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Doing "T" to a tee.

My son and I are reading the exciting adventures of "The Swiss Family Robinson". I thought that this book would be an awesome reference for the designing of our own family drop-cap letterform: the letter "T"!

1 | ONE 

PRELIMINARY RESEARCH and BRAINSTORMING: This isn't really my "sketching phase", but I felt like sketching out my brainstorm/research.  I've had to write a lot this week and the thought of writing more words (even fun brainstorm-y ones) kinda made me sick. Drawing everything also allowed my six year old son to participate - he had some lovely ideas!  I'm including some of his sketches here as well.

Researching was really fun - there were lots of things in the book we weren't sure about and sketching/brainstorming/researching gave us the chance to find out what an agouti looked like or how exactly a pinnace sailed and looked.  Finding food and shelter takes up a majority of the first part of the book, so we wanted to pay attention to the small things that made their lives better - like nails, fishhooks and woven materials. There are a lot of interesting textures in the book which we tried to capture in a variety of ways.

The next part of the research involved checking out letterforms.  I wanted to see how the original book was typeset and what typeface they used, as well as what other copies of the book looked like.  Additionally I did some messing around on scratchboard - I wanted to focus on form and negative and positive space.  I hope to work more with the scratchboard, I think it helped me in terms of the letter's visual weight versus whatever ornamentation I want to add.

Following are some of Pup's drawings.  I love the idea of a "waiting tree" where they make marks to pass time. In explaining the project concept to Pup he became excited by the idea of an elaborate letterform - the idea of drawing a letter. He came up with some nice ideas like a seaweed "T" or a broken shipwrecked board "T" - my favorite, though, is his letter "A".  It looks like TinTin to me!

2 | TWO

SKETCHES:

I was psyched to see Jessica's "down-home" techniques for grabbing sketches: Camera shot with Photoshop Express (or PSD) and off they went!  I tried to keep mine similarly loose. I think there are some issues with composition for each but I wanted to open them up for feedback in an effort to help me spiff them up.

"Sail T" 

The family gets shipwrecked in the first place because they are travelling to settle a new land.  This idea of adventure, of setting sail for lands unknown permeates the novel - in spite of adversity the family is also excited by the new sights, smells and sounds around them.  At one point they rescue and fix up a little skiff (pinnace) that they sail around the island in - it gives them freedom and flexibility re: finding resources (and possibly companions!?!) In this sketch I wanted to capture that sense of freedom and possibility, with the silhouette of the dad holding the last corner of the sail in place.  In reality he'd be blown away like a mosquito in a hurricane, but hey.

One of the main reasons we picked this book is for the awesome treehouse living!  For the family being off the ground means safety and the ability to see for miles around them.  This shack is held up by a tree-like T - forceful and strong. I would add garnishes in a final version - vines wrapped around and maybe bark-like texture.

 

This T uses the textures that are found throughout the novel - woven fronds, reconstituted wood from the ship, leaves and vines, shingles.  I think that it could take up more space or be less self-contained - I like how Jessica "filled in" the "a" letterform rather than outlined it.  Maybe I could re-draw this from the content/texture out?

What do you think??

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