Dead Beat - Jim Butcher | Skillshare Projects

Dead Beat - Jim Butcher

So, I've decided to do Jim Butcher's Dead Beat, a nove of the Dresden Files series that presently has 12 books and counting in it. Dead Beat is one of my favorite books due to the imagery represented within. 

I won't bore you too much with the details but it's a book about a private detective wizard in modern day chicago... I know what you're thinking, sounds cheezy right? Trust me it's awesome. I've been reading them for years now and I'm still not sick of the story, but I digress. Harry Dresden is a wizard that constantly spouts witty banter while being in loads of peril.  There are vampires, fearies, monsters, evil sorcers, etc. but in this book particularly Dresden deals with Necromancers, a fallen archangel in his head, and constantly acting in traitorous ways for the greater good. Oh and he raises a T-Rex from the earth which he names Sue. Like I said it's a great read.

So to start I wrote down everything I could think of which led to some interesting visuals for me. I'm not going to list all of the ludacris things I wrote down here but I'll give you the ones that struck me the most.

  • Fire - Harry Dresden's favorite spells are fire.
  • Burns - a lot of the story revolves around Harry's recently burned hand which he has limited use of and is scarred severely.
  • Demon Coins - basically coins that if accepted will allow a demon to possess your body giving you crazy strong powers at the expense of your soul.
  • Lasciel - the demon in Harry's head after he touches a coin but refuses to accept the offers of power.
  • Hellfire - Lasciel gives Dresden a taste of what he is missing by allowing him to use the magical power of hellfire
  • Sue - the zombie dinosaur mentioned before.
  • Gray Cloak - the gray cloaks in the books represent the "wardens" or basically wizarding police/executioners. In this book specifically Dresden is made into a warden by the wizarding council.
  • Modern vs. Aincent - this was more of a theme that all the books portray but really got me thinking about the form of my letter and what typefaces too look at for inspiration.

Whew, okay so these were the most potent images to me and the ones I really wanted to play off of.


First round of sketches:

First Round Sketches

First round sketches of the letter B for Jim Butcher.

I knew from the theme of modern vs aincent that I wanted to make a modernized blackletter B so that skeleton is what I started with.

The left image was an attempt to make fire that wasn't cheezy but the modern shapes just didn't read fire to me.

I really loved the scarring on the right letter B but wasn't in love with the overall feel of the letter. The skull in the circle was my attempt to add in the demon coin but it felt trite.


This is the design I would like to pursue. I rethought the shape of the letter to make it feel more sleek and whimsical, the tail is in reference to Sue and the scarring makes another more complete appearance. I finally got a fire look that I was happy with which I think will look hot (pun intended) with a subtle texture and gradient as if it was ethereal.

Now this is where YOU can help me out. I have a few concerns that I need some peer opinion to figure out.

  1. does this read as a B? I'm afraid that since the top bump doesn't recconect with the main vertical that this could be misconstrued as an R.
  2. is there anything else you might add? I didn't want to get too hectic by adding every reference I could think of from the book but I'm just wondering if I went too simple.



So, I know it's been awhile but I got really busy with other work (I just got a full time job in a design position! woot) but I've finally finished with my project and decided to upload here. I'll admit restricting myself to only using vector was tough since I really love to use textures but I think I still came up with something very much to my liking.

Thank you Jessica for the class!


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