New Interest

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I have a confession, I have a background in graphic design…and I hated it. Hearing the word “kerning” makes my skin break out in hives (figuratively). A great amount of my graphic design studies consisted in learning typography and needless to say, I was about as passionate about typography as anyone can be about watching grass grow. I wanted to draw not learn about letter spacing and typefaces. But because everybody said you can get a stable job in design and every affordable college and university in my state seemed to be discontinuing their illustration curriculum, I found myself unwilling being funneled towards graphic design.
I ended up graduating with a degree in Urban Planing with intentions of getting a masters in Landscape Architecture, which is another story in itself. But life got a hold of me and I found myself in the Health Administration field wiling away my days scanning medical records while periodically doing freelance work designing logos and brochures. Surely not the glamorous life of creativity I had dreamt of in my younger years but as the saying goes “It paid the bills.” The wonderful thing about experience is its truth. When you’re young, you’re idealistic and a bit naive. It’s not until you truly experience a thing that you realize whether it is right for you or not.
Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t become a designer, I probably would have been miserable regardless of the pay. I really like the freedom of doing my own thing and being able to experiment. And this recent carving was just that, an experiment that turned up a new interest: lettering. I had been thinking about trying it out for a week here but I had some hesitations due to my distain and past experience with typography. But to my surprise I didn’t know that lettering and typography are two different things. Back in college my professors talked about them as if they were the same but to my salvation I stumbled across this wonderful article that explains the difference and put my nerves at ease. In a nutshell lettering is simply drawing letters and that’s right up my wheelhouse; drawing. I was fearing that I was gonna have to learn all the specifics of typography all over again just to design and draw letters for my carvings. I’ve been spared the horror. With relief I can continue to indulge my new interest. I’ve been looking for some kind of over all focus for my linocut work and nothing has really appealed to me. I feel this will be a good fit. I’m always collecting quotes, short sayings and inspirational words. Why not carve them?
This recent carving was a first attempt and it came out pretty decent. I have some work to do learning to draw letters but I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m drawing up some nice pieces.

A Very Brief Demo On How I Carve Linoblocks

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1. Tools:
linoleum block
Speedball cutter
my design
Sharpie  

In this brief demo I’ve decided to do the Chinese character for “peace” as my design
2. I draw out the design on the linoleum block and since I don’t intend on using this for making prints in the usual custom so I’m not concerned with reversing it.
3. The Speedball cutter comes with six cutters that provides various forms and shapes of cuts.
4. Using the #6 blade I trace my design so that the cut can provide a stopping point for when I start removing the linoleum.
5. Using the #4 cutter I start removing the linoleum from around the design.
6. With all of the linoleum removed, my design is ready for some color.
7. At this point I take a Sharpie and color in my design.
8. …and there you have it! “Peace” all finished.