Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

My New Year greeting to everyone.

Holiday Wine Lables

Toast the Holidays is wine label lettering created for a client I have worked with for many years. This was a rather challenging project due to a rush deadline with very complex lettering.

I drew the rough sketch on the left within a few minutes. No details, just a basic concept to show my client what was possible. After showing the rough concept I was asked to provide to provide a tighter sketch the following afternoon. I spent the next morning creating refined drawing and got the approval to proceed.

All the lettering was hand drawn from scratch and at times I had to change areas of the design on the fly due to contrast and legibility issues. What might look great in a sketch may not work when reduced as clean vector letter forms. One of the problems I ran into was the script for UP. What I originally sketched for UP was off balance with the overall design and did not tie in with the embellishments throughout the wine glass. I spent many hours redrawing thos two script letters till I had a visual solution.

The final labels were printed in two different color schemes for both red and white wine bottles. This was some of the most beautiful lettering I had created in 2011 and a nice project to end the year with.

Monday, December 19, 2011

AKL Final Logo

I had some more free time to continue working on the AKL logos. My 3rd logo attempt was OK but I wanted something more complex. I did some additional sketching and picked a few roughs to refine. However, none of the roughs held my interest until I began playing with a spencerian style. I did approximately 50 quick spencerian sketches and ended up with only one decent version to import as an Illustrator template. While drawing in Illustrator and zooming out to view the lettering at small scale the overall contrast was not the best so I reworked the composition over and over until I had something that held up visually.

The 3rd logo in the project.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The AKL Logo

AKL is a logo I created for Arno Karthollnig Lettering. Basically a fun little lettering project to do while enjoying a break from recent commercial deadlines.

My first logo attempt turned out OK but I had some reservations about the legibility with a close lockup of all 3 letters.

The initial sketches were studies of 3 combined letterforms A, K & L. I used a PITT brush maker and knocked out a bunch of roughs. I taped them to my office wall for review and selected several to scan and import for use as a drawing template. My intention was not to duplicate the rough letter shapes in Illustrator. The template was nothjing more than a visual reference starting point.

I posted the logo on Dribble and a fellow lettering artist commented the logo read as "AIR". At that point I thought it best to separate the K & L and redesign the piece with perhaps more elegance. I drew another rough and and started over in Illustrator. The second logo attempt turned out rather nice compared to my first effort.

Ink Butter Logo Design

Last March I was contacted by Ink Butter to develop a logo for a skin care product they planned to launch this year.
The original logo concept Ink Butter sent to me was a good starting point but rather difficult to read. As modified set
type it had no unique identity.

Knowing the logo was to be printed on a small 2 oz. bottle I began sketching concepts with minimal flourishes and a lockup of the cap I & B. The sketches were produced with pencil and Pitt marker brush. As with most lettering projects all the concept sketching is a trial and error process best defined as making many visual mistakes to find answers and solutions.

After the first series of sketches I had to concentrate on letter specific flourishes and additional development of cap IB lockup.

A series of 5 concept sketches were selected for presentation. The 2 versions on the right of this image were selected and elements of each were combined to create the drawing template for Illustrator.

The Ink Butter logo is currently in use on both the product bottle and website. It looks beautiful and is one of my all time lettering career favorites.

Monday, December 5, 2011

If This Be Not Calligraphic final

This is the full color version. The background was created on a gesso texture image file with multiple layers of all the preliminary sketch studies. Every pencil line I drew to create the lettering was used. The composition changed 5 times during the process of creating this piece in an attempt to make the lettering readable.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

If This Be Not Calligraphic

I created this one to work out my frustration of not being allowed to enter any of my lettering in a exhibition as digital lettering is not allowed. From my POV, it makes no difference if lettering is made with a stick, spray can, piece of chalk, brush, marker, fountain pen, crayon or a Wacom pen. It takes more than a writing instrument to make lettering as heart, soul and personality are the real ingredients.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taste of the Nation update.

I received 3 images this afternoon and I am so pleased to see my No Kid Hungry Taste of the Nation lettering in use.

I am very fortunate to work with such talented people at this time in my lettering career. The following images are courtesy of Marco Escalante, design director for Wallace Church. Marco provided me with the sketch concept for this project. It all turned out beautiful and for a great cause.

No Kid Hungry Taste of the Nation logo.

A while ago i was asked by a designer I have worked with for many years to letter a pro bono logo for a charitable cause. This was a project that I gladly accepted.

The lettering was drawn In Illustrator from the designers sketch. Quite a challenge as all the letters had to be drawn in an arced configuration. I was not able to use the envelope distort filter due to the extreme distortion of x-height and curve for every letter. A lot of trial and error in vector drawing to make the logo readable. Sometimes there are no easy vector software tricks to depend on when hand lettering a logo. It becomes a matter of drawing, more drawing and a lot more drawing to get the overall color working properly.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Typo-Graphical logo

I recently created a new logo for Typo-Graphical. An article showing the process can be viewed here. John also included a brief interview following the logo development process.

One of my favorite logo projects in a while and definitely an improvment from what John initially had oh his site. This logo will hold up aswell designed lettering for many years ahead.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beautiful Stuff

Beautiful Stuff is a lettering piece for the opening image of an upcoming article featuring my work. Lot of overlays with translucent paper to figure out the flow and compostion. Additional changes happened while lettering in Illustrator.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Just some late evening practice in the hope of getting good at writing fluent letters and words some day.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yes Sir

Yes Sir is my attempt at a formal script sample. Something a bit more commercial than a freeform gestural script.

I started with a loose pencil sketch to set up the basic vector lines. As the compostion progressed I strayed from the sktech to make all the letters readable. Eventually I toned down the flourishes and added a inline give the letters some depth. The initial vector draft was a bit too complex.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's all good!

Versy long day and my thought about it all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Passion is my script practice for today. A few quick rhythm studies and one overlay sketch for use as a template in Illustrator. Even though I start with a template everything changes as I draw in vector. Its the process of drawing live in Illustrator and going with what feels natural. Quite different than previous attempts at this style a number of years ago. All of the swash lines are naturally happening in the same manner as when I sketch with a marker on paper.

The overlay sketch used as the drawing template.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Be Lucky Today

Just something I was thinking about today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Alphabet Practice for Today

This lettering piece is my abc practice for today. Even though I started with a sketch composition everything changed as each letter was drawn. At times I turned the template layer view off and drew by intuition and flow.

The initial sketches.

The composite image created from the sketches. This was the drawing template.

This image shows the difference between finished lettering and the drawing template. The drawing template is just a starting point. It's good to let things happen along the way that are not planned.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mission Accomplished for Today

Mission Accomplished is a piece I started while on a Metra train commute last Friday. I had to take care of a chore I had put off for a while which required a trip to the city.

I was glad to have accomplished the task at hand and began sketching my thoughts on some scrap paper. The sketches evolves into exercises to learn the flow of the letters for the composition. I used one of the sketches as a drawing template and taped the others to my office wall for reference notes while lettering.