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.