City of Thieves Drop Cap | Skillshare Projects



City of Thieves Drop Cap

Hello all!

For this project I chose to make a drop cap for the book City of Thieves by David Benioff. I've been working for a while on research and sketches but finally had a moment to sit down and post.

City of Thieves takes place in Leningrad, Russia during WWII. During a German siege on the city, Lev, an awkward teen arrested for looting, and Koyla, a captured deserter, are enlisted to find a dozen eggs for a Soviet officer's daughter's wedding. During thier missions they are forced to confront the harsh realities of living in a war torn city. I would go on but I don't want to spoil it for anyone. 

After refreshing my memory a bit, I jotted down a bunch of notes and possible images to include in my drop cap.

I honed in on some of the key images from the novel (eggs, knives, chess pieces, empty and dilapidated cities) as well as broader symbols of the setting (hammer and sickle, red star, military badges, bones, death).

After sitting for a day or two I got to sketching. I decided on the letter B, for Benioff. I started by sketching different types of B's then added then worked in and around the forms to include specific references to the text.


I tended to gravitate to making this drop cap a bit rugged and ruined to reflect the state of the city during WWII. I also explored using sting, masculine letterforms. I played with adding images to the negative space of the letter (see the chess piece in the blackletter B) as well as making the letterform from the negative space of its surroundings.

I haven't quite picked which one I want to move forward yet but expect some refines sketches soon!

-------------- UPDATE 10/26

Finally got a chance to refine my ketch a little bit more. I'm not a particularly strong sketcher but I know exactly where I want to take this bad boy! I kept in the subtle chess piece in the negative space of the lowercase be and added some egg adornments. Though I know blackletter wasn't the style of WWII era Russia it seems to capture the mood of the book very well. Also I think this particular form eludes a bit to the letter B in the Russian Alphabet.


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