Thursday, 31 March 2011

S.o.t.D. – Hatfield 1980 – Everything But The Girl

Hatfield 1980 – Everything But The Girl

I always liked them, but their later stuff was definitely my favourite era. And this song in particular. That languid, trip-hoppy it. Didn’t even know there was a longer version of this.

Sosoetry – G&C Gang

During my tenure at St. Joseph, there was a period where I was between positions. They needed somewhere to put me so I went to Goodman & Carr, a big downtown Toronto law firm. There was an empty office there and that is where they stuck me for a few months. I was doing all sorts of graphic jobs and could do them from there. 24th floor office looking north across Toronto. Good times. St. Joseph ran the copy and mail room. I didn’t have much to do with that end of it, but I did help out whenever they got swamped. Interesting environment to get to experience for a while. G&C eventually went under. Wrote this about the people there.

James is a shameless, unrepentant flirt
who adores all females
likes them more than any rich dessert
with his wit he regales
from even the crustiest a smile he can coax
manages to make them laugh with his jokes
he likes the latinas and the caucasians
but his favourite are the hot asians
Mr. Rice is definitely a faithful believer
in the awesome power of the yellow fever
Matt is a bookish music nerd
who loves the written word
his articulate insights
shows he’s quite bright
refers to himself in the third person
regards fundamentalists as vermin
an avid consumer of many a movie
and music that’s not that groovy
sadly he isn’t blessed with the gift of funk
preferring instead the Edge’s new punk
oh sorry, is that new rock
ah whatever, it’s all schlock
he’d be living the life of reilly
if he’d just learn to love Kylie
Jonathan will only consume chicken, pork and cheese
probably has something to do with being Portuguese
if the dish doesn’t contain meat
it’s just not something he’ll eat
despite his fancy ride he never gets very far
poor guy’s always getting pulled over by a cop
giving him a hard time about his souped up car
“you’re just picking on me cause I’m a pork chop”
Paul can definitely sing
does a very passable Sting
a passionate music lover
capable of many a cover
if they played somewhere other than no man’s land
I’d actually be able to go see his Police tribute band
Howard’s radio dial is stuck on Q107
if he could he’d turn the volume to 11
on his lunch hour he watches Dr. Phil
give glib advice to the mentally ill
Selome calls just about everyone “Jiggy”
a flood of faxes makes her just a bit wiggy
as Sylvain diligently copies legal briefs
he’s asked if he was with the Maple Leafs
AnnMarie can’t bear to hear anyone swear
say something off colour
and expect to pay a dollar
Darron is a chortling joker
who enjoys a game of poker
and gets razzed about his fanny pack
Mike calls the UPS guy Brokeback
through his mail run he’ll fly
but doing so makes him sigh
Emelin returned from a trip to the Phillipines
to find she was missing a few fax machines
poor Claudia had to suffer and swelter
at a Grand & Toy hotter than a smelter
Eric’s bike is beat up and a bit rusty
and his messenger bag is a bit musty
delivering packages around the core
deftly swerving around a taxi cab door
after avoiding grisly death by car
he relaxes by playing his guitar

Words of Wisdom from a 4 Year Old – Hate

My nephew blurted out that he “hated” something. Something fairly innocuous. Some food item if memory serves me correctly.

I tried to explain to him that hate is a pretty strong word, a term perhaps better reserved for something truly loathsome.

“ ‘I don’t like it’, or ‘I’m not so fond of it’ is maybe a better way to describe something you don’t necessarily like, but isn’t really that bad. I ‘hate’ someone who would hurt you, but I don’t necessarily ‘hate’ celery. I just don’t particularly like it.”

A few weeks later, we were in his front hallway, getting ready to go somewhere. I was lacing up my Danners, and he says
“You should get shoes like mine. With Velcro. It’s really easy to do up your shoes.”
“Yeah so is tieing laces. I hate Velcro.”
“Hate is a pretty strong word uncle Thomas.”
I think I may have sighed and rolled my eyes. But he had a point. If you ever read any of my posts about the gear I make, you’ll notice I’m not a big fan of Velcro. But truly, I don’t hate the stuff. It serves a purpose in some instances. I just don’t think all kids shoes using it as a closure is a good thing. But I guess he pointed out that I am as guilty as anyone else of thoughtlessly blurting out terms that aren’t entirely accurate.
“Okay, little buddy. You’re right. I don’t ‘hate’ Velcro. I’m just not all that fond of it either.

(And in case you didn’t click the link above, it’s a good read.)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

S.o.t.D. – Halo – Depeche Mode

Halo – Depeche Mode

Can’t believe I haven’t posted these guys yet. 

6° of Lanark

I lived in the Ottawa Valley for a spell. (Best time of my life)
One of my neighbours Andy had been a forest fire fighter for 16 years. He suggested I should do it. I wasn’t entirely certain about doing it full time, but I liked the idea of at least knowing how to do it, so that if the need ever arose in my neck of the woods I could go and assist.
I went and took a course which trains you how to fight forest fires and which got me my S-100 certification. This is a requirement for Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to consider you for the job. Great course, great instructors.
One of the instructors was an old guy, already in his 70’s. He had been fighting forest fires for decades, and was a wealth of info. He figured out before too long that I was very comfortable out in the woods, and we chatted quite a bit. During the course of conversation it came up that I was living in Lanark County.
“Oh, I know Lanark pretty well. Where in Lanark are you?”
“North of Lanark, the town.”
“Nope, north of there.” 
“No, even further north. I’m north of the power lines.”
“Old man Lalonde must be your neighbour then?”
Uh, wow, yes. “Well, his son Andy is my immediate neighbour, but he is down the road a ways.”

Turns out he knew Andy from fighting forest fires all over Ontario and points beyond. Knew his wifes name. He knew exactly where I was, knew the names of the lakes and hills around me, could even tell me which sections of forest had burned and when. 

It really is a small world.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

S.o.t.D. – Gryning – Carbon Based Life Forms

Gryning – Carbon Based Life Forms

Gorgeous, albeit a bit cold, sunny spring day today. Gryning means dawn in Swedish (where these guys are from) and it seems somehow very appropriate today, given that everything is starting to slowly come back to life again after the dormancy of a cold winter.

Hot Rod

Ken and Phil, two lads just up the street from me, are forever busy working on hot rods. They have to work out on the street in front of Phil’s house as the driveway and garage are filled with other cars they’ve finished or will work on at some point in the future.

Can’t give you the particulars of this one, since I’m not really a car guy. I kept meaning to get all the details from them, but kept forgetting. Haven’t seen them in a bit but I’ll get all the 411 when I see them again.

Post Contemporary Sticker

Sticker design I re-discovered while going through some old discs.

Little double entendre.

Monday, 28 March 2011

S.o.t.D. – Noos Leap – Noosphere

Noos Leap – Noosphere

I went through a phase where I really liked psychedelic trance. I guess there was a point in my life where it made sense. But now, I see most of it as being way to frenetic and too bombastic. This one I still like though. I set up playlists for doing physical stuff – running, cycling – and I’d gladly still include this track.

Signage: Ribesa Tools

I’ve talked on here before how so much signage is pretty dismal. Another trend in the world of signage that I have some misgivings about is the usage of plotter cut vinyl lettering. Pretty cool in some respects, the ease, etc. but for the most part it seems to have a very limited life span. Compared to good old painted signs which last for a hell of a long time (I know, I know, the old sign paints were laden with lead and all that), vinyl letters seem to give up the ghost pretty quickly. But...the fact that they don’t last that long and start peeling off and being adversely affected by wind and sun and rain, leads to some neat, unintended effects due to decay. I do like random decay and how it affects art. 

But, if it was me, I would want the reverse process. Cut out the letters, and use everything around them as a template, and paint inside them.

An Ax To Grind

A superb treatise on that wonderful tool, the ax, from the U.S. Forest Service.

I’m hard pressed to think of anything they missed. It covers history, types, care of and maintenance, sharpening, re-handling, safe use, techniques, manufacturers, distributors. Everything.

An Ax To Grind: A Practical Ax Manual

There’s also a video that accompanies it

Sunday, 27 March 2011

S.ot.D. - Synaptic Response – Legion of Green Men

I saw this video being made. Well, I saw a few seconds of it being made....

I was walking along Queen St. E. in Toronto out in Parkdale about 15 or so years ago. (sheesh, that long ago already? sigh...). Looked up a side street and there was Rew’s girlfriend.
He came out at the same time.
“Hey! They’re making the video in there for Synaptic Response. It’s stop motion live action ballerina animation. And they’re doing the camera animation right now. Come in and have a look.”
So we hung out for a an hour or so and saw the incredibly exciting world of moving an old camera a smidgeon at a time and photograph it hundreds of times. Hours of work for a few seconds of video.

It went on to win them a best video award at the MuchMusic Video awards in what, 95, 96...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Kifaru Scout

Thought I’d throw up a few pics of my much loved Kifaru Scout. It’s about the first iteration of it. There were several changes to it before they even came out with the 2nd Generation version, but this was the start. One of the major changes from mine was that the belt was a detachable one in later versions. Mine is attached to the body of the pack. Doesn’t bother me any. 

Supremely comfortable lumbar pack. I’ve carried 45 lbs. in it without any difficulty. That it only covers the waist, and a bit of the lower back makes it really comfortable for wear in summer. And to be honest, I find it more of a summer time pack just due to its capacity. Later in the year, more layers become an issue and their bulk makes them difficult to fit, and at that point I will switch over to the Express. I can mount pouches to the outside of the Scout to carry some of the required extra items or attach a jacket or sweater to the outside. But carrying too much on the outside of the pack isn’t so feasible. Both in terms of weight then being further out from the body, but also just due to bulk. Trying to move through a forest with a wide load and stuff that gets snagged like jackets and sweaters bungeed to the outside doesn’t work so well. Given the amount of bushwhacking I do, I strive to keep everything as streamlined as possible.
Great day trip on Burnt Island Lake in Algonquin, exploring the shoreline. Moving along that driftwood and boulder playground, jumping from tree to rock, clambering over stumps and under trees, a sleek lumbar pack allowed me to stay very balanced and move around a tricky environment very easily. (photo by Jason Irwin.) 
Oh to bottle a moment in time. Atop a ridge in the French River area, boiling up water for dinner. The Scout (and my buddy Jay’s ThermaRest chair) made for a pretty decent windbreak. One instance where I mounted a bunch of pouches to the outside. (photos by Jason Irwin.)
Another instance where I mounted a bunch of pouches to the outside, but still fitting very nicely in the stern of the canoe. Waiting out the wind on George Lake in Killarney.
Coasting in Killarney. Wedged in the middle.
(photos by Jason Irwin.)
Hiking in Killarney.
Getting my bearings in Killarney. (photo by Jason Irwin.)
Exploring along the Niagara Escarpment.
The capacity of the Scout is a bit over 20 liters (1300 cubic inches) and weighs just shy of a kilogram (2 lbs.). (Funny how the pack looks almost foliage green in these pictures, but it is actually olive drab.)
The bungee cord I added myself.
There are 5 rows of PALS, with 14 channels going around the body of the pack.
One of the differences between the one I have and the newer models is that panel in the back would lower to give access to the removable belt. Since the version I have is attached, the panel merely allows the belt to be put in behind it if you want the belt out of the way. The shoulder straps can also be stored away in there.
Another change in later editions is that the two straps across the top (which are extensions of the shoulder straps) are not there any more.  I use them to stash a jacket and the like underneath, but the PALS that graces the top of the pack now is probably much more useful.
Port for a hydration bladder tube, and the pocket in the back for the bladder. The size of the Scout means that really only about a 2 liter bladder will fit in. Adding a bladder will of course take up a chunk of the room inside of the pack.
Carrying a very minimal load that day. MEC Tarn2 footprint for ground sheet, Exped Si Cushion 3.1, First Aid Kit, Survival Tin, MEC Hydrofoil 3 rain pants. Oh and a bladder and some maps.

I bought it off king of the assclowns, TacSit, since it’s not like he really needed it. He had bought it off of someone else. When the bar tacking in a few places started to come loose, I mentioned it in passing to Mel in a phone conversation. 
“Send it in. We’ll fix it for you.”
I did and asked if they could please also fix the waist belt, as I think the original purchaser had about a 28" or 30" waist. Since I’m a 36" waist, I asked if they could replace it with some longer webbing. Not only did they fix the few bits of bartacking that were faulty, they redid all the bartacking , and added longer webbing. I wasn’t even the original purchaser, and they did it, no charge. Great customer service.

Have I mentioned that I really love Kifaru?

You can piggyback the Scout onto larger packs, which I have done once or twice. But only for quick hops. No way would I want to hike any great distance with it set up like that. The balance is thrown off too much. Even with a super light load in it, it just feels off.

I’ll try to get some more pics up soon. One or two of the inside, and a few of the sort of loadout that can be carried in it.

All in all, really superb pack. Like I said, it fares better in warmer temps, and shorter duration trips. But for a day hike, there really is no other pack that I have enjoyed more. Makes it very easy to carry stuff and allows it to feel almost effortless.

S.o.t.D. - Rise – Smith & Mighty

Rise – Smith & Mighty

Oh the fond memories I have of hearing this album for the first time on the drive up to Algonquin with Jay. The juicy bass boost the crazy speaker system in his car gave this track, made it even better. Had this track going in my head the whole time we were out in the bush. And then we got to listen to it again on the drive back. :-)

Friday, 25 March 2011

S.o.t.D. – (Nothing But) Blood – This Mortal Coil

(Nothing But) Blood – This Mortal Coil

My CD copy of the album Blood has a big skip right at the start of this song, and it really won’t play at all. Major bummer. I always mean to buy another copy or find a friend with it so I can copy that one track. The thought popped into my head to see if it was on YouTube, and lo and behold.... Listened to it a few times to make up for lost time. Hard to say what song of TMC’s I like the most, but this one ranks up there.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

S.o.t.D. – Night Fever (Dub Roberto Bardini Remix) – Soda Inc.

Night Fever (Dub Roberto Bardini Remix) – Soda Inc.

What the heck, since I missed one yesterday.

S.o.t.D. – Polychrome Petroglyph – Invisible Allies

Polychrome Petroglyph – Invisible Allies (Bluetech & KiloWatts)

From a recent collaboration these two did. I think the hand of Bluetech shows through a little stronger on this one, but since he’s marinated in awesome sauce, that’s just fine by me.

Polaroid Transfers Flyer

Little handbill I did for a gallery showing of images created by transferring polaroids onto watercolour paper

There was of course zero budget for this, so a full colour poster showing some of the actual images was out of the question. For many, many years, I’ve scanned thousands of images I’ve found that I liked. I knew I had scanned one of a polaroid camera at some point, so I went through the database and used it.

Pulling out all the stops when designing can be fun, but that isn’t always the case. Finding a solution that works within a budget so tight it squeaks can be a great problem solving exercise.

Sosoetry – Turkish Village

Hyper little russian kid I worked with for a while. (Well he was Ukrainian, but he explained at length how he liked the idea of being Russian more.) Very likeable guy, and since his birthday fell on the same day that he was leaving us, I put on my thinking cap, used my mighty powers of observation and jotted down a poem about him. His last name was Durgishvila, so he got called Turkish Village.

Oleksiy wishes he was from Russia
call him Ukrainian and he’ll cuss ya
maybe a dose of Chernobyl radioactivity
is what caused his chronic hyperactivity
seems incapable of sitting still
twirls his badge like a windmill
rocks back and forth on his chair
shoots elastics through the air
even as an incessant fidget
he’s still a lovable little midget
Oleksiy’s definitely no fool
headed off to school
he’s leaving us, damn it all
for Ottawa, our nations capital
to get himself a university education
working at St. Joseph for the duration
having a lengthy tongue twister surname
won’t hold him back from fortune and fame
when I pulled out my knife
he appeared to fear for his life
“dude, don’t be a fool
it’s just a useful tool”
his Cossack ancestors would pillage
many a helpless Turkish village
but not since their conversion to Jesus
a subject he really likes to discuss
he’ll passionately argue Christian theology
try to sway you to his particular ideology
but when his proselytizing doesn’t work
he’ll just retort with a muttered “jerk”.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

S.o.t.D. – Keepin’ On Moog Mood – Lazybatusu

Keepin’ On Moog Mood – Lazybatusu

Noish! Loungy toe tapper.

The humble Bic lighter

As my pal Thad put it a few years ago:
“The humble Bic lighter is in fact the pinnacle of human technical achievement and fairly close to a techno–religious talisman. In a completely integrated package, every significant detail of human evolution (the opposable thumb, mastery of fire, and control of various materials) is embodied. Plus it fits nicely in the pocket and comes in a rainbow of pretty colors.”

The humble Bic lighter really is an amazing thing, yet I wonder how few ever really stop to consider what a great little item it really is.
Most never even give them a second thought. And yet up until a relatively short time ago, and to be honest there are still heaps of places in the world where this is so, if you walk into a village with a Bic lighter in your hand, and flick it, people would fall to their knees and worship you like a god. “He has magic, fire appears from his hand!” And yet spoiled westerners don’t even realize what a superb little object it really is. The ability to have fire appear at, well the flick of a Bic, is a truly awesome thing. Think about that next time you hold one in your hand. They truly are a techno–religious talisman.

I usually brought along lots of Bic lighters when travelling in really isolated and remote parts of the world. They made great trade items, and were also just a good way to make friends. They took up very little room, didn’t weigh a whole lot, and were genuinely useful to the people you gave them to. Plus until the supply ran out, I always knew I had one or two somewhere to back up the one in my pocket.

And even when the butane runs out, the striker will still continue to spark. Even without the actual flame it can still start a fire.

The one thing that drives me batty about Bic are the various child proof safety features. (At least here in politically correct Canada.) My attitude is that when you buy a lighter you’re buying into an adult level of responsibility. The worst are the little doodads you have to push in and up. Bics here have a little metal strip that fortunately the screw drivers and pliers on a Leatherman make short work of. But speaking of an adult level of responsibility, make sure you wear safety glasses or point it well away from you, and be aware of who and what is around you when you do take it off. That little sucker has a tendency to fly quite a ways. The first time I did I wasn’t thinking, and almost got it in my eye. D’oh!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Ludlow Slugs

Just had a friend send me something that made me smile. It was a post by another (long lost) friend who showed something I had made for him 25 years ago

After I finished high school I completed another year at a vocational high school, which offered a “Graphic Communications” course. Great course, that taught the whole process start to finish. Typesetting, layout, paste-up, stripping, platemaking, running a press, bindery. Understanding the procedure in its entirety makes you much better in the long run than merely understanding only one aspect of it. Another thing they taught was setting type the old fashioned way. Moveable lead type that was put in a composing stick and then locked up in a galley. (This shows the process very nicely.) While some might argue that this is archaic and a useless skill to teach as it won’t ever really be used, I still think it was great they showed us this if for no other reason than to gain an appreciation for the history of printing. Know where you were to know where you’re going. While I found this historical interlude fascinating and edifying, what made the course a real winner was that they had Apple Macintoshes, long before even the local community college did. A community college you paid a lot of money to, compared to a free secondary school. They were very early Macs – one floppy disc held the program disc and another floppy disc served as your storage disc. But that exposure to them got me jobs when I finished. Companies were getting them new fangled fancy computational devices and no one could use them. Knowing what to do with them got my foot in the door and gave me a leg up on people coming out of a college course that hadn’t given any of its students any exposure to computers and wouldn’t for another year or two. One of those lucky breaks, right time, right place things.

Anyway, they had another machine there called a Ludlow, or the Ludlow Typograph as it is more correctly known. What I remember of it (and mind you, this is going back a quarter century now) was that there was a table with a slot in it for a stick of type that you had composited. The type was different because it was hollow type rather than raised type. The sizes available were large display sizes, 18 to 72 point. Underneath the table was a pot of molten lead and that was pushed up into the matrix of type. A completed slug of type was then removed, and the type was put back in the drawers for another use. When the job was printed, the lead slug could be thrown back in the pot to be remelted. I can’t remember exactly, but if you didn’t make sure to put some sort of a stopper or something like that in before you injected the molten lead, some of it would squirt out the end, causing potential injury.

As cool as that machine was, that potential for burn injuries from molten lead, and the paranoia about lead fumes and such, meant that the Ludlow didn’t last much beyond the year I was there. (Some of the students weren’t exactly the keener I was. Some of them were clearly there because they couldn’t get into the auto body program. Concerns for safety and paying attention weren’t high on their list of priorities.) Neat piece of technology that I’m glad I got to experience.

The ability to set those slugs of type meant that I did up a bunch of names and such, friends band names, etc. One I did was for my pal Len’s radio show on CHRW, called the London Underground. You can check out his post here that shows the lead slug I did for him.

S.o.t.D. - Stiff Jazz – dZihan & Kamien

Stiff Jazz – dZihan & Kamien

Monday, 14 March 2011

S.o.t.D. – An Echo Of Night – Harold Budd & Brian Eno

An Echo Of Night – Harold Budd & Brian Eno

My favourite track off my favourite album. If going by how many thousands of times I’ve played a record is any indication of a favourite record, The Pearl by Budd & Eno wins hands down. Thousands, tens of thousands of times. I’ve worn out cassette copies of it, own it on vinyl and CD. It’s been the soundtrack to my dreams on hundreds, thousands of nights, played on endless repeat. 

Not to mention that this album, was recorded right here in Hamilton at the Lanois family’s Grant Avenue Studios. Wow. His Holiness, Brian Eno, graced Hamilton with his presence.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Logo – Vespidame

First stab at a logo for a piercer that makes corsets. I will work on variations of this and also have some totally different approaches to try out. But I think this has some potential. 

I came up with the name too. Vespidae means wasp. Wasp waisted is an analogy for a corset. Wasps have stingers that they pierce with. Dame is another word for a sexy, curvy mama. Babe that pierces and makes corsets. Vespidae+Dame=Vespidame.

(You can see my second, and much better version here.)

S.o.t.D. - Groove Therapy – Universal

Groove Therapy – Universal

I’ve been on a bit of a D&B kick the last day or so, and holy hell is this ever a groover and a mover. And of course it appears on a Bukem mix.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bibliophilia: Makers – Cory Doctorow

I really like Doctorow’s writing regarding intellectual property, and I’m really into Maker culture, but I can’t say I was really that mesmerized by this book.

S.o.t.D. - Distant Lights – Burial

Distant Lights – Burial

Zapf Civilité

After working on Engravers Initials 3 and Engravers Initials 2 and noodling around with Piel Script, I’m beginning to have a renewed appreciation for calligraphy. I’ve always admired the skill involved , but I never really tried my hand at it. My type design origins were pretty firmly rooted in reading Vinyl and Face Magazine and buying records with sleeves done by Steven R. Gilmore. Those were my inspirations.

But really poring over those faces mentioned, and studying them and how they would have been constructed has made me delve into the art of calligraphy anew. Went to the library and spent an evening looking at the surprising number of books on the subject they had was very edifying. Some of it I still find a bit twee. To me uncials are just a hallmark of corny leprechauns and St. Patty’s day Irish kitsch.

But some of it is just spectacular. One example in particular, Civilité by the great Hermann Zapf caught my eye. His name will undoubtedly be familiar to almost anyone with a computer as the man responsible for Zapf Dingbats and Zapf Chancery, but also as the designer of such ubiquitous typefaces as Palatino and Optima. And many other fine typefaces. I liked Civilité so much I searched for it online. Turns out it has never been digitized. I did find a crappy jpeg of it. Hhhmmmmmmmhhhh......

After tackling the two Engravers Initials, I figured, heck why not. Since the example I had was merely a 500 pixel or so, 72 dpi jpeg, I didn’t have much detail to go by, but I could do a fair approximation. Some features would likely end up a bit different than Mr. Zapf had intended, but that x is just too creamy to pass up. I’m also doing some type for a Canada Post stamp design and the numerals were calling out to me. I’m sure purists are aghast, but it was a fun few hours of drawing and doing it gives my ever increasing respect for calligraphy a boost. I would totally love to tackle this for real, if I could just get proper drawings to work from.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

S.o.t.D. - Clocks – Coldplay

Clocks – Coldplay

I know these guys are huge, and it feels like a bit of a guilty pleasure...but I totally love Coldplay. I tend to listen to very little stuff that sells out arenas, but I totally dig their sound. The album this came off of I think is a really great “album”. From start to finish I think it’s totally solid.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

S.o.t.D. - Intention Craft – Steve Hillage and Evan Marc

Intention Craft – Steve Hillage and Evan Marc

Engravers Initials 2

Another one I just did for the tattoo shop. It’s also from Dan X. Solo’s Gothic and Old English Alphabets from Dover Publications. I reckon it’s a bit of a garish monstrosity (I like the E and a few other characters though), but folks still want to get stuff tattooed on themselves in it. Okay then....
If I don’t know much about the provenance of Engravers Initials 3, this one is a total mystery to me. I’m going to guess it hails from the Victorian era?

Like Engravers Initials 3, this one was pretty sloppy, so I tried my best to clean it up. I added a few alternate characters as well. Fun one to kern, that’s for sure.

Engravers Initials 3

I did this up for the tattoo shop. It appeared in Dan X. Solo’s “Gothic and Old English Alphabets” from Dover Publications. I really don’t get this obsession people have with getting lettering tattooed on themselves in “Old English.” (bbbaaaaahhhh) But customers who browsed through the books at the shop to pick out a lettering style that they liked, often picked this one. But we couldn’t find it anywhere as a digital typeface. Photocopying and cutting and pasting it on a curve got very long in the tooth, very quickly. So I was asked if I could transform it into an actual typeface. 
I don’t really know that much about blackletter (as “Old English” is more correctly called.) I know enough about it that this is probably classified as a Bastarda. But I’m not a calligrapher, so I only have a vague understanding of specifically what era and region this came from. Was this from a 13th century German psalter or an 18th century English display typeface for handbills? I don’t know. I’m also not sure if this would have been done with a pen or a brush, or if it could be done with either one. To be honest I’m pretty ignorant of the whole scribal tradition. Type for me starts with Jenson and Griffo.

I’m also not sure how Mr. Solo compiled this. Did he or an underling actually draw this or was it merely copied from a source with a stat camera? I suspect it’s the latter. It’s totally got that look of something that was done at 12 point and then blown up about 10-fold at least on a stat camera. There are a fair number of inconsistencies in it, the size and colour seems to waver, and the thickness of stems and serifs seem off in places as well. The weirdest thing though was the Z which appears to come from a totally separate typeface altogether. Whether it fell off the paste up board at the printers and they stuck the wrong one back on, or whether the face didn’t have a Z at all and they copied one from another and figured that would idea. I think the idea of this book may have been that it was supposed to inspire budding calligraphers, who would then draw it themselves.

I made an effort to remedy some of the inconsistencies, and I made a completely half assed attempt at a Z. My lack of understanding about the underlying structure and intent of this typeface made it only a very mediocre attempt. Kerned it very nicely. Added a couple of alternates as well. There are swooshes on the left hand side of the V and W, so I added one of each where they were raised up quite a bit to avoid crashing into whatever was on the left of them. Also did them up a version without those little bars. There are still some imperfections in it, but it will most definitely allow the artists at the shop to set this much quicker, on all sorts of tricky curves, with whatever outline they like, etc.