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July 2010

June 2010

Sketching Challenge: Chicks

I have four lively reasons for not having posted any new artwork for awhile: two Ameraucanas, one Speckled Sussex, and one Welsummer. These are chicken breeds, for those who are not poultry-involved! I've had my chicks for a week; they are as entertaining as four downy clowns can be. This morning I brewed a cup of coffee and sat over the brooder box with a brush marker and managed to wake up enough to capture a few quick (by necessity) sketches of the babies as they pecked, preened, pestered, and collapsed for sudden naps. To see photos of the chicks, please visit my blog.

Chick sketches

1910 Postcard Reflects Graphic Design Trends

1910 Postcard

Apparently, 1910 was a good year for the greeting card industry.

I found this elaborate postcard last month in an astoundingly cluttered antique mall in Columbia, SC. When one designs a greeting card, one of the major considerations is the list of processes the final design will require. Budget determines whether the card will be printed simply with flat colored ink or be put through the presses several times to create a multi-textured and colored product.

On this card: several flat spot colors, 4-color litho, complex embossing, gold ink and possibly a letterpress pass for some elements. I would guess that a lettering artist did the gothic calligraphy, an illustrator the lilies of the valley, and an illuminator the traditional acanthus leaf borders and versal letter S. Putting all this together for the printer was no small design feat, and the final price tag must have been high for this little card. It's a mini-manuscript!

When I first saw the card, I took note of the red, swirling motifs behind the gothic sentiment. Although the trend appears to be fading, this is the same graphic device that has become so popular in current advertising design: layered graphics with ornate swirls moving behind the message. One hundred years ago, designers were already discovering the appeal of the same device.