Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wordy Wednesday - My Typographic Trials

Hi! Before you do anything else:

Now you may read at your leisure.

So, this past month of so I've taken more of an interest in experimenting with some illustrating text, hand-drawn typography, popular sayings and so forth.

Once I've worked digitally, using existing fonts and my textures to make a fun, quirky poster: "Keep Calm and Pattern On".

Another time, I enjoyed working mostly traditional - like when I entered's calligraphy competition with my "Stop and Smell the Roses" piece.

Afterwards I decided to digitize it by cleaning up the scan in Photoshop and working with the Live Trace and Smooth tools in Illustrator:

black + white + red version

black + white + pink version

That's usually my preferred way of digitizing my letter line-work. If I neatly ink my letters the process of smoothing out any jaggedness from the live trace goes pretty fast. That's also how I completed my "Merci" piece:

Simpler version
At first I just concentrated on getting the letters into the shapes that I liked. Once I was happy with the letters, I scanned the image in, and printed it out. I then sketched over that in pencil the floral details. Then with the help of my light table (Also known as my window...I don't actually own a light table) I traced the sketched over image on to my good piece of paper. I did this extra step because I wanted a pretty original to keep. So...then I scanned that back into my computer and vectorized it.

I was quite happy with this "Merci" piece. I was going for an Art Nouveau feel and I think it came out to be a nice nod to that.

Looking back at "Stop and Smell the Roses" I thought it would be nice to turn that into a little series that would encourage me to work on my typography more, and so I went ahead and began to work on "Stop & Smell the Coffee". This piece didn't go as smoothly as the other one at all.

For some reason I thought I could wing it without doing any compositional sketches and instead just sketching it out a few times on to my good piece of paper...yeah, not the best plan. I ended up with this:
It had some good ideas, but the layout turned out to be awkward. At first I thought I could just fix the layout issue digitally by just nudging things around, but it wasn't as simple as that.
attempt #1

Then I thought I'd just move the top part down. A bit better, but definitely didn't feel right.
attempt #2
In turn, I decided to go back to the drawing board. I liked the "coffee" lettering so decided to draw the other letters with those kind of proportions. And then, after a whole bunch of fiddling I felt better. I was more calculated and methodical with this piece - vectorizing the letters using the precision producing Pen tool, as well as aligning and proportioning things in Illustrator. Finally, I also made some coffee stain textures (which I'll be sharing this Friday) and finished the piece off.

Currently I'm enjoying focusing on the lettering and adding a more illustrative touches, like a simple roses and coffee beans here and there. I'll save my detail-crazy tendencies for other things =)

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