Drafting Class and Print Shop

Print Shop Coca-Cola HalftoneSometimes you look back on your childhood and realize how much you were shaped by a certain experience. Something long forgotten memory comes to the forefront of your mind. An experience that seemed relatively unimportant at the time comes back into memory, reminding you of the person you’ve become. One such memory recently came to mind: my middle school print shop and drafting class.

Mr. Coca-Cola

In the eighth grade at Gardner Middle School, we got to pick one elective. I don’t recall the other options, but I ended up in Mr. Kloha’s class. (Or as my dad jokingly called him, Mr. Coca-Cola.) Mr. Kloha taught Drafting first semester and Print Shop second semester. Looking back, it seems so relevant to my career as a graphic designer. And yet it would take me another 14 years to point me in that direction.

Drafting Class

I feel lucky to go to school when I did, on the cusp of two eras. It was the the early 1990s, and the computer revolution was in full swing. But while professional designers had advanced workstations, our school had DOS machines with EGA graphics. So we learned drafting and technical drawing the old fashioned way. We had slanted drawing tables, tee-squares and triangles. We drew guidelines with a pencil and practiced our lettering. We drew things in perspective: isometric, one vanishing point and two vanishing points. We broke shapes down into simpler shapes. I still use this knowledge all the time in my career. And even though I ended up as a digital artist, it’s really helpful to understand how it was done before computers took over the entire design process.

Print Shop

I enjoyed Drafting Class, but the second semester was the real fun part. This semester Mr. Kloha taught Print Shop. As with the drafting class, this was all pre-digital. We learned about different kinds of printing, letterpress, offset, intaglio and screen printing, and we even got to do some hands-on stuff. (Though my screen prints looked like crap. I was just a middle schooler, after all.) Once again, as I look back, I can see how this class affected my future career. To this day, I still have a strong love of print design, even if I do most of my artwork on the computer.

A Well-Rounded Education

One of the most interesting things about education is how it can take you down a path you never imagined. That’s why I’m a big believer in a well-rounded education. Even if you’re passionate about a certain subject, you might end up gaining a passion for something else entirely.

Did you take any kind of print shop or drafting class in school? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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  1. October 14, 2017

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