Thursday, 31 May 2012

Red River Special...number two

 I  received a call recently from a person in Colorado, she had seen my blog on the Red River Special  threshing machine I had lettered, and was wondering if I would be interested in helping to re-create the graphics on their Red River Special. They had recently purchased it and were in the process of doing the paint work on the body and wheels, but needed help with the graphics. The machine had been kept in a building for a number of years, but the lettering was not in the best of shape. Some of the letters and parts of the logos were no longer visible. After emailing back and forth, we decided I would fly down and help re-create the graphics. I had done one Red River Special, so was excited to work on another. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that the outline around the letters was actually a gold metallic instead of a yellow that had been used on the previous machine. The problem you run into with this work is it's often very difficult to find any reference or details about the graphics, or colors used. The lettering on the first one was so far gone; it showed no signs of the gold metallic color. But the yellow tint that would have been used in the gold paint, stained the white used in the silk screen process from the factory. Because this one had been stored in a build for a number of years, there was still  gold metallic left in some of the graphics. We decided to do all the outlining in the gold instead of the yellow, and with a call to Midwest Sign Supplies in Denver, managed to get some paint sent to us the next day. We returned the pinstriping back the way it was done from the factory, wavy lines/ paint smears and choppy corners. Back in the day the pinstriping would have been an assembly line type of job, finish one and move on to the next. After all, these were working machines, not show pieces. The job had its challenges, between awkward angles / poor lighting and a wind storm that hit wind gusts of 55 to 60 mph., it  made working on the machine almost impossible. The wind blowing in the door was so strong, it was actually blowing my liner brush sideways from the surface. Part of the experience of  jobs like this are the problems you have, and what you do to overcome them.  Robert and Sally were the perfect hosts, making me feel right at home and feeding me like a king, not to mention the great conversations and a lot of good  jokes. They were very hands on,  both gave lettering and striping a try. Sally ended up doing most of the striping, and by the time she was finished, had really mastered the striping brush. The thing I like the most about a job like this is the people you meet along the way. Here are some pictures of the job. Hope you enjoy them.


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Great design reference.

I think one of the best references for color and design can be found in the old fruit and vegetable crate labels. They can be invaluable when it comes to creating great looking signs that also have that period look. They were designed to get your attention from the moment you looked at them. With the use of a strong layout, combined with good color harmony, they just have that look you don't see anymore. They married lettering and graphics like like no other form of advertising. Over the years I've collected a large number of these labels to be use on different projects. One of the things I enjoy doing is re-creating these labels by hand. It  not only challenges your lettering skills, but also your artistic skills, plus they look good on your wall. Here's just a few examples to get your creative juices going. Take some time and give one a try, you won't be disappointed. Comment welcomed.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A couple of upcoming projects

I'm just getting ready to start a couple of new and exciting projects, re-creating the graphics and lettering on a 1913 Canadian Pacific Box Car, and also a turn of the century Big 4 Gas Traction Tractor. Both projects require rebuilding the graphics and lettering layouts from scratch, as there is no specs available. It can be quite a challenging, but also very rewarding, plus I get a little history lesson to go with it. They might not be the most fancy lettering jobs, but there's nothing like working on pieces of equipment that has so much history attached to them. I'll be documenting the progress, and will be doing a "How I went about it," complete with pictures, when I'm finished. I also have another project coming up, involving re-creating the graphics on a historic threshing machine, so drop in from time to time if you have an interested in this type of work. Here are some reference photos of the two projects currently underway. Thanks