I finished inking this five page story that I penciled during a road trip last year. There is a lot that I would fix in order to make some of the panels more clear but for now I’ll call it done.
It was fun to plot out the story page by page, panel by panel. I liked starting with characters not central to the story. It gave a grounding in human relationship that helped anchor the events of the rest of the story.
In taking on this book cover project, I began by sketching a bunch of thumbnails. I was familiar with the contents of the book and when I had the opportunity I took a look through the contents. Usually, this read-through would probably be the first step.
After discussing the thumbnails with the author, we decided to go with the text of the title and subtitle along with graphic line drawings of various objects.
With a quick stop at the internet I procured examples of the objects I wanted to draw and headed off to Adobe Illustrator. After I drew the objects, I resized them so that they were the correct proportions relative to the other objects.
Next I scoured through my typeface collection and found two that had a hand-drawn, indie feel. Wanting the illustration lines to resemble the type lines, I created a custom brush and applied it to the objects using the Appearances palette.
I also knew that I wanted to have the colors of the objects offset so I drew rough approximations of the object contours shapes on a different layer using the pencil tool.
I imported the line work, text and color contours into Photoshop and began the layout, coloring and texturing process. More internet research let me see color options as well as locating paper and watercolored textures. I’ve always liked the combination of tight line work with loose watercolors and thought that aesthetic would work well for this project.
Initially, the orange concept got the most positive feedback in my focus group, but the author thought the calmer blue color scheme communicated the intent of the book. I added in additional texture elements and a light frame to add a bit more energy and to focus the viewer’s eye by connecting the various elements.
Typically, I create a new composited Photoshop file that has all of its layers cleaned up. In this case I extended the canvas on the new file to accommodate the single font/spine/back file required by the publisher.
I thought this would be a fun band name or kids illustrated book so I created a little hand drawn/digitally enhanced logotype. I had been looking at the fun, loose vector art of J. Otto Seibold and was enjoying his hand lettering style. After looking the letter forms over and doing a quick analysis, I jumped into sketching, followed by rounds of scanning and redrawing (both digitally in Photoshop and by hand) before vectorizing, doing some (slight) cleanup, and adding vector flourishes in Illustrator.
This is a lyric from a song called “Southpaw”. The song lends itself to an Art Deco feel and some Russian Constructivist design elements and colors.
In working through this piece I designed an ampersand symbol and cleaned up the “R” as well. Some of the letterforms reveal their weaknesses (the Ss look heavy and the various weights on the “Ws” are problematic. C’est la vie.
One of the things I enjoy most about designing is the ability to create something out of nothing by first creating or assembling the component parts and arranging them in a visually interesting way.
Recently I’ve been hand-drawing typefaces and I thought it would be fun to create a font and use it as the base for creating posters from phrases, song lyrics and story titles. The key concept is to utilize or modify a single, self-created typeface to create a wide range of stylistic applications.
From an initial idea I created the letterforms below. Conscious of the fact that there are many flaws (especially in the odd stroke weights in several of the letters), I nevertheless decided to push ahead, modifying and improving the letterforms as I went. The 3 designs that I’ve finished so far were a lot of fun to work on and help me “learn” the strengths and weaknesses of the letter forms and relationships.
Thanks to this video tutorial from CG Cookie Concept on YouTube I thought it would be helpful to recreate the braid design as a repeating PATTERN BRUSH in Illustrator CS4. Once created, the basic design can be modified and applied to individual strokes via the APPEARANCES PALETTE.
- To make the basic shape draw and clone a square. Draw a circle 4times the size of the squares. Align the circle so that one quarter segment passes through two opposing corners of the square. Select the circle and square and use the INTERSECT TOOL in the PATHFINDER PALETTE.
- Align the remaining square and quarter segment. I usually do this in OUTLINE VIEW (command/control + Y) so I am sure they are perfectly aligned.
- Join the two shapes using the UNITE TOOL in the PATHFINDER PALETTE.
- Rotate the basic shape 45º clockwise. Make a duplicate and use the REFLECT TOOL (O) to flip and rotate the duplicate 45º in the opposite direction, aligning the two as in the example.
- Duplicate the two shapes and align them exactly next to the original two shapes. The light blue rectangle indicates the position of the rectangle mask necessary for creating a seamless repeating pattern. The actual rectangle mask should have no fill and no stroke and be positioned behind the four shapes.
- Select and drag the four objects and rectangle mask into the BRUSH PALETTE (or with them selected, click the “New Brush” icon at the bottom of the palette. Chose the “Pattern Brush” option from the initial dialogue box. In the PATTERN BRUSH OPTIONS dialogue box, give the brush a name and enter “70%” in the Scale field, “0% ” in the Spacing field. Check the “Approximate path” radio button and “Tints and Shades” in the COLORIZATION dropdown menu. These options can be changed once the brush is made by double clicking on the brush thumbnail.
- Duplicate and alter the original shapes and tweak the colors, strokes, and shapes to create a variety of brushes and repeat step #6 for each one.
- Test the brushes by applying them to straight/curved lines. If your brushes look odd, it’s probably because the rectangle mask in step #3 is not aligned properly or the shapes themselves are misaligned.
- Using the APPEARANCES PALETTE, a variety of brushes have been applied to a single circle path. The various diameters are achieved by selecting individual instances of the Stroke, applying a different brush to each Stroke instance and playing with the “Path–>Offset Path” option in the EFFECTS MENU at the top of the screen.