I’ve been working on a commission for a good friend recently which has been lots of fun as it’s been an opportunity to work on my brush lettering for clients rather than just for fun or using my own ideas. This is a process that crosses both analog creating and digital (which is not my forte) so I thought I’d give you an idea of how I go from idea to finished product.
The first thing I do is practise the letters and words I’m going to be drawing. I find some letters more difficult than others, especially “S” and “d” and I also like to try different styles.
I like to use the Kuretake Zig BrusH20 for brush lettering. This yellow one is the detailer brush. The watercolours are a cheap set I bought in the States by Artists Loft. It’s about $5 and is good to travel with or take on a drawing/painting trip because they’re super light and it doesn’t matter if they get bashed up a bit. I paint in black because that’s easiest to trace in Adobe Illustrator.
Once I’ve got the words right I scan them into Adobe Illustrator at the highest resolution I can and use the Image Trace function to, well, trace them. There is a great tutorial here that explains the process and the easiest way to do it. I often have to use the Pen Tool to adjust some of the errors that come form the Image Trace process and fiddle around to smooth out lines and delete anchors that are not needed. This is the most boring and laborious part for me as I’m not a fan of digital stuff really.
I then have to take each word that I’ve refined and line them up on the appropriate page size. That sounds pretty easy but I’m still getting the hang of Adobe programs so it was definitely worth mentioning that I need to line everything up so it looks right on the page.
Luckily when that’s done it’s pretty straightforward as long as no changes need to be made.
It’s important to make the black as black as possible so adjust your letters in Illustrator and turn your printer settings up to high quality to get the best print. To foil onto this it MUST be printed using a laser printer, it doesn’t work on inkjet. The foil sticks to the carbon and that’s why it needs to be as black as possible.
Next all there is to do is apply the foil to the print. I use a fancy laminator which is basically a normal office laminator but it has different heat settings. You place the print in a carrier sheet (which is like a laminating pouch that doesn’t stick together) cut the foil to size, place on top and run it through the laminator.
And there you have it! One quote hand lettered and foiled to create a unique and original art print.
I’m hoping to do more like this in the future so if you’re interested pop me an email or comment below!
Last week’s post was about how I was missing in action. Well it wasn’t just me, my ability to create products seemed to be missing in action for a long time as well. My day job as a lecturer can be very full on, mentally more than physically I should add! So I often come home, eat tea, watch something on the TV and fall asleep on the sofa, with no time or energy to come up with new ideas or new products.
Luckily, because I was practising my brush lettering a lot I did actually have some ideas that I could make into products ahead of our craft market on 26th June. I was anxious that I hadn’t made anything new for ages and customers would be bored of me having the same old things for sale.
When I looked in the files of lettering that I had scanned into my computer I had a few pieces that I could get copied onto cards. It’s not a fancy process at all. I have a little stash of textile foil which you heat transfer onto a screen printable glue. Well this foil also sticks to the toner from photocopiers or printers if you heat it onto it! So I toddled off to Staples and got three new phrases printed onto cards, foiled them when I got home and here are the results…
What do you think? Should I do more like this?
Buy them on my Etsy page
I’m trying to follow my own advice at the moment because I am definitely going through a stage of not being able to create. At least to the extent of not finding the creative flow very natural at the minute. I find it really difficult because it’s not that I don’t want to create, I’m desperate to use my free time to be creative but when I get down to it I just can’t seem to put pen to paper. This makes me feel really quite rubbish.
So I am taking my own advice and just trying to do something, anything, to see what happens. Putting brush to paper, practising brush lettering, going through old sketchbooks and playing with different materials. The results are below….. Do they remind you of anything? That might help me develop them further!
Playing around with some watercolours and colour palettes.
I picked up a couple of postcards of slices of Quartz crystal under the microscope when I went to the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge a few months ago.
I just started copying the shapes to create a random pattern. I rather liked it too!
I printed out a bunch of images from the net of different crystal slices under the microscope.
They look like really random shapes that you could just draw but copying form something that actually exists always seems to work far better than trying to make it up yourself. That just never looks right.
I tried messing around with the Heidi Swapp Minc Toner Pen (it’s been discontinued now which I wonder is because they are bringing out an improved version as I really don’t rate this one). If you photocopy an image you can then adhere foil to it using a laminator. I have the Heidi Swapp Minc which has different heat settings. I use textile foil which I use for foiling onto fabric with a textile glue but you can buy foil specially to use with the Minc.
This was created with the toner pen too but as block shapes instead of outlines like before. I do like the effect so I hope they do bring out a better version of the Heidi Swapp Minc Toner Pen.
I’ve been messing around with all these ideas and in the grand scheme of things that is just the process you have to go through before you hit on something that works. I think maybe I’m being too hard on myself.
Let me know what you think of my experiments in the comments below, I appreciate your input.