For years I have experimented with typography and distorting it in ways to fit my sensibility and preference. It started out with simple handwritten type, then calligraphy, then fully formed illustrations. I feel like giving personality to my type allows it to say more than the words alone can convey.
The illustration above is something I made for some friends. It spells out “CLARK ISLAND” in the shape of a guitar.
Backstory: My friends—who are musicians—live on their own island called ‘Clark Island’. They were planning to use that name for their band as a kind of homage, so I decided to create a piece of art for them.
I do this stuff often—jamming words into a shape. It’s a great exercise to fulfill my love of type and art. Throughout this post, I’ll go through my basic process.
For this piece, I needed to find a guitar image for reference to form the outline of the illustration.
Using the basic shape of the guitar, I roughly sketched in the words where I felt they would fit best. With the strings cutting straight through the middle of the guitar and “Clark Island’ being two words, it made the most sense to do it in two lines.
This step is usually the most time consuming. Often times, it’ll take up to an hour and many iterations for me to be happy with the layout—but it’s important to get the structure just right.
Now comes the fun part where you decide how you want to stylize your words. I’ll either base it on an existing typeface or just freely draw it. Again, I noticed the strings and wanted to integrate that into my letters. I came up with a fluid line style that flowed the ‘K’ and ‘D’ right into the strings.
Oh hey look, it worked. Took some creativity and the ‘D’ isn’t quite perfect but it was successful enough. It’s my art and I’ll set the standards.
With the hand-drawn part finished, I scan my illustration and do some minor clean up, then decide how I want the final product to look. I’m a big fan of white on black art so I inversed my illustration in Photoshop and added some depth with subtle shadows using the brush tool.
Here is the finished framed-up product.
To view some of my other work: Instagram.com/runofsketch