Cutting knife practice drills/exercises?

I teach a packaging class as part of a college graphic design program and I’ve noticed my students’ prototyping skills have been on the decline. This is possibly due to less practice in previous classes, which I have no control over.

I need to make them practice it and I don’t think live demonstrations alone will be sufficient. So I’ve been wondering about specific exercises and I found this sheet online which offers a good start.

My cutting knife skills are decent, but oldschoolers who learned with rubylith definitely have the upper hand!

Were there cutting knife exercises back in the day (or now) that were commonly used and gave good results?


Going to date myself here a bit…..

In college, we had to create mechanicals by hand… yeah… rubyliths/amberliths, press on type, overlays, etc. You are right that doing this went a long way to creating the “craftsman” type of skills with an X-acto.

I don’t know how practical it is now days. If the students have the tools – rubber cement, knives, tweezers, spray on glue, layout bond, acetate, etc. Then perhaps merely doing a manual production board every now and then would help. It certainly assists a great deal in fostering the knowledge of how cameras see things and how production actually works.

You could set some restrictions, such as:

  • No computer use
  • Provide printouts of type for them to use. You set up a headline and a paragraph or two of type and just provide a plain white sheet with type on it that they must use and position on the mechanical.
  • Set a minimum color use – mechanical must show 3 color project (forces overlays and ruby/amberliths).

Again, no clue if all the tools necessary for this are even part of schools any more.

I like the idea of knife exercises, but I think in conjunction with proper cutting there needs to be a factor of cutting for purpose. Merely cutting a straight line is easy, or gets easy quickly.

I would perhaps entertain something along the lines of..

  • A printed sheet of jigsaw puzzle pieces in disarray. The student would need to cut the pieces out, then glue them together to form an image. The better the cuts, the better the image ends up being. Doesn’t need to be a complex puzzle by any means, or have a whole lot of pieces. I’d strangle an instructor that gave me a 1000 piece jigsaw to cut out and then assemble :).

  • A printed sheet of newspaper want ads. Students need to cut the ads and form a 4 or 6 column page with a vertical rule between the columns (drawing rules is also directly related to cutting since it’s kind of the same hand-eye skill set). Supply type in 2 or 3 different column widths of ads so they again, have to kind of piece together things.

Source : Link , Question Author : curious , Answer Author : Scott

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