Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - student project

I love weird official plaques, labels, and symbols, and so as soon as I started thinking about this project I knew that I wanted to do a set of portraits of fake official Seattle symbols.  This set is actually two fakes and two truths, though, because the fact that the official Washington state gem is petrified wood was too good to pass up, and we really are pretty obsessed with coffee here.

I collected some ink inspiration on a Pinterest board and noticed that they fell into three basic categories:

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 1 - student project

illustrations that were fairly flat & used solid (or almost solid) fill as a major design element

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 2 - student project

illustrations that depended on value to build shape/depth 

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 3 - student project

and exploration of marks & lines.  My style is pretty high contrast and graphic, so the ink work I was attracted to made a lot of sense to me.

I happened to have a bunch of ink options around and I used the experimentation phase to figure out what I wanted to use for this project.  I ended up settling on my favorite Black Star Matte ink with a Zebra Comic G nib and round 2 & 4 brushes.  I also used a Higgins Black Magic Marker, a Pitt Artist's Pen, and Pebeo Drawing Gum (masking fluid).

Making marks:

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 4 - student project

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 5 - student project

Ideation & thumbnails:

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I went into thumbnails knowing how I wanted to lay out my postcards and just needing to test out a couple of different frame ideas and figure out if I was going to be able to use masking fluid in the way that I wanted.  I wanted a big graphic black element, and the frame was the obvious thing.  I also needed to problem-solve my petrified wood gem, since I really wanted it to read clearly as wood.

Since I was keeping the visuals really simple and imaginary, here's my only reference photo:

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 7 - student project

This is an actual mushroom from my actual lawn.  I could have drawn a mushroom without reference but I thought it would be funnier to draw the exact type that grows in my yard.

Here's my series of postcards. From the top down on each one, materials are:  Pitt pen for "greetings from," Higgins Black Magic marker for "Seattle," frame painted with a brush and Black Star Matte with white lines masked out in Pebeo Drawing Gum (drawn on with a dip pen).  Illustrations inked with Black Star Matte + Zebra Comic G nib, then painted with Black Star Matte and round brushes.  Label shape inked with Comic G nib, lettering in Pitt pen. 

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 8 - student project

(not true but should be)

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(unverified but basically true, although we also really like beer)

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 10 - student project

(true and awesome)

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(also not true for some reason)

It's February and super rainy so I wanted to add that element to these but wasn't totally sure I'd like it so I inked a rain pattern on tracing paper for each of the postcards and took everything into Photoshop, where I also took the opportunity to give the postcard art better margins.  If I were going to print these, I would also use Photoshop to adjust the contrast on "Seattle," since the Higgins ink isn't as black as the ink I used everywhere else.

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 12 - student project

Here are the final pieces:

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Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 14 - student project

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 15 - student project

Imaginary Official Seattle Symbols - image 16 - student project

Such a fun project! Thanks for another great class!

Daria Penta
IG @heyhooraydesign