Saturday, September 26, 2015

large tarpon wooden sign/piece of art

I am not sure yet as to the point of making this large tarpon sign. My awesome neighbor scored this amazing bunch of very old wood (we think it is silo boards) that has incredible texture.

 This tarpon strikes a much more dynamic pose than the last one I made for my brother's home. 

At just over 6 feet from the bottom of the jaw to the tip of the tail, I believe this tarpon to possess the correct dimensions of these beautiful fish. Some old motor oil and roughed on paint and she'll soon be ready for whatever her future holds.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

local font find #24

We found ourselves in Coudersport, Pa. the other day. We were helping a fine young lady move her things from apartment to apartment. Upon our journey, we made our way past a Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation building near the elementary school. The lettering was awesome. I had to stop and snag a few photos. The lettering was beautifully retro and dated and very few were aligned on the building with any regard to being straight. 

This type style is part of the Art Deco movement that was experienced in the early part of the 20th century. Most consider it from the 1920's up to WWII.

If you follow the horizontals of the brick, you can see how off the individual letters were set. Maybe they rotated slightly on one connecting point (I did not walk up to the side of the building to see how they were stuck to the facade).

They are awkward and jovial. They really do jump at the viewer as individual design gems. The weight is interesting and a real feat of problem solving can be attributed to the designer. I was unable to google search an exact font name but many Art Deco themed fonts were very similar.

Friday, July 24, 2015

local font find #23

It should be obvious that the spacing between letters (kerning) is horrible on this sign we drove by in New York state. Problems are everywhere. The reason that I have it as #23 is how poorly the 99 looks on the interstate logo. Why is it so far right?!?!??!?!??!!!!!!! The border of white is much smaller on the I-86 shield but at least the 86 is centered. WOW! is this horrible. I will get some shots of a good I-99 sign compared to this poor one in the near future. YIKES!

Monday, July 6, 2015

my brother and son and an interesting catch

This pic has nothing to do with art, design or the ranting of Angry Strongo. Read my brother's post over on his blog here.

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.

in addition: I am in no way promoting the ideals that Wilson stood for. I have avoided politics on this blog for many reasons. Recent readings have convinced me of this former President's racist beliefs. My family will no longer have a single cent spent in the positive upkeep of this man, his legacy and the attempt to keep his history a positive one.

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 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 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.