Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Practice Session

I had some free time this evening for a little bit of practice with a Condor nib.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Cover Lettering for Thornbrook Park


Thornbrook Park is book cover project earlier this year which involved a lot of quick preliminary studies. Three  different versions were required for presentation. The sketch examples are at beginning, middle and end of the sketch process. I recall about fifty preliminary studies  before getting the final roughs scanned to use as Illustrator templates. Even though the sketches are rather crude all the info needed to begin vector drawing is in place. If I ever have the opportunity I'd love to teach this quick sketch technique. Basically starting with scribbles and developing the marks into a readable visual.




While drawing the vector letters adjustments were made for placement with the background illustrations. Eventually one of the vector lettering designs went to final print production  with minor modifications.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Art of Concept Sketching

I occasionally get to work on lettering for book and magazine covers. I enjoy this as I get to create elegant letterforms and they all start with very rough quick sketches. It has taken a lifetime to learn how to sketch in the practical manner of jotting down ideas. Everything gets refined in vector format and there is no need to spend hours on a sketch to  exchange ideas with a client. This is one of the best forms of direct client communication in the daily business of lettering.

I'd love to teach people how to sketch if the opportunity ever happens. Wish had known 30 years ago what I know now about concept sketching.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

TYPISM Books Are Now Available.

The TYPISM books are now available for order.



One of my lettering compositions was entered in the TYPISM show earlier this year. Having a digital lettering composition accepted in TYPISM  international lettering exhibit and conference restored my confidence in digital lettering as a legitimate art form. 

The TYPISM book is now available for purchase. The preliminary image on the website offers a view of beautiful lettering included in this years edition. Definitely worth ordering and adding to any collection of lettering books.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hand Lettered for Organic Valley

Earlier this year I created some beautiful lettering for Organic Valley. Unlike vector art from the start with every line and curve drawn to perfection the request for this project was to develop lettering with a hand drawn appearance. To accomplish the task I drew the lettering with a mechanical pencil on layout paper and many overlays. Just like the pre Mac days with french curves and ellipse templates in the drawing process. When the composition was finessed with a ball point pen to darken the pencil lines. The sketch was scanned, posterized and streamlined to vector paths for final print production.




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Koi Survived



My koi had a rough go of it this year. They became ill from a parasite infection combined with early season cold damp weather. With the help of a biologist, a koi health expert, a veterinarian and someone very knowledgeable about water quality  I brought them back from near death. They are now in the pond  after being quarantined in a makeshift fish hospital on deck for the past couple months. A lot of plants did not survived the salt treatments in the pond.

What a season it has been. Everything finally is getting back to normal in the garden.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Concept Sketching 101


Concept sketching is where it all begins with a lettering treatment. There is no magic computer button to press that automatically generates concept sketches. Clients want to see ideas and quick little rough sketches I refer to as "quickies" are the first step. After client review a direction for final art will be chosen or more quickies will be requested. Eventually vector art will be produced for final.

No matter how long digital tools have been available there will always be individuals who believe if  lettering is produced with digital methods the lettering will be total crap with no human input. Little do they realize the computer is not creating the lettering. It all starts with marks placed on a sheet of paper. There are no shortcuts in the process and no magical lettering software program exists. A pen and sheet of paper are the most valuable tools of the trade. Impossible to letter without them.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bits & Pieces


A quick lettering study I started a while back. Perhaps 6 months ago. Had to stop back then as I hit a dead end with Pieces make Sense. I had lost the letterform flow by thinking too much about the shapes. When I looked at the file earlier this evening it was no problem to finish drawing live while looking at the underlay image.

The more I letter  natural to my handwriting and personality the less I want to think about it. Just let it happen.


The letterform shapes change as the piece progresses. However the basic information I need is all there. It will be impossible to letter quickly in vector format if the underlay template did not exist. I am basically refining what I see no different than if I was inking on illustration board. For this particular lettering piece both the underlay and refined vector shapes belong together.

Digital ain't legit


A few years ago I encountered a situation in which digital lettering was not allowed to be shown in an international lettering exhibit. This lettering piece is my thought about that particular point in time. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Lettering Entry for the TYPISM Book


This is my lettering entry for the 2013 TYPISM book. 

I prefer to letter this style when I am not creating art for commercial projects. All the contract lettering I have done throughout my professional career has been tightly structured with restrictions and legibility as a priority.  I  cannot follow the same agenda in personal work. 

For whatever reason, I write words with mix of upper and lowercase. I find beauty in lettering with the imperfect human factor. It has taken nearly a lifetime to just go with the flow of it all. I basically use vector lines to draw what I see in the preliminary rough and remain true to the sketch.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Impossible To Be Inside

Everytime I visit my garden I find it almost impossible spend time in my office. Had to put that thought into a quick lettering piece for today.



Monday, May 13, 2013

The Tattoo Logo




Some logo projects require a lot of sketching. With commercial lettering, a concept no matter how beautiful may not be what the client has in mind.  With this project the first series of development sketches I sent got canned with the client requesting a logo be developed with 3D appearance based on his sketch. That logo did not fly either as the client changed direction. However the importance of a connecting ligature  with the cap and the double lowercase case t was emphasized.

More sketches were developed based on another client sketch. Eventually one was selected to pursue for final art which turned out to be quite a beautiful logo design. There is always more to the process than just drawing or creating vector lettering as the goal is to deliver a visual solution that fulfills a clients needs. That is life in the commercial lettering world.







This version was developed with the clients request to create a logo similar to his sketch with a 3D effect. After review it was canned with a request for further development with a connecting ligature.







At this stage of the project another client sketch was sent for input to further development. The final series of sketches were drawn, sent for review with the 2nd from top selected as the version to produce for final art.








Sunday, May 12, 2013

Life Outside of Lettering

There is more to life than creating letters and dealing with deadlines. Whenever I have free time available I am outside in the garden. The season is just now beginning and the colors of the garden will continue to multiply with warmer weather and longer days.






Saturday, April 13, 2013

Organic Valley Lettering





I often refer to the grocery store as the  Lettering Art Gallery of Print Reproduction. A morning visit lead to a wonderful find in the dairy section. My lettering for Organic Valley is now in print on the milk packaging. In addition to this back panel lettering I also created the current Organic Valley lettering for the logo. This was 3 month project in the last quarter of 2012.

With this project I was sent a rough typeset file from the creative director with notes suggesting style reference.  I drew some quick studies with a ballpoint pen, scanned the sketches, posterized the images and exported to Illustrator for use as template layers. This is a excellent example to show what a lot of commercial lettering involves.

I prefer to not use type fonts when creating custom lettering but I had to follow the creative directors request for 9 words set in Tisa Pro. All the rest is hand lettered from scratch based on  the rough sketches. The word Delicious involved a bit of time to figure out an appropriate script style to fit in with serif letters of the overall design.