I am always jumping at opportunities to expand my skill-set through weekend workshops and online classes. Melbourne is bursting at the seams with creative events to excite and inspire. In the online realm, I’m a huge fan of Skillshare!
One of my favourite letterers, Martina Flor, recently joined as a teacher, and I was one of the first to take her class ‘The Golden Secrets Of Hand-lettering’. I thought I would share the Postcard I designed as the class project below, with a bit of a ‘behind the scenes glimpse’ into my process.
Without further adieu…
‘Lemon Tree’ – A Typographic Postcard.
The words ‘Lemon Tree’ stem from an old song by Peter Paul & May, which my mother used to sing to me as a child. It’s a kooky little song, comparing love to a lemon tree. I live in an old Italian neighbourhood in Melbourne, Australia, where the streets are lined with lemon trees and the song is always on my mind, so I’ve adopted the words for this project.
I wanted to use a cursive-style in combination with a more structured serif to achieve a vintage postcard, or recipe card, sort of feel. I was inspired by old recipe books, back in the days when family recipes were treasured secrets. I wanted to make the script quite curly to reference the arc of a lemon leaf. Here are some of the images I was inspired by…
I am guilty of spending too much time on initial sketches so while following this course I tried to keep my sketches super quick. I started with a super-simple pencil line sketch, and translated it to a larger scale still in quite a simple form. Next, I positioned tracing paper over the sketch and began to get clarity on the letter shapes. Before defining too much detail, I quickly drew the words with an expansion tool (brush tip pen) to check on the natural corner angles of the letters. Finally, I experimented with the finer detailing, flipping angles on the curls (at the end-points of the letters) to see how that might look. Oh, and I did a quick sketch of a lemon which I wanted to use as an illustrative element in the design, to fill a letter gap after the L.
While tracing the hand-drawn sketches in Adobe Illustrator, I limited myself to horizontal & vertical Bezier Handles. The most challenging part of this process was the top of the word ‘tree’. I had chosen a bifurcated lettering style which was a real challenge to execute in a smooth and symmetrical fashion with the curved top-line of the word.
DETAILING & ADJUSTMENTS
Once I had digitally converted the type, I felt the word ‘tree’ was given too much limelight, so I reduced the scale quite drastically. I enjoyed playing around with the detailing, and think the finer details edge the design closer to the vintage realm. I experimented with various texturing and shadowing etc, but in the end kept it quite simple with clear-cut edges. To give it that real hand-crafted feel, I finished off the project by whipping out my watercolours and painting a lemon branch to fill the gap created by the capital L.
Sampled from a lemon tree, of course! Originally, I gave the design a pale yellow / cream background and it had quite an authentic 1950’s feel… but I was drawn towards giving it more of a modern-day edge, and changing the background to a black achieved this well.
THE FINISHED PIECE…
I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into my hand-lettering process!