Push Your Boundaries

This has been a very busy week for me, so there’s no new design this time round, but that means that it’s time to revisit an old piece!

Push Your Boundaries Vector

This is another piece that I would like to see made into a poster or something similar in the future when the situation calls for it. Along with this one, at some point, I hope to produce 2 or 3 pieces in a similarly sarcastic style, which will poke fun at the slightly over-used phrases that seem to crop up time and again in the lettering community (looking at you, “Hustle Hard.”)

This piece was also done to keep my vectorization muscle toned and sharp. When it comes to vectorization, the size of the text makes no difference, really. When making the original hand executed version of this piece, the larger letters took more time than the smaller letters, simply because there was more ink to put on the page. In a digital setting, however, it’s the other way round. The section that took the longest on this piece was the “I can’t tell you what” line of Copperplate, which on the original only took a matter of seconds, in fact, seeing as it was executed in actual calligraphy. That being said, there are a few tricks you can employ, especially when dealing with a script like Copperplate. The way it is constructed is so geometrically precise that many of the shapes can be recycled from one letter to the next, or even from one design to the next. In this case, once the basic oval, lead-in curve and lead-out curve were vectored, it was only a matter of applying them to the right situations and then adding in the rest of the bits and bobs that make the letters different from each other. To give you an indication of what that all means, take this example: the oval that makes up the O is the same as the first stroke of the A. The second stroke of the A is the same as the lower half of the T, and the first stroke of the Y is the same as the second stroke of the H. In this way, you can save some time and also assure consistency across the piece.

Once that’s finished, it’s simply a matter of splashing on some colour and some vector textures to give it more natural look, and it’s finished!

Where Words Fail Music Speaks

This is a little piece I threw together this week. When I say little, I mean it! It’s pretty small. The x height is about 5mm, which for calligraphy isn’t so tiny, but compared to the lettering pieces I usually do, it’s quite small.

Where Words Fail Music Speaks

What I was aiming for with this piece was to go for a relatively simple calligraphic style and try to capture the feeling that I’ve seen in lots of progress pictures of lettering pieces that seems to get lost in the final piece. During the design stages the letters are often sketched out, and perhaps filled in lightly with pencil, but usually have darker outlines. Once the piece is inked, the feel of the letters and the overall impression of the piece becomes very different. Having the outline stand out somehow makes the piece feel a lot more spacious and delicate.

This piece is in fact a quote from Hans Christian Andersen. Being a musician and an awkward English person, I often feel that words can fall short whereas music is something that provides a different kind of connection between people. I saw the quote and decided that it would make a nice piece in a calligraphic style. Compositionally it suits a piece that is all in the same style rather than a grand, type-mixing poster. The message itself is about the inadequacy of words, and yet the message is in words itself, so it also suits a relatively understated style.

Recently, I’ve been digitizing more pieces (some to come in a few weeks, too,) so I thought I would quickly throw this piece through the digital assembly line to add a splash of colour. I have a few coloured inks, so I should quite like to add some colour to the physical piece, but the colours didn’t really match up with composition, so I will have to wait until I get some other colours. Here’s the digital version:

Where Words Fail Music Speaks 2