design begins

To start out the main design portion of On the Verge, I put together the masthead (I’ve also put it in the header of the blog here and I’ll definitely be adding to the header once I get further along with some artwork). Anyway, the masthead is a custom lettering job that I’m pretty happy with so far. That’s not to say that I won’t make edits to it as I progress, but for now, it’s what I was going for.

Basically I sat down at the computer and took a couple of my rough doodles of what I thought I wanted and started to piece them together with actual type. Once I was happy with what I had, I ran them by a couple of the designers I work with and narrowed it down to three different designs. I picked one and began to edit the digital type to get some custom letterforms. To take it a step further, I took the digital file and recreated it by hand, scanned it in and then made that into vector art* which is something that I hadn’t done in a while, but have used before. From here, I tweaked the artwork and eliminated any extra points to simplify the file… and here the finished piece:

*Here’s a cool Photoshop to Illustrator technique if you want to create some custom vector art.
1. Scan in your line drawing. Pencil can work, but I find ink is best.
2. Clean up the line work in Photoshop as best you can.
3. Select the line work by using Colour Range in Select at the top.
4. Make the selection a work path in your Paths palette.
5. Export the paths to Illustrator (File > Export > Export Paths to Illustrator)
6. Open the new file in Illustrator and select all.
7. Set the colour to black so that you can see your drawing. You now have a vector art file of your drawing.
8. Proceed to clean up the file and edit the points.
There is usually a bit of a mess of points based on how well you clean up your file. I find that I’ve actually gotten much quicker at editing during this stage since I learned that I wanted to eliminate as many as possible and still keep the basic drawing intact. For something like the custom letterforms that I created, this was fairly easy. Drawings of people, objects, etc. are much more work.

About jason

Illustrator and graphic designer. When not working full time as a Senior Graphic Designer, I am usually working on the graphic novel On the Verge: the Arrow of Time. Artist on Andrew Jackson in Space and The Sisters.

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