I remember working with an art director at Young and Rubicam/ Los Angeles, when it was located in Mid Wilshire. Her name was Nancy SomethingOrOther and she worked on the Gallo account with people like Bud Robbins, Len Freas, and comp artists like Doug Morris, Mike Barry, Mike Sell, Kathy Coutts and a host of other talented artists and creatives. But Nancy noticed I had a penchant for doing type and, as illustrated in this storyboard for beans, I could be pretty intense about getting it right! I guess she saw me as an asset to her and the myriad of labels we had to draw from the bottles of wine put before us. And, Gallo made a plethora of varietals, so there was always work to be done. Nancy, very patiently, taught me how to do reverse type with gouache and soap on acetate. Eventually, companies like Dr. Martin, produced white outs that were chemically mixed to stick to any surface, but that was after I learned to the art of mixing just the right amount of paint with soap and water to produce the right consistency for stroking it without it curdling or cracking.
Mixing the concoction was the easy part. Doing particular typefaces with minimum brush strokes was the difficult part. The art director had a mesmerizing effect on me every time I watched her brush twist and glide across the overlay so effortlessly. Nancy had a technique for painting serifs that I never did perfect and she could render sentences cleanly in no time at all. After a while, and lots of practice, I got good at it and could do a sentence pretty quickly... like twice the time it took her! I also learned a lot a more about type than I ever received in any school.
Unfortunately, all those skills were short lived. One doesn't lose skills attained from those long, hard lessons... ever, but I can't say that after PMT's arrived, I was ever asked to paint reverse type on acetate again.
It does make one wonder about the term, "Something's Gained When Something's Lost!"
Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011