Veerle Pieters

Belgian graphic & web designer

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Drop Cap letter V

STEP 1 • Browse for ideas, well actually… read a book

The book I'm currently reading isn't really ideal material for this class (murders, crime scenes etc.). Although I have to admit that there is material to work with here: things take place in Russia around 1800. The time and place alone is already good stuff to work with, but I just had my mind set on creating a drop cap of the first letter of my name. I want to create some sort of illustrative symbol for myself. 

STEP 2 • Jot down some keywords & start sketching 

To be honest I didn't spend all too much time on the keywords. I was writing down some things that define me: design, cycling, creativity, illustration, colors… I was thinking, either to go into the direction of vector-based illustration, as people know me from my Illustrator tutorials, but I know I'm also fond of colors, and geormetrical shapes and patterns. Then there is my love for cycling. Can't miss my bike for a couple of days or it starts to feel like I haven't been cycling for more than a week. So enough stuff to go on…

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The first sketches I tried out are a very curly letter V where I tried to add in a bezier curve to put in the link with Illustrator vector art. Then I tried out the direction of cycling, starting from a bike, then have a letter V emerged from the bike's frame, and some geometrical lines, ending up with a square shape.

From there I tried the geometrical route. The one on the right was the first one I drew. I had the idea adding in some Illustrator vector points. This one felt a bit too 'organised' and simple. I think a lot depends on how the colors are applied. I used a circle because while I was drawing these I was thinking to place the icon next to my avatar illustration, which I would also place into a circle. So I would end up with 2 circles side by side.

Since I found the end result a bit too ’simple’ to my liking, I tried out another version with a bit more random lines. I started by drawing the letter V, and then adding in some straight lines, and trying to find intersections and tangents.

In the last 2 sketches I tried to create something with a triangular pattern. Very simple idea really. The other one I tried to do something with depth, geometry, and Illustrator vector anchor points.

STEP 3 • Start drawing in Illustrator

After I scanned in the sketches. I choose to draw the geometrical V with the random lines and see where it would get me. That one gave me the best feeling to end up with something I like.

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I drew a circle and the lines, and made sure the lines were perfectly intersecting…

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Pathfinder > Divide

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Choosing my color palette. I started from the colors I'm using for my (new) avatar and went from there…

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Starting to color things in…

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Adding in some effects by duplicating the layer (on top) and adding in transparent gradients.

 

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The result is way too hard to my liking, so I reduced things to keep it more subtle. I actually removed most of them and kept only the red/pink ones.

In the last step I tweaked and fine-tuned the colors to have them perfectly streamlined with my avatar. Some of the blues didn't match well and I removed the green tone in one of the lighter colors.

Now I have to let it rest, look at it again later… and critize. I'm also wondering if I should also try out one of the other sketches.

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