Friday, July 31, 2015

Digitizing Hand Lettering in Illustrator

Lately I've been using my hand lettering on my projects more and more. One reason I like using it is it makes my art and crafts more unique and personal, and with a lot of practice it's been getting better. Another reason is that it can be quicker than using fonts, because of the time spent picking out fonts, designing the quote and cutting out vinyl. Well, for the shorter quotes and smaller signs anyway. But it can be taxing on your hands, and the paint markers I use aren't readily available, I have to order them online and I'm always running out. So, the idea came to me about digitizing them, which means turning them into vector images, so I could use them over and over again!

It seemed like a daunting task to attempt, but I was kinda excited about it. I would have to create it using Adobe Illustrator, and wasn't very experienced with it. I had originally taken a class in it in college, but I never really mastered it, I was only comfortable with some of the basics. And even though I was already using it to make most of my quote signs, I wasn't very good at manipulating vectors. Then, I happened upon a site called Skillshare and I signed up for a trial to take a class by Bonnie Christine about making patterns in Illustrator, another interest I had and wanted to learn. To my surprise, she went over the Illustrator basics, plus how to use the shortcuts and was a great teacher! I was excited to be learning so much and it didn't seem so hard anymore. Plus, I was happy to find Skillshare, which is a really great site. There are so many skills you can learn on there with their video tutorials, including skills by hand such as calligraphy, to Photography lessons, to software lessons like Photoshop.

I started drawing my lettering in a sketchbook (see above) with Microns (08, 1 & 2), which ended up taking quite a bit of time. I would do so many letters a day, and I wanted to make more than one of each letter, so I ended up drawing a LOT of letters! But it was worth it, I wanted the variety! Then, I took another class on Skillshare, which was also about making repeat patterns, it's called Reign Repeats by Majo Bautista V. (links below). She also had many tutorials that were helpful, so I was gaining more confidence in Illustrator.

The last class I took to help me with Illustrator was a new one that showed up on Skillshare. It's a font class called Create Your Own Hand Drawn Font by Jenn Coyle. It sounded so exciting to me, because I love fonts and I always hoped to create my own font. She makes digitizing your lettering seem pretty easy, utilizing scanning, Photoshop tricks and Illustrator live trace and shortcuts. Well, it helps if you already know the software some. The last part of the class is on using an app called Glyphs to turn your lettering into a font, which seems to be the trickiest part of the process. And then I found out it was only for Macs, so I went ahead and created my lettering without converting it into an actual font. Hopefully someday I will though! I checked out her website Hello Brio and found her blog tutorial about making a font, so I included the links to both below:

This is her font tutorial on her blog.

Otherwise, you can take her Skillshare Class.

This is a preview of some of my lettering I digitized in Illustrator. I am pretty happy with the way it turned out! I am going to use this lettering on a coffee cup quote print. I also made the coffee cup to go along with it, just quickly adding some random colors and patterns to it for fun. I originally drew the cup on an iPad with the Inkpad app and then cleaned it up in Illustrator.

I hope to finish some of my quote prints soon, and then I'll share them here. Please check out the links to view some Skillshare classes. If you would like to give it a try, my link for a free month is below :)

Have a fantastic day!


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Classes for learning Adobe Illustrator basics:

These are the classes I took, there are even more Illustrator classes on Skillshare.

~Intro To Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator | Create Patterns by Bonnie Christine.

~Reign Repeats: Create Perfect Repeat Patterns in Illustrator by Majo Bautista V.