Sunday, July 08, 2007

Back in the Studio...

A lot of you don't know what I do for a living, exactly. I'll tell you: I lay out college textbooks. I take the text from the author, and the photos from the photographer, and the figures from the artist, and I put them all prettily on a page, so that it is most readable for the college student.

I've been doing this since before computers did it for us; I started out as a paste-up artist. I have a passion for it. I love that an "m" is twice the width of an "n." I'm amused when I catch you following typing instructions of yore, and putting two spaces after every period. I know that small caps are 75% the size of Uppercase letters.

Snore away. I love it.

And after 26 years learning the in's and out's of type...

I love that my boss sends me to the studio, to paint, when I'm out of work. Don't tell him I said this, but seriously, I'm never happier than "down season." Oh, I love the en's and em's, but honey...did I say 26 years?

A few weeks ago, his wife asked me if I could paint a mural on the fence in her courtyard. Lizards and insects, to dress up a drab, gray, wooden surrounding. I readily agreed, and then the 3 of us put our heads together. Which paint? What would work best? Would the paint soak into the wood?

An experiment was in order. What if we drew up a lizard, cut it out of some scrap tin, then painted the thing? We could just nail it straight to the fence.

Draw, draw, cut cut....

And Friday afternoon: Paint, paint paint. Here's the results of Lizard #1:

How cute is it!!! A few holes punched in, and someone's going to have one kick-ass fence! There are about 9 more in the works...

Lizard #2. And I'm thinking up dragonflies. And ladybugs, and grasshoppers.

Not for them! For me! I mean, to SELL.

By the much would you pay for a hand-crafted, hand-painted creature to secure upon YOUR garden fence?

Uh. Just wondering.....


  1. See, this kind of thing always makes me jealous of you creative artists. From out of nowhere (it seems to me) you have an idea, then snip snip, paint paint and WHOOPS -- you're displaying a gorgeous piece of art, and I have no idea what took place. Your lizards are beautiful, but I mean, how does this happen?

    I couldn't put a price on such magic.

  2. I'm jealous too! Would love to be that creative and would love to have some of those little critters on our outside walls!

  3. You RAWK girl ... those are awesome and indeed, I'd buy them. Lizard, dragonfly, grasshopper ... how about a butterfly?

  4. Millions, baby. I would love to have one of those on my fence.

  5. For one pre-designed, probably not more than about $15. For one I could custom... A hell of a lot more. Especially if you call it a salamander. ;)

  6. Gorgeous!

    I can see you selling them at the farmer's market now...

  7. You layout the textbooks? I must have hated you while I was in school. Well, that's not true. I hated the authors. Can you please pass along that message for me?

    Love the lizard, tho.

  8. Wow!! They are beautiful, what are they made of??

  9. Larry, you do the same thing with music; you is just something you can do, you DO do.

    Holly: Sometimes it's a matter of your boss saying "do it!" If I get a surplus, I'll send you one!

    Nancy: Butterfly! Added to the list!

    FrugalMom: Ok. We make you one! Is easy!

    BostonPobs: Salamander it is!

    Momo: You can help at my booth, but you have to put a shirt on.

    Joe: Textbooks can be fun; I'm currently working on a chapter entitled "Shit, Smack, Superfly, and Hillbilly Heroin." I did not make that up.

    Mary: These are just cheap tin, from a roll. They need to be sturdier, but they still cute!

  10. I can only imagine what you learn from laying out these texts. It is like taking every course yourself.

  11. StFarmer3:38 PM

    If only I had a fence/gate!

    That is WAY cool! Another hidden talent revealed!

  12. mk99: That is one perq of working in this biz for so long; I know little bits about a lot of stuff.

    StFarmer: What, you can't one in to the side of your vette?

  13. mk99: That is one perq of working in this biz for so long; I know little bits about a lot of stuff.

    StFarmer: What, you can't one in to the side of your vette?

  14. Anonymous4:47 PM

    depending on size--
    $20 - $40

    everyone has 20 bucks!
    These will sell fast as corn at Farmer's Markit.

  15. Those are BEAUTIFUL! Wow. You should definitely sell some.

  16. They are SO gorgeous, and so fun, and would you consider making a scorpion for my wall? Flat rate shipping only 8.50 (as you well know). I'd say between $20 and $30, too, but I'm curious about how you prepped the tin. I've been painting a bit on metal myself (just for color, not for detail) and find that craft acrylic scratches off easily. Do you varnish it or finish it off otherwise, in a way that makes it impervious to the elements? If it's meant to hang outside that's a big deal. If meant to hang inside, no big thing. They're just fabulous. Mrs. Boss should love them.

  17. SS: We're still working on those questions ourselves. Oddly enough, yard & garden paints scratched off, while acrylics held fast. We're looking at marina-strength polyurethan for finishing.

    I think you have an "in" with the boss (oh, that's right, I'M the boss). We'll get the scorpion up and running soon as the guy that THINKS he's the boss runs out for lunch. WINK WINK WINK

  18. Yes, definitely add some butterflies. They are the best!

  19. I love this!
    At a farmers market, yes $20-25. At an art show, higher. Don't you think?

  20. Last Minute Lyn's Mom8:24 AM

    And to think.....I just purchased a lizard that was hand-carved by a South American Indian for my son's birthday. Yours are much prettier by far and would enhance his outdoor enclosure. And I paid waaaay more for a 7-inch gecko.

  21. Hi G

    I became a draftsman because I like to draw, of course that went away years ago with the computers. Now it's all solid models and equations, but we still have one of the old drafting boards and drafting machines in the back room that one of our graphic artists uses occasionally. This week was priceless when a couple of us "old timers" took a young engineer in the back to show him how we use to do it...


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