Cut Art has been found in various forms since the core last century. “Spot Illustrators” were hired by print publications, ad firms, and etc . in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s and in to the 1980’s to create quick, grayscale white images to accompany advertisements, articles, forums, short stories and other literary works that needed a graphic aspect to help draw the reader in.
The first and most popular medium used to create cut art was pen and ink. Pen and tattoo or “Line Art” images, were created just as the name implies, with a dip or “nib” pen and an inkwell filled with black printer ink. The Artist, let’s call him “Art Guy”, would dip his pen in the inkwell, tap the excess of ink on the rim of the container and by using a steady hands, commence to draw his or her illustration. A high quality stock newspaper with a smooth finish off, which included sometimes vellum, was and still is the choice of most artists. Some artists preferred to draw their subject matter with a pad first to create a “template” in which to apply the ink on top of.
Once the illustration was complete, it was left to dried on its own. To dry the ink more quickly, some artists used “Pounce” which is a fine powder sprinkled moderately in the wet illustration. Leap powder can be created by using a variety of materials including sand, soapstone, talcum powder and even finely surface salt. Pounce is also employed by calligraphers.
Once the illustration was dry, it was given to the Stat Camera operator and photographed in a darkroom to create film from the camera-ready artwork. Tinted or “half tone” grayscale white images could be created from the all-black art using various scrap pattern filters and then used in paper. Using this process, endless copies of the original artwork could be created, just like the electronic copy machines invented many decades later. The paper copies were then trimmed and “cut to size” in prep for the publication process and then “Art Guy” going to the production room to do his cool “layout” thing!
“Layouts” were created by combining textual content and images in a pleasing manner and keeping the various objects to ruled paper. The guidelines helped the availability specialist align the images both horizontally and vertically. Branded using blue ink, the guidelines could not be took pictures of, thereby rendering the guidelines invisible in the last printed publication. Adhering the text and images to the ruled paper was achieved by by using a variety of methods. Household glu were one common choice, but in the 1940’s bees wax became popular. Electronic wax machines were connected to an store and in order to warm up. Blocks of bees polish were inserted into a warming tank inside the machine and the high temperature of the tank dissolved the wax into chemical. A mechanism on top of the machine allowed the user to nourish the paper clip artwork into one end “dry” and then retrieve the art from the other end “waxed”. The machine only waxed one part of the paper, allowing you fix the image onto design paper by using a burnishing tool and rubber material roller. Text was applied using the same process. The completed layout was then taken up the darkroom where it was filmed with a camera and a film negative created. A short process later and the film negative became a plate “positive” ready for offset printing photos.
As the publication industry progressed, Graphic Artists and Graphic artists were finding that it was much easier to reuse the preexisting images they had already result and prepped for the prior week’s publication. Thus, rather than drawing the same illustrations over and over again, they reused the old Line Skill… and voila! Production Show Art was born and sadly “Art Guy” was out of the job!