Impress Me: Illustrating for Letterpress | Tom Froese | Skillshare

Impress Me: Illustrating for Letterpress

Tom Froese, Illustrator and Designer

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11 Lessons (1h 3m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. The Project: Design a Greeting Card

    • 3. Letterpress Basics

    • 4. Letterpress Lingo

    • 5. Key Photoshop Tools

    • 6. Step 1: Start Sketching

    • 7. Step 2: Create Artwork

    • 8. Step 3: Organize Layers by Colour

    • 9. Step 4: Create Colour Separations

    • 10. Step 5: Create a Digital Proof

    • 11. Conclusion

25 students are watching this class

Project Description

What more impressive kind of greeting card could there be than one that is letterpress printed? Using the techniques taught in this class, design a simple, 2 colour greeting card for an occasion of your choosing. It can have words on it, or it can have just an illustration!

In this project, you will learn how to plan, design and prepare artwork that is ready to be letterpress printed. Along the way, you will pick up the following skills:

  • Photoshop basics including multiply, path operations, layers and layer groups, using the pen tool, and working with colour
  • Letterpress-related terms and techniques, including overprinting, knockouts, trapping, spot colours, solid shapes and fills, lines, and type

The project includes the following stages:

  1. Sketching and planning your card concept
  2. Building the artwork in Photoshop
  3. Organizing the layers by colour
  4. Creating colour separations (“plates”)
  5. Creating a proof in Adobe Illustrator

Sharable Milestones
It is always so nice to see what you guys are making! The best way to share your work and receive feedback, of course, is to post your project for the rest of the class to see! Some good stages to show along the way are:

  1. Sketches and brainstorming - Sketchbook pages, inspiration images, pinboards, etc.
  2. Process - Screen grabs or mid-process artwork files
  3. Final artwork - A JPG of your finished card design
  4. Digital Proof - Share a screen grab of your digital proof 
  5. If anyone actually prints their piece, that would be amazing to show too!

This project is a great way to learn the ins and outs of illustrating for letterpress. You also get to make an awesome greeting card design along the way. Enjoy the process and be sure to upload your projects so everyone (myself inlcuded) can appreciate them!

I've set up a Pinterest board with visuals to inspire you. They include examples of various letterpress greeting cards that I think make good use of two or three colours. If you have some inspiration you'd like to share, please do!

Pinterest Page Link:

Photoshop Help
If you want to learn more about the Pen tool in Photoshop, I recommend taking Meg Lewis's Skillshare class, Fundamentals of Photoshop: Typography and the Pen Tool.

Sketch Template
I've attached to this project page a PDF of the sketch template that I made in Lesson 06. You can make your own, or just download and print this one.

Proof Template
I've attached to this project page a PDF of the proof template that I made in Lesson 10. You can make your own, or just download and print this one.

Beyond This Class
If you want to know more about my in depth creative process, please check out my Inky Illustrations class, right here on Skillshare!

Work Samples
Here are a few examples of letterpress projects I've created!





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