Lettering in Procreate: Illustrating Landmarks with Type | Pieter Boels | Skillshare

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Lettering in Procreate: Illustrating Landmarks with Type

teacher avatar Pieter Boels, graphic artist and muralist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (1h 25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. What You'll Need

    • 4. What is Interlocking Type?

    • 5. Using Reference Material

    • 6. First Sketches

    • 7. Refining

    • 8. Adding Stylistic Flavor

    • 9. Color Palette & Background

    • 10. Creating Depth & Texture

    • 11. Conclusion

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About This Class

For graphic artist and muralist Pieter Boels, typography is more than just written language: it's a playground!

Letters are incredibly flexible, and so a perfect way to express your creativity. Using existing typefaces can only take you so far, and where they end, this class begins! By bending letterforms into new and interesting shapes, you can create typographic illustrations with loads of personality.  

In this class, Pieter will show you how he creates a lettering piece in his signature style, using Procreate. 

You'll learn how to create a typographic illustration from start to finish, including how to:

  • Use reference material
  • Lay the groundwork for your lettering
  • Rough sketch
  • Flesh out the lettering skeleton 
  • Polish your piece with color & texture

Whether you're an illustrator, graphic designer, or any other type aficionado, if you follow along you will pick up an addictive and super versatile lettering technique!

Image credits

Port House images



Harry Chester's work  
Saul Bass' movie posters

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Pieter Boels

graphic artist and muralist



Hi! My name is Pieter. I never managed to come up with a cool pseudonym.

I'm a designer and muralist in love with type, and endlessly fascinated by how the shape of words can alter or add layers to their meaning. My work is an amalgamation of graphic design, calligraphy and illustrative lettering. Wether I am using digital or analog techniques, for a commercial or artistic project, I'm always striving to create memorable, surprising artwork that resonates with the viewer.

I got my Master's degree in Graphic Design in 2008 and worked at various agencies and the Antwerp Museum for Contemporary Art after that. In 2012 I went freelance, working from my home studio for local and international clients. Next to that I regularly ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi guys, my name is Pieter, I'm a lettering artist and graphic designer. I'm here in my home studio in Antwerp, Belgium. I'm specialized in lettering and calligraphy, which means that I use custom type in almost all of my work. That ranges from logos and branding over clothing, to murals, commissioned art pieces. Of course, a lot of personal, self-initiated projects. What attracts me the most in lettering is the fact that written language is actually super flexible. Most people can read texts that are highly stylized, whether it's heavily embellished Baroque type or letter shapes that are reduced an to almost abstract form. I've really fallen in love with how you can express an idea or a feeling by just using words and not only the message, but also the shape of those words. In that sense, I think that our alphabet provides almost limitless creative possibilities. Now, why did I choose a landmark to illustrate? Well, people from Antwerp are known among other Belgians to have an unconditional and extreme love for their city, and I'm no different. I thought, why not use part of the Antwerp skyline as my subject to illustrate. But more importantly, with this class, I hope to inspire you to look at written language, not just as a communications device, but also as a way to illustrate on its own. Once you get familiar with the lettering technique, you'll be able to use it on any subject that you can think of. In the class, I'll talk about the tools I work with, how I use reference material, and one of my favorite lettering techniques, and then we'll start drawing. I'll show you my entire process, starting with a rough sketch, then refining on a couple of layers, adding color and texture until we end up with a finished, unique typographic illustration. I'm excited to show you how I create a typographic illustration and provide some helpful tips along the way. Thanks for checking this out, and I hope to see you in the first video. 2. Class Project: For the class project, we're going to use hand lettering to illustrate a landmark from the city you live in. It's a fun way to play around with type and illustrate a familiar object in a not so familiar way. I've always been fascinated by architecture. I have a few interior architects in my family and I notice that whenever I'm walking my dog throughout the city which is several times a day, I'm always taking a lot of photos of buildings, of interesting details, views that catch my eye. I thought it would be cool to combine this with one of my favorite lettering techniques which is filling up shapes completely with type. Your landmark, it doesn't have to be a building of course, and for the city, you can choose any place that you want even if you've never been there. It's all about having fun and getting creative with words. If you follow all the steps, you'll end up with a graphic representation of your city. Afterwards, you can put it on a postcard, on a shirt that you sell to your local tourist office or even better maybe you can find a wall at your local tourist office and paint it there. But more importantly, you'll add a super versatile lettering technique to your skill set that you can use to illustrate all objects. If you're anything like me, you'll start to see interesting shapes that you can fill with lettering with your type everywhere. Since I will mention some typography jargon and I won't cover all the basics, I recommend that you have at least some experience with either lettering, type design, or calligraphy. But even if you don't, you're super welcome to join me, whether you're an aspiring lettering artist, an illustrator looking to incorporate type more, or if you just want to create something cool in Procreate. Let's go. In the next video, I'll talk a little bit about the tools that you need to complete these projects. 3. What You'll Need: Let's talk about what you need for the project, the tools. It's not a lot actually. Basically an iPad, Apple pencil and of course the Procreate app. I'm working with a third generation iPad Pro 12 inch and a second-generation Apple pencil but I guess any pencil and iPad combination that works will do and even if you don't have an iPad, you're still more than welcome to join and I think you can still learn some things because a lot of the principles I talk about are just as easily applicable to analog tools. The version of Procreate that I use is 5X. The reason I wanted to do class on Procreate lettering is that working on the iPad has been a real game changer for me. For a long time I stuck to working on paper only and I actually still think that alternating between digital and analog tools is super valuable if only because the iPad is basically a screen and looking at the screen all day, that's just not healthy. As you know Procreate has gained massive popularity in recent years and not in the least in the lettering community. I saw so many of my colleagues make the switch that I wanted to see for myself. I must say that I haven't looked back. Being able to work on digital layers instead of endless stacks of tracing paper and not having to scan all my sketches and clean them up in Photoshop because I always smudge. There's nothing like drawing on paper. There's just no substitute for the feeling. I guess it's a little bit like the comparison between vinyl records and say Spotify. The old way is definitely more engaging the more memorable experience, but I sure am happy that the new technology exists. The one thing that did bother me when I started writing and lettering on the iPad was the lack of friction from the glass surface. While it can be handy to have a very slippery surface sometimes, most of the times I was just frustrated and I felt like I couldn't control my movements. Luckily there's a good solution, a few solutions actually. Recently I get a lot of sponsored posts for these little nips that you can put on your pencil. I haven't tried this. I work with a Paperlike. A paperlike is basically matte translucent screen protector that you put on your iPad and it has tiny micro or even nanograins that adds some friction to the surface and while it's not the same as working on paper it sure comes a lot closer. I highly recommend for any calligrapher or lettering artist, Paperlike or any other brand like it. The matte screen protectors really make a difference. When it comes to brushes, I'm pretty conservative I think, especially when I'm lettering. I usually stick to the basic sketching brushes even the super default Procreate pencil brush unless I want to start with a more calligraphic brush. But when I'm lettering I usually stick to very default pencil like brushes. I just like the way it looks and feels. That's it for the tools. In the next video we'll look into this favorite lettering technique of mine called interlocking. 4. What is Interlocking Type?: Interlocking typography, what is it? If you look it up on the Internet, you'll find a lot of monograms, which are small compositions of two or more letters that are often entangled. You'll also find a lot of typefaces with a distinct retro vibe to them. That is because the term is often used to name a lettering style that was very popular in the '60s and '70s of last century. For example, in surf culture. Some graphic designers even made it their trademark or part of their trademark style. For example, Harry Chester. You might not know, but he is one of the inventors, one of the godfathers of what I call monster style lettering, often used for men's magazines or books, stuff like that. Chances are, you do know the work of Saul Bass, legendary graphic designer. His iconic movie posters often also used interlocking typography. For example, the ones for The Shining, West Side Story, or The Man With The Golden Arm. I'm using the term rather loosely, as in all forms of typography, where the letters interact with each other in a way that goes beyond simply spacing or kerning. When neighboring letters are either making space for each other, filling into each other, or even merging into a single character, single glyph, which is then called ligature. For me, interlocking type is more a general technique than it is a specific style. It's in the name, of course, interlocking. It's about making words fit into a composition almost like a puzzle or even a pattern. My goal is to achieve a lettering piece that looks balanced and bespoke, not using existing typefaces. To illustrate what I mean, I will show you some examples from my own work. The first one is a slogan for a local dealer here in Antwerp. [inaudible]. It's in Dutch, and it says, [inaudible], which is Antwerp for "Your so pretty when you smile." They're best known for their comedy calendar. I wanted to make something that conveyed a happy, almost bouncy vibe. I tried to make letters look almost as if they're dancing. Although I used a very loose script, the composition doesn't fall apart. What ties it all together are the long, almost ribbon-like swashes. Like the extended crossbar for the T here, which also forms a ligature with the exclamation mark at the end, or the exaggerated loops of the Gs. I even connected descender of the Y and the center of the H here. The next piece is one that I did in Procreate for an Instagram post. What's immediately obvious here, even more than in the previous piece, I think, is the absence of a straight baseline on which the word sits. Although I think you still read the sentence in the right order on three lines. The words all fit snugly together, which I achieved by playing with the letter size and rotation. I also used a L for lazy. I have this loop on the bottom to play with. It's not strictly correct in grammatical terms, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of artistic license. I think it looks nice because it balances out the loop of the Y at the end, and it also forms some underlying to ground the whole piece. This piece may look spontaneous, and it is, but it actually also takes some iterations. Trial and error to make it fit like this. It's the process of puzzling a piece like this together. That sometimes makes me feel like a sculptor, like I'm working with clay, kneading all the parts into their place, taking away some mass here, adding some there. I really love it. The last piece is one that I made a couple of years ago already. This is a nice example of what I mean by making a lettering look like a pattern. If you squint your eyes, the letters almost merge with the surrounding shapes, and I like it. It's not immediately clear what it says. It takes some effort from the viewer. It's actually a quote from the series, The Handmaid's Tale. I wanted to give it a gritty rough feeling, almost like it's a bunch of coal bricks lying on a blank poster. Now, the consequence is that not everybody could read it indeed. But hey, it's not a public service announcement either. I'm not losing sleep over it. To fill up some of the white space between the letters, I used small organic shapes like the ones surrounding the quotes, which binds the whole together nicely. In the end, this design was cut out of a solid block of wood to make wood prints, which added a nice grainy texture to the whole, and added some extra grit. To recap, here are some ways to make words interlock and evenly fill a space. To use a dynamic baseline. Vary the letter size, like enlarging, reducing, and the orientation. Rotate letters, exaggerate, and connect the letter shapes like ascenders, descenders, other loops, and diacritics. Create swashes and flourishes. Bringing some extra elements like underlines, arrows, and some extra text or punctuation, small characters, you name it. Now that I introduced you to some basic interlocking techniques, let's look at the subject of our class projects. 5. Using Reference Material: Before I start drawing, let's look at what I'm going to illustrate. As a landmark, I chose the building of the Antwerp Port Authority, better known simply as the Port House. Antwerp has always had and still has a very important harbor. Actually it's at this moment the second largest port in Europe, and throughout the city, you can find loads of references to this maritime history. The harbor and the city are very tightly connected and it plays a major role in the history and the present situation of the city. I think the Port House makes for a nice symbol. The Port House was designed by renowned British-Iranian architect, Zaha Hadid. It was actually the last project that she saw finished before she died in 2016, so quite a special one. I like the fact that she didn't tear down the historical fire station that was already at the building site or the place that would become the building site. Instead, she added an extension on top of the building, and in that way, the past and the present are both represented in one building which I think creates an interesting contrast, attention, and also adds some more meaning. In general, the building looks very angular. You could say that the bottom half, the historical part is a collection of rectangles, very symmetrical, while the new extension is covered in triangles, triangular glass panes. Looks very dynamic from some angles, almost flowing. This architectural language will serve as the basis or the inspiration rather for my lettering piece, but more on that later. The illustration will consist of a lettering piece within the outline of the landmark. To draw this outline, I'm going to use an image photograph, which I will look for online because I want the proportions to be just right, to be correct, and it simply would take me too much time to draw it from scratch and result would probably be not as good. It's just not necessary. I'm just going to use an image. I'm not going to worry about copyrights or image quality because as I said, I'm only going to use the image as a basis to trace the outline of the landmark. I'm opening my browser looking for Antwerp Port House. There's a lot of images because it's an architectural masterpiece. But I think a sideways view will work the best because that way it's easily recognizable, especially the column. The column is very recognizable, and this is a good one I think. I'm just going to save it, add it to my photos. I'm not bothering with creating special folders on that because as I said, I'm only going to use this photo for a little while, and I'm not going to need it afterwards. This building lends itself for very spectacular angles like this is an amazing image or this one as well, very dynamic. But you have to take into account that since we're only using the outline, there will be no depth. This outline will be filled with letters. There will be no depth of fills. From an angle like this, I'm afraid that it won't be recognizable anymore. Same here, since there won't be a color difference and stuff and no depth, I think it will be hard to discern the Port House from an image like this. I'm going to stick to classic side view. Now you're free to choose any landmark you want. But I need to tell you that some landmarks are less suited or better suited than others. To illustrate what I mean, I will show you a very famous landmark that's not super well-suited for these projects. Super famous, super recognizable on virtually every picture, especially from the front or the side. Now however, recognizable, Mount Rushmore is on virtually any pic. If you only look at the outline and then you fill it with a solid color, for example, you're left with a rugged, organic mass that very few will recognize. Now obviously, we will be lettering its name inside the outline, so people will always know what you talk about or which monument, which landmark you mean. But I still think a recognizable, interesting shape is preferable. Now that I have saved my reference image to base my lettering piece on, I'm going to start with the actual sketch. Now, before you move on to the next video, make sure you decide which landmark you're going to illustrate. Save a good reference image for your outline See you in the next one. 6. First Sketches: In this video, I'll show you how I lay the groundwork for my illustration. It's the beginning of a process of iteration which starts with a very rough sketch and through refinement on several layers, I will end up with a polished lettering piece. I'm going to begin by opening a new canvas. I'm picking A4 300 DPI. Let's change the orientation. A4 for my American viewers is basically the same or very similar to the standard letter format. The size you work on, you will need to decide beforehand what you want to do with your piece. I'm thinking of making it into a postcard. A4 300 DPI resolution will be good enough for me. I'm going to start by drawing the outline and this will define the space in which I need to fit all of my lettering. In the previous video, you saw that I will work from a reference image. I will start by importing that onto my canvas. Here under Add, Insert a Photo because I saved it in my Photo Map. Here it is. I'm going to enlarge it to neatly fit my canvas as big as possible. Something like this. Then I'm going to reduce the opacity by clicking the N under the layers or in the layer section and dragging this one to about 40 percent. I'm doing this just so I can clearly see what I'm drawing on top. That's all. Then I'm going to add a second layer on top. That is basically drawing the outline. I'm going to use the default Procreate Pencil in black, at this stage I'm not concerned about a color scheme yet. Color, I think, works a bit as a distraction for me when I'm just drawing shapes. Because color carries a lot of meaning, and it's just about the shapes at this moment. I'm only going to use straight lines because I want to exaggerate the angularity of the building. As you can tell, Procreate is a big help because if I draw a line and I hold my pencil for a second, then it automatically straightens, which is very helpful. Now, don't get caught up in too many little details. As you can see, I've closed this gap here, very narrow gap. I'm going to ignore this detail, this gap as well and the reason is that once this is filled with letters, the letters will have a wide space in-between them, all of them. Small gaps like these just won't translate well and they're also not really needed for the overall design. Of course, you are the judge, you decide which details are important for the sake of recognizability. You decide which ones to keep and which to scrap, which to ignore. I'm not too worried about making it perfect as long as it's straight and the overall proportions are right, then I'm happy. Let's see what it looks like without the image. Looks pretty good to me. That's step one. You can hide the image, we won't be needing it for now or ever. I'm not sure yet, but we won't need it for now, so hide it. Next step, writing the words. I'm going to start by creating a new layer and then the words that I am going to write are ANTWERP PORT HOUSE. I'm going to start by just writing it inside the shape. I first go just to see where everything can go and how well I can make it fit already on the first go. Now, as you can tell, I'm writing it in cursive because I want to go for a script style. If you decide on working with, let's say capital sans-serif, then obviously you need to write in uppercase. Always write according to the style that you choose. That's it, ANTWERP PORT HOUSE. Immediately I can see some challenges coming up. Some issues with the letters. For example, the ascender of the T of the R as well, actually here as well, the T of port is clashing with the T of Antwerp. The descender of the P, of port is also sticking out of the outline. This situation here, I'm going to use a different color quickly. It's more clear. I can tell that it's going to be hard to fill this space with the column and then the gap in between. I also have an empty space on the right of Antwerp here. These are some of the things that I will need to solve. Now that I've identified some of the issues, I'm going to start over on a new layer, keeping those in mind and trying to fix everything as I go. New layer, hide the previous one and start over. The first issue that I'm going to solve are the ascenders and descenders. How I'm going to do it is by starting every word with a capital, which makes sense. Actually because they're all proper nouns, they need to be written with capital anyway. That way the x-heights will reduce. The rest of the letters will become less tall, and this will create space for the ascenders. In the script style that I choose, a A is basically or very similar to a a. But the rest of the letters will become less tall. There is space for a nice loopy are just my thing, and a swashy cross bar for the t. As you can see, I made the second leg of the p taller than the rest of the letters. If you think back to the video about interlocking techniques, you remember that playing around with the letter size is one of the options to fill a space, and that's fine. But you always have to be careful not to change a letter into another one. What I mean is if I would do the same as I did to the e for example, I would make it higher. I would make a loop higher. Then it suddenly becomes an L, or it could start to look like an L. Same with the n. For example, if I would make, for some reason this leg of the n go down more, then you risk that the n starts to look like a p. This is because a lot of the letters of our alphabet are closely related. As I said, capitals for each words, this solves the problem with the descender of the p as well. I will have to write in a more condensed way to fit everything in the left parts. Post. A house starts with a capital as well. The crossbar fits neatly in this little space here and this exaggerated loop, almost like a double story o is always a nice way to fill up a space on top. In the end, I think I'm going to go for double story e like this because it's easier to make it taller without the risk of making it into an l. What I just talked about. Also like variation, it's another way of showing that you're not just using a regular typeface, but making everything from scratch. Now, we're just left with these two awkward spaces on the right here. Now, this could be an ideal opportunity to add, for example, a small illustration, a spot illustration. But I want to keep my design as much purely typographic as possible. I will need to think of some additional info that I can add to my illustration. Now, if Antwerp wouldn't be in the name already, the name of the location or the city of your landmark. That's a nice option, it's perfect option to add. I'm going to write it down for you guys. This would be an option. Since this is such an architectural masterpiece, the name of the architects is a very logical choice. I also think that adding stuff like the name of the architect or the architecture firm can be some courtesy or like a little gift to the viewer so they can have some information. Look it up. What else could I add? Maybe the year of construction in this case, 2016, or maybe some other interesting detail or anecdotes that's tied to your landmark, on the landmark that you chose. Anything that's relevant or could add some value to your illustration is right. I think I'm going to go with the date, the year, I mean for the column to fill up the column because it's shorts and I can easily stack the numbers. Let's see how that could look. Something like this. Remember this is just a sketch to see where everything goes. This is definitely not the way it's going to end up. The top space here is perfect for the architect's name, since it is such a famous architect and it's the last building that she saw completed before she died, I think it's certainly relevant. As you can see, I'm going for a different style. I'm going for all caps just for the sake of variation and also to make sure that readers don't accidentally think it's part of Antwerp. There is some contrasts. In order to make it even more clear, I think I'm going to do this again by because not everybody will know who Zaha Hadid is. If you add, by, then it becomes clear that she is the architect or at least I hope so. Everything is filled up very roughly, of course, still, but everything is in, and to report house by Zaha Hadid, 2016. Now I've drawn what we call the skeleton of the lettering piece. In the next step, I'll add weight to the letters, and then we can actually start filling, make them fill up space as much as possible. See you in the next video. 7. Refining: In this step, I'm going to flash out the lettering skeleton that I've just drawn. For me, this is where the real fun starts because you will see the letters come to life and the game begins, the game of trying to fill the outline as much as possible with letters. This is where I find my challenge. I often see the terms calligraphy and lettering used as if they're interchangeable and they're not. To simply put, calligraphy is writing and lettering is drawing. While the end result of both techniques might look very similar, the process is not. They're obviously closely related, calligraphy came first, and then came lettering or hand-lettering. That is why, even though this is a lettering class, we still need to follow some basic calligraphic rules, if we want our letters to look good. One of the most important calligraphic rules to follow is the weight distribution in letters. Where letters are thicker and where they are thinner, this is one of the things that beginners make a lot of mistakes. You might not realize it, but when you're writing, the letters that you're writing are actually made up of several strokes, combinations of strokes, and the order and direction in which you draw these strokes are more or less fixed. This is what we call the ductus. For example, when you're writing an e, this is an upstroke, and this is a downstroke and then a little upstroke again. Same with, let's say an a, upstroke, downstroke, upstroke, downstroke, and a little upstroke. B for example, downstroke, upstroke and downstroke and a little bit up again. Now when you're writing with a pointed nip or with a brush, as people did before the invention of sharpies and Apple pencils, then the downstrokes will automatically be heavier, than when you're going up. Because of the way these writing instruments work. This is where the contrasts in a letter comes from. People have been writing like this for literally hundreds of years and this has influenced what we collectively think of as harmonious, as good-looking. Even if you're not consciously aware of it, if you do it the other way around, I'll give the example of an e, so upstroke, downstroke, the downstroke is thicker. Wow, that just looks off, right? Just doesn't look good. Now, there is no typography police that will come and arrest you or fine you but it's something to keep in mind. If you want your letters to look good and harmonious. Now, although this is not a calligraphy class, as I said, these rules apply just as much to lettering as they do to calligraphy. You're, of course, much more free in your lettering than you are in your calligraphy because the instrument which you're drawing with, the Apple pencil, in this case, gives you much more freedom than an actual brush with ink. If you're not sure where you need to add some extra weight in your letters, where the correct weight distribution should be, it's always useful to write out the words first. Because you can write, you automatically do it correctly, in most of the cases. I will also add a cheat sheet for you to download with a whole alphabet and some quick tips concerning script lettering. Enough about this, I'm going to start working on my sketch. I will work on a new layer. Let's take this down. A new layer, make the previous one a bit transparent. But I will keep it as my base to start working from. All right, I'm still using the default appropriate pencil brush. In this stage, no need for other fancy brushes. I'm basically going to trace the skeleton and I will add weights. As you can see, I'm following the lines of my sketch, of the words that I drew. It's important to always keep in mind that letters are made up of separate strokes and you have to draw your letters accordingly, according to the ductus. For example, when I'm drawing a lowercase e, don't start by drawing a thicker outline, for example, and then adding an eye. Instead, follow the ductus and the skeleton and play some extra weight where it's necessary. This is a downstroke, the e, a downstroke, so this needs more weight than the upstroke. A quick tip when you're using hatching technique like this, if you zoom out a little bit, then the shapes become smaller and it's easier to get nice and tight lines. If you double-tap your Apple pencil, then you switch between the pen you're using or the brush you're using and the eraser. So double-tap. I usually take the same brush as my eraser, as the brush that I'm drawing with. In this case, it's not super important, but if you use the same brush for both, you keep the same aesthetics in the brush strokes, which I think is better. The lettering is coming along, the outline is starting to fill up nicely and it's starting to feel coherence. Now in the next step, I will bring in some architectural elements from the building itself, trying to push my lettering piece to a more distinct style. See you in the next step. 8. Adding Stylistic Flavor: In this video, I'll add some of the stylistic flavor of the landmark of the porthouse, in my case, to my lettering. If we go back to the piece and I turn off the outline and see what it looks like. It's beginning to look pretty solid. Now that I look at it like this, what bothers me is that some of the sites of the letters, for example, the a here, are straight because they border the outline, while the rest is very curvy. As we discussed, the architectural style of the porthouse is very angular. In fact, let's look at the reference photo again. It's here. Under reference, if you click on "Reference", you can choose whether it's your own Canvas, which comes in handy when you're zoomed in working on a detail, and you can see what it looks like as a whole, zoomed out. But in this case, we'll add an image, our reference image, import image, this one. Yeah, the building is very angular, very tight. I'm curious to see what happens when I replace all the curves in my lettering with straight lines. This is the kind of constraint that I really like when I'm lettering because it pushes me to come out of my comfort zone and into creative solutions. Working with only straight lines will be very limiting. But yeah, I'm curious to see what happens when I try this. On a new layer, again, to lower the opacity of the previous one, and I'm going to show the outline again. On this layer, I'm going to use a different brush, a cleaner one, inking. Let's use the studio pen, which I think from default brushes is the cleanest, tidiest inking brush. Now I'm going to trace my lettering with using only straight lines. The trick will be to find a balance between my design to keep the details, the intricacies of my lettering piece, and see how far I can go without losing feeling, without losing too much detail. Just like when I was drawing the outline, I'm going to use only straight lines, absolutely straight lines by holding my pencil after I draw a line. This is also a thing that once you're used to it, you really miss it when you're drawing on paper. One gets lazy pretty fast. One of the benefits of using a smooth and solid brush like the one that I'm using now, the studio pen, is that it's easier to fill your shapes with a solid color. Just make sure the shape is fully closed everywhere like this. Just drag the color into your shape. If you have overlaps like this, just take the eraser, open it up. Same here, up, and just drag it in. I'm going to continue on the rest of my letters for a while now, see you at the other end of the time-lapse. Look at how this decision has changed the overall look and feel of this lettering piece. This is actually one of the things that keeps working with letters. So interesting for me. What keeps it fascinating is that by changing the shape of the letters, you can create a whole new atmosphere. I sometimes compare it to body language for written words. It's not just what it says, what the words say, but also how they say it. Now, I'm working in a very angular way, in a very angular style because that fits the style of the porthouse. For your landmark, it could be something completely different. Try to look for elements in your landmark that catch your eye and that you can apply to your illustration. That can be something visual like, for example, decoration on the facade of your building and decorative elements, or something more organic like the shape of a rock formation. But it can also be something more conceptual. Let's say you're illustrating a landmark that was built in the roaring '20s. Well, maybe you can apply an element from that era to your lettering. So it doesn't have to be something purely visual, it can also be something conceptual. I'm going to dive back into my lettering piece now to make some more adjustments, to tweak everything and get everything more in proportion to my taste, and I'll see you in a few minutes. That took me a minute. Although I've been trying to fill up the space as much as possible with my letters, there's still some small empty spots here and there, but no worries because these provides a perfect opportunity to bring in some additional elements, some things that can actually add to your story. I'm thinking triangles in line with the visual concepts, but in your case, it can be anything. Space like this, for example, can be filled with maybe small spot illustration or a funny character, maybe even a tiny hidden message. Let your subjects inspire you, and let your creativity run free. That's it. I think I'm happy with how my lettering is looking at the moment. The only thing that's missing now is some color. In the next video, I'll put together a color scheme and I will add a background. See you then. 9. Color Palette & Background: We arrived at the second to last step in my process. The lettering is done, I'm happy with the shapes. Now it's time to add a splash of color. Up until now, I've only worked with black because for me using color during the sketching process, during my drawing process can be a bit of a distraction. I don't have to tell you that color carries a lot of emotion. Taste in color is a very personal matter and changing the colors of an illustration can completely change its mood, the vibes of a piece, so I'd rather stick to black when I'm still focusing on the shapes. But now we'll add a splash of color. By no means am I going to tell you what the right colors for your piece are. It basically comes down to choosing colors that convey the feeling that you're after. What I can do is show you how I pick my colors, but it's mostly intuitive. I don't follow a strict formula when I'm choosing colors and to be honest, I can get lost in choosing color sometimes because more often than not, there's more than one good option. Since I'm illustrating an existing building, let's look at the reference image again and see if we can find some inspiration there. Under actions, check "Reference", there we have the reference image I showed you in the previous video. What's immediately obvious to me is how the construction materials define the color of the port house. For the bottom parts that is made out of bricks, it's rather brownish bricks, a black roof, the top extension is covered in glass triangular tiles that reflects the color of the sky, so all grayish blue shades, and the concrete column here on the bottom right has a warm, grayish tone. I like these colors, fits the whole harbor theme. I think they might be a bit too muted, but let's use them as a starting point. Procreate has a very cool and easy way to let you use colors or import your own colors. If you go to, colors, right now, I'm in the classic view mode which features an RGB color space, a standard palettes and the last colors that I used, but if you go to "Palettes", you see there's all these different palettes. Actually, these are ones that I made myself previously. If you click the '' Plus Icon'', you can create a new palette. If you pick the top option, you create a new empty palette that you can fill with your own selection. Then there's three more options, new from camera which is very cool I think. You can just take a picture of anything with your iPad and that will translate into a new palette. New from file and new from photos, which is basically the same. I took some photos of the courthouse recently during a walk and I'm going to see if I can use one of those as the base for my color palette, so I'm going to go with, new from photos, then my photo opens and I have to scroll back a little bit. Let's see, right about here. I see some images of my dog, Hinder, and some images of the port house I think. This is a good one. Now you see there's a new palette created, a new color scheme with a lot of sandy and blue tones. I think this fits the harbor theme rather well, but it might be of a little bit too muted for me, so I'm going to add some colors that are more saturated, but still in the same bluish gray and green vein. You can do this by simply dragging a color up to your color scheme and it will replace the color. There is a lot of these sandy beige tones, a little bit too much and I prefer some nice blue tones. I think I'm happy with the color scheme. Before I drag color into my lettering piece, I'm going to split it up in three pieces according to the base color that I'm going to give him, which is brown for the bottom parts, grayish blue or blue for the top parts, and warm gray for the column. This way I can easily manipulate the separate pieces. Click "Select Them'' just drag it around port house, then with three fingers, the gesture, I can cut and paste which puts it on a separate layer as you can see. Now, I'm going to cut the column as well. Now, there's several ways of filling these letters with colors. One is just dragging the color in, so let's pick a brown base color for the bottom half. Make sure you're on the right layer, so this is the one that I need and if I just drag this color into the letter, it will change color, very easy. Now a second way is if you're in the layer with the column, for example, and you click on a layer, you can choose "Alpha Lock". If you check Alpha Lock, you will only work within what's on the layer. I don't know if it's clear to see, it's small, but the area surrounding letters is now checkered which means you cannot color it anymore. If I choose this gray, for example, and I pick an inking brush, a big inking brush like this one, and I start drawing then I will only color in the shapes and nothing of the surrounding. If I turn off Alpha Lock and I'll do it again, you'll see that I'm no longer bound to the shapes that are on the layer, so let's undo this. I think the gray is not warm enough yet, so let's do that again. Something like this might be better, something more warm, beige. "Alpha Lock" again, select the brush, of course and then do it again. I'm going to do the same for the upper parts. Let's go for a medium blue. Might be easier to just choose Alpha Lock if there's many little parts. Different vibe already, isn't it? Next step is a background, but first I'm going to remove some clutter in my layer deck. I'm going to group some of the sketch layers so I can get them out of the way. If you want to select multiple layers and procreate, if one layer is selected, you can add layers to the selection by gently swiping them to their rights and then you can choose "Group", so it's one group to my layer panel is slightly more organized. My idea for the background is to stick to the geometric theme, the angular theme, but I'm not going to make it too complex because otherwise it might start to fight for attention with my lettering piece and we don't want that. First I'll choose a main background color maybe this bright blue or this, I rather like is blue. Then on several layers on top, I'm going to add some simple geometric shapes. I'm going to keep them on separate layers so I can easily manipulate them, recolor them, or add special effects without affecting the other shapes. It will become clear what I mean in a later stage. Add new layer on top of my background and then with the studio pen brush, draw some random geometrical shapes and fill them with color. Another one there on top, maybe a dull blue. Because they're on separate layers, I can easily change the stack and the order of the stack. Let's add another one. This light blue might be too harsh, I think it's asking for too much attention, so let's pick another one, a more muted one from a previous palette maybe. See I like some color variation in the shapes, but not too much because as I said, it's going to start to ask for too much attention and it's going to fight for attention with the foreground, my lettering piece and that cannot be the intention. I already like the way that it's starting to look in flat colors, but it needs something extra. Next video, I'm going to add texture and add some depth to the illustration. See you in the next video. 10. Creating Depth & Texture: I hope your illustration is coming along nicely. The final step in my process is to add depth and texture to the illustration. I have nothing against solid, flat colors and flat design, but I think the right amount of texture and depth can make an illustration really come alive. I've talked previously about how the construction materials define the colors of my illustration piece. The construction and materials of the port house obviously, and I want to push that even further. Let's have a final look at the reference image again, once more, especially the top part. The new extension is important in this case because it's covered in triangular glass panels. The concept behind the upper part of the building is that of a ship going through water. You can probably recognize a bow here on the right. The same with the glass panels at the bow there, all neatly lined up in the same direction. Towards the back they become more and more random, so they are randomly placed. That's also why the color changes because they reflect different parts of the sky and the surrounding area. I think it could be interesting bringing this concept of the fractured surface into my lettering piece. I'm going to work on several layers and I'm going to use gradients inside the shapes of the letters to create the impression of a fractured surface, the look of a fractured surface, almost like a diamond, which is fitting because Antwerp has the largest diamond district in the world, actually. The reference can be hidden again. I'm going to bring the upper half to the top, and now we're going to work on new layers. First new layer. Another feature in layers is clipping mask. Clipping mask will only reveal what's drawn inside the contents of the layer below. In this case, Antwerp and by Zaha Hadid. To illustrate this, using our color, make it clear. I'm now drawing on the layer on top of Antwerp with clipping mask selected. As you can tell, there's only red within the confines of my lettering. I'm going to use a contrasting color so I can clearly see what I'm drawing on the light blue. I'm going to draw random shapes. The best result is achieved when I'm connecting corners. Because this will give the impression that it's really a surface that breaks and that's why the color changes. You can pick any color you want as long as it's easily visible because we're going to change that afterwards, anyway. I finished drawing all these sharp angular shapes on top. Within these shapes, I will now draw my gradients in a darker tone. This will start to give the impression of a fractured surface as you will see. First, I need to make these red shapes invisible, so to speak. I'm going to do that by turning them into the same color as the layer below the light blue. The way I'm going to do that is by clicking on the layer. We can select, this will effectively select every red particle, everything that's on the layer. If I then choose the same base color, then all of these will turn light blue. One of the ways to select the color is to tap and hold your finger on the right color. Everything is light blue. Now I'm going to start painting my gradients on the same layer. I'm going to choose one of the spray paints from the default Pro Grade brushes. It has a slight texture. By lowering the opacity of the brush, I will be able to really build up a nice and smooth gradient because that is what I'm after. Let's see which color to pick. I like this blue, darker blue, medium nozzle. Let's start painting. Before I start painting, one more thing. I need to select Alpha Lock to this layer. I will only paint within the shapes that I've just turned light blue without worrying to go outside of the lines. If I now start painting, gently brushing the sides, you immediately see the effects starting to work. Because I have Alpha Lock selected on this layer, no paint will go outside of the shapes. I don't have to worry about working too neatly. I'm not following an actual logic. It's more following my feeling. Seeing what looks good. I don't want to overdo the effects. It's building up, trying to create the impression of very sharp edges on this fractured surface. Let's do a couple more. If I overdo it, and I want to go back, I need to select the base color and paint with that. I cannot erase because I will erase the shape itself, not just the darker color. It's paint over paint, in this case. Play around with the brush size, the opacity to create the desired effect. It's really a trial and error process of painting and seeing how far I need to go to find the sweet spots for this effect. To enhance this effect even further, to make it even stronger, I'm going to add another layer with a light color, even white, I think. Then we have white, this light blue, and the darker shade of blue. Underneath this layer, I'm going to add a new layer. By doing this, it will automatically be in the Clipping Mask Mode. Only what's inside the shape of Antwerp and Zaha Hadid will reveal itself. Again, I don't need to worry about working within the constraints. Let's pick a white, same brush. Now the white will appear on the other side of the dark blue. Now the effect becomes really convincing. Now moving on to the bottom parts of the lettering. The first thing I'm going to do is make the shape of the letters, which is very sharp now, little rougher. The sharp edges are perfect for the glass surface on top. For the bottom part, I want it to be a little rougher and more textures. I'm going to use the dry ink brush. Again, one of the default inking brushes in Procreate. I feel it has a nice textured edge, this brush. I'm going to use the same color. I'm going to work on the port-house layer. Now I'm going to add some more texture inside the letters. I'm going to do that with texture brush pack from one of my favorite suppliers, namely Retro Supply Co. It's in the texture brush pack that's called Sand Specks. On a new layer, with clipping mask once more applied in a darker shade, let's do a darker shade, and see where we end up. This is where brush packs come in handy, when I use them mostly is for stuff like this. It's one more advantage of working on an iPad, and If you want to achieve the same results with analog tools, you would need to use something like a toothbrush and some actual paints, which works nicely, but it's very hard to undo once you've applied the texture then. When it comes to texturing, it's often just playing around with different brushes. There's no magic formula when it comes to the right texture, but it's really this trial and error and experimenting with brushes, and finding an effect that really pleases you. Now to really create the impression of volume in the letters of Port House, I'm going to add a strong shadow. What's important when you want to create a convincing shadow is to pick a light source and stick to it. In my illustration, I'm going to say the light source, the sun, if you will is in the top right corner. The shadows of the letters will be in the lower left side of the letters. I'm going to work once more on a new layer with a darker hue, something like this. I want to go for a really strong shadows, and I'm going to use the dry ink brush in the inking section because it has a nice texture to it. So I don't need to add an extra texture afterwards. I am going to engage the clipping mask, so I can safely paint wherever I want. Maybe this is a bit too harsh color, let's see. Maybe this is better, yes this is better. Imagining where the shadows would be if this was carved out of stone. This is a really fun part of illustrating, I think because I'm creating the illusion of depth of 3D just by adding shadows. Again, for my eraser, I'm using the same dry ink brush. I'm happy with the texture and shadows that I've created in Port House. Then there's only one final thing to do, and that is address the column just a little bit. If we take one final look at the reference image, you'll see that there's some shadow in the column because of the way that the concrete is poured, and I'm going to try and mimic that in a very simplified way. Let's switch to the column, add another layer. Once again, put it on clipping mask, select a slightly darker tone, let's see, maybe a bit accurate. With still the dry ink brush selected, add some shadow here on the inside of the column. Guys, I think that's it. I'm happy with my illustration of the [inaudible] Port House. It's a highly stylized, yet I think, easily recognizable illustration of the landmark, the [inaudible] Port House, so that concludes our class project. 11. Conclusion: Congratulations on making it all the way through. I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this course, you learned a few things, and that you were inspired to start illustrating objects with type. Now, if there's one thing that I would love for you to take away from this course is that our alphabet, all alphabets in written side, are endless sources for creativity, and that typography can be more than just something that you add to an illustration. It can actually be the illustration itself. I can't wait to see how you make this lettering technique your own. Please upload your class projects and let me know if you would like some constructive feedback. Don't hesitate to reach out to me here on Skillshare, on Instagram, Behance, or anywhere else. Thanks again for following my class. Keep learning and keep making awesome stuff. Cheers, guys.