Primary Tools & Materials:
INKJET COMPUTER, WATER
Additional Tools & Materials: Adobe Photoshop, camera, spray bottle, rubbing alcohol, scanner
Inspired by Chip Kidd's book cover for Dry by Augusten Burroughs, I wanted this letter to feel wet; as if it were dripping or melting. The mashup for this letter is digital printing (inkjet) plus elements (water). I used various kinds of paper; from simple printer paper to cardstock, and then watercolor paper and even tracing paper, before I was able to create the look I desired and then photograph and scan it into the computer.
I started with two different typefaces; Mission Script and Filosofia, in two different colors because I wasn't sure how the water would affect the different colors or the shape of the letters. As I began my experimentation, the different papers trapped the ink differently. Cardstock and printer paper absorbed the ink very well, and didn't seem to want to release it when I sprayed it with water. The tracing paper, on the other hand, barely accepted the ink, so I had to be extremely careful to not smear it just on the short walk from the printer to my photo station, and then of course it completely disintegrated when I sprayed it down (image 5). The winner seemed to be watercolor paper, but the water I was spraying onto the paper - while certainly creating some interesting pigment separation - wasn't really "dripping" like I wanted it to. I did get some interesting "ombre" gradation in the last letter H (image 7) by spraying more water near the bottom of the letter than the top. Then I somehow remembered (maybe from a middle school science project of some kind) that rubbing alcohol was effective in separating ink colors. So in my final attempt (images 1 and 2) I first dripped some rubbing alcohol over the surface of the paper, which effectively released more ink. Then I continued spraying water on it until I got the runny mess I was hoping for.
Here's another study that would create an interesting display typeface. It was so unpredictable to work with the water, and then the alcohol - but luckily it was easy to just print a new sheet and try something new. Some unexpected results emerged when in addition to the "drippiness" in image 1, there was also a slight pinkish glow around the edges as the ink separated, and even an electric or lightning bolt quality to the ink that spreads out from the top half of the letter. This experiment was a lot of fun, even if it did make a huge inky mess.