Letterpress is an art I both admire and fear as an artist. Letterpress is the oldest form of printing. Think Gutenberg printing back in 15th century. In a very general summary, this process produces a print by inking a surface with raised letters and then presses this to a printing substrate to reproduce an image in reverse.
Creating letterpress artwork takes loads of practice with more than your average amount of artistic intuition. Now a virtual letterpress version via the iTunes store is avaialable with the LetterMPress iPad app ($5.99) and a Mac version ($9.99).
The LetterMPress app lets you create designs with authentic wood type and vintage virtual art cuts. When you finish your artwork in the app, you can print, copy or export the file – the digital LetterMPress files can be imported by most popular graphics applications.
LetterMPress Tutorial belwo shows how the app works on an iPad. A Mac version of the app is also available.
LetterMPress app short overview video:
(You can also watch the LetterMpress tutorial on YouTube.
So what exactly can you make with LetterMPress? If you spend enough time fiddling around and learning the app, you can make some IMPRESSIVE art. Check out some samples of this amazing art created by LetterMPress below from The LetterMpress Pool on Flickr.
It's all so damned "lifelike," in fact, that I found the app as frustrating and weirdly intimidating as being plopped alone into a real letterpress studio. Sure, it's easy to explore the various drawers full of stuff like "quoins" and "furniture," but what are they for? I have no idea, and LetterMPress doesn't offer any intuitive hand-holding. (There is a Help screen full of text-based links to static tutorials, which is about as inviting as the manual for my air conditioner.)
Ready for the challenge? Check out the app and the "simply beautiful" Neenah Paper offer for creating letterpress cards with the new app. Neenah has a listing to help you find a printer with engraving and letterpress capabilities near you.
I can't wait to try the LetterMPress app out – even if it's a bit frustrating. I love to dig into the "messy" crafts when I can create cool holiday decor and card crafts. I'll keep you posted!
Photos via LetterMPress