Hand-drawn Typography 101: My first attempts | Skillshare Projects

April Van Buren

Journalism teacher, YA Librarian



Hand-drawn Typography 101: My first attempts

WEEK 3, part 2 (Friday, June 28)

Well, I hunted down a copy of FontLab and spent the morning editing my vectorized drawings in Illustrator and pasting into FontLab. It's done! I created a ttf, imported it into my font book and used it in InDesign and PhotoShop. Wow! My actual font is kind of shitty and I have to learn how to set up spacing (kerning?) in FontLab for the next time, but I did it! And, now I can teach my students, especially if I have a kid or two who are really interested in this aspect of graphic design or typeography. I'm really excited, I definitely learned something and met my goals of understanding the process. I'm pretty darn happy.

WEEK 3, part 1 (Tuesday, June 25)

Spent the weekend at a camping/ train/ brew festival called Rails and Ales, wrapped up the weekend with a serendipitous sunset plane ride in a 2-seater plane over my little town of 4,000 and finally got my typeface sketched out, scanned and vectorized on Tuesday.


Once I scanned in my doodles, I used the links from the class, "Designing a Typeface, WIth Illustrator and Fontlab, from Start to Finish on Vector Tuts" to throw my drawings through Cocoapotrace. Then I set-up my new file in Illustrator and got lost from there.

*****I'm taking this class to figure out the technical aspects (i.e. I rarely use Illustrator, so I'm not real strong with it), so it makes sense that I'm stuck at this part. How did I not realize that we needed another software program (FontLab)? I have Illustrator, but not FontLab. So, now I have to figure out who to suck up to so I can finish this project (and learn how to create a font in general). If anyone has any suggestions, I would be really appreciative.*****

WEEK 2 (Tuesday, June 18)

I do love the summer. Continued to overdo it for no reason other than 'I can' and color my doodles in between rock climbing, roller derby and river rafting adventures. Tomorrow, I'll watch the video again and get going on my font drafting.

WEEK 1 (Thursday, June 13)

I have been teaching a high school journalism camp since Sunday, and today was really the first day I had time to look at anything. I looked through all three sections of the course, read the pdfs, found the Cocoapotrace program and played with it a little bit, started an inspriration journal on Pinterest, and did some doodling in the circles and squares.


I didn't time myself at 5 min., though. My hand drawing abilities pretty much suck, so I happily doodled for about an hour at a coffee shop while my friend did some homework of her own.

I know my way around PhotoShop and InDesign, but am very, very basic in my Illustrator use. So, I am learning a new technical skill (creating vector art, creating/ converting to an otf?) and also playing with a medium or style that I'm kind of uncomfortable with. I'm not looking for amazing, but excited to learn some new things that I can teach my own students and incorporate into student journalism.

I also play roller derby and do a lot of designwork for my team, so I'm hoping to gain some skills that will help me spice up my poster work, too.

So, off to a good start, if not with a clearly developed plan.


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