Scanning Around with Gene: Paste-up Limericks

I’ve written many times about old-school paste-up techniques and I always get a flurry of requests for more of the same. But since I’m out of things to say about that era, I wrote a couple limericks (a favorite art form of mine) to accompany additional images I came cross recently.

With the exception of the first two images, which are of some friends and me doing paste-up in college, all images and pearls of wisdom are from the books Complete Guide to Pasteup by Walter B. Graham and Paste-Up for Graphic Arts Production by Kenneth F. Hird.

There once was an artist from Kent,
through the waxer his galley was sent.
“Oh damn,” he replied.
“I’ve waxed the wrong side.”
So back to the typesetter he went.

Typesetters were proud of their craft,
they could kern, spell, and set with great daft.*
But the Mac then arrived,
and few setters survived.
The rest simply got a big shaft.

In the darkroom a camera, it sat,
cranking out what we all called a “stat.”
We’d shoot many sizes,
to avoid those surprises,
when the client said “bigger than that.”

To pen a straight line is a trick,
and to miter a corner quite slick.
But the method du jour,
we all must concur,
is so easy with just that one click.

Whether Olfa or basic straight blades,
knives came in all sorts of styles and shades.
Which one should you choose?
No matter, you’ll lose,
and require that can of Band Aids.

Rapidographs called for great fussing,
and lots of hair pulling and mussing.
We’d tap the paper so light,
in hopes the pen would delight.
But the answer was “no,” so start cussing.

Rub-down letters we’d seek to forsake,
for they’d crack, peel, and otherwise flake.
But the worst thing indeed,
was when you gave them a read,
and discovered a spelling mistake.

Rubber cee'-ment can stick quite a lot,
when it’s brushed onto just the right spot.
But if the galley gets moved,
sometimes you’re behooved,
to pull it up like a long strand of snot.

Now it's your turn. Submit your own printing limericks by clicking the Comments button below.

* Editor's note: I assume this is an obscure paste-up term Gene dredged from the depth of his youth. Surely it's not a mangling of "deft." Surely not.

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