If karma doesn't hit you, I WILL. | Skillshare Projects

Sarah Barton

graphic designer/type lover



If karma doesn't hit you, I WILL.


DONZOVery happy with how this turned out and super excited for part two so I can finally get some color on this thing. I decided to leave the arrows blank and fill them with a contrasting color once I get to that stage. I still think they work here in the black and white version though. Thanks everyone for the feedback!


I think I'm finally getting somewhere! You'd think I would have had my final layout figured out before I started sketching. Although seeing it over and over has really helped my ideas develop. 

I came across this inspiration on friendsoftype.com the other day:

It is EXACTLY what I wanted my final to look like. Exactly. I'm glad I didn't find it earlier though, because I think I would have relied on this idea more than the ideas floating around in my brain. I used some elements of this image and combined them with my previous sketch to come up with this:

The karma bubble at the top is bothering me a little. I'm thinking of reversing the color on the arrows, so the main color is black and "IF" will become white. I had them as a light grey when I first started, then thought about making them striped like "I WILL"...then I just couldn't decide so I left them blank! Suggestions are always welcome. 

STEP 4 (continued again)

I added a little pattern so it wasn't so one-dimensional. I need to nudge the top text to the right a little before I ink. I might also try to make the half-tone dots not so perfect...somehow. I might play with making them form a circle instead of a diagonal line. 

STEP 4 (continued)

I wasn't happy with my last round of sketches, so I took a step back and rethought some things. I really like where I'm at now. I realized that I am too much of a perfectionist, and I needed to spice things up a bit...particularly with the POW/zig-zag shape. I revisited my inspiration and drew something similar to the zig-zag style of the "Only $1.98" image.

This is more of the vision I had in my head when I started this project, but I was still struggling a lot with how to draw "I WILL." Again, my perfectionism was getting the best of me by trying to make the block letters precise. I picked up my brush pen to warm up and loosen up a little. I used the shape of the letters from the brush pen to create the "I WILL" lettering.

I'm very happy with this sketch. The last thing that I'd like to incorporate is some halftone dots. I'm not exactly sure how I want to do that though...any suggestions?


Below are my thumbnails. They are pretty rough, but I got the general shape figured out. I'm still playing with the final styling for everything. The boxed ones are the ones I chose for my sketches.

Here are three semi-tight sketches. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I want to do the lettering. Looking for some feedback so that I can make a more refined sketch.

sketch #1: This has been the idea floating in my head since the beginning of the project...and I hate how it turned out! Something about the word "WILL" just doesn't look right in that type of dimensional lettering. I do like the comic book style slanted handwriting though.

sketch #2: I like this sketch more than the first. This type of dimensional lettering looks better. I also like how "IF" is boxed in similiar to things you would see in a comic book. I really liked this style of the word "KARMA" from my warm-up, so I tried to incorporate it here. I'm not sure that it looks very cohesive with the rest of the lettering.

sketch #3: This is my favorite of the sketches. It was actually one of the final, totally random ideas in my thumbnails. I was going for a retro-style comic book feel (think Fairly Odd-Parents on Nickelodeon). It incorporates my favorite style of lettering in the top line, the comic book writing in the second line, and the dimensional POW writing in the last line. I hate how the dimensional style looks in this one, so I'm thinking of using the dimensional style from sketch #2 instead.


I've played around with a few more styles. A little graffiti, a little blackletter...I broke out a brush pen to help me with that one. I think I want to use the brushy handwriting style (in the top pic) for most of my quote, maybe emphasize "karma" in a different type, and use the dimensional style for "I WILL."

Side note: in writing this word so many times, I've realized how much I dislike the letter K. For some reason it's so hard for me to get it to look right!


Here are some inital warm-ups. Clearly, I didn't watch the "Understanding Hand-Drawn Letters" video before I started these because I realize I've been doing my Ms wrong! The dimensional style is definitely something I want to incorporate into my final. I need to figure out the shading on that one. I was trying to stick with my comic book theme for these, but I think that might have limited me. I plan on experimenting with a few more different styles (whether I use them on this project or not) because the process is helping me to loosen up and get used to the idea of hand-lettering.


I have been wanting to experiment with hand lettering for a while so I've been saving little quotes and phrases that I thought would make an intersting composition. I thought I would be able to narrow a quote down for this project pretty easily, but I got stuck between two:

  • "If karma doesn't hit you, I will." --I like this quote because it's funny and I tend to gravitate towards the humourous things in life. It's also pretty short, which would make a good first lettering project. 
  • "You can't change the past, so focus on the future." --This is my life motto. I try not to dwell on the past too much because that can't be modified. However, I can determine the fate of my future. I thought this would make a nice lettering project because people LOVE inspirational quotes.

As I started brainstorming and gathering inspiration, I thought the second quote would be easier to embellish. I was thinking of a neat juxtaposition between old style calligraphy/blackletter and new age digital type like you see on an alarm clock. But I just wasn't passionate about it for some reason.

I slept on my ideas for the night and let them marinate some more while at work today. I kept getting pulled towards the karma quote. I had a nice brainstorming session on my drive home, jotted those ideas down as soon as I could, and now I'm ready to get the ball rolling!

"If karma doesn't hit you, I will."

I'm loving the idea of an action comic book feel. The humor in comic books reflects the humor in the quote. My application of this project is a T-shirt, because I don't think someone would like this on a greeting card :) A screen printed shirt also gives me some guidelines of not having thin strokes and small details. This works perfectly with the WHAM-BAM-POW look of a comic book: thick lines and bold shapes. As for color, I'm going to keep it simple and Lichtenstein-esque by using the trusty primaries: red, yellow and blue. I also want to incorporate Ben-Day or halftone dots into the design so the viewer will immediately think "comics."


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