I Sound My Barbaric YAWP Over the Rooftops of the World | Skillshare Projects

Stevie Clark

illustrator, graphic designer



I Sound My Barbaric YAWP Over the Rooftops of the World

"I sound my barbaric YAWP over the rooftops of the world." Sir Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

I've loved this line from the moment I read it, and the word "yawp" has become sort of a staple in my vocabulary since then. Examples of usage: a.) Snagged the last spicy hummus on the shelf at the corner grocer.. YAWP! b.) Client loved the first proof you sent out.. total yawp moment. It has a guttural combination of vowels/consonants that really lends itself well to screaming it out in exhaltation. It's a sound of release of energy that's clawing at your throat to come out. So naturally, I chose this quote.

Alright, let's get to the work. It's important to note that I don't normally sketch in a pretty sketchbook. It makes me too meticulous when I'm trying to get the ideas flowing. Plus, it doesn't allow me the absolute satisfaction of crumpling up a terrible sketch and throwing it as far away from me as possible. So I sketch on printer paper and tracing paper, and my sketches are all over the place. Sorry in advance for the lack of order.




...going for a literal "over the rooftops" layout...

...playing around with "world"...

...first attempt at a gothic blackletter of "Barbaric Yawp"... I liked that it tied in the old feel of Walt's era, but it was wayyyy too tight. I needed to space it out to breathe more. Readability was lacking...

...Really liked this, but it didn't work as cohesively has I wanted it to. It looked like two separate pieces instead of one phrase. Put it away for a couple days then brought it back out, suffered from lack of inspiration, and scrapped the idea altogether. What happened next was a total yawp moment and I started sketching..

Really rough, still needed tweaking, but I was on the right track. I wanted to keep the blackletter, and have it coming out of the mouth like it was screaming out. "Yawp" wasn't working though, so I moved it to the tongue. I illustrated the tongue with a lot of cool looking tastebuds to differentiate it pretty drastically from "Barbaric" so they read separately, but still were the focus. After a couple rough sketches, here's my inked sketch:


Then I took it to the computer and put it in illustrator. Here's the final:


I could probably tweak it forever, but I'm stopping here. What do you guys think??



After reading Mary Kate's comments, I agreed. The words were disjointed, and YAWP was reading as "VAWP". I fixed the "Y" issue which wasn't a big deal, but I couldn't find a great solution to bring the focus back on the quote. So, upon tweaking the last version (putting textures in, playing with colors etc..) I decided that I'd start over with a different direction. I took my blackletter from above and decided to use the details inside, and figured if both "Barbaric" and "Yawp" were illustrated the same, it would read as one unit. I inked a new piece, everything is new except for the blackletter which I used from my other sketch and put them together in illustrator. I reversed my inked version of the roofs to white, and blocked colors only on the roofs for emphasis. I decided to stay with a sketchy feel for the rooftops and a very clean look for "Barbaric Yawp" to separate the two.

Et Violaaa....

Any critiques? Thoughts?


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