Fortune Favors the Bold – Lettering

 

As a part of a lettering class, I decided to try my hand at expressive lettering this week.

Expressive lettering tells a story the goes beyond its font.  At its root, lettering is basically the art of drawing letters…by hand.  There’s some (black) magic behind the scenes nowadays with the assistance of computers, but for the most part, hand lettering is still a practice first begun with a pencil and piece of paper.

For the purpose of the class, the first step was choosing a phrase or quote.  For the exercise, I choose, “Fortune favors the bold.

The second step was to create a word map filled with words or phrases that came up while I researched the phrase.  It’s a brainstorm, so everything is okay!

fortuneFavorsTheBold_wordMap

The next step was to gather bits of inspiration.  Everything from ancient Roman coins to cigarette pack design from Italy in the 1960s works for my overall theme.  Even if an idea is later tossed out, everything helps flush out what I’m really trying to say/accomplish even if it’s just by eliminating what I end up not liking.

ideaBoard_fortuneFavorsTheBold_smaller

The last step for the day is to do 5 style sketches of one word from my phrase.  Because “Fortune” is the most important word in the phrase (all hail Goddess Fortuna), I decide I’ll do some sketching of it.

The sketches are brief – about 10 to 15 minutes each – and are meant as a warm-up exercise to get the mind and hand working.

fortuneFavorsTheBold_exercise1

divider

Get Inspired | artwork © c.taylor | all rights reserved

Check out these great Pinterest boards: Hand Rendered Lettering, Hand Letter

What’s the diff between hand lettering and typography, anyway?  Find out: Smashing Magazine

Jessica Hische talks about lettering and typography at: Frontend 2011

 

PART 2

Before I get started creating design thumbnails, I spend a little more time playing with word styles.  It’s a fun exercise and I get some practice following curves, creating banners, and using some other tools.

 

When I start creating thumbnails, I have to resist the urge to add in too much detail.  I love everything in miniature (who doesn’t?), so the temptation to keep adding and refining is strong.  I remember that the point to the exercise is to try many different configurations and styles so I can – quickly &at a glance – decide what I like, what I don’t like, what works and what doesn’t.

Out of all of the thumbnails on this round, I really like the flared banner on thumbnail #2 and end up hating all of the laurel.  Too much!  It breaks up the design and draws attention away from the letters.  I’m also done with the style I’ve selected for the word “BOLD” and will iterate to create something new/fresh.

divider

 

 

Part 3

As I begin to work on more thumbnails, I really want to challenge my earlier ideas.  Sometimes, it’s best to throw everything away and start with something completely different.  That’s what I’ve elected to do this time around:

thumbnail_round2

I’ve thrown out the previous letter shape treatment of the world “BOLD” and have opted instead to give it height and a drop shadow.  I like it – it needs more shading, but it’s good enough for a thumbnail.

I’ve also taken the word “Fortune” into a different area, giving it a slightly monetary feel – clearly the kerning needs adjustment, and if you’re like me you’re probably sitting there staring at it with the uncanny feeling of “wrongness”!

Instead of the heaps of laurel, I’ve incorporated smaller ornamentals with a slight foliage feel to them.  Love this change and will draft another set of thumbnails with variants.

divider

divider

Quick Create – Let the Right One In

Thomas Alfredson’s LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

As we round into the third week of October, most of my work starts to focus more and more on horror films and Halloween.  The great part about it is that I love both.  The fun part?  Sharing it.

I curated a 31 film Halloween feature this year for MITNG.org.  The idea was to provide a list of films featuring horror greats to lesser known gems – reminding people of their favorites and possibly shedding some light on films readers might enjoy.  No small feat considering the saturation of such film lists on the internet around this time of year.

One of my favorite films on the list is Let the Right One In a Swedish gem based on the 2004 novel of the same name.  It’s a terrific film about love and vampires.

Thomas Alfredson’s LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

Oskar, the film’s protagonist, is a 12 year old boy who endures a litany of bullying from his classmates.  As the film opens, Oskar is fantasizing about standing up for himself.  This was the inspiration for my quick create this week.

The great thing about this moment in the film is captured by the anger in his eyes where it manifests in a kind of blankness – you can see the rage but it’s clear Oskar has no idea how to vent it.  The blade is turned upward, not down revealing how little the boy knows about defending himself.  And while the scene is very yellow, warmed through filters, I choose to go all in with reds and blues – pulling inspiration from Oskar’s rage, the central vampiric themes in the film, and blues/grays for the harsh winter against which the film is depicted.

I used a variety of texture brushes to create a sort of crinkled paper backer against which Oskar sits – an homage to the brilliant adaptation from page to screen by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

If you haven’t seen Let the Right One In I encourage you to check it out.

Story Tool – Bootstrap

sceneFire  © Studio C / ajellebeans.  All Rights Reserved.

In recent weeks, work on the UI/UX storyboarding we’re calling SCENEFIRE has taken some really cool steps.

With a shift to using Bootstrap, we start realizing the first viable version of our storyboarding tool for UI/UX designers and developers is a heck of a lot closer.

For those of you unfamiliar with the awesomeness of Bootstrap – it’s a collection of tools for creating websites and web apps that utilizes HTML and CSS.  With it, we can very quickly plug in color schemes, thumbnails/images, and various content to create a visually pleasing and fully functional site.  Depending on what templates you use, your content can be gorgeous across multiple platforms – which can help you take the stress out of designing for desktop AND mobile!

Did I mention our content will be Retina-ready?

sceneFire © Studio C / ajellebeans. All Rights Reserved.

In the example above, we show you that the three main components of the first iteration of the storyboarding tool would enable you to choose a background (or environment) for your use case, then add people and various accessories (think mobile devices, speech bubbles, text).

sceneFire © Studio C / ajellebeans. All Rights Reserved.

Once selected, an enlarged image of the selected background (or environment) is displayed with a description.  From here, there would be an option to move forward with the creation of the scene – add people, add accessories – then, viola!  You would be presented with the option to save, email, or print.

I’m excited about the progress and look forward to hearing your suggestions for what kinds of environments (office spaces, coffee shops, etc) you’d like to see.

JASON | © studio c | all rights reserved

Friday the 13th – Part 1

jason_part1_banner

I’m a huge horror fan.

I have been since the age of 6 or so when my brother and I started watching films like The Exorcist, Psycho, Hellraiser, and of course just about any slasher film we could manage to find.  It’s a curiosity thing, I think, in a lot of ways.  Especially being attracted to the slasher genre at that age.  As an adult, I still love horror, but I lean more toward the psychological and story driven plots than the gore and violence.

The argument is that, as adults, we’ve seen enough of reality, enough of what’s “really” scary – why seek it out as a source of recreation, right?  Kristen Lamb has written a great series of posts about the importance of horror and I invite you to check it out here.

For me, the horror genre – and all its many incarnations and genres – will continue to be a great source of inspiration.

Last week, I took a look at the iconic shower scene from Psycho and created a mixed media piece interpretation.

For this week’s exercise, I decided to draw upon a similar inspiration and create an illustration of Jason Vorhees – one of my favorite, nonsensical baddies – that I will flop into a background created during part 2 of the exercise.

(Click any image to enlarge)

© studio c | all rights reserved | Autumnal Night

Quick Create: Autumnal Night

© studio c | all rights reserved | Mod-Retro Thanksgiving palette

I live in a neck of the PNW that spent the last weekend being pummeled by rain, rattled by thunder, and basically tossed around in one Hell of an Autumnal storm.  As we prepared to lose power (thankfully we never did), I hunkered down with Doctor Sleep and my sketch pad.

As night fell, I found myself looking out the window more than the words and sketches on the page.  Beneath the street light just across the front yard danced the most beautiful colors – golden orange and blues – watery and fluid from the rain.  I grabbed my camera and snapped up some shots – none of them, of course, doing the colors seen by the bare eye any kind of justice.

© studio c | all rights reserved | Autumnal NightThis morning, during my “quick create” exercise, I decide to do a small piece using the colors from the palette with a theme that focuses on fluidity.  While a part of me seems to snag visually on the dark blue smudge, instead of removing or modifying it, I decide to leave it.  It reminds me of the storm, of the coming night.

What I love about this palette is the dark blue and dark purple – both very similar in value, but just different enough to be visually interesting when paired with the lighter tones.  It’s a lot of fun to mess around with and I hope you will.