Patrice Barnabé

Graphic Designer



Friends of Type

Hi everyone,

First of all, I know I'm not following the class steps and finding inspiration in pop culture. I always have a hard time choosing names, nicknames, sentences, quotes or titles for projects, so I usually end up picking the most obvious and boring options. That being said, I really love FoT work so just wanted to participate here. My passion, like many others here I suppose, is letters. And what gave me the enthusiasm I need for this project wasn't a movie or a book but the FoT letterings. So I decided to start drawing "Friends of Type" in a way that feels personal to me, but also appropriate for the class. I took inspiration from the FoT posts, mainly the brush scripts letterings that I enjoy sketching. 

I really like the effect of inverting the ink, doing a white on black lettering. I think it gives more personality to the words and you are also able to play with shadows and lights. As I'm planning to do the same, here are some examples that I collected as a moodboard:

And here are a few of my first sketches done with a Tombo Brush Pen:

I've done a lot of them but won't upload them all. I think it's a good start and I'm looking forward to digitize them to start a better composition and refine some letter shapes. I will then apply some of the cool effects that I've seen used on the FoT posts, such as shadings, 3D shadows or halftone finishes...

Another sketch from today (November 4th). Apart from refining the composition and some letter shapes, I'm wondering whether a plain brush lettering is going to have a greater impact than a vector lettering. Vector allows you to do things "exactly" the way you want to and you can go back and forth with digital effects, whereas the brush gives you this spontaneous and fresh look that is very hard to achieve digitally (and also speaks about your quality as a hand letterer) but leaves you without much room to do finishing touches... I will definitely try a vector just to compare both options. Here is my last sketch:


Now that I have a few sketches, I'm ready to jump into the vectorization process. When I do hand lettering, I often find myself in this situation where I like individual letters within sketches and rarely achieve a single sketch where all my letters are really good. So I usually compile a moodboard with the letters that I think look nice from all the sketches I've done. I also have in mind that a lettering piece should work as a whole rather than a mash-up of individual letters, but sometimes it's easier for me to do it this way and then figure out how all of the best letters are going to interact.

If I really like one particular letter I work on the curves digitally so I can correct or refine them. Here's a quick example:



I spend some time refining my sketches. I still have work to do, but I almost have the basic composition ready so I'm going fast into the final process where I can focus on the details and the visual effects. I did some vectorization but I'm still coming back to my sketches and enjoying the imperfections rather than the perfect béziers curves. I feel tempted to try a more analog approach this time around, and it's also an excuse to step back from the screen a little bit and work with pencil and paper. I will then scan my final sketch and add the final touches digitally. However, here is where I am so far. Not sure about the OF still and the F. More to come soon.


A little progress, redrawing on paper the silhouettes of the letters to refine the letterforms and work on the composition. I'm not sure about the capital F but I will leave it there for now. I like the way some ligatures and swashes help connecting the letter shapes without loosing the spontaneous spirit of a hand-made lettering. I believe that the exaggerated sizes of some (parts of the) letters is what makes this lettering fun and interesting. I think I'm going to work with the raw sketch and leave the idea of vectorization because I think it better suited for this style to have some rough edges and some noise. Now it's time for the last touches and effects.

The lettering scanned and coloured in Photoshop: 

Now it's all about finishing the piece, apply some effects and take care of light and shadows. My main inspiration are these posters designed by Mirko Borsche and illustrated by Beni Haslimeier:


My finished piece:



Thanks the folks at Friends of Type and the Skillshare community who is always learning and sharing creative knowledge!

It's up on my site:


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