Sunday, February 03, 2008

How to Write in Latin

Who says Latin is a dead language? Last week, we had to paint several Latin phrases on the scenery for our upcoming show.

Because time was short, and because we had access to a plotter, we opted to lay out the text on the computer, and print out the phrases, full size. I've done other projects where we hand-lettered everything. But in this case, using the computer and plotter was simpler.

Even with a computer, there's always a bit of finessing that needs to be done by hand. Cricket (who had the dramatic fall last week) and Erin (who is new to our shop) worked on perfecting the layout kindly given to us by our in-house graphic designer.

Robb also gave us a hand, long distance. I really miss working with Robb whenever we end up doing fussy layout. He really relished projects that made most scenic artists want to tear their hair out in frustration.

Once the layout was to our liking, we poked tiny holes in the paper, set it on top of our scenery and then rubbed powdered charcoal through the holes. This is a technique that goes back to the Middle Ages, and allows us to do all our adjustments without making a huge mess in the actual scenery.

The powdered charcoal tends to smear, so we go outline our letters with a delicate magic marker. Here, Sheri is inking in some of the lettering.

The designer wanted our letters to look "hand painted" but still very tidy. We did a good deal of practicing, before we painted the actual scenery.

Each of us painted every other letter. This served two purposes. First, it kept us from dragging our hands through wet paint. And second, if we all "skipped around" on which letters we painted, there wouldn't be "Lisa words" or "Sheri words." Hopefully, this gave all of our text a unified appearance.

Here are some of the completed panels, drying in the studio. I'll share photos of them installed soon.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Beautiful result, and great explanation of the method.


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