Simple Words to Stunning Art: Combine Hand Lettering and Illustration | Gia Graham | Skillshare

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Simple Words to Stunning Art: Combine Hand Lettering and Illustration

teacher avatar Gia Graham, Designer, Letterer, Illustrator

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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.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Art or Information?


    • 4.

      What Do You Want To Say?


    • 5.

      Method 1: Lettering Primary


    • 6.

      Method 1: Imagination


    • 7.

      Method 1: Implementation


    • 8.

      Method 2: Illustrative Lettering


    • 9.

      Method 2: Imagination


    • 10.

      Method 2: Implementation


    • 11.

      Method 3: Illustration Primary


    • 12.

      Method 3: Imagination


    • 13.

      Method 3: Implementation


    • 14.

      Printing and Display


    • 15.

      Thank You


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About This Class

Hand lettering is the skill of drawing words… but how do we transform basic lettering into a compelling work of art?

In this class, we’re going to explore how to level up your lettering compositions by incorporating illustration in three effective ways. 

This skill is essential if you’re interested in working professionally on editorial projects, if you want to create products like greeting cards and art prints or if you simply want to attract attention to your Instagram feed with more engaging artwork.

This class is not about teaching you HOW to draw, rather, we will dive into the principles of these techniques by working our way through the creation process from brainstorming ideas and sketching thumbnails to deciding which lettering and layout techniques to use and then finalizing the artwork by incorporating interesting details. 

By the end of this class, you’ll be able to transform a phrase with basic letterforms into a compelling work of art.

This is an intermediate class so if you are new to lettering, I strongly encourage you to first take these beginner classes:

You can also find many other wonderful lettering and illustration classes in Skillshare's Illustration category.

the principles in this class can be applied to analog drawing, however I will be working digitally on the iPad Pro using the Procreate app.

With those skills in place and a little practice under your belt, you’ll be ready to dive into this class with confidence. Now, if you’re ready to turn simple words into stunning art, let’s get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Gia Graham

Designer, Letterer, Illustrator

Top Teacher

Hello and welcome - I'm so glad you're here!

My name is Gia and I'm a designer, hand lettering artist and illustrator. I was born and raised in Barbados but I live and work out of my sunny home studio in the southern city of Atlanta, Georgia.

My creative experience ranges from corporate design and branding to art direction, photo styling and stationery design but my current focus is licensing my artwork to product based companies.

I've picked up several handy skills, tricks and techniques along my creative journey and I'm excited to share them with you!

. . .

I can't wait to see what you create so please be sure to post your class projects and if you share them on Instagram, be sure to tag me!

Speaking of Instagram, let's conn... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Intro: Hand lettering is the skill of drawing words. But how do we transform basic lettering into a compelling work of art? Let's find out. Hi, my name is Gia Graham, and I'm a lettering artist and illustrator originally from Barbados, based in Atlanta. In this class, we're going to explore how to level up your lettering compositions by incorporating illustration in three effective ways. This is an intermediate class. If you're new to lettering, I strongly encourage you to take my beginner class called hand lettering in Procreate, which will give you the fundamentals you'll need to know for this class. Another prerequisite I would suggest is my level up your layouts class so you'll have an understanding of the basics of a good layout. With these skills in place and a little practice under your belt, you'll be ready to dive into this class with confidence. In this class, we will explore three methods for incorporating illustration into your lettering work. The lettering primary method, the illustrative lettering method, and the illustration primary method. We will work through the process from brainstorming ideas and sketching thumbnails, to deciding which lettering and layout techniques to use. Then finalizing the artwork and incorporating interesting details. By the end of this class, you'll be able to transform a phrase with basic letter forms into a compelling work of art. This skill is essential if you're interested in working with art directors on Editorial Projects, if you want to create products like greeting cards, if you want to sell your hand lettered work as eye-catching art prints, or if you simply want to attract attention to your Instagram feed with more engaging artwork. By the way, all of the principles in this class can be applied using analog drawing. But I will be working digitally on the iPad Pro, using the Procreate app. Since this is not a beginner class, a little experience and a good grasp of the Procreate app would be ideal if you also plan to work digitally. I also want to make it clear that this class is not about teaching you how to draw. Rather, I'll be walking you through the principles of how to effectively combine hand lettering and illustration, and how to think through the process. I will also be demonstrating each technique along the way. Now, if you're ready to turn simple words into stunning art, let's get started. 2. Class Project: The project for this class is to letter and illustrate an inspiring or motivational poster. You're welcome to choose any quote that uplifts you. It can be something profound and thought-provoking or something that will just bring a smile to your face. The goal is simply to create a piece of art with a positive message that you can hang on your wall as a daily reminder. Your poster should be designed using one of the three methods we will cover in class. But if you'd like to challenge yourself, you're welcome to join me in creating three different posters, each using one of the methods I'll be teaching. Please be sure to upload your final artwork in the project gallery. You're welcome to share your sketches, thumbnails, and your thought process as well. To share your project, scroll down below the class video. Go to the Projects and Resources tab. Then click on the Class Project button. Name your project and upload as many images as you'd like by clicking the image icon where it says, "Add more content." You can also type notes or ask questions within the project area. Don't forget to upload a cover image because that's what will appear in the gallery view. Here in the resources section, you can download the class PDF, which includes a few sample quotes for you to choose from if you don't already have a quote in mind. If you have any questions for me, you can type them here in the discussion area. I want to create a sense of community amongst students. Scroll through the project gallery and when you see a project you like, support your fellow classmate by liking their project or leaving an encouraging comment. I can't wait to see your creations. Up next, we're going to start by figuring out what differentiates art from information. Let's dive in. 3. Art or Information?: The first big question we have to tackle is, what is art? We all know that art is subjective, but can it be defined? Well? Yes, it can. Art is defined as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Without the skill, imagination, or emotional power, a group of words would just be information. Let's break that down. Within the context of this class, the creative skill would be your proficiency in hand lettering and illustration. Imagination comes into play with your ability to conceptualize and come up with new ideas for how to communicate a concept. The beauty lies in how you choose to implement your ideas. It would be the methods, styles, and embellishments you choose to incorporate. When these things are combined well, it will elicit an emotional response, meaning that it will resonate in some way or another. That emotion can range from something as simple as a head nod in agreement to a smile all the way to having a deep lasting impact. With that in mind, we have a formula to refer to. The art formula would be imagination plus implementation equals emotional impact. I would actually add to this to say that content plays an important role as well. What you're seeing, especially with lettering art, can be just as important as how you say it, meaning how you choose to express it creatively. I would add to the formula to say content plus imagination plus implementation equals emotional impact. With these factors in mind, we now have a roadmap for how to turn simple words into stunning art. Let's take our first steps on that journey. Up next, we'll choose a quote. I'll see you in the next lesson. 4. What Do You Want To Say?: As I mentioned in the last lesson, content plays a big role in our formula. What do you want to see? What message do you want to convey? What is the purpose of the message? These are all things to consider when deciding what to letter. Our project for this class is to letter an inspirational or motivational quote. We already have a framework to work within when deciding the content of our piece. Now, I don't want you to get thrown off by the terms inspirational and motivational. I'm one of those people who tends to roll my eyes at overly [inaudible] quotes, so we can absolutely avoid the cheesy phrases likely to be found on your grandma's wall calendar, unless you're into that. For example, I saw a quote online that said, 'cupcakes are muffins that believed in miracles, think like a cupcake.' That's motivational in its own silly and ridiculous way. Feel free to think outside the box or be as traditional as you'd like. If you need a little help to get started, I've included a few quotes to choose from in the class PDF guide, which you can download in the Resources section. The quote I decided to use is 'flowers grow out of the dark moments' which is a quote by Corita Kent, who was an artist, educator and advocate for social justice. 2020 was a year none of us are likely to forget. This quote is a great reminder that good things can happen despite dark times, and as we move into a new year, there's hope for brighter days blooming ahead. I will be lettering and illustrating this phrase in three different ways. Let's start with the lettering primary method. See you in the next lesson. 5. Method 1: Lettering Primary: The first technique we're going to use is the lettering primary method. This simply means that the lettering takes center stage and the illustration is the supporting act. The illustration is there to enhance and bring life to the lettering and make the piece more visually engaging. As the supporting act, the illustration should add to the lettering, not distract from it. Here are a few things to consider. You want to make sure that your artwork is balanced, although the lettering is the star of the show, the illustration shouldn't be too small and out of proportion. For example, the lettering here is quite bold, so I use these big Billie Blooms in the surrounding florals to maintain balance in the piece overall. If the flowers were much smaller, they would be dwarfed by the bold lettering. Make sure there is some interaction between the lettering and illustration, so the composition feels cohesive and intentional. You don't want your illustration to feel like an afterthought. Here in this example, the leaves and floral weave in and out of the lettering. I incorporated these banners and flags which help illustrate the message. Although it's great to have the elements of the composition interact, you'll want to make sure that the illustration does not affect legibility. You still need to make sure that the lettering is easy to read. For example, you wouldn't want large areas of the lettering to be hidden behind the illustration. One of the best ways to quickly make a composition more compelling is to create movement in the piece. When there's a nice flow, it helps the viewer's eye move around the piece, taking in all the details. Now you have the option to make the illustration purely decorative, like in these examples. Or elements of the illustration can relate to the content in some way. For example, I included lemons as the decorative element in this California piece because of the fact that so many Californians are lucky enough to have lemon trees in their backyards. The illustration relates to the content. Here I included a little potion bottle and magic dust surrounding the lettering, both of which relate to the message. To recap, in the lettering primary method, the lettering comes first while the illustration enhances it. Remember to consider balance, interaction, legibility, and movement. With these things in mind, we can start brainstorming a few ideas and get our imagination going. See you in the next lesson. 6. Method 1: Imagination: Time to start getting ideas down. I've written out my quote, not only to help with the brainstorming process, but it's good to have it nearby to glance at while sketching, to ensure that you don't forget or misspell any words. By the way, since I will be printing this out as a poster, the canvas size I'm using is eight by 10 at 300 DPI. Eight by 10 is an easy-to-frame size here in the US. But if you're in a different country, feel free to use whatever size is standard where you are. Three hundred DPI gives me the flexibility to print this up to double the size, while maintaining good resolution and print quality. The first step would be to do a little brainstorming. You would study the quote and jot down any ideas sparked by the words or the overall meaning of the quote. In this case, the quote talks about flowers growing. I already know that I want to incorporate a floral border somehow, and this is a lettering primary method. I think I'm going to have my lettering stacked in a fairly simple layout, and I'm going to incorporate some floral details around the lettering. The first thing I'm going to do is just a quick outline of the area where I want my lettering to go, making sure I leave enough space for the floral border. Now I'm just going to jot down the words really loosely within this area in a fairly simple stacked layout. Now right away I noticed the grow is much shorter than flowers, so if I want this all to line up perfectly, I may have to make an adjustment for that, we'll see. Now, here's where the imagination comes in. How do I make this interesting? My first thought is, rather than trying to make grow line up with flowers, I can actually make it a little bit smaller, and leave room for these three short words here, which I can possibly put on an angle that might be interesting. By the way, a note about putting text on an angle. Even if your baseline is on an angle, your lettering should always remain vertical. A common mistake I often see is when beginners tilt the entire word to follow the baseline, which affects legibility. If the viewer needs to tilt their head to read your lettering, then something is not quite right. Instead of tilting the entire word, you want to have your letters stair step their way upwards. Each letter should remain vertical as they climb the incline. Now this feels a little bit tight, so I'm actually going to take away this word, and just center out of, in this space. I'll put the here alone on a line, which I think will work because it will help break up the layout a bit so it doesn't feel too repetitive. Now I'm going to keep dark moments stacked, and this can now come up a little bit. Here's a starting point for the basic layout, so now we need to think about lettering style. Right away I see a great opportunity for a ligature here with the R and S, this can swerve downwards and connect with the S here. I can probably do something fun with the L and the O, if I create a flourish here on the leg of the L, and maybe make the O smaller, so then it's cradled by that curve in the L. I can do something similar with the R and O here. The leg of the R can curve upwards and the O can sit in the space nicely. By the way, that visual repetition is a great way to help a layout feel cohesive. There might not always be an opportunity to do it, but if there's a way to incorporate that repetition, I say go for it. Now another thing I notice is these letters are getting pretty tight here. A good way for me to save a little bit of space, is if I bring this over and I can talk the L a little bit under the top arm of the F, and that way I can slide these over a little bit to give myself more space. Now so far I feel like these words are lining themselves to a serifs style. I'm going go ahead and add few serifs. Now remember, we're still just working things out and this phase is still really rough, so no need to worry about refining the letter forms just yet. Since these two words are so small, I'm just going to leave these as a really simple sans-serif. Maybe just thicken them up a little bit. I think it could be fun to have the T play with the curve of the R here, so I might do something like this. Now dark gets a little tricky because it's a short word, but I do want it to fill the entire width of the layout, so I'm going to need this to be a fairly short but extended style, and I'll make this a pretty solid sans-serif. From moments, I think I'll go ahead and use a similar serif that I used at the top of the layout that'll help bring things full circle. Well, there's my rough plan for the lettering part of the layout. Now I need to figure out the floral border. I'm going to sketch this on another layer so that the lettering layer stays intact in case I need to make any changes. The first thing I want to do is start to just map out a rough idea of how to arrange the leaves and flowers. This is where I start to think about movement. I want the leaves to feel like they're flowing in, out, and around the lettering, and filling any dead spaces that the letters might create. I can just start with a few lines to get a feel for what the movement could look like. I can maybe have something going up this way, this flowing down this way. Again, that's just to give me a really rough idea of where I could possibly take things. Now I'm just going to use this as a little bit of a guide to start drawing in my leaves and flowers. Remember the illustration should feel integrated, so I don't want to make a rigid rectangular border that's completely separate from the lettering. I want to find opportunities for interaction between the two. For example, it might be fun to have a flower wrap around this top bowl of this S. I can call out this smaller text by circling it with a stem. There's this dead space here which I can have a couple of leaves flowing into. I'm going to pause and pull back for a moment to see if everything is feeling balanced. I have a couple of flowers here, but for the most part, the leaves and stems are relatively small. I think it would be nice to have at least one large flower to help give a little bit of contrast and balance out the layout a bit. Maybe I can put a large flower right here, because it would also act as a visual stopping point for the phrase. But of course, I don't want to hide half of this word. That gives me an idea. I can actually change moments so that it is in more of a triangular shape which would allow me to do a little bit more with the floral border without hiding the entire word. Having this on a different angle will also help bring a little bit more variety to the layout. I'm just going to adjust the lettering so that it's on an angle. Again, even though we're going up a slope, all of my lettering is going to remain vertical. You'll notice that I've angled the last arm of the E so that it follows the angled baseline. But the letter itself is still vertical. This makes for a slightly quirky letter form, but stylistically it's allowed. The other thing that gets tricky about lettering on an angle like this is placing your serifs. Sometimes it's hard to know whether or not you should follow the angled baseline with your serifs or if you should keep your serifs straight. I think there's wiggle room here to choose whichever looks right. In this situation, I'm going to go ahead and follow the baseline with my serifs. Now I can go back to my border, and I can add this large flower here. It will overlap some of the letters, but it's not going to hide so much of the word that it's difficult to read. Then I can fill this area with leaves, and I can have some of those fit into these little open spaces created by the words. Maybe a few might overlap as well. I have just enough room here for the attribution. When lettering someone else's quote, it's always best to include the credit within the artwork. I feel pretty good about where this is going. I'm going to go ahead and join those layers, reduce the opacity, and then add my guides and start to refine the sketch. If you're uncertain about how or why it's important to work with guides, please refer back to Lesson 4 of my hand lettering class or Lesson 11 of my layouts class. Here's my final sketch. Up next, we'll think through color options then ink, and complete the piece. I'll see you in the next lesson. 7. Method 1: Implementation: Now it's time to finalize this artwork. This is a stage where everything comes together because the choices you make during final implementation can make or break a piece. I've already picked a color palette which includes eight colors. Now, I typically recommend sticking to between five and seven colors when creating a palette, so eight is a lot. However, it works here because several of the colors are in the same family. As you can see, there are really just three color families I'm working with: the greens, oranges, and purples. Having multiple shades in the same color family gives me more opportunities to create depth and dimension without making the palette feel too busy or disjointed. If you struggled with color selection, you can take my color palette class to learn how to pull together a cohesive palette. Or if you're looking for colors to work with right away, you can access my archive of color palettes by signing up for my email newsletter. Before I start inking, I'm going to plan out the placement of my colors with a quick color test. I usually do this on a layer below my sketch. I'm going to reduce the opacity on my sketch layer. Again, this is just a quick test, so it will be loose and a bit messy, so you don't need to be too precise here. I've already added all of my colors in a palette, and now it's just time to think through my choices. I think it would be bold and effective to have colorful flowers and lettering against a dark background. The first thing I'm going to do is choose this really dark green for the background layer. Now, it's hard to see my sketch against this dark color, so I'm just going to bring up my opacity here. This brighter green seems like a logical choice for the leaves, so I'm going to really loosely just place that color. Right now I've got this bluish-green, the oranges, and purples left, and, of course, there's white, which I always consider to be a bonus color. I think the oranges and purples blend themselves well for the florals. I'm going to use this bluish-green color for the lettering. I think that color will contrast nicely against the dark background and that will help the lettering stand out. Again, I'm just going to really roughly fill these areas with that color. Remember, I'm working on a layer below my sketch layer. While I'm doing this, it looks a little odd because the color is behind the pencil sketch, but once I'm done and I remove the sketch layer, it will all come together. Let's take a peek at how that's looking so far. I think that's working well. I think I'm going to make out of white so that it stands out really nicely. I can actually do the same with the attribution and make this white as well. I like how that looks. It's a small difference between the white and this bluish-green color, but just that slight change helps to bring a little interest to the layout. Now, for the remaining florals, the key is to position the remaining colors evenly among the flowers so that I don't have several of this same color clumped in one area or another. I'm going to start with this large flower in the coral color. To help balance things out, I'm going to add another coral flower at the top. Now, these two flowers are similar shape and almost the same size, so I'm going to make this one the lightest color, this pinkish-purple, just so that it falls back a bit and doesn't compete with the coral flower at the bottom. Again, balance, so I think I'll incorporate that light color in this flower as well. I'm actually going to make this one and possibly this too toned, so I'll have that really like pink and then the lavender. Now, let me turn off my sketch layers to see how this is looking. I think this is looking nice so far. Now, as I mentioned before, having multiple shades in the same color family makes it easier to add details and dimension. Here, for example, on the coral flower, I can add some line details in the orange, and I can do the same with these lavender and pink flowers. I can go in with a darker color and add some detail. All I've got left are these little stamen, and little specs and details, and I think I'll make those whites. I think that's working well. The lettering stands out and the color placement throughout feels well-balanced, so I'm going to start inking. I like to ink each color on a separate layer. I'm going to use this color test as a reference, so I'll know which objects need to go on which layer. I'm going to take a screenshot. Now, that screenshot is saved to my camera roll. I'm just going to go to the Actions menu, turn on the Reference toggle. Now, as you can see, the reference window automatically defaults to your Canvas. You'll see here if I change anything on my Canvas, it will reflect in the reference window. But that's actually not what I want. I want to use my screenshot image as my reference. I'll go here to Image, Import Image, and then I can select the screenshot that I just took. You can tap on this reference window, make it as small or as large as you want, and when you tap the center, the frame disappears. I'm going to turn off my color test layers, turn back on my sketch layer, and to make this easier on myself, I'm going to change the background back to white. I'm going to reduce the opacity on my sketch, create a new layer, and I'm going to ink everything that's going to be in this blue-green color, so all of this lettering, I'm going to ink together on one layer. I've inked everything that's going to be in this blue-green color, and it's all on one layer. Now, I'm going to ink the white lettering. I'm going to create a new layer and start working on that. Now I'm going to go on to inking all of the leaves that are going to be on the green layer. As you can see, I like to ink everything in black first and then add color later. It's much easier for me to just turn on Alpha Lock and switch the color of an entire layer all in one go. But this is just my personal preference, you're welcome to follow your own process for inking and do whatever works best for you. I've completed all my inking and here's my final piece. I decided not to add a drop shadow or any additional detail to the lettering because I think it would negatively affect legibility. With the ligature, flourishes, and angled words, I think there's already enough happening and any additional detail would be overkill. Let's recap. I used the lettering primary method for this piece. I made sure to keep the lettering legible, the illustration is creating movement, the piece feels balanced overall, and the illustration is interacting with the lettering. Now let's explore the illustrative lettering method. I'll see you in the next lesson. 8. Method 2: Illustrative Lettering: Now, let's talk about the illustrative lettering method. In this technique, the lettering and illustration are combined. Either the lettering is created by drawn objects or it takes on the characteristics of the word or phrase. In this example, both techniques are employed. Because the letter forms in camp take on the characteristics of firewood, while the word fire is created out of matches. Here's an example of letters being created just by drawn objects. Here, the message is about flourishing so the numbers are drawn to reflect that concept of growing and thriving. Here are a few things to consider when using this method. It's very easy to go overboard with illustrative lettering. Remember that every word in your quote does not need to employ this method. If the phrase or quote is short, it can be quite compelling but for longer phrases, it may be more effective to choose one or two key words for the illustrative lettering and a simpler style for the rest of the phrase, like in this example shown earlier. A common mistake I often see is when an object is forced to become a letter form, even when it's clearly not a good fit. In order for an object to pass as a letter or word, the shape of that object needs to mimic the basic structure of the letter form it's trying to represent. For example, you can fashion a recognizable B out of bacon but out of broccoli, that's a bit of a stretch. Sure, someone could eventually figure out that this broccoli is supposed to be in the shape of a B but it's not a quick and easy read. It's important to make decisions that make sense. Forcing it will become more of a distraction than an asset. That ties right into legibility. Yes, it's fun to get creative but the primary objective is to keep your work legible. Hand lettering doesn't do its job if people can't read it. Feel free to sketch your wild and crazy ideas but before committing, have a friend or family member read it. If it's not immediately obvious to them, then revisit your idea with a more scaled back approach. To recap, with the illustrative lettering method, the lettering and illustration are combined so the letter forms take on the characteristics of the content. Remember to show restraint with your choices. Don't force it, and as always, keep it legible. Now, let's put all this into practice with a bit of brainstorming. I'll see you in the next lesson. 9. Method 2: Imagination: As I mentioned at the beginning of the class, I'll be lettering the same quote using all three methods. I'm working with the same words, but the visual interpretation will just be a little bit different. Now as far as ideas go for how to illustrate these letter forms, the first thing that stands out to me is grow. I think it would be interesting to make the letters look like leaves or vines by creating flourishes that mimic stems growing and reaching for light. Since illustrative lettering can be a bit ornate, I'm going to keep the layout for this one quite simple as well. I'm just going to start by sketching a very simple skeleton for my lettering. Now I can look for opportunities for adding the flourishes. The arm of the F could create a good flourish, maybe something ending in a leaf. An L is always a great place for adding flourishes. Maybe I'll put one here. Really, any of these terminals could potentially end in a flourish. I'm just going to play around and see what works. Now as I pause to take a look, I can see that I'm starting to go a little bit overboard, so I'm going to scale things back a little bit. I'll reduce the number of flourishes or maybe just simplify them and maybe even use fewer flowers or make them a little bit smaller. Yes. If these words are the leaves and stems growing upwards, dark moments can become the roots to really ground the piece. I can make the lettering much heavier. Rather than forcing it by trying to draw roots and turning those into letters, I can just give the impression of roots by adding some line details. Now these small words won't be legible if I make them too elaborate. I'm just going to leave those as a simple sans-serif. Now that I have a good idea of what I want to do, I'm going to go ahead and finalize the sketch. There's my final sketch. Up next, we'll talk through how I implement the final details. I'll see you in the next lesson. 10. Method 2: Implementation: I'm ready to ink and finalize this piece. As I mentioned before, I'm going to be using the same palette on all three pieces. I will start with a color test as usual. I'll reduce the opacity on this a little bit and work on the layer below. With its web of roots creating an underground feeling, it makes sense to have dark moments in the darkest green. Then this lighter green will work well for flowers grow. Since 'out of the' is quite small, I'm going to make that in the dark green as well so it stands out. I'll just take a peek, see how that's looking. Flowers grow is uplifting part of the statement and the lighter green already helps with that. But to make it even brighter and happier feeling, I will add the flowers in the purples and coral shades. I like how this really stands out, but I do want to make the entire piece feel cohesive. I think what I'll do is make some of these smaller leaves this dark green, and that will help tie everything together. I think that helps bring things together a little bit more so it doesn't feel like it's two separate pieces of art. I feel pretty good about this color placement. I'm going to go ahead and get started with inking. As usual, I'm going to ink in black first, placing each color on a different layer and I'm going to use this color test as my reference. It's also nice to introduce a bit of texture into your work. It doesn't have to be too blatant or overpowering. A little can go a long way. I'm using the dry ink brush for this. It's really important not to skip the details. Even though they might not be immediately obvious when someone first glances at your piece, they really do help bring the work to life. I think it would be nice to have some delicate line details in these letters and in the leaves. This will help create movement in these letter forms. If I make the details the same dark green, it will again tie in to the lettering below. I'm going to use my textured dry ink brush. I'll just go in and add a few lines to each of these letters. I want this to feel natural and organic, so I'm not going to worry about being too precise. Now for the roots, I've inked all the roots in black and I have them on a layer above the lettering. Let me actually reduce the opacity here so that you can better see what I'm doing. The roots are on a separate layer. The trick here is that I want the roots to be visible and add some interest to this lettering, but I don't want them to be too distracting. What I'm going to do is create a slightly lighter version of this dark green, maybe something around here. I'll fill that layer with the lighter version. Then I'll add a little bit of shading to help bring the contrast down a little. I'll go back to the dark green, create a clipping mask above the roots layer, and I'm going to use the noise brush for this. I'm just going to go in and add a little shadow to those edges, which will help create some dimension on these routes. I can even come in and add a little highlight as well. I think that adds quite a bit of interest without being too distracting and the words are still legible. I also decided to add a few other root details in the background. Now let's take a look at where we are. I think it looks fine, but I'm not too thrilled about the white background. I feel as though it feels a little bit flat. I'm going to add color to the background and I actually think a gradient would be nice. I think I'll start the gradient with the blue-green and work my way down to this screen. Actually I'm going to make a lighter version of this blue, which will go at the very top. That will give more range in color and the gradient will appear a little smoother. Let me create a lighter version and I'll start that here. These are the three colors I'm going to use in my gradient. Now I'm just going to start blending. For blending, I'm going to use the smudge tool and I have it set to the noise brush at the largest size. The trick with gradients is to just really work on that blend so you don't see any sudden color changes. It just takes time. You just have to keep working at it until it smoothes itself out. I think that's smooth enough. I'm just going to add a few final details. There's my final piece. In the implementation of this piece, I used color placement to help tell the story by making the most important part of the quote brighter, reiterating the optimism in those words. I used tone on tone colors here to stop the illustrative details from becoming overpowering and adding the gradient in the background helped to tie everything together. Let's recap. I used the illustrative lettering method for this piece. I showed restraint by scaling back my original idea when it was going a little overboard. I made choices that didn't feel too forced, and I made sure the lettering was still legible even with all the embellishments. Up next, we're going to tackle the last technique, the illustration primary method. I'll see you in the next lesson. 11. Method 3: Illustration Primary: The last technique we're going to explore is the illustration primary method. In this case, the illustration becomes the dominant feature and the lettering is creatively built into the scene. With this method, the illustration is doing the heavy lifting. It needs to encapsulate the message of the phrase in a clear visual weight. The lettering then serves as the supporting act. Here are the things you'll want to consider when using this method. The most effective way to lead with illustration is to keep your imagery simple and succinct. Rather than aiming to create a complex classical painting filled with layer details and hidden meanings, you want to take a more straightforward approach so the viewer gets the message fairly quickly. In some cases, you'll be able to interpret the words in a literal way. But in other scenarios, you'll have to use context clues or wordplay to help get the message across. For example, this piece was about the effort to save the US Postal Service. I used a postage stamp illustration as the vehicle for the message. Here, this piece was about the one thing I missed most during the pandemic. Taking the literal approach of drawing kids being driven to school didn't make sense. In this case, I used the context clues of school supplies to illustrate the idea. Here's an example of using puns or wordplay to illustrate your idea. I created this piece to celebrate my first staff pick for one of my sculpture classes. I used the phrase just picked, an illustrated freshly picked fruit for a fun, puny approach. Even though the lettering is secondary in this technique, the words shouldn't get lost in the image. You still want the lettering to be easy to spot and easy to read. A great way to approach this technique is to let the shapes of the illustrated objects act as guides or containers for your words. This is not only a wonderful way to combine the lettering and illustration, but it also creates opportunities for fun lettering choices. Just remember to avoid stretching the letter forms beyond recognition. To recap, with the illustration primary method, the illustration comes first and the lettering supports the scene. Remember to keep the imagery simple and succinct. Keep your words visible so the lettering doesn't get lost in the illustration. Feel free to use the shapes of the objects as containers for the lettering. Up next, we're going to do a little sketching to pin down a few ideas. I'll see you in the next lesson. 12. Method 3: Imagination: Since the illustration is the main focus, it makes sense to start with a few sketches to see which idea has the most potential. These can be small thumbnail sketches if you prefer, but I'm going to make mine large just so it's easier to see on screen. For this one, I want to take a fairly literal approach and have some giant flowers growing out of the ground. I just need to think through what the flowers would look like and where the lettering would be placed. I could potentially put all of the lettering here, but that wouldn't be very dynamic. I could adjust this and make the ground curved, that might be more interesting. I need to adjust the shape of the flowers so that I can use those shapes as containers for the lettering. I'm going to try making the flowers a little larger. I can possibly add some lettering in here and then I can also use this space for lettering as well. By the way, you can see that I've split apart a couple of the words. This is a valid option for stylizing your lettering, especially when you're building it into an illustration, as long as you maintain legibility. There are two tricks to this. The first thing you want to do is split the word in a logical place so that each section can be easily read. So here you see I have F-L-O-W then E-R-S, which makes more sense to the eye, flow-ers, than if I were to split it, for example, like this. Because you want to read that as flo-wers, which doesn't work quite as well. The other trick is to follow reading direction, which is something that I explained fully in my level up your layouts class. In a nutshell, we read left to right and top to bottom. So you'll want to arrange the letters and all the words in general so that they fall in the way we instinctively want to read them. For example, here, even though moments is split apart, it's still a fairly quick and easy read because your eye will go from left to right to read 'mom', And then it will come down from top to bottom to read 'ments.' The same goes for the lettering overall. You want everything to be positioned so that it reads from left to right and then top to bottom, left to right, top to bottom, left to right, top to bottom. Now as I look at this quick sketch, I already see things that I want to change. Although the lettering fits inside these flowers, it doesn't flow as nicely as I would like. It feels like the words are just sitting on top rather than being fully integrated. So I have to figure out a way to make that work a bit better. I also think it would be better to move out of the, down to this area where dark moments sits. The first thing I think I'll do is make the ground, this area a little bit higher so I can fit more words in there. I'll create two large flowers instead of several smaller ones. I think I'll have my lettering sit inside these petals and here I can have the lettering follow this curve. I think this is starting to work, this is a starting point. I'm going to clean up this sketch and refine the details. And there's my final sketch. Now it's time to implement the final details. I'll see you in the next lesson. 13. Method 3: Implementation: Let's get this finalized. The implementation for this piece will be fairly straight forward and as usual, I'm going to start with a quick color placement test, and then start inking. Let's see how that looks. I think that's working. Now I'm going to take my screenshot, use this as a reference and start inking. Okay, I've done most of my inking and now I want to introduce some texture and dimension to these petals. For this I'm going to use a nice grungy textured brush. This is the smudge dot sprayer brush, it's from the dirty half-tones brush set. I'll include a link in the resources section to where I found this brush. As you can see it's a half tone brush so it has lots of really great texture. I'm just going to go in and add that on a clipping mask between each of these petals. If you'd like to learn my method for adding dimension to flowers like this, take a look at my Fun with Florals class for a full explanation. Now I'm going to turn my sketch layer back on so that I can add the lettering to the flowers. I don't want the lettering to feel too smooth and crispier, so I want it to have some texture as well. I'm going to use this textured brush, it's called the block pencil. I'll include a link to this one in the resources section as well. Now for a few line details, and I'm going to use the dry ink brush. There's my final piece. I wanted the idea to be clear and to the point, so I kept things pretty straightforward with this one and incorporated a bit of texture to keep it interesting. Let's recap. I used the illustration primary method for this piece. I kept the imagery simple and succinct. The lettering is visible and does not get hidden in the drawing. I used shapes within the illustration to contain the lettering. Once you've gone through the process and completed your artwork, then what? We'll talk about that next. 14. Printing and Display: Here are all three versions of my final artwork. Now it's time to get these drawings off the iPad and on the wall. If you have access to a good printer, you can print this out, frame it, and you're good to go. I don't have a high-quality printer at home, so I'm going to order a print online. The site I often use for good quality, affordable prints is mpix, but of course, you can use whichever print source you prefer. I'm going to choose the Giclee print option because it gives a really nice rich color. I've already uploaded my artwork to an album so I can just make my selection, choose the size. Then I'm going to select the Deep Matte photographic finish so my print isn't too shiny. There's an option to choose mounting or framing, but I already have a frame, so I'm going to skip that option, and my total is $5. Not so bad. I'll add that to my shopping cart and then complete my order. Three days later, my print was delivered to my doorstep. There's nothing like putting your artwork in a frame and displaying it proudly. You can hang your piece on the wall, put it on your desk, or wherever you will see it for your daily dose of motivation. You can even make your artwork the lock screen on your phone. Then you'd certainly see it multiple times a day. First, check to see what the screen resolution is on your particular phone. That information is usually somewhere in the settings. For my phone, it's 2220 pixels long by 1080 pixels wide. In Procreate, create a new canvas at whatever size you need for your phone, and the resolution only needs to be 72 DPI for viewing onscreen. Duplicate your artwork and make a flattened version. Use the three-finger swipe to copy. Then go to the new canvas and paste the art. Change the background color so it matches the background of your piece, and remember to leave a little space, usually at the top for the clock or whatever information typically appears on your lock screen, export the file as a JPEG, and once you've saved the image to your phone's gallery, you can then change the lock screen image using whatever method is appropriate for your particular phone. Now you have a little bit of inspirational art right in your pocket. 15. Thank You: That's it. Thank you so much for joining me for this class. I hope you enjoyed learning these techniques, and I hope this knowledge will help you approach future lettering compositions in a fresh new way. Now, please know that this is not the kind of project you can knock out in an hour or two. For beautiful, impactful results, the process is going to take time, thought, and careful consideration. Sometimes, it will be necessary to just walk away from it for a little while, and come back to it with fresh eyes. From the first brain storming session to sketching and final details, my projects took me a total of nine hours, 12 hours, and seven hours to complete. Remember to give yourself a little grace and be patient with your first attempts. I am really excited to see your projects. Be sure to share in the gallery, and support your fellow classmates by liking and commenting on their projects as well. Remember, your project does not have to be perfect in order to share it. Trust me, whatever level you're at right now, will be an inspiration to someone else. So don't feel shy about sharing. Also, if you post your project on Instagram, be sure to tag me @IAMGIAGRAHAM. If you enjoyed this class, I'd love it if you would leave a review and be sure to follow my SkillShare channel, so you'll be alerted whenever I post a new class. I can't thank you enough for all of the wonderful comments and reviews you've given my previous classes. It's always such a pleasure to share this creative space with you. I'll see you in the next class.