Tuesday, November 17, 2009
a workshop at KU
i'm always up for teaching something i don't know much about because i've had a lot of practice at it. in my days as a corporate dweller i was constantly called upon to transfer my lack of knowledge to others, so much that by the time i left grad school my MBA degree should really have read as Master of Bullshit Administration. so when this lovely, talented lady asked me to speak to her typography class at the University of Kansas yesterday, i was not going to miss the opportunity, especially since this time i got to talk about something that i have a deep passion for: the process of creating a letter by hand. i could have yip-yapped to the moon and back about how much i love hand lettering, but i kept my talk short and turned it into a workshop instead. we gave the students 3" x 4" pieces of paper and asked them to design on the spot: a wine label, book cover, coffee logo, something, anything, as long as it was composed of letters drawn by hand. i brought prints of my doodles, my favorite go-to books for lettering inspiration, and folders for them to take home with lists of resources and ideas for lettering exercises. at the end of the class they brought their hand drawn labels to the front of the class and were most gracious about letting me take a photo of their collective work. as you can see, their styles were all very different and that's why i prefer hand lettering to simply typing a message: it reveals a lot about the individuality of the person behind the pen.
i enjoy teaching this way, making a class interactive and spontaneous rather than prattling on and provoking glazed stares. this way topics come up that i would otherwise miss, and it gives the students the chance to share what they know. i believe that no matter what the discipline, students have just as much to teach as instructors do. if i did it over, i would have asked even more questions of them because most of these students have been designing and illustrating and playing around with the technical aspect of it since they were children. i asked how they did their hand lettering. many of them like me drew on paper and scanned it; another was firmly attached to the mouse and a handful were wacom tablet devotees. one student pulled out her laptop and let me play around with her wacom tablet while she worked on her labels. they were a super group to work with and it was an honor to be there. thanks, amanda and students, for the great opportunity.
now if i could only teach my children how to get ready for school in the morning! the interactive workshop idea has been a spectacular failure in my own household and it is undoing me. it does not matter what we lay out the night before or how early we get up in the morning, our house nearly always folds in on itself in the half hour prior to departure because they suddenly turn into immobile robots. if you have any suggestions on how to motivate these kids out of the house without a histrionic performance, i'd be grateful for the lesson...
Posted by aimee