Here is my finished 7 inch Munny custom "Loved Unloved". He was made for the Munny Grubbers show at Just Blazed in Phoenix, Arizona. The show opens this Saturday (August 8th, 2009), and he will be for sale along with lots of other awesome customs (like Brigitte's Slade)! :)
I took a few days to sketch out lots of different ideas until I settled on this final design for my custom (now I have tons of other ideas for future customs -- score!). Since the show is being held at Just Blazed (a graffiti store), I wanted my custom to have a clean graphic look and use lettering of some sort. I wanted him to have dripping hearts for eyes, an x-ray'd style skeleton body and I wanted him to have text across his forehead. I also wanted him to give him a sort of a tattooed/graffiti look. Before I started to sketch out my design on the blank Munny, I printed up a page of my favourite fonts for reference and sketched the initials on his head. (You can see the page of fonts in the before pic). I used the font "Dearest" which I also use for the banner of blog and my Etsy shop. The initials "WR" stand for "White Rabbit". :) I REALLY enjoyed designing, painting and creating this custom. I'm almost sad to put him up for sale, but I hope he finds a nice home. :)
So here's the part where I geek out and talk about lettering...
My Grandfather was a Linotype Operater. He printed newspapers, books, etc, using a Linotype machine. The machine was HUGE and had to be constantly lubricated and maintained because of the 2000 working parts. Each Operator had to know how to take apart their machine and put it back to together quickly so they could fix it and get the job done. Apparently he was really good at it because he won several competitions! The keyboard on the Linotype is different from the one we have today -- it has 90 keys with both upper and lower case letters, and there were areas to swap in letters with italics, different fonts, different sizes, etc. When he would set up the text for printing, he lined up the letters by hand and had to spell each word backwards (that's how you would print letters the right way). There was no spell check back then, so he had to get each word right and work fast. I think that's an amazing accomplishment for someone who's second language was English!
My Father was a Hand Letterer/Sign Writer. He taught himself how to hand-paint letters, and started out painting signs for businesses, trucks, buildings, etc. He used a mahl stick to make sure his hand was both steady when he painted, give him precise curved edges, and also it would prevent him from accidentally touching the wet paint. He's so skilled that he doesn't need a mahl stick anymore. I remember when I was a kid he got this commission where he had to paint logos on the sides of a bunch of white vans in a short amount of time. There were a ton of white vans parked outside of our house, and he was there just painting and painting for hours. He was so focused and spent so much time perfecting his skill, that I grew up with the same love, passion and focus for my own artwork. He taught me about typefaces (I knew the difference between Serif and Sans Serif lettering at like age 10) and letter spacing (each letter generally has the same space, but there are some exceptions to the rule). When computers were introduced sign writing was then mainly done with cut-out vinyl lettering. It was still a ton of work because he had to measure and line up the letters just right before he stuck them on the sign. He made festival and street signs for the city of Toronto for years.
And to top it off, my parents met in a silk screen printing shop! So as you can see, the appreciation for typography runs through my blood. I came into lettering when I was doing graffiti back in 1996, and had my chance to create stylized letters (which I will save for a future post!). ;) For those who love lettering too, visit LetterCult, a blog for lots of awesome typography.
Okay, back to the custom...
I named him Loved Unloved because of his eyes. (I always start painting a custom starting with the eyes because I think they are the main captivating element, and the rest of the design just follows.) One eye/heart is untouched while the other eye/heart is broken. Either way, love sure hurts this Munny. Not much is known about Loved Unloved because he was written out of the Alice In Wonderland series. What really happened is Loved Unloved also followed the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole like Alice did, however he did not have a soft landing. Unfortunately he broke his neck and died, and his ghost has been haunting the rabbit hole ever since. His soul is not allowed back up into reality or through the keyhole into Wonderland. So he is forever roaming the hallways that are not quite part of either world. The good thing is that there are lots of bookshelves lining the walls in the rabbit hole, so he has plenty to read. Poor little sad roaming ghost spirit boy who was completely forgotten about. :(