Friday, February 18, 2011

This One Is A Keeper

At this point in time I continue to practice gestural writing skills. When I have free time from commercial project this is what I focus on. For every 20 sheets of paper I practice with I get maybe 1 or 2 lettering compositions worth refining. This lettering example is one of them.

I wrote "This one is a keeper" a number of times trying to develop a good flow of letters. I scanned the inked lettering for template use and started with single lines which turned into outlines.

The shape and placement of the thicks and thins changed constantly while drawing in Illustrator. The final is quite different than the initial inked lettering. I just let the letterform shapes happen along the way in a natural manner.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Practice With A Condor Nib

I continue to practice my gestural lettering skills every day. I've got such a long way to go with this style. In the past several weeks I have tried a variety of nibs with very limited success. With a Speedball C4 nib I feel as if I am carving into stone and scratching the paper surface. I have better luck with Brause nibs as no surface scratches occur. Within the next week I plan to try some Tachikawa C and Mitchell Roundhand Square nibs.

At present the only nib that glides on the paper surface when I letter is a Condor fountain pen. I recently asked Richard Binder to make a custom nib for me that produces finer thicks and thins than a standard Condor. It works great! I hope that after a number of CCC calligraphy workshops I will have better success with dip pens and nibs. My goal is to float every pen over the paper surface like a Condor nib.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lettering For The Hundreds

This morning I had to pleasure to see lettering I created in 2010 embroidered on apparel at The Hundreds online shop.

This was a really cool project to work on with the opportunity to draw a lot of concepts in addition to creating finished production lettering. A very good example to show what is involved when developing custom lettering from scratch.

Of all the concepts submitted a few of them were selected for final art.

The End Result

Ever since the workshop with Yves I have been thinking a lot abut what he told me as we discussed digital lettering. "The end result is what matters not so much the process".

As a result of that experience I decided to post some detailed screenshot images of the process I use to create a lettering piece. This one being a gestural script.

First I start with a pencil. I actually wrote the words a dozen times and used the best composition as an underlay.

I placed the sketch under a sheet of semi transparent layout paper and lettered the words with a extra fine Condor fountain pen. This became my rough lettering reference which was scanned and used as an Illustrator template. In order to create vector lettering I have to look at inked letters to understand the thicks and thins of the script.

When I start in Illustrator I fist create single line paths to follow the shapes of the letters in my layout. I then create outlines of the paths and begin to reposition and refine the lines. I must mention that things change along the way as I shape the letters based on contrast and flow of the forms. The final lettering is never exactly the same as the pencil or inked letter reference.

With vector lines and bezier curves I can fine tune details as the lettering in my Illustrator file is rather large at about 60 inches wide. I can zoom in and refine curves with precision and zoom out to see how changes effect the overall composition.

This is just one way of creating lettering and there are many other methods available. As time progresses want to increase my skill with traditional writing tools and pens in combination with digital format.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Gestrual Sample

I have not posted any new lettering in a while as I have been practicing my gestural writing. I was fortunate to take Yves Leterme workshop a couple weeks ago. I was in awe of the beautiful lettering Yves has produced throughout his career. In addition, I got to watch a group of amazing CCC calligraphers produce a lot of amazing stuff with a variety of writing instruments. So much talent to experience for 4 days.

After the workshop I have been paying more attention the shapes of the letters I write instead of placing random strokes on paper. This sample was produced with a Hiro nib and oblique holder. Prior to the workshop I never had any success with a dip pen. This is the first step in a long way to go.