Donald Kilpatrick
August 2008
I love the smell of letterpress ink in the morning...
The Golding Map press. c. 1906
A few years back I was surfing the Briar Press classifieds (a site devoted to letterpress), and noticed that someone in Rawlings Wyoming wanted to sell a couple of tabletop letterpresses with some various supplies. I was living in Salt Lake at the time, and realized that it was only a three-hour drive from my home. I borrowed my sister’s truck, dragged my brother along for the ride, and set out to purchase this stuff. 

When we arrived I realized that what this gentleman was selling was worth more than what he was selling it for, and he told me that if he hadn’t sold it that week, it all was slated to go to the city dump. He was happy to see it all go to a loving home.

There have been times in the past few years where I have toyed with the idea of selling this stuff because i needed the money, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. Not only because of the potential of really regretting it later on, but because the man who sold it to me had a stroke after he bought it. He bought all of this stuff with the intent of teaching it to his grandkids.

The press in the photo is another story. I was telling some of my friends about my Wyoming adventure, and of them who happens to be a sculptor tells me that he has a press that he was just about to take a blow torch to and cut up for a sculpture. I was able to convince him to sell it to me, and only after having purchased it, realized that it is a Golding Map Press. The Golding Map Press is rare, and offers a lot of pressure for a tabletop press.

It is a beauty of a press, and still works like a charm after a hundred years. I haven’t been able to really put either of these presses to good use until now. I am lending the Craftsman (green color) press to a friend of mine who studies at Cranbrook currently, and I had the rollers restored for the Map Press. I also just built a heavy-duty workbench for the Golding press, and almost killed myself lifting it onto the bench!

I finally will be able to make good on my promise to letterpress a series of Christmas cards and promotional postcards this year, and really experiment with this thing. I am going to start working on this in September. If anyone out there wants to be included on the mailing of these, e-mail me.

Just for fun, here are some videos from my friends at Boxcar press that instruct one on how to properly get the job going on the press. You can see all of this by clicking here.

The fine folks at Boxcar press also run Bella Figura.
Old Tiger Stadium and playing ball without clothes.
The corner of Trumbull and Michigan avenues. This is the portion of the park that people are hoping to preserve.
Last week I had all intentions of attending the Saturday figure drawing session at the Scarab Club in Detroit. I packed up the car with my gear, made the twenty-minute drive, and when I arrived no one was there at the club. I rang the doorbell, called, and still no reply, so I decided to go and take a look and shoot some pics of Tiger Stadium before it is demolished. The Tigers now play in downtown Detroit at a new ballpark (Comerica Park) that is more like a theme park than ballpark. I am not complaining, it is a nice ballpark, and I have enjoyed taking my family to see the games, but it seems to lack the energy that a place like Tiger Stadium has. Tiger stadium is one of the oldest ballparks around, and was (correct me if I am wrong….) built only a year or two after Fenway Park in Boston. A who’s who of ballplayers has been through that stadium, and the last time the Tigers played there was the 1999-2000 season (again correct me if I am wrong…).

I guess I made the effort to go and see the half demolished park because a friend of mine told me that the unique sports merchandise shop next to the park was gone. Thank goodness it wasn’t. In fact while I was there talking with the shop owner, Ernie Harwell’s lawyer stopped by. Ernie Harwell is the famous broadcaster of many o’ Tiger game in the past, and he is leading the charge to preserve a part of the ballpark as a museum. He has been successful and was able to get senator Levin to pony up some federal money, and has bought time for those who are raising the needed money to preserve the historic portion of the park that is on the corner of Michigan and Trumbull avenues.

This shop is the place is where I got my felt 1935 replica Tigers hat that fits so nicely. They also have other replica hats, and it is where I bought my 1964 San Francisco Giants cap. This shop is amazing, and it is the kind of shop one will never find in a modern ballpark. It is the kind of shop that Detroit fans out there in the vast WWW need to show some love to. Check out Detroit Athletic Co. here.

With all of this baseball talk, I wanted to share some of the earlier rough sketches from my children’s book. These sketches went along with the following text-

“If you went to school naked, could you play ball? Steal second base? NO, not at all!”

One of these early sketches I had the character sliding into the base on his belly, but what I hadn’t considered is just how painful that would be for a lil’ dude if he were naked. It had my designers and editor wincing. So I thought that I would have him hitting it out of the park, but it wasn’t as interesting. I then had him with his eyes closed, wincing in pain, and sliding into second on his back. Well, we all decided on him sliding in on his side with his eyes wide open from the shock and pain…

The first version of this spread.
Olympic medal
There has been a lot of coverage this week leading up to the summer Olympic games tonight in China. I have seen some of the design from this summer games, and some of what I have seen is looking all right. I think it is interesting what they have done for the pictograms for example.

 I am a bit torn in my feelings for the Olympics this year. It is exciting for me to see the world’s athletes compete, but I still remember what happened in Tiananmen square in 1989, and how that event has seemingly been forgotten, as much of the subsequent human rights abuses since then, by the world’s media.

With that said, I have been thinking a lot of my own experience working on the design of the victory medal for the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake. I have posted on this before, but it has been a while, and I thought why not? The unique thing about the design of the winter games medal is that there is a lot more freedom. The summer games medal has to keep the same shape and keep the same design on the front of the medal, and keep whatever unique design within the pre-determined circle shape on the back of the medal.

I had the chance to truly collaborate with a team of designers, while working as an in house illustrator at Axiom design, on the medal and we all contributed to the final design.

We wanted to have the medal feel as if it was a found object in a riverbed, and some of our earlier designs reflected both this idea as well as the idea of the relation of humankind to nature. In the final design we incorporated this idea as the wedge that connects the ribbon to the irregular shaped medal. This line of thinking also led me to remember Michelangelo’s captive series, and when I worked on my illustration, I kept these in mind.

Another unique feature to the design of this medal was that there were fifteen different medal backs that reflected the fifteen disciplines that each of the sports in the winter games.

I still get excited when I see footage of the athletes from the 2002 games on the medal stand, and so far in my career it is one of those projects that will have life beyond most of what I do.
One of my first sketches that led to the final design.
This is the victory medal for the 1980 winter games in Sarajevo. It gave us inspiration to see a victory medal that wasn't a perfect circle.
there were fifteen different medal backs. each sport discipline was set inside the negative space between the arm and face of the victory-like figure.
A reminder and invitation to tomorrow's Orphan works roundtable discussion in New York Cit
I know that Gary Taxali posted information on this earlier in the week, but just to remind everyone, especially those who live in New York, here below is the information for tomorrow's Orphan works discussion put on by the Small Business Administration at the Salmagundi Club.


A Reminder:

You are invited to attend The ORPHAN WORKS ROUNDTABLE 

How Will the Orphan Works Bill Economically Impact Small Entities? This Friday, August 8, 2008
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon Salmagundi Club
47 Fifth Avenue (between 11th & 12th Streets)
New York, NY 10003

Free Admission 

If you live in the New York area, please attend this critical event in person. Congress established the SBA's Office of Advocacy to represent the views of people like us before Federal agencies and Congress. One of their goals is to ensure that our voices aren't lost within the lawmaking process. Your presence at this grassroots event will do much to see that our voices get heard. Until now, Orphan Works legislation has been driven by anti-copyright forces and special interest groups. Their talking points have defined the issue. That's why, if you've written lawmakers, you may have received those talking points as a response. 

We need to get our own views before lawmakers. We've had to go to Washington to make the case for artists. Now Washington is coming to us. We thank the SBA for agreeing to conduct this unprecedented field hearing and we thank the Salmagundi Club for offering us their space. 

Don't miss this opportunity to show that our industry is united in opposing the Orphan Works bill.

•    This bill would radically change copyright law.
•    The change would create an entirely new business model for the licensing of copyrighted work.
•    That business model would favor large corporate image banks at the expense of individual creators.
•    This would harm artists, photographers, songwriters, musicians, and writers.
•    It would harm the small businesses that serve and are dependent on the creative community.

This is a side of the story Congressmen haven't heard so far. We need to make it part of an open, public debate.

The Roundtable will be chaired by Tom Sullivan, Director of the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. Eighteen distinguished panelists, all from the creative community, will represent the copyright interests of grassroots artists.

This event will be webcast.

PLEASE RSVP to and include the names of those attending.

You may review the agenda, the panelists and their biographies on the IPA blog:
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