Saturday, May 3, 2014

Handlettering: How We Roll

Hey, GUESS WHAT? We love hand-lettered cards here at O&C. I wish I could make these all day long (if you bought one perhaps I could ;)

Have you always wanted to try your own hand-lettering but felt intimidated by all the typography hipsters out there? This is your lucky day. With some elbow grease and a mighty eraser -- so you can allow for some helpful mistakes -- anyone with a little artistic inclination can tackle this project. (That reads like a cheesy infomercial, but I really do want you to try it!)

Paper -- nothing fancy
Good graphic pen (All Hail The Mighty Micron!)
Tracing paper
Computer with editing software (Photoshop and Illustrator are my preference)

First, you have to say something worthwhile, and remember: that's subjective. One man's "To be or not to be?" is another man's "Your farts smell real bad." Generally speaking, short & sweet phrases work best.

You know how I mentioned that eraser? Let yourself go to town sketching out your phrase. You can always erase and retrace your steps, and it's always good to make mistakes. Look for examples online, mix and match cursive and print and lowercase and capital letters, and get crazy with your squiggles and swashes. Try creating a few geometric shapes and filling them in with your letters. Go crazy.

Once you have your sketch in a good place -- that's definitely the hardest part -- you're ready to trace it! 

Slow and steady wins the race, man. Seriously, just take your time and enjoy it. Get lost in some good music and just ride. I swear I'm not high. 

If you don't have a computer and want to stop there, then by all means, FRAME THAT MASTERPIECE! 

If you'd like to take this a step further and have the equipment, toss your artwork in Photoshop to clean it up. 

Some of my letters looked better filled in, and I also straightened out some of the letters. Being OCD has its disadvantages -- I can't let that stuff go. 

I thought I'd like all the hand-drawn extras, but it turns out I liked it simple and clean. I knew I was going to scan and clean it up, so I sketched those on a whim and was able to change my mind and remove them just as easily. 

After adjusting the contrast and making all my little fixes, this bad boy was standing tall and proud:

I wanted to take it one step further and trace it in Illustrator to make it a vector graphic (so it could be scalable and I could easily play around with color options). I'm a terrible teacher, so I'm just going to direct you to my good pal The Internet for Illustrator tutorials. You can find some astoundingly helpful videos.

After you're done with this step, you can play with color to your heart's content. This a super addictive step. I could play with colors for HOURS. 

You finally get to see your sketch become finalized, which is pretty neat. 

Life is fun, you guys. Let me know if you have ANY questions if you're attempting one of these yourselves. Like I said, I'm not the greatest teacher, but I'll sure as hell try. Happy lettering! Party on.