Learning to fly

Learning to fly - student project

Hi, my name is john, I never went to collage or learned computer. I droped out of high school at 16 and went to Vocaional school to paint cars and get my ged. I was 29 before I ever turned on a computer or had access to one. I just somehow never got the oppertunity and missed learning how to use one growing up. ( right now I am a full time guitar builder, i have been for 6 years now) A few months ago I started liking type art. I took some other skillshare classes. I am learning typeography, my wife taught me photoshop about 6 months ago, I am trying to learn Illustrator as well becuse I really enjoy old vintage type art and want to copy it for fun....its a fun hobby! I love words and old printing.

 I like to computer doddle at nights. I am not good at writing or spelling or drawing, so please excuse me , I just wanted to join you guys because I saw this class and loved the techers work.

He is really talented, i would just be happy to dig thru his old scetch books! He is amazing!

This is a Personal Journal of Growth and Learning, I don't have any specific "project".... just trying as many styles till the class is over so I can teach myself as much as possible.

8/1 late Night script

I did this just to see if i could do cursive in my own hand, no ryme or reson just wrote it out and then added it right ontop of a photo, colored in photoshop, i did this all in about an hour and 20 minutes...pretty cool!

Learning to fly - image 1 - student project


7/30 Redo art

today i decided to redo an artwork I did not to long ago but as handdrawn art, if you scroll down aways on this page,( to 5 /21) you will see i did this art in Adobe illustrator and i use to think computer "vintage" art was the cats meow but now I have grown and see its not my style,...my i have changed in the last 2 months since i have taken this class : )

So here is all "me" art! all done by hand, just an off the cuff font letterform I made up to look like was electric.I think it carries the message well!

Learning to fly - image 2 - student project


7/22 Ol' Ben

Last night I found a time life book magazine type phamplet at walgreeens, I got it and read it at home in about an hour.

 It was the story and time of Benjerman franklin, it was mostly photos and captions of early America, I really loved the "join of Die" art and some of the stuff from the Poor Richard almanac that he printed in the mid 1700's.

 so i just looked thru it and absorbed whatever and this is just what was stuck in my subconcious... an off the cuff artwork I drew after wards, I just drew whatever came to mind in my own natural font style. I kinda fell like an old pro now as I seem to  have the hang of this handwritting art now, lastly i just added it to a picece of old paper in photoshop and used a layer mask with a ruff texture, a real easy but alot of fun art work.

 the only i would have changed is I wish i would have written "Cigar Box guitar" more streched out so that "revolution" would apear more center to the eye ...but o well, i get it right next life!

Learning to fly - image 3 - student project




7/16 simple and fun


I made this in about an hour today, I got the idea while looking at old signs in the background on the TV show American pickers last night, this is my style, real simple, not to much lines or art or anyting to stress the eye, just striat forward word art.

Learning to fly - image 4 - student project


7/3 Lots o work!

This was several days worth of work, here is a ruff draft for a cigar company form the 1920's. I made the art idea all myself, this is my banner and take on there brand, i am super happy!..i copied a font from letterhead called boston ballpark ( I think)....then i just let the art go where it wanted...this is what i came up with...I think it would look great with a red back ground, some blue and gold pop here and there...but I worked on it 2 hours yesterday and 2hours  today...time to move on!

but here is my latest art...hope you enjoy! It's one of my fav-o-rites so far

Learning to fly - image 5 - student project

6/27  done in 45 minutes

 this work is bassed of a font I found online at da font and I made the font selector say " 3 string guitars", then I just copied it by looking at the screen... as close to perfect as i could do by hand on the fly...then i just made up the rest of the letterforms....i added it to an old historic photo of some of the type of guitars I build and sell...this type of advertizing looks so much better than trying to write on top with computer fonts!

I did this on a laptop so i am not sure the color or textureof the word art is very good on a real desktop screen, I will double check it on a good computer before I send it out in the world, but i also did this in less than 45 minutes so i am quite proud of the fact i don't have to invest much time to get a nice look....I came up with the idea, wording, drew the type and photoshoped it all in less than an hour, I know that would be impossible trying to make this in adobe AI moving anchor points around while hudles around a computer screen.....good God I am glad I found this class and hand type art as I do not want to pedal away hours pecking away at a keybord!

anyways here it is


Learning to fly - image 6 - student project


6/26 Swashbucklin' the G spot!

tickle tickle!

so i just had so much fun trying to make the swash "right' on the G's I have been doing in my letter art, the swash is really an area I need to work on as I like it when used at the right time.

I have decided to just make this weird catpitol letter G at the end of the word, my "own" thing, I really just want to explore all the posiblities that can be done with it,even if i use a word thats not all capitals how i can make the  G a capital and still swash with the right look, and homemade at the same time, not to refined....... it works both for Red Dog and string, so here it is, I made up this letterform with a bit of help from looking at a font I really like from Letterhead fonts, i just borrow bits and pieces here and there on my letters, so here we are, it was a quick art, but i think looks great to my eyes, it really is "my style" as I start to grow and define my style, this is were I am growing to...if that makes sense?


Learning to fly - image 7 - student project

6/23 revisit the G


today i wanted to revisit and do art with a G swash at the end of the word, I want to explore it more, a few weeks ago i did a mockup shirt and liked it but wanted to see if i could do a better job, this time i made up my own letterforms in cursive and in just tryed to make it look like something I would like to view.

I just made whatever came to mind... i think its pretty cool!

it's a total off the cuff art, no ryme or reason

Learning to fly - image 8 - student project


6/17 today I tryed dots



Today was the first time I tryed little dots, I saw it on chirstof mullers site and it looked like he used lots of little dots on all his work and thought it to be so rad and boss...I think its cool..so i had to try......man, it took forever!... I can see now, my personal style, I like things a bit simpler, I like blunt strait forward word art, I dont like to cramp to many messages or competing things to look at on the same art... but It was fun to try.

the biggest thing I learned today was to mix my own letterform and only slightly copy correct ones...I tryed to copy a fancy cursive vintage letterform strictly and then my "hand crafted" looks like  "hard crafted!!!"



6/13  I feel really  confortable!

so i made this cool art for a style of guitars I build, They are called "Victrola Delta Tramps", They are  hand made in the old vintage Radio style... anyways,  So I am not sure how I mispelled it or how it slipped by me, but it came out as "Victorola" in my art ( Radio Corparation of America was Victor in the 20's and 30's)

so to fix this art I had to open Illustrator (gasp, I didnt want to use Adobe AI) but i had  to remove the O...I also needed make the words RED smaller as I did this art back words, Victorola was done first..then to judge the size I tryed doing reddog  to the cente, I don't know if that was a good Idea or a bad one.



Here is the Raw photo

Learning to fly - image 9 - student project

alls I did in AI was bring down the size on the Red and scoot it in and fool around with red dogs size...then I erased the O on victorola and then just moved the words Lo Fidelity around....but its all handwritten and no vector art, just live traced my own work... Here below is a sample as art, i didnt want to grunge it up or get fancy,I like it simple...plus I didnt want to spend all night on it!

 It looks great in BLack too But I am tired of doing black and white so here is something fun to look at,

Its the 1920's vintage RCA logo


Learning to fly - image 10 - student project



6/11 Time To Retire Adobe Illustrator!

I can't belive what i have been missing, this would have been so much  work trying to build in illustartor, i did it in 35 mintes and another 30 in photoshop trying to grunge it up...the one hour job....I am a true convert and beliver in handwritting.

It was insprired by the 50's Tv logo, nuff said

Learning to fly - image 11 - student project



I was looking thru Dribble a few weeks ago and there was a guy who put up art that all said  "the Old School Issues" and as soon as I saw it I thought it was cool as shit and swore to myself I would not use the" Old school" tagline as I hate to copy killer text.  I love to make up my own...I love the challenge of it, I like to try to think of crafty wording...It's one of my things I like to do......so, anyways, I left it off limits...until today. I walked into a store and there on a shelf  was "Old Scool "brand cookie mix!!!

Old school ....sitting right in front of me!

I was like screw it, thats so cool I've gotta find a way to that line in my own way!   plus i do build and sell vintage guitars so what the hey, i can get away with it??? I kinda do Old school...right? self says ...um...yes!

but, it's a good tag line and that guy who has the "old scholl Issues" sure has got a good one!...anyways, So I made this today cuz i just loved the ring of it, I kinda wanted to go back and tie it into that 60's Bunny Bread Ad vibe i was working on a few weeks ago, Here is what I came up with...I did it in 40 mintes for the drawing and I croped it in photoshop...I made it look like it does with the scanner, i just scanned it with the settings at Black and white.....I did nothing in photo shop.I might expore it more down the road.



Learning to fly - image 12 - student project



6/6 Getting close to end of class, I sure had fun!


Alright, After scrolling down my page I can see that my project is just a big mess of random art. I know we are supose to make a label for a product, I guess I didn't follow instructions. It's just that I am trying to learn, To me this is class is more of a personal Journal, so I want to try as many possible ideas to give myself the skill set to use in the furture down the road, This class is almost over and It will be time for me to move on.


  But I would like to say this was the best 20 bucks I think i have ever spent! ( well, maybe 2nd, once I scored a half  Z for 20 bucks on Spring Break back in the 90's...man, me and my friends partied hard for sure!  I was high for days... wait a minute, mums the word on that!!! that was when I was young and before I was married) ...so correction, this class is the second best 20 bucks ever!...it is easy to learn here by watching all the other students combined with studing John Continos work on his site, but also the way Skillshare has set up this site to maximize learning at your own pace and for cheap....WAY COOL!


So, Todays art I posted, I see now, I really like writing on top of the photos, I think it gives you a way to really "sell" what your saying by making the viewer grasp one thing, then reading another...way slick!  I plan on putting it into hard use on some of my upcoming guitars for sale, I have several websites, so they will all get worked over.... if you ever want to learn about me just google Red Dog Guitars.

As for this class, with this new experiance, I dont even want to open Adobe Illustrator to do art with fonts anymore, spending hours trying to move around anchor points and dots huddled around my computer screen, that take so long to to do simple things.... doing it by hand is so much funner...and much faster too!...plus it looks so much more "me". 

The new "vintage" adobe stuff is cool, don't get me wrong,  but I really like this simple hand done stuff, and to belive a few weeks ago I knew nothing about it!  holy cow i must have been living under a rock!..actually I kinda do??? I was told long ago, I was from down at Fraggle Rock... wait a sec, what  am I blabering about? I am not a puppet..where i am going with this???? anyways....

  To me, Its almost like the first time I heard this kid in my neighborhood playing electric guitar (Tony) I was about 12 or so, as soon as I heard him try to play a crappy "welcome to the Jungle" shit I was hooked....that was the coolest thing i ever saw...I knew right then and there, I had a new direction in life...much the same as this handwritting art! .........same feeling, Like I have found a new passion that will be with me for many years.( I dont have any desire to be a grafic artist, just to refresh mine and my friends websites) plus I get to reinvent myself, I love to create, so having new areas to explore and grow is going to be fun.


 Learning to fly - image 13 - student project


Anyways, enough chatter, In this ad above, I wanted to do art on "Transistor guitar amps from the 1960's"..without saying any of that....I only wanted to suggest it... ( just in case you didn't know, in the 50's and before, guitar players played tube amps, then in the 60's and 70's they used Transistor amps, and the 80's and up they are digital processed IC chiped amplifiers that don't sound as good as the old stuff..guitar players really want those old amps, they sound great!.....blah blah blah....anyways..( which I can see an new Ad idea already, "Digital 88" a back to the future kind of advertizing...more ideas!! hell yeah!..."Digital 88" I can see it now,...Back to the Future


 So anyway I wanted to convey the message of  "Transistors- electricity" and The Year 1964" without saying any of those words, but something a guitar player would grasp right away, split second desire to want to know more


 I also wanted to practice correct letter forms, so i went to Letterhead fonts .com and found a cool old font (I cant remember the name I think Voltage Clothing?) and bassed my art off of it, but I changed a few things to make mine look look more alive ( the T and the numbers, added a real big S etc..)...and here we are. In the photo, I brought out some vintage teal and pastel colors in Photoshop to the amp knobs,  Pretty cool!


Learning to fly - image 14 - student project


also, as I started to color it in, right away,  I could clearly see in my mind what it would look like on the computer, I KNEW if I left it looking scratchy and incomplete it would look electrifying....which tells me i am learning, as before i would have had no idea what it would look like down the road, I had to do it , in order to see it, but now I can see it beforehand....the learning curve is almost over for me, I am about to flap my wings and take flight!!!!

I think it really worked and I nailed it!





6/5  I Can Swim!


I really feel like I got this whole concept now of handlettering! I didnt know anything about it a few weeks ago, Now I feel confident I can do whatever I see in my minds eye!....well, keep in mind that i am only doing real basic stuff, they have some really awesome artist in this class who can really draw!  I am just doing words and scratch. I know my limitations...but I LIKE BASIC!..I actually prefer it, its easier to "sell" to the viewer, to me it appears too many details might slow the message down

OK, I made this today and did it in about an hour, Instead of trying any certian letterforms or style, I just winged it. I just made what I wanted to look at. It was not made with any inspiration or previous input. Unlike most of my early work where I didnt know what I was doing. In this art I didn't copy or look at anyones elses work. I made it from my own heart.

 I really like the idea of writing on TOP of the photos, it give me a chance to say 2 things, one with the words and then also something with the background image....a real TWO FER!

In the past I would use a computer and write off on the SIDE of the photo, and try to be artsy that way, but now I see it works better to Hand write right across the photo!

SO, I did this for a friend who sells guitars also, He is In York Pennsylvania.

Todays art i really love it...I hate to keep repeating myself, but I would have never guessed i could do this stuff...but now see,( for my style),  It's all in the simplicity, to me that's what makes it look cool, just a natural look ( at least for me eyes)

Learning to fly - image 15 - student project


here is the ruff draft, i just drew what ever and let the words take me where ever,I could have placed some words in a better area and did a better job...but I figured who cares!  the average person seeing this will not notice, so i went with it!

Learning to fly - image 16 - student project

6/4  I speak Spanglish!


My wife is Puerto Rican and she was born and raised in San Jaun Puerto Rico, so she speaks Spainsh, even my daughter speaks spanish perfect... as for me ...I speak a darn good Spanglish!


So I wanted to see what I could come up with all natural and with with my new Micro pens!!!!!  I bought from ebay, i have never used these pens before...they are really handy with the difffernet head sizes!!!...way cool, they work way better than those sharpies I had been using.

As for my Star Spanglish Banner, I just did whatever came to mind, no ryme or reason....just and old label thing I guess.

I did this on a piece of manilla paper, took a photo with my camera, uploaded it and croped it, that's it.... no photoshop fixing, no illustrator vectors......what you see is what it is.

Learning to fly - image 17 - student project


Only mistake??? it should have been  "Num. 1"

hey hey hey... I did say Spanglish!





I had so much fun writing on top of the photo on my last project attempt, I knew I wanted to try again when I had some free time, Today I did and I wanted to do something Retro 50's as I love that Era's rounded typefaces and Fronts

 The guitar amp is from 1955...So it didnt take but a moment to think this up!...Atomic 55!....easy as pie.....I picked a 50's teal color...tossed the Atomic logo in ceter ... all done with handwriten wording ( also  I did try to flow correct letterform of the Era of the 1950's ..Tall, thin and rounded)

OK here it is!

Learning to fly - image 18 - student project



it was real simple, I just wrote the words with a Sharpie marker on paper, uploaded it and kocked out the background white in Photoshop...then I fooled around with color and "glow" on the layer palete to give it a kind of radioactive look" what do you think?

It was done all in less than 40 minets from conception to online!

Learning to fly - image 19 - student project






6/1  Hand Made ART

I hand made a guitar called "The Canon" and was going to put it up for sale and after seeing lots of people on pintrese write inpirational stuff on the photo itself......That is something I have bnever done. ....writing or putting anything across the face of the photo seems like taboo for me, but I thought i would try it before I put the guitar for sale on my wesbite.

Learning to fly - image 20 - student project

  I have seen some of Jon continos stuff on that Blacksmith clothing site and noticed it didnt look like a pen did it, so i tryed with my daughters watercolors. I am not sure if thats how he did his...but it gave me a good result. It's another tecnique I can put "under my belt" i am just trying to learn soemthing new every day, is it sellable...what do you think?


I just painted the words, took a photo and knocked out the white, colored the black letters white, and then went back and redid the TNT and moved "the" down a bit...it was real simple. then used some brush grunge on top...it took about an hour in total.

Learning to fly - image 21 - student project



5/31 New art...Help I CANNOT STOP!


THis hand made logos stuff is really fun, I would have never guessed I could pull it off, but today I amazed even myself!

Today I was inspired by those old navy T shirts, but I wanted to use my "Red Dog" business name as a Logo and with a vintage skateboard vibe.......so here is what i came up with, i did what the teacher said and tryed to make the letterforms better


Learning to fly - image 22 - student project


So I Got rid of the "I win you loose" part as it did not look well once i did it.... and I made a T shirt with a mockup I downloaded...I AM TOTALLY HAPPY! 


It's All handwritten no photoshop or cumputer fonts, no Vector work, strait raw as it was drawn.... and not and Idea I copied from anyone...all me, and all by hand.

I can't belive I made this! you really can do anyting if you try hard enough!


Alls I did was try my hand at script, I had to really work hard on the G to make that swash work with the small o in the word dog., I do wish the G was a bit slimmer....but it is what it is....then at the last moment i noticed that it had to much of a blank space under the o...so there was just enough room for a USA....

It's nice if i must say so, it fit perfect right there and looks period correct for the 70's!!!!

  I would wear this in a heartbeat!


Learning to fly - image 23 - student project




5/30 Logo ART

I wanted to try somthing new and I saw in my comments that I need to practice letterforms so i gave it a try, Today I wanted to go for that 50's Atomic look, I like those round letters from the 50's and Rocket feeling ( I love those A's with rounded heads like that font style they used in old vintage car ads).... I wanted to combine that with the Analog theme of recording ( guitars with amps, not digital) nowadays people record guitars pluged into laptops!!!!...just think, your grandpa pluged into a 60 watt tube amp and let electricity run thru his fingers like Tesla intended!!!!....Go grandpa..go!!!!....now kids plug into the usb port on there apple I mac garrage band...HA... HA!!! (its a sad day for Rock n Roll) ..anyways.....and of corse I need some kind of focal point, so...dog bones hey hey! Red Dog Guitars


Learning to fly - image 24 - student project

 so here is what i came up with....I see I am going to need lots of work to get the thicks and thins part right...but little by little, i am trying to learn the hand drawing part at the same time as the photoshop part...so it is what it is.....But i like it!

I wish I had erasable ink pens, I hate having to commit to it on the fly as I am drawing, maybe there is some kind of tecnique i am missing or don't know about? or pens that erase? man that would be boss to have.

For this I drew it on paper, took a photo with my camera, then uploaded it in photoshop, Today I discovered if I hit the negitive button in I got a cool grey effect. then i just added a few grunge scratch brush marks....it was a 5 minet job.


Presto...i guess it looks cool enough?



 I only have sharpie pens , both the thick and thin ones, i ordered some Micron  on ebay as I read thats what it seems just about everyone is using, I hope they show soon! i'm ready to try them. I have to say there is some amazing talent here....so i know mine looks like chicken scratch, but I am trying



5/25 One in Action

Ok, so I finaly have a chance to use this class in action!  So I decided to make a hang tag for a guitar headstock. I sold a guitar today, and its a handmade vintage 3 string guitar based on the "the Liberty Bell" . Its all handcarved and the pickup is the Bell.

 I was going to wrap it up to mail and then it occured to me to make a quick hang tag for the head stock, it is something i would have never done before, so I grabed a sharpie pen and a blank manilla tag that is coffee stained and blow dryed and this is what I whiped up in about 30 minets!

Learning to fly - image 25 - student project

 It's pretty simple, just a quick design and I signed and dated it on the back side.. I am quite happy with it and this class, I have learned alot, not about tecnique, but about application....I would have never thought of doing this type of thing in the past...but now i want to do it every chance i get...so It my first time in action...I hope the customer doesnt think I am nuts or childish!

 Learning to fly - image 26 - student project


5/22 My ADD has kicked in!


I started out planing on drawing a fun label for a DVD cover about guitar building, then to find the right spacing as it needed to be less than 4 inches tall i moved into ADobe just to take mesurments on the rule bar at the top of the screen,( the cd sleeeve is 5 inches)

 then i started having so much fun I abonded everything and started working on it in Vector.


Its inspired by a 60's Bunny Bread AD kinda thing ......this is the end of a Loaf of Bread bag..this is my todays doodle


Learning to fly - image 27 - student project




I was talking to a friend and he is a legend at making guitar pickups and I use his on alot of my guitars, and of corse I was like "yeah I can whip you up a little sompthin special, I'm a pro at making vintage logos by hand"

ha..its been a week!

So I did this for fun, I like the layout alot, but not the arrows, I see alot of people using them and they are played out and corny, but I coudn't think of anything else to use...which is probaly why every one else is using them!

but still cool to my eyes...it's todays riff raff logo project

Learning to fly - image 28 - student project









Today I came up with this in pencil the made it in vector, it was too cool not to!...I came up with this 50's style

Learning to fly - image 29 - student project






5/19 todays new updates

Ok, i guess the most important thing i learned about this class is that I can do it too!....A week ago I would have never thought i could do hand writing typography or "art" if thats what you would consider what i am doing, to me It looks more like chicken stratch or a kids drawing of garbble.... but, i now relize...Its all in my mind, if i like it thats all that matters!

So I really had alot of fun yesterday creating that black and white Dixie art, I have never done that before, actually alls I did was hit the invert button on photoshop....so I wanted to do it again, but this time today I saw some footage of World War 2 airplanes and Bomber nose art and I was hit with an inspiration...I wanted to try my hand at it and in keeping with the Red Dog Guitars theme, here is what i came up with..it think its really cool...like a piolits Jacket patch from the 40's

It was alot of fun!

Learning to fly - image 30 - student project



5/18 some more scratch...this time I fliped the colors, I hit the invert botton on photoshop and added a disolve layer of speckle..cool!


Learning to fly - image 31 - student project

 I am not really a big fan of the confederate flag, but it just fit so well in the Dixie part..i had to use it!

I am from New Orleans and wanted to find a way to put in some kind of way "Made in the south, around here they use the Words "Dixie" are on everything. New Orleans has Dixie writen on lots of buildings, streets and products...Dixie Beer, Dixie Records, Dixie Bread, Dixie Butter...on and on...It's really catchy.


5/17 update

Ok, so after looking at everyones awesome work, It's clear I am not ever gonna be even close to what most are making...i am blown away by many peoples awesomeness!...There is many super top notch artist, a few i dare say are as good or better than the teacher!

So anyways, i am but a chicken peckin at paper, I wil post my latest, its more of an odd logo, not really anything, i just liked the layout

Learning to fly - image 32 - student project







5/16 here what i can up with today a hangtag for a guitar headstock


Learning to fly - image 33 - student project



Here I tryed fine line,


Learning to fly - image 34 - student project



I saw this idea while researching jon continos stuff, it flashed by on the screen for a breif second in one of his videos, as soon as I saw it I was like wow! thats a great layout and is easy on the eyes, I  took it and made it my own, I guess thats what you do when you are a beginer!...I think this is A GREAT LAYOUT it really has alot of potential.

Learning to fly - image 35 - student project