Digital Lettering: Control Your Curves and Enhance your Designs | Martina Flor | Skillshare

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Digital Lettering: Control Your Curves and Enhance your Designs

teacher avatar Martina Flor, Lettering Artist, Author & Educator

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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

    • 1.

      Class Trailer


    • 2.



    • 3.

      Taking sketches into your computer


    • 4.

      Drawing with vectors


    • 5.

      Optical adjustments and best practices


    • 6.

      Choosing a color scheme


    • 7.

      Adding texture


    • 8.

      Take The Ultimate Lettering Quiz


    • 9.

      Final thoughts


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About This Class

Find out how much you really know about letters.

Meet Your Teacher

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Martina Flor

Lettering Artist, Author & Educator


Martina Flor combines her talents as both a designer and an illustrator in the drawing of letters. Based in Berlin, she runs one of the world's leading studios in lettering and custom typography, working for clients all over the globe such as The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, HarperCollins, Monotype, Etsy, Adobe, Mercedes Benz, Lufthansa, and Cosmopolitan, among many others.

Martina Flor earned her Master's in Type Design from the esteemed Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, The Netherlands. Since then she has dedicated a large part of her time to teaching lettering and type design. She has published two books in several languages, The Golden Secrets of Lettering and The Big Leap, and launch... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Class Trailer: Hi, my name is Martina Flor and I'm a lettering designer, living and working in Berlin. I run a studio in custom topography and lettering, and I work for clients all over the world. Many of us, create lettering by sketching compositions on paper and even finalizing the design on paper or on their iPads. However, some projects require this scalability and versatility and even the fine tuning that victory, drawing the provides. If you want to get all nerdy working on the curves of your letter shapes and adding visual depth to your design, this class is for you. You will learn an effective technique to draw with vectors in Adobe Illustrator or your favorite drawing app. I'll show you how to polish your shapes and make optical adjustment. Later, will we see an intuitive technique to find a color scheme for your art work. Lastly, we'll explore some effects and texture treatments to add tactile to your design. I'm looking forward to see you over there. 2. Introduction: Hello everyone, thanks for joining my class. In this class we are going to speak about digital lettering. I would like to start by speaking about the general Gs and the advantages of working with vector font lettering. I work mainly with digital lettering. What I really like about working with vectors is that you can have total control of your shapes. I always say that digital lettering is a design exercise because you're deciding the perfect shape of that curve, you're deciding the perfect shape of that flourish in all above your hand, being able to draw that shape. But it's about achieving with the technique we're using the vector-drawing, achieving that perfect shape you have in your head. So it's not so much about being a skillful with your hands, but it's a lot more about placing the points and moving those curves and handles in the places where you want to have them so that you have the exact shape you want to achieve. But one of the advantages of working with vector drawings is that they are scale-able. So you can, for instance, in logo-type projects, you can have that piece of lettering applied in very small sizes and even very big sizes. So the example of a brand that needs to use their logo type or their branding and lightning very different applications like on a billboard campaign and on a beggar gene and on business cards. So you make sure that your design will be usable on all these applications. That's why vector drawing is very useful, you can scale it as much as you want without losing sharpness. Another advantage of working with vector drawings or digital lettering is that it allows you to have a better control on your shapes. For instance, also in logo-type design. Very often you will need to have a design that also works in small sizes. So you will need to do some optical adjustments to your logo-types, so that it works in small sizes. And having a vector drawing allows you to have a better control of where the thin and thick parts of your drawing will seed, and to adjust that according to the size. Working with digital lettering also allows you to add a lot more layers of decorating elements and to be much more economical, after using those elements. In the sense that you can use parts that you have drawn before and we use them in other places. So you create sort of a modules within your flourishes or your decorating elements and you will use them in other places of your lettering. So it doesn't only apply to log-type design, but it also works with very elaborated designs with many layers of texture and decorations. So that with vector drawing, you can create very intricate designs where you re-use or copy certain parts and reuse them in other places of your composition. So that makes the whole process a lot more economical for you. So it's also great to work with compositions than involve other elements like photography or illustrations, so that you can create designs that involve several layers. So you have the layer of typography, the layer of the decorative elements the photography, the background and they can individually be edited without being collapsed in one layer. Last but not least, is that the digital environments provides you with a lot of tools that once you can use them properly and you learn to use them, you can fake a lifestyle in the good sense. That helps you a lot with your storytelling. For instance, you need to create a lettering that looks like it's made of gold or if you need to create a piece lettering that works with objects or it's made out of objects, for instance, if you need to create letter shapes that are made out of ribbon, then the digital environment gives you tools that allows you to better imitate the flow or the shapes of the ribbon. And that gives your lettering a lot of power to tell that story better. So vector drawing also has its challenges. As we move forward with our project, you will notice that vector drawing or working with vectors is in the very beginning, a very time-consuming technique. But as you move forward and you gain more experience with the technique, this technique will become your best friend. This the best technique than me and many other, letter designers and letters in the world use to better control their shapes and digitize their designs. Another challenge is that often when you digitize your hand drawings, you're vector drawings tend to look a bit more stiff just because we tried to normalize some of the shapes and some of the the curves. So we will see something needs to take care that doesn't happen, that we are able to translate the shapes that we drew by hand and their nature and their flexible appeal. We will work into translating those shapes properly in a vector drawing. The last thing is that in my look to digital. I think one of the biggest challenges of digital lettering is that at the end, it doesn't look too digital and that your design has some tactile feeling to it. So by the end of this class, we will look at techniques to add these tactile feeling to your design, and to add textures and then make it look non-traditional. So in the next lesson, we are going to look at our sketches and get them ready to each side. 3. Taking sketches into your computer: Let's speak shortly about the sketch that we're going to digitize. I would like to show you a little bit my process of sketching and show you the result or the resulting sketch that I am going to digitize and give you a couple of hints for you to get your drawing ready to be digitized. My process normally starts by hand on paper, and I like to start with a small thumbnail sketches, so in the small thumbnail sketches, I try different directions for my design. If I want to use cursive topography or if I want to use Roman topography, or if I want to create the composition in a way or another, if I want to use a slanted curved baseline. In the thumbnail sketches I try different options to solve my design. These are very small thumbnail sketches. I normally do them in a white piece of paper. Once I find a direction that I would like to continue with, I move on to a bigger sized paper like a letter size or something, in the range of a letter size paper. I feel that it's already enough space for me to work on the details and still not a huge drawing that is very time-consuming to draw. So this will be my first big sketch, and that is the basis of the rest of the process. From this sketch, I will look at it in a critical way and think of the things that I want to change, think of the things that I like and I want to keep, so I will work on top of this drawing with layers of tracing paper. On each layer I will pick up whatever I like or I will repeat and copy whatever I like and I would change the things that I don't like. I explained this process in detail in other classes of mine, like the golden secrets of lettering. I show the entire approach of this technique and this is a technique that has shown to be very effective to order your drawings because you don't have to start over again every time. That's great because it allows you to try a lot of different stuff. So in my work, I use this technique a lot and I use it every time I have to do a personal project or a claim commission. I use these layers of tracing paper and according to the project, it takes more or less layers to get that done. This process, for instance, took around seven layers. The first thumbnail sketches on paper and then the big sketch was the first step. Then I got to the final drawing or hand sketch, which is the seventh layer of this process. I like to number my layers so I can keep track of where I started and where I got. I think this is also a great exercise because you get to see, the transformation from the first sketch to the last sketch. It's a little bit of a magical moment because you get to see how far you got in just seven layers, so I think it's a good exercise to just keep track of how many layers you're working with. I like to work with sketches because I think it's a very good and effective way of solving most of the problems of your design, before you move on to the digital drawing. As I mentioned before, the digital drawing is a much more time-consuming technique, so the more you saw in your hand sketch, the better and faster your digital drawing will move forward. When I say solving most of the progress of your design is, how is the composition working? Did I solve that in my sketch? Are the letter shapes readable? Can I read that word? Is that problems solved in my design? Are all the features of my design in the right places? Is that also solved in this hand sketch? You will notice that the hand sketch, especially with this technique is a place where you can try out very different stuff and move very fast with it. In a couple of minutes you can create a new layer and try a different solution for your design and that didn't cost you much time. Whereas when you move on to the digital drawing, the things move a little bit slower, like plot points for every new thing you want to try. It takes a little bit of time, so it's much better to try all those things in the sketching part of your process, and not later in your digital drawing. That said, your drawing or your lettering piece will always move forward. This is not the end of the sketch, it is not the end of the world is not like you move on to the digital drawing and you would not be able to change any of the features of your hand sketch. The drawing will always move forward even when you move onto the digital environment, so don't worry you're not signing for any crazy venture here. You're just trying to solve most of the problems in the sketch to make your work easier in the digital environment. The last thing I would like to mention about working with sketches is that it's also very useful to work with clients. Creating a sketch once you get used to it, to create sketches by hand or even in your iPad. It can be a very effective way to test ideas with a client. In the case of a commercial commission, I will very likely send this sketch to my client. I will perhaps scan this and add some color in a very rough way just to show the client that there's an idea of this color scheme for this project, and I will send this sketch to the client. You solve most of the problems in your composition and in your lettering on paper or on your sketches on your iPad, now we're going to take this into the computer.. What I normally do is to scan my drawings in 600 dpi, so I can keep a digital documentation of my sketches, so you have a backup of your real life sketches. But actually you can also use your phone and make a picture and that is already useful to study your digital lettering. You can either scan this drawing in 300, 600 dpi or make a picture of them. We already have our drawing scanned or photographed, and this will be the basis for our vector drawing. In the next lesson, I will tell you a little bit about it in a specific technique to draw letters, shapes in vectors. 4. Drawing with vectors: The first step in your digital drawing is to have a rough digitization of your sketch. That means that you basically plot all the points or you place all the points on your drawing and you have a very rough first digital drawing. Of course, there's a lot of things to improve, there's a lot of polishing to make to your shape but I think it's a good exercise to always have that first digital drawing that is rough where you have all the points and then you start moving and shifting those points and placing them in the right positions and also working with the handles, and making sure that the handles have the length that they need. I think it's also a very helpful exercise to print out your designs. To just leave the computer for a moment and print out your design and see how it's looking, and be also critical with it. I did a first printout of my first digitization and I'm going to make notes of the things I want to change and the things I think that I am not looking good. My advice is always that the first digitization is also black and white. Lettering is about creating letter shapes and telling stories with letter shapes, your main focus should be your letter shapes. The best way of working on your letter shapes is to work in black and white in the beginning. If you want to add color, which we're going to do in the next lessons, then you can definitely do but first try to get the shapes as good as you can, and the best way to do that is to work black and white. A couple of things that I would like to change from my drawing, I think the overall shape is starting to look good. Although I feel that this heart is not exactly centered, I feel that this point should be the ending point of my heart or the ending peak of that heart should be centered, so I'm going to change that in the next steps. I think also I really like these incisions or these cuts on this drops. But I think that sometimes are starting to look a bit weird like an animal kind of shape. I need to take care that those shapes are not looking at something else. Because that will take my drawing in a different direction or my drawing will tell a totally different story. Here's a couple of things you can look at when criticizing or making notes on your first print out of your first digital drawing. I think one of the things about digital drawings that whereas some of your features or some of your shapes might have looked good on the hand sketch. Once you plot the points on them or you copy those shapes in digital curves, and they might not look as good as they used to in the hand sketch. That's because you're translating your shape in very sharp shapes, and you get to see all the bumps, all the mistakes. The first printout of your design is about finding those bumps and those shapes you want to polish next. If you look, for instance, at the shape of my V here is not necessarily a super rounded shape. I'm going to try to round that up. Some of my rounded shapes are starting to look a little bit potatoish, I call them. They're not super soft curves, but they are more like a potato like her. I want to change that or I want to improve that in my next steps. Another thing you can look at is whether your spacing is looking good or not. As you know, there's a principle that says that, "The space within the letter should be similar to the space between the letters." If you can put a certain amount of water inside the letter, you should be able to put a similar amount of water between the letters. Keep an eye on that when you're making notes on your printout. You can look at the weight of your strokes and see whether all your thin parts are looking thin or the same amount of thin or are having a similar weight. For instance, I noticed that the loop of my L here is having a different way that the look in the bottom part of my L. The bottom part of my L seems to be too thin in comparison with other thin parts of my lettering. It might be that in my next steps I need to change that feature in there at the bottom of the L. Then there's some places where I noticed that there is too much white space. I'm going to work on that on the next steps. I also noticed that the distribution of this little points that I'm using to compensate the white spaces in my composition are not equally distributed. There is a lot of them at the top of the design and there's very few at the bottom of the designs, so I'm going to change that in the next steps. I want to give you a couple more hints that have to do with different lettering size. If you're drawing Roman lettering or letter shapes with serifs or if you're drawing script lettering, so connected letter shapes then there's some techniques that can help you deal with that. 5. Optical adjustments and best practices: We have a scan or a photo of our hand-sketch and we're going to take it into our computer. I'm going to show you a technique to plot your point in a very effective way, let's say that. I've worked with sketches a lot so every time I work on a client project, I start by sketching that out by hand or on my iPad and I send the client a sketch of the assignment. Here's an example of a project I did recently for Independent Banker's magazine, I had to make a cover. This was the sketch that I created. What I normally do is, I add color to it so that the client can have an idea or get an idea of the color scheme that I'm thinking of using, and then once the client approves this sketch, then I move onto the digital drawing. The first digital drawing is very basic, very essential, is just about getting the shape of the letters right, and after that it comes all that it has to do with the treatments and the shadows and the textures, but what I think should be the main focus when doing lettering is that the shape of the letters are looking good. Once you have that right, then you can move on to adding color and texture and farther decorative elements. I do that every time I have a sketch, sometimes is roughers, sometimes is more polished and then once is approved, I move onto the digital drawing. This happens with decorative designs as well as with logotype designs. This was also a sketch for a logotype I created for a conference here in Berlin. This was hand sketch that I sent to the client and once that was approved, I moved onto the digital drawing. I worked on this drawing using a black background color, whenever you're working on negative design, try drawing the letters as well in the negative form. We're going to go onto the analog part from analog to digital, from your sketch to a digital version of your sketch. In order to digitize or to create a vector drawing from your hand sketches. There's couple of practices or techniques you can use. One of the most widely used is that tracing technique. The tracing technique I have created, I have my sketch here, my skin's get, and I have created another version of it, which is a high-contrast version of that sketch. If you take this sketch into an Illustrator file, in Adobe Illustrator, you can use the automatic trace tool that is pressing this button and choosing from the different categories and what it will basically do is to trace it into a vector drawing, it will turn your hand sketch into vectors. What this does is to actually turn your drawing into a lot of points. If you come closer to this, definitely this technique simplifies a lot of elements from your hand sketch, but it keeps some of the texture and what it does is that it turns your drawing into a lot of points. Whenever you want to edit this shapes, whether you want to change the shape of the E or change the shape of this drop here, then that will be rather complicated because you need to edit a lot of the points to actually edit that shape. I will say that in this approach we're having with this class where we want to have full control on the shapes, this is not the approach we want to use. The approach we'll want to use for gaining control over the shape of our letters is the so-called extreme points technique. The extreme point techniques is about using the fewer amount of points to draw your letter shapes. Let me show you the principle of this technique. Just go for a second to the basics of vector drawing in a vector application, what you're basically doing when drain with vectors is that you're using points and each one of those points have also two handles to them. This is the anchor point, these are what we will be calling handles from now on. With this handles and points, just by tweaking this you can get different reactions to your curves. You can work on a straight line, for instance, like here, or you can work on a curve line in this way, or you can have a semicircle, but what we will be repeating all the time when drawing with vectors is that we will try to keep those handles always sitting on as vertical and horizontal line. This will be our ideal use of those handles, that will not be. A very clear example of extreme points can be seen by just creating a circle on illustrator with the ellipse tool. Whenever you draw an ellipse tool in Illustrator, you will see four anchor points with their respective handles that we just spoke about those handles. This anchor points are located in the North, South, East, and West extreme maximum values of a curve. The sounds very technical, but you can you can see that these points are sitting exactly where that curve is touching those lines, those guidelines. As you can see that the handles are always sitting in the vertical and horizontal axis. To change the section of that circle, you just need to edit those handles, you need to edit whether those handles or the points. I think the ellipse principle is a very easy way to understand how the extreme points work, because you can always extrapolate it to your shapes. For instance, if I want to digitize this D that I digitized follows the same principle then digitize. Rounded shape. Whereas on this O, which is the simplest circular letter that follows the principles of the extreme points in the curves. If I look at the way the ellipse works in Illustrator and I try to take this into a more complex shape like this D that I have here, then I can apply the same principle that I applied on an ellipse into a more complex shape. You can see that all the extreme points are found on the vertical and horizontal lines. Let's talk about the tools. I am going to give you an introduction to the tools that we're going to work with. The Selection tools allows us to select and move and transform an entire shape. This is a completely Illustrator basics. It doesn't edit any anchor points or handles. The Direct Selection tool is the one that you will use to select your points and move them, as well as your handles. You will want to use Shift whenever you are editing your handles so that the handles always stay either in the vertical or the horizontal lane, and they always stick to it. If you press Shift whenever you edit your handles with the Direct Selection tool, then you will keep your handles straight. With the Pen tool, we will draw our letter shapes. By clicking and dragging, we will see how the curves are being drawn, like I'm doing right now. On the right, I'm going to do exactly the same, but I'm going to press "Shift" every time I drag my Pen tool. I click, drag, shift. Click, drag, shift. Always press "Shift". Click, drag, shift. This will always keep your handle sitting on the horizontal and vertical axis. Look how orderly this drawing looks on the right, whereas the one on the left looks very chaotic. So if we forgot to add a point to occur, we can do it with the Add Anchor Point tool by clicking on the line. We can get rid of those by using the Delete Anchor Point tool. Each anchor point normally has two handles, and they are always sitting under straight line, but we can break that by using the Anchor Point tool. Ideally, we will keep on pressing Shift so as to keep this handle also sitting on a vertical or horizontal line. We are going to get rid of this live tracing of our sketch, and we are going to bring the actual sketch to our board. What I normally do is took place the sketch as a background image of my drawing. I would name this basically the background. I always like to bring the opacity down of my drawing so that what I actually need is to slightly see what the shapes are so I can copy them with my vectors. But if that opposite is too high, then it's a little bit disturbing. I'm going to name this new layer vector drawing. As we just saw, I'm going to start by placing the first point, I'm going to use my Pen tool, and I'm going to click, drag, and press Shift. By pressing Shift, this handles are staying in the horizontal line. That's my first extreme point. I'm going to keep on doing the next extreme point. Another one here. Another one there. Another one here. I'm going to close this shape there. By pressing "Option", I break the handles so they don't stay in the same line, but they break. I'm going to draw again my extreme point there. Click, drag, press Shift. Click, drag, press Shift. These cuts here are very tricky. I'm going to cut corners here, so I'm going to break this point so that I can create a corner, and I'm going to use the Option key, press it now, and I'm going to bring that handle in the other direction. I'm going to go to this corner here. Again, press "Option" key and break that point. Here, I have an extreme point, and I continue drawing my extreme points. Ideally, the handles will share the work. For instance, here is a good example of it. Ideally, your handles will more or less have the same length, then you won't have the situation where this handle is very long, next to a handle that is very short, they will always share the work. The shape of your curve or how perfect your curve looks depends not only on the shape or the length of the handles, but also in the position of those points, so you might also want to reposition those points and get the curve exactly in the place where you want it to be. I'm going to continue drawing this shape here. As I mentioned before, ideally, you will draw your shapes and color them black. Because by coloring them in black, you can very clearly see what the shape of this letter is. I didn't complete my L, but let's deactivate the sketch. When the shape is just black on a white background, you can very well see where the problems are. I can see here that this curve is not super smooth. I can also see here that this curve has a bump over there. I will fix this curve by shifting those handles, repositioning the points. It's all about fine tuning. Once you lay out all of your points, then you can start repositioning them, shifting those handles. What I normally do is to lay out all of my vectors first, no matter how bumpy or weird the curves look. First, I will lay out all my vector points and handles, and later on, I will move on to polishing every one of the shapes. Just to recap a little bit what we have done so far, we have started with a hand sketch, we moved onto the computer. We took that hand sketch in the computer, and we made our first studio drawing, a very easy digital drawing, just to place the points in the right spots and to make sure that the letter shapes are looking good and to polish the letters shapes. Now, we are moving onto adding visual depth and texture to our design, and also work in a color scheme that helps us with our [inaudible]. 6. Choosing a color scheme: The color scheme you choose can have a huge impact on your storytelling. To make a point on this, I made the exercise of changing the color of some of the lettering pieces that I created in the base. I applied a different color scheme to see how the design reacted or the storytelling of my design reacted. The first example is a cover I created for Alice in Wonderland, for a Spanish publisher of Alice in Wonderland. The book was targeted to teenagers between 10 and 16 years old I think of all genders. This was the final color scheme and applying to this was the final design and the final color scheme as well and applying in a different color scheme to this design has a completely different appeal to it, tells a completely different story. On the left, you have the new color scheme, and on the right you have the original color scheme. It seems much more suitable for the old gender targeted group. There's another example of a project that I did for headline I created for a magazine here in Germany, where I had to illustrate the word Gelassenheit. Gelassenheit means that the translation to English would be serenity, whereas the design, the composition, the layout, and the color scheme speak very well about the concept of serenity. The same layout, a headline, and letters, shapes with a totally different color scheme, speak about something, a completely opposite. There's no serenity whatsoever in this piece of lettering with this color scheme whereas the previous or the original color scheme was very much accompanying this idea of serenity. In this lesson, we are moving towards adding color and facial depth to our design. Choosing a color scheme for your drawing or for your design is one of the first steps. What I like to use as a technique that is very approachable to choose color schemes for your design is to find inspiration in natural environments. As I mentioned in the very beginning, one of the challenges of digital lettering is to make it look not so digital. Getting inspiration from nature for your design is already like a very effective technique to make your designs look a bit more natural. If I have to work on a design that speaks about a certain season of the year. I will just go out and look for references of that season, if it's autumn I will try to find pictures that reflect the woods in autumn or a park in autumn and just pinch some of the colors of that photograph and use them in my design. Of course, that choosing a color scheme is not only about the colors, but also how they work applied in your design. If you have a set of four colors that you are going to work with, and it doesn't necessarily mean that all of them are going to work in the background, or all of them are going to be a good choice for the foreground. After you select a certain color scheme you're going to work with, you need to also make tests whether applying the colors in certain parts of your lettering work or help you with the readability of your lettering. If they help you tell the story you want to tell with the lettering. Once you have the set of colors you want to work with, then make some tests and tried to find different combinations of those colors in your design and see which one works better for you. By going back and forth between printing and correcting and coming back to my drawing, to my vector drawing to make those corrections, my design or my drawing also develops in layers the same way that we did it or I explained before that I did it with my hand sketch, that I develop the hand sketch with layers of tracing paper. The same way happens in Illustrator or so. Whenever I want to make a change, I create a new layer and I improve those shapes and I look at this drawing and I think of the things that I want to change and I create a new layer and I change the things I want to change, and so on and so on and so on. Every new layer is a change or an improvement of that drawing and is at the same time, the same drawing. I pick up the things that I like, I keep the things that I liked and that are looking good and they change the things that I don't like. Of course then comes the application of color. This one is a very easy, obvious one. But in my case, I wanted to create a silk print out of this design so I want to use the vector drawing with a one-color silk print. In the next lesson, we're going to look at how to add texture and visual depth to your lettering. 7. Adding texture: Lastly, I would like to give you some hints on how to add texture to your drawing, and also provide you of some textures that you can already apply on your lettering. Let's see that. I want to provide you with my favorite textures for you to get started with it. If you go to my website and you use drawingletters password, you can access to download some of the textures. You will find there are some textures you can work with, and I will show you how I use them by applying them on my own design. These are some of my favorite textures. One of them is the noise, this is a digitally generated texture and I like to use it because you just add a little bit of noise to your drawing, so it gets rid of that digital blain perfect looking effect of a digital drawing. There's also this old paper, I love the old paper, it has some darker, it gets darker towards the edges and it has a lot of noise and dust. Then I have a photocopy, a scan of a photocopy that applied very softly or in a very low opacity, it also adds a little bit of noise. A really rough photocopy scan, it adds a lot of noise and texture, and it can also create a woodblock printing effect and roll paint. You can actually create as many textures as you want, and my advice is always to take photos of things and scan materials and try to use them in black and white, so you can apply the color you want to them. I actually like to keep the old paper as it is because, the usage of this specific texture, it always brings a surprising effect and it also blends all your color scheme, I will show you how. I have my design here I actually put the red in the background and I made the heart or the love white, so I can apply effects and, I feel that it gains a little bit of contrast, and so I have my design in layers. I brought this from Illustrator to Photoshop, so I'm now working on a Photoshop file because I want to work with a few brushes, so in the case that I am only applying textures to the design like noise or old paper texture, I will probably choose to stay in Illustrator but in this case as I wanted to add details with a brush, then it's easier and faster to work on Photoshop and I have some of the textures I mentioned before, I have them here. For instance, I have the noise layer, so if we come closer to the design and I activate the noise layer, you can see that the background is having some of that noise. I also have a vignette, that makes basically all the edges a little bit darker, and it creates the effect of the vignette. I feel that if it's not too harsh, if it not too strong, it creates a focus on the center of the piece, so the love is light, is shining a little bit more. What I would normally do is to, first, I'd like to add a little bit of drop shadow behind my letters, it shouldn't be too strong, like this one, so the drop shadow shouldn't be noticeable, that's my personal taste. I feel that the drop shadow is just a very good way of creating some extra contrast to your letters, because it adds a darker area around your letters, but it shouldn't be too noticeable. If you come closer to the letters let me activate and deactivate this effect. You can see that the letters are gaining a little bit of contrast because there's a little bit of shadow behind them, not very noticeable, but there is something. They takeoff from the background and I like to use it for that reason, one of the options to add texture is to first add some shadow effects like the one I just did. Another thing you can do is to, for instance, add noise to your letters, so let me just bring the noise layer on top of the typography by activating and deactivating that layer. By using different blends, I can add a little bit of noise to the letters, so I'm going to select the typography and get rid of the rest of the noise so that I can lower the opacity of this layer and just have a little bit of noise, not too much, on those letters. Now there's no texture, now there's texture. The letters are slightly dirty and that's the whole point of adding a little bit of noise to them. What I like about the old paper texture is that it blends all the colors into some retro effect, so the whites will become a little bit yellowish, and the other colors will also have subtle yellowish tone, so by activating these layer and multiplying and changing the opacity, you can very well blend all of your color scheme into a retro looking color scheme. The last thing I would like to add is a little bit of shadows on those letters. I feel that they could have a much more volumetric effect or 3D effect without it necessarily being super digital. What I would do is to create to add some shadows manually, let's say with a brush in Photoshop, that gives the idea that the shapes are overlapping, for instance, in the L, the swash of the L is going behind the stem of the L and this swash as well. Doing that requires a little bit of detail work. I'm going to call this new layer shadow. What I would normally do here is to also use the vector drawing tool, so let me come closer to this shape. I will use this tool and to just copy the area I want to apply the brush tool, so here we are, and I will create the selection out of that, that means that whatever a do, wherever I apply the brush, it will stay only within this selection. By using a brush, in this case I'm using a dry brush, so I'm using this Kyle's ultimate pastel Palooza, and I'm implying a little bit of shadow to those edges just vary as if I will be actually manually using these brush. There you go. My first shadow, so I'm going to add some more shadow behind the other part of the letter that I want to add texture to. I'm just creating a very quick shape on top of that letter. Again, with the brush, I'm adding a little bit of shadow to it. I will just do it here as well. You can see it's very strong right now, but if you put the opacity down, you can very nicely get an effect of those strokes overlapping with each other, and it also has tactile effect. It's not a plane gradient on Photoshop or Illustrator it just feels something like it just has a more handmade fill to it, by using brushes, you can also add that effect to your design. This idea that I created on the L, I'm going to apply it on all the other letters and shapes. With this brush I added effect on all of my letters and you can see that they gained a lot of volume. It also added some of that treatment to the drops themselves and to the edges of the letters. They have a much more realistic fill without looking too digital and too realistic. That's a little bit of the idea of adding tactile effect to your design. You came from a process of working by hand, moving onto a vector drawing where you can control your shapes in a very precise way, and then you tried to take that perfect drawing into something that looks a little bit more realistic, more human, more warm and by adding this textures and working digitally by hand on them with this brushes and these shadows and these textures and these noises, you will add a little bit of that warmth that they last by drawing those shapes perfectly and by controlling the shape of your letters in a very precise way. I hope those tips are useful for you to add texture to your design and I'm looking forward to see those final digital letterings. 8. Take The Ultimate Lettering Quiz: The ultimate letter in Greece. Find out just how much you really know about letters by taking the quiz for free on Martina slash quiz. Enjoy. 9. Final thoughts: So now it's your turn and hopefully this class will help you along the way to get your hand drawings digitized. So to recap a little bit of what we saw in this class, we started by looking at what are the pros and cons of using digital lettering, or let's say like the advantages or challenges of creating lettering with vectors, then we're move on to getting ready our hand sketches to be digitized. So we solve most of the problems in our hand sketch, so that our digital drawing moves faster and more efficiently. We also looked at an effective technique to digitize letter shapes, the extreme points techniques which will hopefully be useful in your project. We looked at some hints to make optical adjustments and to better work with handles and anchor points in a vector drawing. We also looked at the technique, or a very intuitive technique to find a color scheme for your drawing or for your lettering. Lastly, we looked at how to apply a texture and create visual depth in your design. At the end of the day, lettering, as they always say, is about telling a story with letter shapes and the colors, the shape of the letters, the textures, and how this all comes together in a final piece is what actually tells the story to the reader. So the more tools you have to work creatively with letters shapes, the better for you, if a client approaches you with a project that requires certain scalability, then you have these tools now to work with that. So one thing I can tell you about digital lettering after years of working with it is that it definitely gets faster. The more you draw letters with vectors, the faster it gets. So whatever took you three hours to get ready in this class, you would take 10 ten minutes or 20 minutes in a couple of years. So stick to it. I promise that this technique is going to be your friend and it's going to allow you to work more efficiently with your pieces and also more efficiently with certain client projects. I'm looking forward to see what you'll come up with.