Author Archives: John

About John

John is a dreamer and schemer. He fills his available time in the pursuit of art, music, and writing.

Big Ideas!: The Ideal Drawing Table

Antique Drafting TableLast summer I acquired this antique drafting table. It is a style that was made for over 50 years and I’d never seen on in person, but was quite enamored with the cast iron hardware. I had even considered making a table from scratch, but to my dismay no one makes reproduction hardware for the large half circle bits.

As is the aesthetic is almost perfect to my taste. A darker color might be a little better. Functionally it leaves a little bit to be desired. It’s pretty solid all around, but the top rocks a bit. This could probably be solved with a bit of teflon tape around the carriage bolts. The other feature that is slightly bothersome to me is the cross bar that is in the front and back. The back one is fine, but the front one gets in the way of where I want to put my feet. I’m not sure where other people put their feet when sitting and drawing, but mine go right about there.

Lastly there is one major flaw with this table. The drawing surface isn’t see through. This never used to be an issue for me, but with the kind of work I’ve been doing with screen printing it is helpful to have a lightbox. I own a small lightbox, but larger models are much more expensive. Back in college we had drawing tables and dedicated light boxes, but why can’t the two co-exist?

Of course, they can and I doubt I was the first to think of it. Studio Designs offers a number of glass top drawing tables, always mentioning that propping a light behind makes for a good lightbox. The issues I have with most of those designs is that the top doesn’t tilt much and it’s a cold blend of glass and cheap steel. Why can’t we set a glass or plexiglass top into a solid wood table like the one pictured above?

I’m torn between a clear piece of glass, a frosted piece of glass, and a slightly textured piece of plexiglass.

Now I have seen some wood and glass top drafting/lightboxes, but they are usually very large and bulky due to the size of fluorescent bulbs and ballasts. In this age of LED lighting, that shouldn’t have to be the case anymore.

So there you have it: my ideal drawing table. Much like the design above with a clear top, the option to backlight it with LEDs, and relocated cross bar. Now I just have to figure out how to make one. What features would you add to your ideal drawing table?



Big Ideas!: The Non-Mitered Picture Frame

Frame Sketch

Proportions exaggerated to show detail.

I keep a running list of ideas for projects. The name of the list is BIG IDEAS!. When I’m working on one project, often I have another idea for something totally different. It could be for a work of art, a piece of furniture, a method of determining prime numbers, whatever. Some pan out. Some do not. Today I’m sharing one that is somewhere in between. The non-mitered picture frame.

You know by now that I am a guy who makes art. However, I am also a guy that collects art. I don’t always have the funds to buy the art I want, and it’s even more rare that I have the funds to buy frames. Right now I have a good half dozen pieces that are awaiting frames and you know what, frames are expensive.

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I Quit. Now What?

Typed "I Quit" image

I’m 33 years old. I’ve got several bills to pay and I just quit my job of eight and a half years with no real plan for the future. Life is good. I hope.

If you know me personally, this news probably comes as much of a surprise to you as me. Twenty-four hours ago I didn’t think I would be sitting at home now unemployed. And yet at 4:30am I found myself punching out for the last time and getting in my frigid car to drive home. Continue reading

Musings On Love: What Is It?

Love TankWhat is Love? What is good for? How do we get it and why do we need it? This is the story that spawned my recent project concerning the Love Poem.

How and why I started thinking about this was quite accidental. I was watching a TED Talk about how environmentalists need to change the way they talk about saving the planet. Most of the time they are trying to scare people into polluting less so that our future isn’t so bleak.

It got me thinking about the stories we tell about the future. These stories usually depict some post-apocalyptic scenario of survival or maybe a seemingly utopian environment that comes at the great loss of liberty and expression due to an overreaching authority. Or killer robots. The reason for this may simply be that all good stories need a source of conflict and if I story takes place in the future, that setting is likely pivotal to the conflict. But what about the actual future? What does it have in store for us?

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Love Poems and Flying Saucers (Part 4!)

Flying Saucers in the night
Things are happening in the studio! The studio is also my living room and dining room, but I’m not talking eating and watching television. The last couple of weeks I have failed to write my regular Tuesday updates. During that time I’ve been seizing every moment to create content and haven’t had time to write about creating the content. So this update serves bridge the gap.

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Process and Philosophy: Love Poem Posters (Part 3)

Alien Love Poster

When I first shared this back in July [Work In Progress: Love Poem Sign] the idea was to design in a single color for letterpress and put all the verses of the poem [Process: Love Poem Poster (Part 1)], but soon decided to go a “text only” route fearing that it would look too cluttered with the idea that some parts would live on as illustrations for standalone prints, shirts, or postcards. Continue reading