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MASQUERADE

ABBIE LABONVILLE


MASQUERADE Abbie Labonville


For

without your constant nagging and support, none of this would have been possible.

because Mrs. King pants.

for making my life easier with this grid.

Oh, and

for teaching me calligraphy in the first place.


Special thanks to

Margo, Charles, Mark, Samantha, and the Graphic Design Class of 2017.


Table of Contents

Behind the Mask Introduction and Inspo

Past Parties Historical Precedents

The Masquerade Thesis explanation

Party Details Information


IMAGE OF


My name is

the fact that I know what that all means is a success in itself. Coming into the program straight (10 years) out of highschool was tough. Technology had improved dramatically since I graduated, Microsoft Office wasn’t the design software of choice, and Adobe scared the heck out of me. I have overcome so many obstacles and though there are many more ahead of me, I at least now have the skills to tackle them with confidence.

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bbie Labonville, and if you are reading this, it means that I have lived through this process of exploring how the shape of letters can influence meaning, and I’ve successfully completed my BFA in Fine Art with a concentration in Graphic Design. Hallelujah! I have come a long way since I started this program three years ago. I no longer use Cyan, Yellow and Magenta as the only colors in my work, I’ve moved past decorative type, and I actually use a grid in my designs now (okay, I may or may not have had help with the grid for this book), and


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esign for me was all computer based until last year I was able to take a calligraphy class. I was hooked instantly. What I love most about calligraphy is that it makes you focus on the structure of the letters, something most of us forget about not long after we learn to print. Each letter of a script has it’s own components and you must form each letter correctly in order to successfully write in a specific script. Calligraphy, meaning beautiful handwriting, usually involves the use of pen and ink, and takes extreme dedication. It’s not surprising that calligraphy has become a large part of what I do because I have always loved handwriting since I was a young child. When I learned to print my name, I would write it everywhere I could, including the side of our minivan with a rock. I can still remember the day I figured out how to write swirls in a ruled notebook and being overwhelmed with excitement because I thought I had finally learned to write in cursive. I remember feeling so proud of myself because I could write in cursive and my older sister couldn’t. I was only four. After learning the correct way to write in cursive, it became an art to me; a form of expression.

In my calligraphy practice, I either dip my pen into the ink or I apply the ink with a paintbrush, as opposed to using a pen with a built in inkwell. Some of the scripts I’ve learned involve the use of pen nibs with multiple flanges and reservoirs to hold the ink, which is typically applied with a paint brush. When using reservoir nibs, I like to use watercolor due to its fluidity and ease of cleaning. Scripts that I am currently practicing require a pointed pen nib which only have two flanges, and is void of a reservoir, requires dipping the pen into ink. I use an oblique style pen, which is a pen with a nib holder located on the side, making easier to write at a slant because most scripts that involve the use of a pointed pen nib are usually italicized. There are many different nibs used for different stroke weights and fluidity of the ink. Currently I am using a Zebra G nib which has a medium stroke weight and a higher rate of ink fluidity. It’s considered a beginners nib because it’s flexible and it glides smoothly on most papers as opposed to stiffer nibs which can often get caught in the fibers of the paper and splatter ink.

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It became an art to me; a form of expression.


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Thank you, Ms. Sutton, for never awarding me with the red pen, because it inspired me to try harder.

hen I was little, I used to ask my mother to draw people for me, and as she did, I would trace her strokes with my eyes as a way to study and understand the movement and creation of each line. I would also look at her handwriting and again, trace the lines with my eyes, trying to figure out her process. I’d watch how her hand gripped the pencil and I would then practice on my own, remembering her process and creating my own style. I loved to add my own touch to handwriting because that way, it felt like there was a part of me in it.

my own touch to some of the letters. Doing this was probably the reason I was never able to use the red pen for our spelling tests on Fridays (whomever was awarded the use of the red pen on Fridays had displayed perfect cursive all week). Thank you, Ms. Sutton, for never awarding me with the pen because it inspired me to try harder. Now here I am, writing my college thesis about handwriting. Her current students will never understand the importance of the red pen because they have stopped teaching cursive.

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When I learned to write cursive in school, I remember thinking that since I finally knew how to write it correctly, I wanted to add

(Right) Example of my cursive from 1996. Spelling and grammar is about the same, but my handwriting has improved dramatically. Also, my mother did an awesome job on that science project. Where was she during thesis?


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He instilled dedication and practice into me, and those are the key elements to mastering the art of calligraphy.

(fig. 2), with it’s heavier down strokes. These lead to me teaching myself Script (modern) calligraphy (fig. 3), which I consider more of a freestyle, cursive script. Then, in an independent study under Mark Jamra this past semester, I learned the Roundhand script (fig. 4), by studying Eleanor Winters’ book, Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy, which looks similar to cursive, but each letter is formed separately and the down strokes are heavier. He instilled dedication and practice into me and those are key elements to mastering the art of practicing calligraphy.

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have always practiced print handwriting and cursive, but it wasn’t until the calligraphy class I took with Mark Jamra, a professor at the Maine College of Art, that I was truly inspired by handwriting. Mark was able to teach me that the formal elements of letters are the same across the board with variation of style amongst the different scripts. He would write out each letter as I watched, and just as I did with my mother, I would study his process. He taught us the Italic script (fig. 1), which is considered elegant yet legible with its slanted, lighter weight down strokes, and the Fraktur script seen in


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Though I am practicing calligraphy developed between the 18th century until today, handwriting in general contains a rich history.

here were many forms of mark making for communication before the Romans, such as cave paintings and Cuneiform (a wedge shaped style of writing, developed by the Sumerian’s of Mesopotamia c. 3500-3000 BCE) but the Romans were the first to develop a written script for transactions (Clayton). Handwriting has developed greatly throughout history from the original Roman script to today’s modern calligraphy. It is said that the Greeks developed the first alphabet with vowels but it was the Romans who adopted it in 509 BC and completed it by adding consonants. It is the Roman majuscule alphabet, meaning capital letters, that all Western European scripts derived from (Safde). Minuscule letters, meaning lowercase, began to show up between the 7th and 9th centuries as a way to increase the speed of writing. There were two common scripts used at this time which were the Square capitals, which displayed straight lines with thick and thin strokes along with serifs and were mostly used for inscriptions (fig. 1), and Rustic capitals, which were similar to the Square capitals but not as rigid, and used more often for writing with pen and paper (fig. 2). Roman Uncials (fig. 3), meaning inch in height,

were developed from the Roman capitals as a more rounded script that required less strokes allowing for an increased speed in writing. Due to the increased speed, this lead to the development of Roman Half Uncials, and eventually led to the new style known as the Carolingian Miniscule (fig. 4), which included the lowercase letters that we know of today. By the end of the Roman Empire, the scripts changed through the practice of many scribes, and eventually led to two styles known as Gothic and Latin. Gothic was known for its straight, thick down strokes and had numerous styles including, the 14th Century Gothic (fig. 5), and the Fraktur script (fig. 6). The Chancery script (fig. 7) developed from the Gothic script and displayed slanted letters and lighter weight down strokes. This script was used for writing and used for important documents because it was faster than writing in Gothic. During the late 17th century, penman John Ayers created the English Roundhand script, which was the most common script during the 18th century with roots coming from the scripts associated with the Italian renaissance.


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Fig. 1, Trajan’s Column, AD 113, Lancaster.uk. Fig. 2, Rustic capitals from a manuscript of Virgil’s Aeneid, 4th century, AD, Vatican Library (Vat. Lat. 3225). Fig. 3, Roman Uncial script from Rome AD 510, Vatican Library MS Basilicanus D.182, folio 298. Fig. 4, Carolingian minuscule script from the Gospels of Lothair written at Tours, France, c. 850, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Fig. 5, Example of 14th Century Gothic, History of Handwriting, Safde.org. Fig.6, Example of 16th Century Fraktur Script, History of Handwriting, Safde.org. Fig 7, Operina of Arrighi aka Vicentino, The First Writing Book, 1522, History of Handwriting, Safde.org

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Fig. 8, George Bickham, Round Hand script, from The Universal Penman, c. 1740–1741. Fig. 9, Platt Rogers Spencer, Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship, 1859, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University. Fig. 10, Austin Norman Palmar, The Palmer Method of Business Writing, 1915 Cedar Rapids, Palmer Co., Fig 11, Mary Suber Thorpe, ModernCalligraphy Invitation, 2013, Plurabellestudio.com


It was believed that handwriting would keep children smart and healthy due to the patience and practice that it required.

The Spencerian script (fig. 9) was created by Platt R. Spencer in the first half of the 19th century (Iampeth). The Spencerian script with was influenced by the free flowing forms of nature and the script itself has a looser line than the Roundhand script, and subtler shaded down strokes. Both scripts require the pen to be lifted after each stroke. It wasn’t too long after the Spencerian script was developed that it was replaced with a more convenient hand known as the Palmer method (fig. 10).

Teaching of handwriting, specifically the Roundhouse script, was considered a very important part of learning for school children. It was believed that handwriting would keep children smart and healthy due to the patience and practice that it required (Jenkins). Roundhouse and Spencerian remained the taught script until the Palmer script, developed by Austin Palmer in 1988, which consisted of free flowing, mono weight line. Lifting the pen wasn’t required therefore creating an even faster form of writing. The Palmer method remained the dominant hands in schools, copybooks, and manuals until the progressive era as technology has developed (ArtofHandwriting). The Modern script, also known as script style calligraphy, (fig. 11) is the newest style as it is derived from cursive with its free flowing, connective look, and the Roundhand script as it also displays thick down strokes and delicate up strokes. This script has loose formal elements allowing for easy personalization, but also requires the lifting of the pen after each letter.

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he Roundhand (Fig. 8) script was one of the first scripts to be widely taught. It had been modified from the Italian script by French and Dutch writing masters Lucas Materot (active 1608), Louis Barbedor (1589— 1670) and Jan van den Velde (1569— 1623) (ejf). The purpose of the modifications was to create clarity, speed and legibility, and with its evenly spaced and rounded letters, it was eventually thought to be a perfect hand for business writing. Many of the masters created copy-books for their students to learn, such as George Bickham with his book, The Universal Penman, which I mentioned earlier.


Just by transforming the idea visually, you can practically alter the meaning of anything.

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y thesis is an exploration into the emotions that handwriting can carry, and how it can be used as a mask. Knowing the history of handwriting is key. As I’ve explained, letter forms throughout history have evolved to create faster writing speeds, creating a loss of emotion as forms no longer matter, making legibility the only purpose. This exploration allows me to take a step back in time by focusing on the importance of the formal elements of each letter, and why each stroke plays a crucial role in its formation. Though word meanings can create emotion, I believe the letter forms themselves can also create an emotion too just through the use of shapes and strokes. Just by transforming the idea visually, you can practically alter the meaning of anything. The act of altering our emotions can be found everywhere in our lives. From the media masking current events to social media users masking their lives with perfectly composed photos and filters, causing those around them to think their lives are nothing less than perfect.

Using handwriting to mask and alter your emotion is no different than the media masking current events. The media is known to mask current events to make you believe what they show you, especially with today’s political events. It is hard to figure out what is true and what is not due to the growing divide in our country. They paint a pretty picture for their viewers with hopes that they will believe what they see. Take global warming for instance. The media will display information explaining how global warming isn’t real, but in 2015 the Earth’s temperature raised one degree Celsius above the average global temperature (NASA). Many people don’t do their research and end up believing false issues, causing there to be disagreement amongst the people. Masking is also used with social media, which can have a major effect on people’s emotions, bloggers in particular. There are countless amounts of bloggers out there who curate their lifestyles, giving off an impression that nothing is less than perfect.


At first glance, I bet you didn’t realize this quote was from the “Cash Me Ousside” girl. If you don’t know who that is, Google her.


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There is an emotion to handwritng that will be lost if cursive becomes obsolete.

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had planned to incorporate calligraphy into my thesis project, but I had to figure out how. I started by researching handwriting in general and came to the realization that cursive handwriting, the style we learned with loops and connections, is soon to be a thing of the past. With the use of technology, they actually believe there is no use for it. I started reading old cards from my grandmother and thought, how sad would it be if someday people couldn’t understand what was written in these cards? There is an emotion to handwriting that will be lost if cursive becomes obsolete.


Handwriting alone can be used as a mask; a way of hiding the truth.

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This lead to me to start thinking that because handwriting can carry an emotion when viewing it, how could I use it to alter emotions? I started writing out swear words and placing them in a floral setting. Because I don’t swear, I thought that if I could alter my own emotion when viewing these words, then chances are I could alter someone else’s. During the initial view, the viewer assumes the word is something positive as it is written elegantly, but soon realizes that the word is not positive at all. I was able to alter the viewer’s initial emotion with the use of handwriting.

I started to incorporate humor into this exploration when one day my dog had an accident on the floor and of course I was upset, and I thought to myself, how can I use handwriting to alter my emotion about this? So I incorporated a friendly handwriting with humor and took a photograph of it. I like this idea of juxtaposition and continued to mask the ugliness of everyday life. The handwriting softens the blow of the initial reaction to the complaint.


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My dad swears, a lot, which is funny because you would think I would have picked it up along the way. These two are his favorite, and he usually says them in conjunction with one another.


No dogs were harmed in the making of these images.


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The image on the right is a result of the image on the left. The friendly handwriting made me think it was OK to eat the cookies.


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Do dictators dictate how they want us to think through their words?

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Everything I had been doing at this point involved humor, and I wanted to try something different. I thought about the many ways beauty masks our everyday lives. That’s when I realized that people use beauty to mask who they really are. Dictators are a perfect example as they are known for portraying themselves as good people. They dictate how they want us to think and feel through their words. I started taking quotes from the worst dictators throughout history and wrote out inspirational quotes in an elegant script. The quotes are no longer inspirational once the viewer sees who said it. Not only did the handwriting alter their initial emotion of the quote, it also worked to mask the ugly truth behind it. I played around with different ways of displaying this idea including posters with the quote on the front, and the info of the dictator behind it, allowing the viewer to see the quote first before they find out who it was. I also tried optical illusion accordion displays. Viewing

it from one direction, the viewer sees the inspirational quote, but viewing it from the opposite direction once again allows them to see the image of who it was. The idea of using beauty as a mask is a common theme in our everyday lives. With this mostly stemming from my realization through social media, it helped me to understand that I am most likely not the only one who is blinded by the initial view. Many people are under the illusion that what they see is always what it seems. I hope people will be able to learn from my thesis and see that not everything is what it seems on the surface. I want them to be able to see what’s behind the mask, to understand the truth about what they are seeing. If they can understand this concept, then it may help them navigate life.


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MAO ZEDONG

CHAIRMAN OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA. AN ESTIMATED 65 MILLION CHINESE DIED AS A RESULT OF HIS REPEATED, MERCILESS ATTEMPTS TO CREATE A NEW “SOCIALIST” CHINA.


POL POT

HIS COMMUNIST KHMER ROUGE MOVEMENT LED CAMBODIA FROM 1975 TO 1979. ABOUT 1.5 MILLION CAMBODIANS OUT OF A TOTAL POPULATION OF 7 TO 8 MILLION DIED OF STARVATION, EXECUTION, DISEASE OR OVERWORK.


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DONALD TRUMP

NEW YORK REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER WHO BECAME FAMOUS A REALITY SHOW NEW YORK REALAS ESTATE DEVELOPER HOST, AND WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE WHO UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN 2016. MASQUERADE | INTRO | 72

BECAME FAMOUS AS A REALITY SHOW HOST, AND WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN 2016.


JOSEF STALIN

COMMUNIST DICTATOR WHO RULED THE USSR IN THE 1920S UNTIL HIS DEATH. HE KILLED OVER 14 MILLION OF HIS OWN PEOPLE.


IDI AMIN

AMIN MASQUERADE | THESIS | 54

UGANDAN PRESIDENT BEST KNOWN FOR HIS BRUTAL REGIME AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY WHILE IN POWER FROM 1971-1979.


ADOLF HITLER

LEADER OF NAZI GERMANY FROM 1934 TO 1945. HE INITIATED FASCIST POLICIES THAT LED TO WORLD WAR II AND THE DEATHS OF AT LEAST 11 MILLION PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE MASS MURDER OF AN ESTIMATED 6 MILLION JEWS. HE WAS VOTED INTO POWER, HE DID NOT SEIZE IT.


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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts, Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine, April 27, 2017 Major in Graphic Design. Copyright Š 2017 All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Published for Maine College of Art, Abbie Labonville, 2017 BFA Thesis Graphic Design Department 522 Congress Street Portland, Maine 04101 Cover, images and book design by Abbie Labonville Edited by Caitlin Jones Set in typeface Helvetica Neue Produced in Portland, Maine


Bibliography

Bickham, George, and Philip Hofer. The Universal Penman. New York: Dover Publications, 1941. Print. Clayton, Ewan. A History of Learning to Write. Edward Johnston Foundation: Web. 12 Feb. 2017. Cohen, Jennie. A Brief History of Penmanship on National Handwriting Day. History. A&E Television Networks, 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2017. History of Handwriting. Safde. Web. 13 Feb. 2017. Jenkins, John. The Art of Writing, Reduced to a Plain and Easy System. Cambridge: Printed for the Author, 1813. Print. Styles of Script. Welcome to IAMPETH! Web. 12 Feb. 2017. The Art of Handwriting Instruction. University of South Carolina Libraries. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.

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Winters, Eleanor. Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-step Manual. New York: Gramercy, 1994. Print.


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…and that’s a wrap.


Masquerade  

Masquerade is an exploration of handwriting and how it can be used as a mask, or disguise, to alter the emotion of the viewer. For this part...

Masquerade  

Masquerade is an exploration of handwriting and how it can be used as a mask, or disguise, to alter the emotion of the viewer. For this part...

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