The First Steps of Hand-Lettering: Concept to Sketch (Lettering I)

By ·Letterer

Start this class
or Purchase for $20

Free With Membership

Become a member to get access to this class for only $9.95 a month. Or, purchase individually for the list price.

Learn More

Our Homes and Cities Form Constellations on Earth

Updated Tue, Nov 12th 2013

The phrase I wrote for this hand lettering project is:
"Our homes and cities form constellations on Earth"

... inspired by French philosopher Gaston Bachelard's book entitled "The Poetics of Space".
(His quote was: "The houses of men form earthly constellations."... but I think the ladies should be in that quote too!!)

November 11th, 2013:
The Big Finale!
Thank you SO much to everyone who provided such helpful feedback, critique, and ideas! I have arrived at the final, and it is something I am most proud of. Big THANKS to Mary Kate for sharing her wonderful talent with us all. I could probably still do even more with this, but had to draw the line somewhere! I learned many things that will definitely come in handy for years to come for both personal and client projects with Architette Studios

It took many, many, many layers... but here are the main ones...

Some close ups of the textures and digital color added atop the hand inking...


November 1st, 2013:
Refined Sketch
Thank you ALL for the helpful and productive feedback!! After creating the previous thumbnails and refined sketches (of ALL of them because I couldn't decide!), you all left me wonderful advice on which design/layout to go with... and a most obvious choice was #7 (the final sketch in the shape of the Earth).

In this next iteration, I reworked the refined sketch, working on more the details that I had in mind and did not portray in the previous iteration/thumbnail. At the advice of Mary Kate (thank you!) I brought the third cloud back into the sketch and have it balancing out the overall composition by placing it behind the Earth. I removed the rocket after-thought, curved the lettering on "Homes" and refined the banners, and mini skylines!

October 28th, 2013:
Refined Sketches
After creating the thumbnails of the general layouts I had in mind for my quote, I really couldn't decide until I got in there and refined them all! After working on each one, and liking how #1, #2, #5 and #7 turned out, I think it might be a toss up between these four... but I like them all! #3 is hard to move away from as well! I'd love to hear what your thoughts are! :)

Close-up of #1:
I liked involving the border that is a play between a city skyline and a house roofline. All the text between the constellations seem to be "balanced" on the Earth sketch at the very bottom... which visually seems to actually say that the homes, and cities form constellations on Earth.

Close-up of #2:
This layout involves using the "Earth" warm-up sketch at the beginning of the class, with the introduction of some decorative serif fonts, and a banner... all with constellations in the background. The overall layout is sort of symmetrical to the eyes, which is kind of nice.

Close-up of #5:
In my mind, this one will have a lot of decorative stencils, curls, motifs, etc. in a more finalized version. I really wanted to just play with the lettering and "fitting" it into a curly, starry, layout.

Close-up of #7:
This one was the very last thumbnail I did, and it was borne from wanting it to be something completely different from the rest of them! I incorporated homes and a city skyline... and for kicks... a random retro rocket, which actually... worked out pretty well!

October 27th, 2013:
Thumbnail Layouts
For the quote layout thumbnails, I spent no more than 3 minutes per rough sketch in my moleskin notebook to prepare for the more refined sketches. I didn't think about what lettering style I would use in the end so much, but rather focused on just the general layouts.

I actually couldn't decide which to go with most, so I ended up drawing more detailed versions of all seven! (I will be posting those tomorrow!) I can say though, I really love the way #1, #2, #5 and #7 turned out. More soon... !

October 22nd, 2013:
Lettering Warm-Ups
Referring back to my mood, inspiration and product boards, I created the following lettering sketch warm-ups. I sort of ended up combining different styles, quite by accident... but in any case, it was good to get the creative juicing flowing! (I think my favorites are the "dimensional" and "san serif" ones!)

Oct. 21st, 2013:
Gathering my Tools

Oct. 17th, 2013:
Possible Product Uses

Oct. 16th, 2013:
Word List

Mood Board + Inspirations


Leave Feedback

Please login or sign up to reply.