A DELICIOUS BUSINESS WITH A BIG HEART – MEXICO

Las Mermeladas de Beatriz, Las Galletas de Elena and El Licor de Ricardo

Back in November of 2020, my client Alfredo Taborga touched base requesting a handmade calligraphy design, predominated by a decorated letter as the focus…product labels for his new start up company. Alf was sheltering in Mexico, after being grounded from his business travels due to the pandemic. Being the smart man that he is, he shifted gears towards alternative life goals 2 and 3. Goal 1, career. Goal 2, take seminary courses. Goal 3, start a business to help struggling women in Mexico earn a living. It was my honor to create the labels as part of his Goal 3. Below, I will share my pictures and process. Alf’s website/email at the end of this blog entry.

Prototype Vinyl label with Decorated Letter for Las Mermeladas de Beatriz

Alf requested that I first design the jam labels for “Las Mermeladas de Beatriz,” as he has 10 flavors. I typically start with pencil sketches for all of my clients. As you can see, all of the wording is in Spanish.

ABOVE was my first sketch, which was the most influential to the final design. As the design evolved, Alf decided that the B should be in a circle with the ‘wild’ vine work around the letter. (Later you will see the other two product lines represented – E (Panadaría) and R (Licor).

ABOVE, we rejected the script, too hard to read on a label. Border – too stiff.

The ABOVE design won the award for shape, so although we made a circular wreath of fruits around each letter, this shape worked best on the jar. At the time of these sketches, I did not know there was going to be additional lettering on the label.

Final sketch….I reduced the large sketch to the approximately 2.75″ in height to see how it would fit on the wide jam jar. It is tiny, but legible.

The watercolor work begins. The fruit represents a few of his flavors.

ABOVE, this image shows the hand lettering around each circle, in black, and the gold gouache in the R and E, which came after the B was designed. I was able to ‘Photoshop’ them into the original “B” design, retouch and add color to the lettering.

BELOW, we tried a variety of background colors, but the ivory won out. It will look lovely on top of the colored mermeladas. It took quite some time, to clean up the original artwork’s background, so the background color would be flawless. I applied the Bevel & Emboss feature in Photoshop.

The two images ABOVE show what the label will look like in general. The printer needed the artwork in Adobe Illustrator for work flow and so my invaluable designer friend Greg Eckel, DesignCrew, Cincinnati, OH helped me finalize the images. He positioned the cut and safe lines and placed the arch. His digital assistance and coaching has been invaluable. The image BELOW, shows you the black layer that I had to create in Photoshop, to show the printer where the gold is to be placed. There was a black layer on the file for E and for B. Clicking off of the black layer reveals the gold layer.

BELOW, you will see my shiny vinyl labels. Sorry about the glare! Francis Printing, Oregon, did a great job directing me to this type of label. Water proof! Any stray jam can be wiped off and the label is stable. Alf wanted gold. This process, prints the design on a silver film, which once the PMS metallic gold is printed, it shimmers.

This is just a little peek at a hand cut label. The printer will die cut them all to the correct shape so the little pink cut line won’t show. The labels look beautiful, when you see them in person. Something good out of 2020!

Alfredo is a delight to work with, so I am happy to promote his business and share contact information. His website as of early February is still under construction but when up and running, you may ORDER his delicious offerings at www.LasMermeladasDeBeatriz.com, email is up and running now ventas@LasMermeladasDeBeatriz so get on his list and support his business with a great big heart!

CUSTOM WEDDING DOCUMENTS

Weddings, weddings, weddings! This is the time of year when preparations are being made. I receive phone calls for numerous types of wedding documents. I will picture them below with brief explanations. Perhaps you’ll get a few ideas….

This first picture is a framed GUEST SIGNATURES gift. The brides father, my client, requested flowers indicative of Colorado in all 4 corners, their names and space for a certain number of signatures. He also specified the colors.

At first, he wanted people to randomly sign. He came back to me later and said that he wanted the doc to have a more organized feel and would like penciled lines. I gave him a Mars Staetler eraser so he could remove the lines later. (I will do that for you, but he was in a creative career, so he could handle this!) For those who want the lines inked in, that is definitely possible. I either place them with a ruling pen and ink OR a Zig or Pigma Micron Pen. These are fade proof, water resistant and archival so I recommend that guests sign with them.

This next piece is a the WEDDING WISDOM that the pastor shared with the couple at their wedding…..flourished and simple. Italic lettering.

The picture below is a Quaker Marriage Contract.

It includes the bride and grooms name and other important information. This one more traditional in feel with the flourishing, Old English and Engrosser’s Script. (Older technology leaves me with a less vibrant copy….sorry about that!) I could email you a close up of the script, if you’re interested. Bound & Lettered, Volume 10, Number 4 has an article about creating these documents.

 

Wedding Vows

couple wanted the Three Sister’s Mountains with a border of Juniper and another of Sage which was reminiscent of their outdoor wedding. The borders divided their vows in three sections. A lovely burled frame finished the look for their home. They had sweet words, but didn’t want the world to see! I wanted you to see the layout and the borders. The elements were in the setting where the wedding was held.

And then there was this little piece. Silver and black on handmade paper.

A sweet little gift from groom to his bride….

So many options for calligraphy related to weddings. You are only limited by your imagination! Calligraphy expresses your favorite words to your ‘most cherished’ and creates an heirloom of your love for the next generation.

CHALKBOARD CALLIGRAPHY – Fan into Flame

My studio work takes me in so many directions! Chalkboards have become very popular for signage at weddings and for stores. (See my chalkboard post for my daughters wedding.) This past week my church requested that I letter on a 9′ chalkboard to bring home a scripture verse that was the focus of the international IF: Gathering 2018, telecast at Riverwest Church….as well as many others across the country and world. I was given a script version that the conference had designed, but decided to take things a step further and design my own. Below is a picture of the finished work. Beyond that, I will describe how I created the artwork including the tools and materials that I used. This one took me about 7 hours to create. 

Since I have been creating designs since about 1980, I’ve learned that I have to sketch out an idea first. It went from a very rough pencil sketch on copy paper to an actual size template on brown butcher paper. I then taped the brown copy to the chalkboard.

Some people chalk the backside of the paper to transfer, but because this was so large, I used white Saral paper, a transfer paper that I use for many projects. Although you can’t see it, it’s taped behind the brown paper. My happy discovery was that the white lines were as easily wiped away as the chalk lines. Below is a picture of some of the supplies that I used. Chalkista markers….with the pointed tip (they had a great rating online, but I found that with this large board, the rounded tip wore down on the white. The Jumbo Bistro white marker was helpful for the larger areas, the smaller markers for detail. Also pictured: scissors, pencil, artists tape, rulers, white Saral Transfer Paper in roll form. I also used NuPastels for some of the color. It smudges quite a bit, but gave me a soft effect on the berries and leaves. The Dover book of Banners, Ribbons & Scrolls is a handy resource that  I had on hand. I was grateful for the article that colleague Kathrine Malmsten wrote for Bound & Lettered, Volume 15, No. 1 , Chalkboards Aren’t Just for Classrooms Anymore!, as it helped me zero in on the process and materials.

Below is a picture of the piece, in progress, once I transferred the outline to the chalkboard. (This was a handmade chalkboard made by Jenna Gilchrist’s husband, painted with chalkboard paint). If you look closely, you can see the white lines on the bottom half of the chalkboard. 

And here is another little quickie tent sign that was lettered for the event.

 

The design was well enough received that I made it into an art print in three colors, plus a greeting card. You can order from my website…. Fan into Flame. Below are pictures of the new art print and greeting card color options. Since I lettered this one on my drawing board, there are some variations from the original. 

 

A Book of Remembrance – Hand lettered

As the holidays arrive, we embrace those we love and enjoy their company. Yet, there are those who we love, that are missing from our midst, as they have ‘graduated’ from this life. It can be painful and lonely without them so it helps to remember them in a warm and sensitive way.

As a calligrapher, I attempt to do just that.  I have been called upon to create either framed Eulogy’s or Books of Remembrance that capture special traits and memories of a loved one’s life….a treasured tribute that can be passed down through the family.  I will share with you one book in particular, that I created in 2017.

My college room mate’s husband, Hector Dalton, called me to memorialize Beth’s father, Dr. Robert Lincoln Mather. A gift that would go to Mrs. Mather. Hector gave me a lot of freedom in creating the book, but said that he would: 1. Like it to be in blue (family favorite colors) 2. Bring in the 1950’s as that was Dr. Mather’s special era. Since I knew Dr. Mather, I threw in a couple of interpretive ideas as well. He was an eye doctor with 4 fashionable daughters and a wife, so I wanted to include eyes and glasses to bring out his career and family in a lighthearted way. Some of the pages lent themselves to illustrations so you will find a goat, cat, dog, skunk, chickens, a car and a harmonica, as well. Below, I will share the cover and title page and then back up to show you a little of my behind the scenes work.

Credit goes to Jim at Ohio Book (Cincinnati) for creating the lovely binding, debossed gold name and decoration, sewing the pages together, plus attaching the hand marbled end papers that I purchased from Talas in New York. (It took me quite awhile to pick a paper that matched the goat skin. Since I was in Oregon when I created the book, I actually bought and shipped 4 sheets of 2 different colored patterns, so Jim could pick the closest match for the blue leather cover).  The cover is Hudson Calf Leather in Electric Blue from Pergamena in New York. I so appreciate their quality calfskin and leathers for my projects. They are one of the few tanners left in the USA, so help me keep them in business!

Above is the title page for the book. It includes some simple vine work, the color blue, eye glasses from the 1950’s era and one set, signifying Dr. Mather. Note the stethoscope, since he was an Opthamologist. I especially love to work on Twinrocker Paper because of the handmade quality and deckled edges. Note that the top edge is straight. I had to cut one large sheet into two, losing a deckled edge. Therefore, I had to alternate the deckles with straight edges within the signatures.

Now, I’m going to back up a little and show you some of ‘roughs and research’ as the project unfolded. Pinterest and the internet were helpful resources. An old Speedball Textbook had some lettering styles for the simple Decorated Capitals.

I laughed my way through researching the unique eye glasses from the 50’s. 

Below you will see some of the unique shapes often found on signs or advertisements in the 50’s.                                                      These made a nice little field for the Drop Caps to sit on.

After collecting ideas for the pages, I cut tracing paper to size and penciled in all of the words. I discovered that I had to add more pages than I thought. I initially thought I’d need 18 pages, but went to 24 in all. As mentioned, I left room for small illustrations as they came up in the stories that Hector shared at Dr. Mather’s funeral.

After transferring the pages to the Twinrocker paper, I began lettering in the simple Foundational style,                                                                                   so the text wouldn’t conflict with the artwork and caps.

 

Next, I painted all of the little decorative caps with their funky background shapes and little 23k gold stars.                                                                                   Remember how the 1950’s art sometimes had those twinkly little stars to show a gleam? The blue matched the cover of the book and the gray was a color in the marbled paper. 

The little illustrations and 19 eye glasses with eyeballs came last….below are a few of the pages with illustrations.

This book took me about a month to create. Between designing, ordering supplies, laying it out on tracing paper, lettering 20 some pages, painting and illustrating, it took 5 times what I originally thought I would take. (BUT, it would be far too boring to just have text, when Dr. Mather was full of personality. So in came the illustrations for the stories).

Side note: If I were to add one thing to this project, I would like to see a leather slip cover/case made to slide the book into.

So I hope that this gives you a little insight into my process. Now you know a unique way to memorialize a loved one, in a way that reflects their personality – a special book that can be cherished and passed down through the generations. Commissions welcomed.