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Nina Cornwall

Lettering / Design



Entre chien et loup

This class was perfect, as I love french idioms and lettering, hope you like the result.

Here's my finished gif. I'm pretty pleased with the 1920s paris vibe which sort of feels right for neon signage. See my prep work and process below.



After some googling I chose the French phrase 'Entre chien et loup' which translates as 'between dog and wolf'. This roughly means the twilight hour or maybe the 'gloaming' (when it's so dark that you cannot distinguish between a dog and a wolf) though apparently it has multiple nuanced meanings.

I started by trying to convey elements of night time and dark with lettering. I quickly struck upon the C in 'Chien' representing a crecent moon. This instantly evokes a 1920s Paris vibe - which led me on to decide on some art deco style lettering.

The L in 'Loup' was more difficult but I thought the idea of an open door with light pouring on the street might just work. This is probably not obvious in the final image but, even so, I liked the concept and decided to stick with it.


Preparing the composition in illustrator

I excuted the design straight into illustrator using the pen tool, and tried to keep it geometric and art deco looking by cutting up shapes with the pathfinder.

I added a star to make the composition balance and adjusted sizing to make the composition work as a sign.


The version on the right was my final structure but I needed to create 'breaks' in the lines to represent the neon tubes which led on to a few happy accidents:

Including this very thin line effect - which I really like, even though I can't use it!


Here's a multiline version which could work for a huge sign on a building maybe? I especially like the "HIE' together.


After increasing the stroke weight (and lots of fidling with the scissor tool) here's the final illustrator artwork:


Photoshop experiments

I imported and rastered the whole image in photoshop and split it into layers / folders for each element. After adding blurs and colours I also had fun experimenting with a few different colourways:


Final artwork

My completed version in the 'on' state which I used for the animation.


Animation challenges

The animation was the most challenging aspect as adjusting the rhythm was like telling a story to keep the viewer interested.

I decided not to use layer comps and instead worked straight in the timeline by switching layers on and off which allowed experimentation and adjustment as I went. 

Here's a version which I rejected as the rhythm was uneven but I'm not sure if it's actually better?


And here's the final one:


Hope you liked seeing the process. Thanks Kate for an awesome class!


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