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Custom Handlettering, the second installment in The Complete Typographer program, covers unique and beautiful handlettering used across a wide spectrum of design disciplines. The practice involves drawing letterforms already composed into words, rather than creating characters for an entire alphabet and combining them. Generated for specific uses rather than assembled from a kit of parts, handlettering provides infinite variety for type designers. Students will explore ways to build out digital variations on their handlettered characters.
Tools, methods, and techniques for creating expressive lettering using traditional tools and media such as ink, pen, paint, and brush will be demonstrated. Digitizing hand drawn type into vector designs, and combining handwork with digital design within projects will be explored.
What Students Are Saying:
"This is a very interesting course for beginners (true beginner level here). I loved taking it. It was a good way to jump back in lettering after more than 20 years of not touching it. This is really great course if you need an update on [digital] techniques or to gain regularity."
This course is in adaptive mode and is open for enrollment. Learn more about adaptive courses here.
Session 1: Basic Shapes and Materials in Handlettering (January 28, 2021)
In our first session, we'll begin by looking at some inspiring examples of hand lettering, both historical and more contemporary. Next, we'll look at the roles of contrast and basic geometric forms as foundations for making letters. Finally, we'll preview the various tools that we'll be working with in this course.
Session 2: Developing Your Technique: Lines and Letters (February 4, 2021)
In this session, we'll go over some basic exercises that will help you begin to develop your technique and general comfort with lettering by hand. After working on lines and curves, we'll begin creating some letters, and incorporating those letters into text.
2. Setting Up Your Workspace
3. Flat Brush: Diagonal Forms
4. Flat Brush: Vertical Forms
5. Flat Brush: Faster Drawings
6. Sharpie Marker
7. Pointed Brush
8. Double Sharpie
9. Letters & Words
10. Assignment: Words of Love and Hate
Session 3: Developing Your Technique: Sketching and Creating Letters (February 11, 2021)
In this session, we'll continue with the exercises from the previous lessons by creating letters and words and experimenting with the wide variety of lettering tools that we have on hand. We'll also explore some sketching techniques as an alternative approach to creating letters by hand.
2. Double Sharpie
5. The Big Brush
6. Sketching: Building Your Skeleton
7. Sketching: Fleshing It Out
8. Comparing Sketches
9. Assignment: Sketch It
Session 4: From Analog Sketches to Digital Designs (February 18, 2021)
In our final session, we'll import some of our sketches into Adobe Illustrator and turn them into bold digital letterforms. From there we'll use a variety of simple techniques to create diverse variations on our original designs.
2. Introduction to Illustrator
3. Setting Up Your Artboards
4. Reviewing the Sketches
5. Basic Vectorizing
6. Refining Curves
7. Completing the Skeleton
8. Skeleton Variations
9. Skeletons vs. Outlines
11. Tips for Outlining
12. Completing the Outline
13. Outline Variations
14. Stenciling 'More'
15. Completing the Stencil
16. Comparing Designs
17. Creating Variations
18. The Sketchbook
20. Assignment: Create a Personal Brand
Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.
- Ability to explore geometry and contrast as the basic building blocks of handmade letterforms.
- Practice a variety of exercises to develop proficiency in lines, curves, and letters.
- Ability to work with a variety of brushes, pens, and other tools to create variety in your handlettering.
- Ability to embellish and create variations on your handlettering work using digital design software.
- Understanding of the role of handlettering in the larger world of typography and design.
- Ability to explore historical and contemporary examples of excellent handlettering.
Instructors & Guests
Yomar Augusto is a typographic artist and graphic designer from Brazil who relocated recently to Southern California after running his studio in New York City for the past 3 years. Born in Brasilia and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Yomar initially trained as a graphic designer before going on to study photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2001.
He then started his own studio in Rio before completing a Masters in Type Design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, The Netherlands. Yomar then spent eight years living in The Netherlands and working in type, design and art, in both commercial and educational sectors.
Yomar has also presented commercial and conceptual projects with solo exhibitions in Asia, Europe, North & South America. Yomar also taught Typography for Advertising at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam between 2011 and 2012 and at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. He has also held a number of experimental calligraphy and book art workshops in many countries, including Brazil, United States, Russia, Turkey, China, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Germany and The Netherlands. In 2011, Yomar was invited to talk at TDC New York and has also been published by TDC Tokyo, Japan.
Steven Heller is an author, art director, educator and blogger. For 33 years he was a senior art director at the New York Times, originally at the OpEd page and then the New York Times Book Review. He is the co-chair and co-founder (with Lita Talarico) of the SVA NYC MFA Design / Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program. He co-founded the SVA MFA Products of Design, MFA Interaction and MPS Branding programs. He was the co-director of SVA's Modernism & Eclecticism: A History of Graphic Design symposiums. The author or editor of over 175 books, including Design Literacy, Graphic Design Rants and Raves, Graphic Style, 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design, Typology and the Typography Sketchbooks.
He is the recipient of the 2011 Smithsonian National Design Award for "Design Mind," the 1999 AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement, the 2016 Eric Carle Award, The Society of Illustrator's Art Direction award, The Art Directors Hall of Fame Educators Award, the Pratt Institute Hershel Levit Award and two honorary Ph.Ds from College of Creative Studies in Detroit and the University of West Bohemia in the Czech Republic. He has appeared in over 20 documentaries on design and political art and has written over 100 introductions and forewords for books on design and illustration.
What You Need to Take This Course
- Flat brush
- Pointed brush
- Sharpie marker(s)
- other objects TBD
- Black India Ink
- Tracing paper
- Adobe Creative Suite
Please note: Taking part in a Kadenze course as a Premium Member does not affirm that the learner has been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by School of Visual Arts.
If a student signs up for the Complete Typographer program, it is recommended that these courses are taken sequentially.
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