House Industries was a case of love at first sight for me. I specifically remember the day when one of my college professors (affectionately known as “Mr. B” because none of us could figure out how to pronounce his last name) told us to look at their work for inspiration. I have been closely following them ever since, dreaming of being able to buy all of their fonts or take one of their workshops someday.
When I saw a blog post announcing their upcoming “Freehand Lettering Workshop” to be conducted by Ken Barber (resident lettering extraordinary) I knew the day had come. After over 5 years of waiting and watching workshop dates come and go, I decided I didn’t want to let another one pass me by. No more waiting and dreaming.
I was greeted by a workstation filled with House Industries branded tools, swag and worksheets for the day ahead when I arrived at their studio in Yorklyn, DE. Ken didn’t waste any time jumping right into a very comprehensive lecture on some of the theories we were going to be exploring throughout the day, followed by a demonstration and a work period. He would end up doing about 3 of these lecture/demonstration/work periods throughout the one-day workshop.
The beauty of a workshop such as this, that you simply can’t find in an online tutorial, is the “hands-on” aspect. Watching a 3-minute video online can’t answer complex, individual questions about a specific, problematic letter combination. I found that having someone as knowledgable and experienced as Ken there at our disposal throughout the day was simply invaluable.
In the above images are my final drawings from the day’s working periods. Ken taught us how to start from a very rough, single line, gesture-type drawing, then through using layers of tracing paper, slowly refine that drawing, while adding weight and structure to the letterforms. The finished result, after multiple variations and revisions, should be a very unique, yet clean and thought out piece of lettering.
I felt like my head was about to explode the entire day. I was learning so much. Ken is not only incredibly talented and an outstanding letterer, he is an amazing teacher as well. If you have any interest at all in the art of lettering, I would absolutely suggest taking one of Ken’s workshops. I can promise you it will be 100% worth it! I know I am definitely going to be at the next one!