TheeBlog Q&A Sessions: Calligraphuck

TheeBlog-Calligraphuck It may have not been proven yet, but I truly believe a unicorn is born every time beautiful lettering and letterpress printing combine. There’s something magical about the combination of these two passions of mine and today I want to share a project that recently made my day! Linus Boman – Calligraphuck is an extremely talented, Brisbane based Designer, Letterer and creator of the exquisitely profane letterpress cards I want to share with you today. I had the pleasure of e-meeting Linus and invited him to chat about his work and process behind it as well as his newest fund-based project combining his stunning calligraphy/lettering, letterpress printing and swear words. Check out this fun Q&A and learn more about his process, inspiration and of course, enjoy his work…

I’ve been a fan of Linus’ impressive technique and lettering for a while so I also invited him to join www.TheDailyGlyph.com – Stay tuned for some of his lovely work! I know you will love this project as much as I do so if you can, please support Linus and help him get his project funded?

Loved them? Want them? You can help this cool project come to life and get yours by donating at www.indiegogo.com/calligraphuck

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Welcome Linus and thank you for accepting my invitation! I’ve been following your work for a while and I love your new project. Could you please tell us about your cards and what inspired you to create them?
As a comedian, the people I hang out with often times have a larger vocabulary of swear words than regular ones. In fact, with a lot of comedians, getting cussed out is a sign of affection. so I began by sketching some of the more obscure and colourful combinations (jizzmuppet, fuckstick and cuntflaps being some of my favourites). Then I read about Dame Judy Dench and how she would embroider cushions as gifts for her directors with “You are a cunt” on them, and I thought, wow, that’s exactly the kind of thing my friends would love.

Of course, I am not the first person to utilise the contrast between salty words and beautiful lettering. Herb Lubalin did with this famous piece from 1964 (redone in 1978). The amazing lettering artist Alison Carmichael also did so with an award winning self promotional piece.

But those were projects aimed at other designers. I wanted to create something with more broad appeal, that had a practical purpose. Greeting cards were a natural fit, because around that time I had a cluster of friends with birthdays. A facebook post or an ecard are hardly worth a shit, but as far cards went, there was nothing out there for my friends. The retail card options are an abomination, and most of indie alternative were too serious or too cutesy for their tastes.

I told a few of my friends about the idea and they were all encouraging. So I started posting sketches and pieces on instagram and tumblr and started getting a following, so that made me think, why not actually try to produce these properly?

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Can you give us an idea of the process behind each one of these cards?
I usually start by picking a greeting and I’ll sketch it out in blue pencil (I have yet to invest in a proper drafting pencil). I’ll fix the layout as I go along, usually adjusting the alignment a number of times before inking. I use a regular fineliner mostly to ink. Then I scan the sketch and trace it in Illustrator. Usually I’ll have to adjust the layout again if the kerning is weird, or if the overall layout looks imbalanced, change some of the flourishing until I’m happy overall. Then I use the variable stroke width tool to create the stroke contrast. Finally I’ll expand the lot and clean up the linework, remove any strangeness caused in the process (variable width strokes can be funny with handling curves at certain angles).

It’s quite an involved process, and I think of my work as lying somewhere between calligraphy and typography.

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When did you begin lettering and playing with Type?
I’ve always been fascinated with letterforms. From being obsessed with graffiti as a kid and covering my notebooks in my own “tags”, to becoming an obsessive type-nerd in university (I could tell Arial, Helvetica, Helvetica Neue and Akzidenz Grotesque apart from 50 paces), but only in the last few years did I get back into handwritten type.

I made my first typeface at university. Unfortunately I don’t have the very first typeface I made anymore, because it was lost in a total hard-drive failure (the importance of backing up was a hard lesson to learn, but better to learn in school than in the workplace). The 2nd typeface I made was based on some very idiosyncratic handwriting I received on a letter. I’m thinking of making it available online, though there are many things I’m sure I would have done differently if I approached it now.

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Any other projects you are working on?
I’m currently in the midst of relocating from Australia to London, so I’m mainly working on getting my portfolio updated at the moment! But reaction to the Calligraphuck project has been great, and has led to a few requests for commissions. I’d really love for the cards to be a starting point for further work. People have requested posters and shirts, but I haven’t found the right screen printer to work with yet. A key to this project has been collaborating with the Hungry Workshop, whose own letterpress work is thoroughly worth checking out!

Thank you again Linus! I know a few readers will love your cards as much as I do and will make a donation to see this awesome idea come to life. Thanks for chatting and keep up the fucking amazing work!

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Visit www.calligraphuck.com for more visual awesomeness.




4 comments
  1. OMG, i am OBSESSED!!! linus, you are a magnificent bastard, and i am so excited to hear that you are relocating to london! best of luck, and i will most definitely be following your work!!

    d, great interview, as always!!!

    xx

  2. Haha. Thanks Maria! and yes, he is one talented bastard! :)

  3. I just love this guy!

    Also your opening line about unicorns being born… MAGIC!

  4. LOL I’m glad you enjoyed it Justine, and I am sure you feel the same way :)

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