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Be Brave - Rule #1

I've been thinking of branding our family for quite a while and finally decided to take the leap! Also thought it was a great project to explore hand lettering since I've always been interested in it and used to do calligraphy eons ago. 

Our first family rule is to BE BRAVE. So that was the theme. Words I came up with were a combination of things that our family loves (cats), places we relate to, and personal events that exemplify being brave. Here are my words:

FAMILY MANTRA, EMERGENCY, REALITY,TRUTH, CRITICAL, STRONG-WILLED, CONTROL, MASCULINE, RULES, SCARY, NEW HAMPSHIRE, STRONGMAN, LEAPING, LION, MEDAL OF HONOR, SKYDIVING, MEDALLION, LION, COURAGE

I then looked at a ton of reference some of which can be seen here. I really liked Circus art, vintage signage, crate artwork and more but decided that more of a saloon concept was what I'd go after. 

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I chose one word to focus on and tried out a bunch of different styles to see what worked and felt the best and to warm up! Disregard bad kearning. :)

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On to thumbs! This was the hardest part for me but did come up with a few things that I ended up liking.I really tried to explore a lot of layouts and options but in hindsight I think I could of come up with more. This phase helped me to narrow down styles, and which imagery I wanted to include. I decided the Puss in Boots idea would be perfect since my family is CRAZY FOR CATS!

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After nailing down the format and general layout, I moved to the large sketch, hashing out the details. This is where it gets both fun and a little scary. It's not perfect and I think I can still add more detail but didn't want to go too nuts because color and texture still needs to be applied.

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I learned that I am super comfortable with a pencil but less so with the inking stage. Practice, practice, practice!  Here is the inked sketch but I plan on doing it over a few times so it gets better with each time. Also am looking for a better pen. I used a Uniball but I kept feeling that it snagged a few times. Exploring paper and pens will come next! 

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Hope you enjoyed the journey with me and would love to hear feedback! Looking forward to doing the final execution but will move on to the next class for that. 

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