Hand lettering is a beautiful art form which is easy to fall in love with. Its power has great impact on society. Yes, fonts and lettering are functional, helping us communicate words, but there is so much more. Fonts can evoke emotions, tell stories, influence our mood or choices, and even trigger memories.
Here are a few examples of my hand lettering adventures:
Gaining skill in any new art form takes practice; muscle memory must be created to allow for lines to flow. Remember the numerous pages of practice loops in elementary school when learning cursive writing? Consequently, all that practice made for quick, beautiful letters which required very little thought in creating.
Adobe Illustrator and Hand Lettering
Along with learning letter forms and styles of hand lettering, I decided to explore adobe illustrator. I’ll be honest, it was the source of many headaches for me. Determination builds strength! I persevered, and even though I still have tons of learning to do it is getting easier. …the headaches are less frequent.
In this practice piece I incorporated hand lettering with illustrator. It was fun playing with the different tools that illustrator has to offer. Some days I felt like a kid in a candy store – too many choices. How would I ever decide?
Portrait drawing is an art form that I can completely lose myself in – hours feel like minutes. Sometimes however, I have an innate desire to learn more and try new techniques, that is the case with lettering. Follow my weekly progress on Instagram @eisycindy to see where my hand lettering journey takes me.
Many, many, many tiny dots later the leopard piece is complete. Stippling uses tiny dots to create solid and shaded areas. Sections that contain large concentrations of dots close together, as seen in the eyes, create depth. Fewer dots with greater spacing are used to form the leaves producing a soft presence of the leaves.
For this particular piece I used tinted paper.
Size: 15 X 12 completed in 2012
The technique of pointillism which incorporates colored dots was developed in late 1880 by George Seurat, a French painter. http://www.georgesseurat.org/
Also check out Artsy which features 16 artworks by George Seurat, exclusive articles, related artists, and exhibit listings of Seurat works
A few weeks ago I did a quick morning sketch of a dancer and posted it on Instagram @eisycindy. After posting, I had numerous inquires to purchase this piece. The quick morning sketch was done on a cheap piece of tracing paper, not something I would sell. The interest in this piece gave me a chance to play with Hahnemuhle Sumi – E fine art paper. The paper has a beautiful, delicate texture that I feel suits this type of drawing well.
Utilizing open lines in both the hands and the skirt helps to create a feeling of movement. Since I have been studying letter form lately, I wanted to include words in such a way that would add to the feel of the dancer and not distract. Softly incorporating color in the skirt helps to increase dimension, which adds to the free-flowing feel of the overall piece.
Sun, Fun, Sand, and a Quick Charcoal Drawing.Lately it seems like all my art projects have been everything but drawing. This week I really needed some draw time. Flipping through old photographs I found a great reference picture of my little girl. Okay, maybe she is not so little anymore, and maybe it is from fourteen years ago, but beach times were favorites of mine and I will always cherish them.
Many summers were spent sand covered, wet haired, and sun-kissed on a warm British Columbia beach. Friends were always near. Adventures were plentiful. Life was simple.
There is something pure and refreshing about working with a charcoal pencil and a blank sheet of paper. Maybe it is the rhythm, or maybe it is the break from the focus of daily life. Whatever it is, it is good.
For this drawing I used Meridian Drawing paper by Pentalic. The paper is a beautiful soft white color which helps give the drawing a warm look. It also has a great tooth which is perfect for charcoal work. It is one of my favorite papers.
Beach Time 11 x 14 Charcoal Drawing
Who doesn’t like sun, fun, sand, and a little beach time?
Moments are precious, especially at Christmas when more time is set aside to get together with family and friends. This is by far my favorite time of year. I love the change in focus, in pace, and in activities. In our fast paced world time marches forward at an ever quickening pace making it even more important to be deliberate about setting aside time for family and friends. For me this is a constant struggle, but relentlessly I will keep trying because I treasure those moments spent with family and friends.
Enough about me, let’s talk about the wood projects. I really enjoy taking old wood, that no longer serves a purpose and is usually unsightly, and transforming it into something meaningful and beautiful. Sometimes the wood pieces that I find have great character due to weathering, age, and flaws; those pieces are the ones that become the most beautiful. I am sure there is some philosophical connection that could be made to humanity — I won’t go there, but feel free to explore those thoughts and let me know.
By far, the clock is my favorite piece. Although both pieces hold a certain charm, the character in the wood pieces from the clock really give it an old world almost antiquities feel. Incorporating wire art in the pallet projects is fast becoming a favorite for me. I like how the rustic look of the wire plays off the old recycled wood.
Clock: 20 X 20 pallet wood
Faith Plaque: 13 x 16 pallet wood and wire
A couple quick notes on the process.
Make sure your pallets are safe to use and know where the they come from.
Barn wood also has a lot of character and works well for wooden art projects and has not been used to ship chemicals.
Pictured are the two pallets cleaned, cut, and glued together. (Thank you to my husband and son.)
To avoid having the paint bleed when doing the lettering or numbering I covered the surface with a light coat of Mod Podge.
I warmed up the color of the boards with acrylic craft paints mixed with Blending Gel. The blending gel allows me to control where and how much paint I work into the wood grain by slowing the dry time down.
With the surface prepared, the sky is the limit — create away.
When I was happy with the lettering I applied a thin coat of Acrylic Wax – Flat to help protect the artwork.
That is a quick rundown of the steps I used in creating the two pieces here. For the next projects I will add a more step-by-step version including some tip and tricks when working with wire.
I continued to experiment with water soluble-graphite this week. In this quick drawing I loosely sketched the dancer, then with a wet brush freely and quickly went over it. After allowing the paper to dry a little, I went back and added more detail with my graphite pencil and a wet brush. I also played with a dry brush.
Leaving the lines of the skirt open helped create movement in the dancer. Painterly motions of a wet brush also help add to this effect. I have to admit though, I am terrible at just walking away from a drawing and saying it is done. For me there is always something to tweak. Therefore some of the free-flowing effects that I had, have become more detailed. Next time I will walk away, maybe.
Water-soluble graphite has quickly become a new favorite medium for me. I like the richness that the graphite creates along with the freedom to add more layers and not end up with a shiny end result. The diversity of this medium allows for quick, tight sketches like the kitten seen here, or can be utilized for loose, free-flowing sketches with a more painterly effect. (I will post a loose sketch next week.)
Drawing detail does take some practice and experimentation. If too much water is added to an area the graphite will bleed; I almost lost the cat’s eye on this sketch because my brush was too wet. Drawing can be done dry, using water, or both; it all depends on what effect you want to create.
I also added an element of color to this sketch utilizing a great new drawing tool by ArtGraf. ArtGraf produces water-soluble graphite along with pigmented water-soluble drawing mediums, most art stores and Amazon now sell this new art product from Portugal. Here I worked with a very light wash of the pigment, however the same pigment can be used to create deep intense colors.
I have to admit, this sketch was a lot of fun. There are definite benefits to working with water-soluble graphite as opposed to regular graphite pencils. For anyone who has ever used graphite, they will know all-to-well the shiny effect that graphite can create; with water-soluble this is no longer an issue.
While working with water-soluble graphite, I was pleasantly surprised by a couple other great results. This medium grants the ability to create fine detailed lines. It also allows areas to be worked into a darker value. Drawings can be rendered quickly creating either a loose water paint feel or a more rigid real life look. The only drawback is that it is very difficult to remove graphite from highlighted areas after water has been used; therefore, plan ahead.
I think I might have to do one more drawing using this medium; I would like to experiment a little more before I move on.
Paper Used: Canson Mixed Media
If you have any comments or questions regarding water-soluble graphite please feel free to comment below, I am always happy to talk about art.
It is always the drawings that I do on scrap paper with an everyday pencil that seem to produce the result I am looking for. There is a certain freedom that comes from knowing that this is not the final piece. For this reason I do a lot of my planning on tracing paper. I know I can be hard on the paper and still erase without breaking down the tooth of the surface. The funny thing is, however, that because I am more relaxed I erase less; the lines tend to flow uninhibited. Tracing paper also enables me to see proportions and layout before I have committed them to art paper.
As I sat down this morning to plan images for a watercolor or water soluble graphite (I haven’t decided yet), I quickly came up with this simple sketch. I wanted something uncomplicated and loose that I could try finish with a couple different mediums to see which result I like best.
For those that have been asking why I have not blogged anything for a while I will try be more diligent in blogging as I play. Thank you for keeping me accountable, it is good to know there are people out there that miss seeing the artwork.