Always Laugh When You Can, It is Cheap Medicine | Skillshare Projects

Reiko Hirata

Graphic + Motion Designer



Always Laugh When You Can, It is Cheap Medicine


  Thank you for taking time to look at my project. Updates are towards the end.      
 English isn't my first language, so please excuse any mistakes!


18/FEB/2014 - 1st Post

“Always Laugh When You Can, it is Cheap Medicine” - George Gordon Byron

After a big change in my lifestyle in 2013, I decided to “have a good laugh at least once a day” as my new year’s resolution. Among the quotes regarding to “laugh”, I found this particular one very inspiring.

1) BRAINSTORMING I would like this piece to be something happy with a little twist of myself: I love stand-up comedies especially those cynical ones (Jerry Seinfeld, Rickey Gervais, Louis C.K. … ), so a little bit of irony would be my way of expression.

2) REFERENCE / INSPIRATION / MOOD Based on brainstorming, here are my references found on web and books.

  1. Colours, shapes, and styles.
  2. Elements and objects for illustration and ornaments
  3. Typography.


...That’s all for now, thumbnails are on the way!


10/MAR/2014 - 2nd Post

4) 2nd WARM UP

I tried another round of warm-ups, this time concentrating on "Sign painting" styles - I had a lot of fun! I did a little bit of study on decorations as well.

As a reference, I used "SIGN PAINTERS" by Levine & Macon. Great book!



So far, I got 7 versions, however none of these convince me 100%. I will work a little bit more later this week...


21/MAR/2014 - 3rd Post


I reworked some thumbnails.

  • No.1: Instead of a balloon under "ALWAYS", I now used a liquid-like shape (like syrup or something related to medicine) which unifies the elements a bit more, and it works as a frame.
  • All the rest: Simpler layouts. It will be fun to mix various lettering styles, and add some ornaments!

For the next step - sketches - I haven't picked which ones to go for yet... probably No.1 and 4.


20/APR/2014 - 4th Post

First of all, I would like to thank those who gave me comments and feedbacks… They are so precious!


Here are the three sketches based on revised thumbnails n.1, 2, and 4.

It took a little while to finish these sketches above, and I would like to share the process as follows.

Before start sketching, I did some tryouts for each word, considering the importance in the phrase, and the placement in the layout.

Sketch B - I started sketching n.2 from revised thumbnail.

  • B-1: This is a total disaster!!: I got so excited that I combined too many styles… The layout turned out to be so confusing, busy, … just too much! Ugh. I thought it would work better by making the skull illustration smaller in order to leave more space for lettering, however, that was a wrong idea as well: the skull got less recognisable. As a whole, it just doesn’t work at all…
  • B-2 and B-3: Therefore, I went back to the original proportions. I had been convinced that script style works best with “Laugh” in order to convey its meaning and action, but I realised it’s not true actually… Looking at these two sketches, “Laugh” in B-3 looks more appealing and cheerful than the one in B-2. For the word “medicine”, on the other hand, I prefer simple and clean institutional style as I had in mind as seen in my moodboard.
  • B-4 and B-5: So I gave it another try by combining B-2 and B-3. At this point I abandoned Toy Teeth (…sorry, Josh!), I think the animated skull gives more feeling which I would like to convey - fun and cynical. As soon as I finished B-4, I realised letters are too close each other (…I should’ve realised that at the very beginning, shouldn’t I (-_ - ;) !!??), so I redid a sketch.

…After five attempts and having a cramp on my right hand, finally I’m happy with the result (B-5). Man, I’m taking way too much time! Fortunately I didn’t suffer that much for the rest of sketches…

Sketch A

Sketch C

For the next step - Refined Sketch - I have a feeling that I will end up with trying all of them instead of picking one... 


27/APR/2014 - 5th Post


...and I ended up with sketching all three...

Sketch A

Sketch B

Sketch C

...Next step, final inking!! :)


29/SEPT/2014 - 6th Post

…I can’t believe I postponed this class for 5 months!


I made a little modification on sketches:

...And here are the inked versions:

INK 01

INK 02

INK 03

...Even though this class is crystal clear about what to do and how to do it, as my first lettering project, it took a little while to get to this point.

Having total freedom (no deadlines and no client’s input) paradoxically got me some problems, like time management (wasting too much time for certain details, procrastination…!), and decision making.

Keeping in mind those issues, I’ll have a fresh start with a new project on the next part of the class.

As soon as I’ll be done with it, I’ll come back on this project to finish it up with texture and color!


I would like to thank Mary Kate for giving this class, which has been extremely helpful to understand the process, approach, technics, and tools (I adore my lightbox…!). I rediscovered the beauty of manual/analog production, the world without command Z.

And dear fellow students… you guys really encouraged and helped me, thank you so much!

I’m so grateful… it’s been a wonderful experience!

As Mary Kate suggested at the end of this class, my exploration, practice, and experiments on lettering continue.  I’ve been posting them on Instagram daily basis. See you there!


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