All the sketches and versions were shown to the students. I attempted to do all the projects to give the students a sense of time and commitment. I have a full time teaching job, two kids and a house to take care of. I got the projects done (including brainstorming and multiple sketches), yelled at my kids and did some laundry and dishes as the semester rolled on. Most of college is about time and time management. As a young man, this was an impossible task. I have been on a slow improvement plan as I have found my wife and started a family.


The complementary colors are reacting way better than the photograph may be showing. The red of the river glows in comparison to the upper version utilizing just black. I really like the duct tape side with the color coded stickers.

Summer is here!!!!!!!! Have fun folks!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

intro to graphic design project



The project was based on the Pennsylvania German/Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Art known as Frakturs....Originating a few centuries ago, they were often family related and very personal pieces made by relatively untrained artists in a simple graphic style. I based mine on teaching at the University level for the first time. The transition was not easy. Sorry that the above image is blurry, but I did not really have the time to scan it in as two halves and try to piece them together. The below images were scanned in. As a Fraktur, the entire composition seems to work well but the intense design flourish within the squirrels was too much...way too much. I would definitely leave the squirrels grey if done again. I left the swirls in as a teachable moment for my students. I did not get around to redoing the project, but there didn't seem to be a point in taking that time. It began as a demonstration of how to handle the project and I guess it will stay that way. Showing students imperfections is just as important as showing them excellence (and NO, this is not just an excuse to go lazy on a possible redo). Students should be able to recognize the flaws in their own work with the same ease as they see it in others. I think if I was considering hanging a finished product in the house, the redo would have been produced with simplified squirrels.


I really liked the sweaters (they were supposed to represent my children) and the type. I regularly and affectionately refer to my children as "squirrel boy" and "squirrel girl".



I did some straight forward aging with watercolor and attempted to keep the spacing and the design simplified. I did not try and over-draw anything. The overlapping of objects was purposely minimized and the parts really remain as individual parts. 

local font find #21

My daughter was invited to a birthday party the other day. It landed us at a local landmark in Tioga, Pa. The rollerskating rink. I am not sure of the year it was built, but the interior has changed little since its construction. I am not going into the details of the gentlemen in charge of the place or the enormous list of rules that pepper the walls of the rink, but I will simply say that my daughter and her friends loved the experience and we all had a blast. My wife used the restroom and told me I should check out the sign on the ladies room door. She knows how much I like lettering and is always on the lookout for some classy stuff. She was right. The ladies room had a vintage cast metal sign on the door that was straight out of the 50's/60's. Pack up the family and visit this landmark. The experience is one you won't forget! And the bathroom sign is mighty cool as well.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

fall into the arts Tees

The annual event at Westfield Area Elementary School has come and gone...and it was an interesting night of the arts with this years theme being Africa. Ashley decided that the t-shirts shouldn't have strictly African colors (red, green and yellow) so that wearing them the rest of the year could be made easier. I love the colors....orange has been my favorite color since early high school and the gray is right up my not-so-flashy alley. She had them made through Custom Ink. The screening was done very well. It is as if your quality local screen shop had done them up right. Many of the large online shops (cafepress, zazzle, etc) have the computer-done look, like the place at the mall that will put your child's face on a cheap sweatshirt for Christmas. These have that nice heavy ink. We'll see how they stand up to a few washes and all. So far, they are being received well. Later.




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

mr. cook is getting married

A family friend and fellow teacher at the Williamson/R. B. Walter complex has gotten married. He is a math teacher at the High school and thought getting hitched on Pi Day (3.14.15) would be a clever idea. The wife-to-be bit on the concept and the date was set. Ashley and I were asked to put an announcement postcard together for the happy couple. Since they are both teachers (his wife-to-be, Chrissie, teaches in the Athens area), Ashley thought the card should look like chalk on a blackboard. I agreed and we set out to draw up the lettering necessary. I had Ashley draw the pie as it just wasn't happening. Below is the final version that Dan and Chrissie okay'd.



Sunday, May 10, 2015

new wooden sign completed


I had designed this little logo for a family friend a year or so ago. He had liked it enough to have me build him a wooden sign version of it. I had taken my time thinking through how design it or how I would attack the wood. I still had some old barn boards in the garage waiting for a project and decided to put 'em to use. 


I set into giving it some dimension...a slight relief that would allow for some of the surface grain to remain. It was something that happened by accident during the working process but grabbed my attention. The real challenge is to keep the project looking aged. Using great barn boards helps but is no guarantee. 



Once carved out my attempts at aging it a bit more were put to the test.


There is something about wood grain, the texture and the pattern, that never seems to dull the senses. It is as if wood was meant for humans to engage it. Like our love of water, wood always feels right. The goal of anyone working with it is to keep that feeling present as we cut, carve, color, etc. 



I am not sure how the finished sign looks on screen, but I feel, as I hold it and prepare to soon hand it over to its new owner, that it works well. The material was treated with care and respect and at the end of the day, that is really all we can (should) do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

you can still get 'em...air force 1's

It sure has been some time since my last post. I took a teaching gig at a local university which has consumed my blogging time. Anywho, finding this part of Nike's website in which you can customize your way into a pair of Air Force 1's made me come back to anyone reading this. 



I took this screen shot after I went through the customizing process. I designed it to the traditional look. Not sure why I chose blue, but.....it has been done. I love the angles you can chose for viewing as well as the high resolution zoom option. I could look at it all day.

If the shoe was a bit less cash, I might jump at the chance.

Thanks Nike! Thank you BIG!

Monday, October 20, 2014

reel island charters logo and tee shirt image completed

I was contacted a few months ago by some fine folks down in Boca Grande, Florida (Chad and Penelope Lach) who were starting a fishing business similar to my brother's charter fishing business. They were looking for some artwork, specifically a logo that could be expanded out into a tee shirt design. Calling the business "Reel Island Charters", they had some ideas about the end result. It was to feature a snook (a popular game fish in southern Florida) and some rod and reels to set it all off. 

My initial response was to solidify a script lettering style to set it apart from whatever fish was going to be created. 



I figured that with this design they could easily letter a vehicle or scale it down to business card size and still have a solid look.

From this point, after they gave the thumbs up on the lettering, I moved on to sketching out a vintage looking layout using all the information that they supplied. I adjusted the "Reel Island" script to fit around the snook and used an oval as the general shape of the total image.




I did some minor adjustments to the title and set up an image that I believed would work as a smaller center chest design for the front of a tee. 



Looking forward to hearing from the Lach family and hope the design is met with a positive response in the local community and patrons and it helps them to get the word out. If you are near Boca Grande, Florida, give them a call and do some terrific fishing in one of the most beautiful spots in the U.S of A.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

new africa themed design for this years "fall into the arts"



My wife is setting up another Fall into the Arts event at Westfield Elementary School where she is the Art Teacher. It is a great night of music, theatre and the visual arts geared toward young students. 
The act of drawing type is something that never seems to diminish in the joy that it brings me. My hope is that I am continuously improving with my skills. Each project has a feeling attached to it and the goal is hopefully reached. The viewer might not be aware of each specific goal, but I sure am. I don't think I will ever be fully satisfied with anything I do and that has been a good thing in my life. I never reach the carrot. I just keep pulling the art cart up the steep grade of living.