Illustrative lettering is a field that I have always wanted to explore. It can be incredibly beautiful, and challenges a totally different part of my creative brain. As my dream is to work within the children’s publishing world, I feel like I need to have an at least passing grasp on adding text into my illustrations. (See: book covers)
However, I didn’t know where to even begin in learning about it. I would go to Pinterest and scroll down hundreds of images under the tag “lettering” or “typography” and I would feel just as lost as I did 30 minutes before. So I decided to try checking out Skillshare and see what type of content they may have on this topic. I first started out with a video series by the incredible letterer Mary Kate McDevitt, an absolute legend in the field. Her classes were very helpful, and walked me through the basics of lettering, and how she goes about sketching, researching, inking, and digitizing her work.
She recommended trying out a smaller phrase, something that wouldn’t be too complicated to illustrate on your first try. I decided upon the phrase “Being happy is productive”, as it is something I am trying to keep in mind throughout 2019. (Self care is important!)
I began my piece with one of her suggestions: take your phrase and write a long list of words you associate with it. My list was as follows:
Phrase: Being Happy is Productive
the sun (noun)
Her second instruction was to go through the list and find the words you wanted to zoom in on and possibly use in your design. I chose:
Once I had my words down, I used the vibe they created and started sketching out lettering style options. Of course, any initial sketch would not be complete without some super fun and incredibly embarrassing spelling errors. Hooray for dyslexia! I promise I know how to spell happiness.
Using these styles I started sketching out small thumbnail sketches to see what type of composition I would like to use. I find the more I sketch, the more ideas pop up, and my work is much more interesting in the end.
These thumbnails helped me narrow down that I liked this design the best. I sketched it out, inked it, and then uploaded this image to procreate.
This was the first digital piece I have really ever made! I am a traditional artist, so I am very excited to branch out a little bit more into the digital space.
If you have a phrase I should try to design, or any classes or books I should check out, let me know! I’m excited to keep experimenting.