Auto pilot engaged

Sometimes I have one of those days when I can’t quite get my mind in gear. Wouldn’t it be nice to just have an auto pilot mode? Well when you have a timetable to stick to, sometimes you just have to do it anyway! Searching for inspiration can be tough, so in light of that, I made this piece this week:

I can't brain today. I have the dumb.

I can’t remember when I heard the phrase, but it’s suited the feeling. I decided to make a light hearted, quick piece that wasn’t too complicated. After all, it’s been a pretty hectic week! Last week I did the words of the week challenge on the lettering subreddit. This week, there was a drop cap challenge, so I decided to do a bit of a speed challenge! I tried to focus more on the fluidity of the lines and less on minute, precise details. I often get bogged down in the details of something, so once I zoom in, it’s often hard to zoom out again and look at the piece as a whole. Maybe it’s a trap a lot of perfectionists fall into, or maybe it’s just me, but the solution is to force yourself out of the usual conditions so that you can’t succumb.

Dropcap N

Having some lovely Rhodia dot grid notepaper really helped in diving straight in and not over thinking things. More time that I’m willing to admit usually goes into measuring out the space on the page before I even make a pencil mark for most pieces. Sketching out the design took about half an hour, followed by roughly an hour for inking. That’s much faster than the turn over for a typical piece of mine, so I’d say that the challenge was a success. I’m pleased with the piece, too.

Aside from those two pieces, I also wrapped up a little client project for a tattoo design this week. The brief was to have the word “Ruby” in a similar style as Monday. The dimensions to work with turned out to be perfect for the word. As it was just for a basic design, the client opted to have a slightly less detailed piece than Monday, so you’ll notice a few dissimilarities.

Angled shot small

The next lettering challenge isn’t up yet on the lettering subreddit (where are you mods?) so I don’t know if it’s something I’d like to do next week, but I’m thinking that I might make a thing of doing the drop caps, which come up every fortnight. I think it would make a good series!


It’s Monday! Or at least, yesterday was Monday. In celebration of this fact, here’s something I finished on Sunday!


I posted it over at reddit a couple of days ago, and it got a good response, but I’ve only just had the time to make a blog post about it. So, what’s the deal? Well, I’m thinking of starting a series called Days of the Week. I’m sure you can guess what will be featured. I’m planning on doing a different style for each one. The goal of the project could be that each piece should be as different from the others as possible. We will have to see how diverse I can make their styles. Striving for diversity is a great way to expand your skills and your portfolio, so it’s a win-win situation!

I think that many people could be afraid that they will produce terrible work, so they never try. People often ask me how I learnt to do things like this, and the answer is really just that I started doing it. I saw that others had done lettering pieces and posted them to the Internet, and I wanted to try too. Practically everything I’ve ever lettered is posted here on the website, and if you take a look through my portfolio, I’m sure you can see how things have progressed. Some of the earlier pieces aren’t so great, and I’ve learnt a lot since then, but I think it’s worth leaving them up there because it’s an honest reminder of where I came from. I think it’s worth being honest about something like that. They are the beginning of a journey that I’m taking, a journey that hopefully has no end. To come to the end would mean that there is nothing left to learn, and no improvement to make, and I’m sure if anyone thinks they are in a place like that, then they are missing something. So, I’m looking forward to finding out where this project will take me!

This project might be punctuated with other pieces, so it might take a while before I have the full-week set uploaded, but stay tuned to see what the rest turn out like!

Here’s a vectored version. I tightened up a couple of lines here and there, but overall, it’s pretty much the same as the inked one above. The main difference is that in digitisation, I have the opportunity to use gradients, so where I used hatching on the sides of the letters to shade them in the inked version, I had a play around with using gradients to achieve a similar effect.