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Designing Drop Caps Workshop Recap

There we were in Phoebus on a rainy Saturday morning, sitting in our car and staring at the Prince Ink storefront for any signs of life. What a wonderfully awful morning for our first workshop of the year. The kind of day you don’t mind wasting indoors. We waited till a member of AIGA approached the door and also checked for life. Then finally Matt of Prince Ink, walks up and unlocks the door to their store/studio.


While we setup for the workshop, eight other AIGA members slowly trickled in. They were here to take our workshop, Designing Drop Caps and Other Junk and Stuff for Screen Printing. Long-ass title, I know. Once everyone was settled with their sketch books open and pencils in hand, we were off and running. We started with a short lecture about screen printing and what to consider when designing for this method of printing. Matt sat in his office that jutted off the long hallway we were using for the workshop. He was taking notes, but also served as confirmation for whatever we would discuss. Whether is was the specifics of overlaying versus trapping, or some technical aspect of printing that he could give more professional insight about. I like to remind folks that we screen print in our closet of our apartment. Hey, it works. Don’t judge.


We then dove into a quick discussion about drop caps. But despite the workshop name, they became just decorative letters since they had no text to drop into. I directed everyone’s attention to a example of a letterform exploration on the letter “M” that I composed to demonstrate various type treatments. Then we randomly assigned two letters to each person and let them get to work.


Drawing two letters in a hour might sound like an easy task but it’s not. I felt for our students because I know that struggle to be inspired when being forced to do so. While they sketched out various concepts, Derek and I made our rounds and would guide or encourage certain directions. When all was said and done, I was incredibly excited about the results! Luckily these letterforms will be put to use in the following AIGA workshop where Prince Ink is teaching screen printing. Before this can take place, I will need to piece all of these hand-drawn letters into a single graphic that will be screen printed on t-shirts in that workshop.


If you didn’t get the chance to take our workshop, you still have time to sign up for the Screen Printing Workshop on February 7th where you’ll learn the basics of screen printing and even get to screen print your own t-shirt. You need to be an AIGA member to sign up, but being a member is a good opportunity to meet other creatives in this area. Do it.

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