Studio I, Prompt 2: Materiality

With the second prompt, we were asked to focus on the materials we use as the foundations of our design practice at Emily Carr. As a starting point, I looked closer at the way I approached materiality in the first prompt, where I illustrated a map of downtown Vancouver for Erik. The paper, markers, and tape here were materials I was familiar enough with to utilize for quick turnaround.

For the second prompt I chose block printing to try something new, inspired by work I was seeing on Instagram and apdaptations in the world around me . I knew carving images out of rubber blocks would give me plenty of time to consider process, as well. I returned to Michaels to pick up a linocut starter kit. The kit included a 4” x 6” rubber block, a small carving tool with 3 switchable heads, a small brayer and a tube of black ink. To experiment with two-tone prints, I got some more inks in red, yellow and blue. I even cut up the 4” x 6” into smaller 2” x 2” so that I could make iterations (and mistakes) more quickly.

Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve been spending plenty of time my two-year-old niece, Brooklyn. One of our favourite books to read “B is for Bee”, a book entirely devoted to the letter B, which just so happens to be the first letter of my niece’s name. From here that I decided to illustrate the first letter of my own name, S. Beginning to consider the prompt theme of “origins”, I figured illustrating the letter S was a way for me to analyze the origins of spelling my name and experimenting with the Roman glyph.

My first iterations used a stylized the letter S to appear embossed. I playing with a subtractive process to visualize both negative and positive space, making it appear three-dimensional. Exploring two-tone overprinting techniques allowed me to try layering and the illusion of depth. I slowly accumulated a collection of monogram specimens, which used my more intricate and intentional carving processes.

Towards the end of my two-week daily design practice I found myself more confident in my carving skills, less concerned with the illustrations and more interested in the technique. My final sets of prints included a systematically carved blackletter S and compartmentalized serif S based on that of Trajan’s column inscriptions. The blackletter S was made up of vertical and angular strokes while the compartments of the Trajan S demonstrated curved, gestural carves. I returned to the theme of “origins”, reflecting on the type specimens as tools for understanding the history of moveable type and origins of type anatomy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *