Thursday, June 2, 2011

Be True to Your School

Just wrote several giant, not-so-positive paragraphs "critiquing" art school, but in an effort to make my blog less text heavy, I posted the rant as a note on Bibliowhining's Facebook page. Check it out! I hope you "like" it.

On a lighter note, last week I went to Moo Tattoo in Philadelphia, becoming the client of this excellent artist. He does comics, too. Appreciating his style and always seeking to better my own craft, I asked him various questions about what kind of white out to use, etc., and also how to do lettering nicely without typing it out on the computer.

Despite the popularity of my beloved “Ames Lettering Guide” tutorial, there has to be a better way. It’s tedious to position the ruler and draw all those perfectly-spaced lines every time, but I really prefer the warm, hand-done look to typed letters. An alternative, I learned, is to use a light desk and place a piece of ruled or graph paper between the desk and the Bristol board so the lines show through. I knew about using light desks for tracing before, but never thought of this useful application. So simple, just like every other helpful tip I’ve received here and there from editors and various other comic and storytelling connoisseurs who’ve passed through my life at one time or another.

Remember, folks: tattoos may be expensive, but not as expensive as art school! And certainly less painful than sitting through those damn critiques.

Being a little on the thrifty side, I thought I’d try making a ghetto light desk myself, just for the purposes of lettering. Looking around my small apartment, I found the ingredients:

  • A gooseneck lamp I got from the Syracuse University move-out trash last year.

  • A TCBY plastic advertising sign taken from the trash way back when I worked at TCBY.

  • Four volumes of “The Complete Peanuts” by Charles Schulz, published by Fantagraphics Books. Most certainly NOT trash! I may have gotten some of them half off with my intern discount.

Check it out: if I place my gooseneck lamp so the light shines up, it will illuminate the TCBY sign "desk." The two Peanuts collections are placed to elevate the "desk."

Now a sheet of notebook paper or graph paper...

...And a sheet of Bristol board over that. See? The ruled lines show through the Brisol board!

Now I can letter with ease. And there you have it! Works for what I need it for. Obviously the TCBY logo is too distracting for this to work as a proper light desk, but for lettering alone it does a'ight.

IS THIS THE END OF THE AMES LETTERING GUIDE? Naw... I don't have the heart.

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