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I have officially begun the condensed Cooper Type program and am now one of 15 individuals studying/drawing/digitizing typefaces for 12 and a half hours each day (Mon-Thurs). To put it lightly, only one and a half days in, this is definitely a marathon race like I’ve never experienced before. Taking the train back to Brooklyn I stare blankly at the other riders as I dream of the loving arms of the air-mattress to catch me as I fall through the doorway to the apartment directly on my face.
It’s been a great experience so far and everyone from near and far (England, Australia, China, Holland, Spain, Argentina, etc…) has been extremely friendly and welcoming. To be back in a room with other design and type obsessed people is really invigorating and everyone’s excitement seems to bolster our spirits to keep working throughout the day. I think my main worry was that I was entering a situation where my skills would hardly match the levels of the other kids enrolled and I would freak out and collapse under the pressure (cue “Real Genius” phone call home played over the PA system)… The other factor was getting over my celebrity awe of the professors teaching us along the way and quickly realizing they are the most earnest and accessible teachers I have had in a long while.
So far we’ve started our exploration by examining early Roman carved letterforms and were tasked with creating drawn skeletons for certain characters which we have begun importing into FontLab on the second day and experimenting with the tools to trace our new glyphs. The drawing was actually really relaxing even though it was very detail oriented work. I found myself concentrating on each curve, endpoint, and stroke and then looking at the clock to see that a few letters had appeared as well as a few hours. FontLab has been… interesting so far. An integral program for the design of fonts with more eccentricities and unfixed bugs (it’s last update was a number of years ago and come OS X Lion will be obsolete as it runs on the Rosetta engine Apple is conveniently removing). My main difficulty is being so used to Illustrator and seeing similar tools in FontLab that work completely differently from what I’m used to. Foray into the unknown seems to be the best method to learn all the tools and functionalities but it’s difficult going against my geometric perfectionist tendencies and just drawing letters willy nilly.
Anyhow, I am exhausted and the second day has just come to a close so I am off.