TAKE THE LID OFF of your jar of creative juices and get ready to have some colorful fun in a hurry. Kids, adults, students, and professionals all love this workshop. You're printing in the steps of H.N. Werkman, a WWII Dutch designer, and publisher who used an unusual approach to making letterpress prints, which he dubbed "druksels."
Put your imagination into high gear and start with some playful hand rolling of wooden type. Set your students' brains on fire early in the semester with this visual vs. verbal design approach. Rather than spelling, think shapes, repetition, a kaleidoscope of colors, overlap and strategic placement—all done about as fast as you can ink.
Instead of printing an edition of many of the same idea, you make 1 artistic print of lots of ideas. There's no tedious measuring or letterpress lock up—just lots of doing, playing, and being creative.
AFTER A BRIEF INTRO to Werkman the man and a look at some printed samples for kickstarting your creative flow, you're on your way. As you hand roll ink on the wood type, try to look at the letters as shapes for constructing your image, instead of seeing them only as parts of words. Lead Graffiti staff will demo the simple operation of each of the 5 presses that are available for this type of printing, and then it's time for fun. Working as quickly as you can ink, you can print on any open press as you assemble the different shapes of each of your druksel compositions.
The Werkman druksels make an off-beat and stimulating event as part of any professional business retreat. The physical act of handling dimensional type and working with it as you compose with shape and color gets those gray cells firing off in new directions. Taking this experience back to the workplace gives you a fresh perspective on handling the tough jobs, as well as the daily grind.
Below are a couple of images showing younger participants. Kids will spend hours making Werkman druksels. No phones. No iPad. No videos. Just H.N. Werkman, type, ink, and paper.