From Spraymount to Letraset, Rotring pens to CS10 Board, french curves and lighter fluid – and so the journey began.
How things have changed in the world of Advertising – having learnt my trade as a studio junior, being lost in the depths of a darkroom, only let out to pay the bosses gas bill or to leg it down to the graphics supplier just to get a new Magic Marker ‘cos the “cool grey” has just runout,.. is it progress or has agency life become a little less fun.
Apparently all you need now, is the knowledge of how to use a Mac and the command of a mouse/tablet. It appears that the skill of wielding a scalpel and all those other attributes have disappeared from the studio scene.
My first artworking job was to draw up a timesheet – that would take 15 mins max these days on the mac, but my tools were a pot of ink, a ruling pen, a brush, pencil, ruler and CS10 board – oh and white paint and scalpel for those inevitable errors. It took me all day to get to grips with this task and probably another day to try and get it spot on.
Letrasetting headlines nice and tight before reducing it down to fit using an Eskofot Camera, making sure you didn’t knock the ruler off the top, causing it to fall on the base glass and shattering it into pieces.
Counting out those characters and sorting out that perfect type mark up before it got sent down to the typesetters – then getting it back to slice up individual letters, so it all fitted.
Sending off artwork to repro houses with an overlay that resembled a London tube map or even more likely a squashed multi-coloured spider, with technical colour breakdowns achieved by travelling up and down the % values on a CMYK colour chart.
Ronsonal lighter fluid to clean up the artwork, or pouring it over your cutting mat before lighting it to get rid of the glue residue.
Finding that all important piece of type stuck to your elbow or shoe when you went to the pub at the end of the day, would always cause a moment of panic.
Lighting things in times of boredom became a challenge… the can of varnish lit with a lighter always brightened up an afternoon, was indeed, a favourite for some.
Not to mention the delights of Cow Gum, although superseded by spraymount, it was the choice for many, if only to roll it up and chuck it an unsuspecting account handler.
Pantone tint film, what a nightmare – you always ran out of the one you wanted, it bubbled, split or got stuck under the parallel motion on your drawing board.
Oh and membership of the NGA, what was that all about – when I needed help from them, they couldn’t – but I still had to pay my subs.
We all had skills and we all grew into them as we started to learn the different aspects of becoming a “Finished Artworker/Graphic Designer”
From those early beginings in the 80’s – I started to understand my craft, develop an eye for detail and layout – sadly that journey and learning curve for some, will be missed.