Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Æthelwold Etc: E, G, and U

The first 4 pages of the color diary

May 21
When I published Mediæval in Padua last year I was pretty thrilled with myself for having printed a book that had 8 colors in it. Now, only half way through the 6th of 26 letters in Æthelwold Etc. I have used 34 colors (the upper right color on the lower right sheet is opaque white). Yesterday alone I used 14 different colors to proof the E, G and U and I have the 6 color C waiting in the wings.¶I printed the first three plates of the G today, two of which are in nearly identical shades of copper. I let the ink sit in a loose packet for a week to stiffen up and the half tones came off with almost no ink gain.

The finished G

Proofs of the U (for Utopiate), E (for Euclid), and G (for Golden) and drawings in various states on my table

May 20
I am currently proofing the Æthelwold E, G and U. The U is particularly unusual because I am trying to precipitate a mild chromatic nausea without being visually offensive. Inspired by a passage from Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater in which de Quincey first acquires opium, the U is meant to evoke Victorian signage like that which would have been used on the druggist's shop where he made his fateful purchase. The shading in the U is the actual text set in my sans serif rendition of Thomas More's Utopian alphabet.

Proof state of the U for Utopiate