My name is Erik Weems and I have been working in the graphic arts since 1980. My first 'professional' job was a summer intern position working for a defense contractor in the Washington DC area. Since then I have worked for many newspapers, commercial printers, and agencies. Since 2001 I have worked exclusively freelance, with clients in seven states including Washington DC.
Rubylith, loading the waxer, stench of Bestine, rubber mats to protect the art tables, and bloody cuts from mishandling an xacto knife. Chem coating plates for the flash burner, shooting negs, clonking the stat camera while it exposed in order to get a little bit of blur to take out a moire.
My first compugraphic typesetter had NO MONITOR SCREEN and whatever you typed (which was done completely blind, although you could stare at your hands while plunking the keys) was what you got after removing the paper tape and processing it. Typos were fixed with an xacto knife.
Cleaning Staedtler and Koh-i-noor tech pens, drawing endless straight lines for overhead projector charts, and digging through french curve rulers to get a radial beveled corner on a frame, all done with the tech pens and a shaky hand. Smeared ink, scraped away with an xacto knife. Mountains of sticky liner tape.
Everyone wore suits except the art department. The guys (called "strippers") who cut up the masks for burning negs wore long white lab jackets and took what they did very, very seriously. You had to have real problem-solving skills to make four-color separations manually.
In 1987 got a Macintosh SE and a copy of Adobe Illustrator 1.1 and it seemed like a staff of twenty had been stuffed into Apple's plastic box.
More efficient and much more capable now, but of course I miss the old ways.
Erik Weems Graphic Design and Web Sites