Monthly Archives: June 2018

Pencil Search – Success Of A Kind

Over the past few years, I would often be inspired to post this on various office supply and stationery sites:

Hi, I have a request, and I hope someone can help. In my late father’s stuff I found a canister of mechanical pencil leads, with a cork stopper. From the markings I think they are from his job in the 1960s at the UK GPO (General Post Office, which later split to make the Post Office and British Telecom). I’d love to be able to use them, but they are 1.5mm size. It’s been some years now, and I just cannot find a mechanical pencil or lead holder that will hold them. 1.3mm is too small, and they fall out of my Staedtler 2.0mm.
Can anyone tell me if there is such a thing as a 1.5mm lead holder? I’ve searched around on eBay, without much luck.
Any ideas for what I could do? Can you put the word out?

I even bought a cheaper 1.3mm holder and some thin diamond files to see if I could increase the size. That didn’t work.

It seemed nobody could help. Disappointing.

In the end, and it is a real anticlimax to be honest, I tried wrapping a piece of thin card around one of the 1.5mm leads and then trying it in the Staedtler again. It worked fine, and it even let the lead slide out when I pressed the release button.

Moral of the story? If you believe in yourself, and reach for the stars, you may only hit the moon, but at least you have a pencil.

Inkscape Tutorial – Uneven Letraset Effect

I was browsing Pinterest, the way you do, looking at old ads and the raw graphical style they often used:

You get the idea. (Actually, looking at it now, it’s pretty straight, oh well)

As often happens, I was suddenly inspired to pointlessly recreate the style in Inkscape. So here’s how.

  1. Start Inkscape and create a new document.
  2. Using the Text tool type your desired slogan:

  3. Change the font and weight as you wish. I used the default “sans-serif” and set it to bold.
  4. Select the text and stretch out the letter spacing a little:

  5. With the text object selected, Path > Object to Path. This will turn the text object into a group of paths, one for each letter in your text.

  6. With the group selected, Object > Ungroup, to break the group into paths.
  7. You now have a bunch of individual paths. Make sure they are all selected, and select the Tweak tool:

  8. In the toolbar, select the following settings:


    Width sets the size of the circle within which the tool will act. Force sets how much of an effect it has – we set it low because we want a subtle effect. The Mode setting allows us to choose what kind of effect we want – we want random movement.

  9. Click and drag the tool over your selected objects. You will see the letters move a little. Keep “painting” over the objects with multiple strokes until you are “happy”.

  10. For extra fuzzy-photostat-ness, use the Filters > Morphology > Cross-smooth filter with these or similar settings:

  11. Then stick it on an old paper textured background (there are lots of tutorials for that out there), and save it as a JPG, with a high compression setting to get that “bad scan” look:

  12. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? !

Top Trump Horror Cards – Update And Concession

Back in August 2017, I started to try and find the original images used by the artist or artists who created the Top Trump Horror Cards as “inspiration”. I asked people on Twitter about it, and got a few good tips. The results can be seen here.

Included in the tips people sent was a link to the excellent blog Hypnogoria, where I found that someone else had the same idea as me, and made a much better job of it, in their series Tomb of the Trumps. I hereby tip my hat, congratulate, and concede to Mr Jim Moon of Darlington!

Let’s compare notes. Jim got the Man-Eating Plant and The Ghoul. He also spotted that The Freak was a combination of The Reptile (which I spotted) and a magazine cover with Christopher Lee for the hands. These artists are sneaky!

I like to think the still I chose of Christopher Lee as Dracula is closer than the one Jim found, and the still of Lon Chaney Jr from ‘London After Midnight’ is also closer. We have to find our victories where we can! I’m also glad he couldn’t find a match for The Risen Dead. I wish someone could though…

I must congratulate Jim on spotting that Maggot was a still from 60’s show ‘Lost In Space’. How could I have missed Jonathan Harris’s terrified eyes?

Actually, calling Hypnogoria a “blog” is understating things. More accurate would be MEDIA EMPIRE, with podcasts, books, and spoken-word collections. Support the creator, Jim Moon, on Patreon!

Closure!