Friday, February 6, 2009

No more squares

Last semester of studio was squares, squares, and more squares. Everything we did was on a square layout. Apparently I'm moving up in the world because this semester is refreshingly square-free. Let me show you the riveting stuff we're doing this semester.

This is my H. I'm still fine-tuning it...just half a millimeter can change so much! We have to make sketches and sketches of this and change how wide and thin the horizontal is and how high it should be and so on. Drawing these with sharpies for 3 hours can lead to quite a headache.

Once we have some sketches to look at, we have hang them up on the wall and then stand back on the other side of the classroom because they look completely different from afar. I find this humorous. People tilt their heads and skint their eyes at a row of captial Hs as our teacher encourages them to really "see" it for what is, not what our minds are telling us but what our eyes see. When looking at the verticals of my H, she asked me to pretend that they were two people and asked me if they would be comfortable standing that close. I'm not so sure how well I am seeing because usually she will ask me a question like, does the horizontal bar look balanced? I will reply that it looks a little low, only to have her tell me she thinks it's too high. Doh! It's more complicated than you ever thought making an H could be.

Our other project we're working on has been more difficult on me. I'm learning a lesson in the "life's not fair" category. I am a lefty...our project is made for right-handed people. We are replicating the ancient Greek and Roman style writing where the lines of the letter have an angle to them. My angle is opposite of a righty, so I have to twist my arm and draw my lines starting from the bottom and going up so that my angle will be the same as though I were right-handed. My teacher had never taught a left-handed student before so I have to meet with another professor who's a little cooky but oh well.

Let me show you how it works:

Get a blank piece of paper and tape it on top of your guide (each line is half an inch and lets you know how long each of your lines should be)

Next you'll need your pencil

Since an ordinary pencil has round led, you'll need this to sharpen the lead into a rectangle shape. It's sorta like peeling a potato.

Since I am writing with my left hand, this is what it looks like. I stay in that position and pull my hand up. I usually use my right hand to sturdy myself.

Before we can start writing letters, we have to learn how to write straight lines. There has to have a concise angle at the top and bottom of each line

To make matters more complicated, each line has to have a gradient. The line has to start dark, transition evenly to light and then back to dark. My line below is far from perfect, it should be straighter and my gradient could be even lighter in the middle. My teacher says we have to actually train our muscles to do this. It's all about control. Each 1 inch line takes 15-30 seconds to draw. It's almost like meditating, you have to go really slow and breath as you're drawing it. Yes I feel silly typing this out but it's all what they're telling us. And yes Dad, this is what you're paying for. :)

Not only are you focusing on getting perfect lines, you also need to get the spacing of each line on a row perfect. This is what one of my practice pages look like. I'm still experimenting with my spacing to see what works for me. Everyone is different and everyone has different spacing so there's no set formula on how to space them.

God has been so good to me! I have been pretty frustrated with this project. It's such a let-down to already be stressed about getting into the program and trying to do everything "perfectly," and then to find out that it will be even harder for me because I write with my left hand. I've never had a handicap before so this feels somewhat like it. While I am so thankful that my "handicap" is such a small one, I have been able to rely even more on God. II Corintians 12:9 says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." When I start to get emotional or frustrated about this, I am reminded even more about how much I need God in my life. I know that he has given me this stumbling block so that I can see how my success is only in him and not in my own strength. I am blessed, and I am trusting in Him. <3


  1. If that was my class I would be having a change in majors. I do not have the patience for that! good luck!

  2. Emily you are doing so well in your projects even if they are small your diligence pays off! Thanks for your encouraging note for my are a good friend that are few and far between. <3 aims

  3. don't know me but you know my cousin, Becca, and my friend, Lyndee apparently. I am in the same classes as you and I HATE these lines also. We should hate them together!! haha!

    weird that Lyndee didn't tell me that she has a roommate in the same major as me! It's a frustrating yet fun one! HEAO haha