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Life is ours. We live it our way.

I came across my quote quite randomly, while listening to music one day. The song-- Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" -- and this verse made me think of my husband and the life we are building together. I knew I wanted to incorporate elements of nature to reflect where we live and our similar upbringings as well as the creative tools that are prevalent in our lives.

I want the end result to be strong and assertive yet subtlely romantic.

My inspiration words:

Assertive

Strong

Nature

Wood

Rustic

Growing

Creation

Carved

Pencils

Music

Guitar

My Mood Board: 

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These are my warmup sketches. I knew I wanted Ours to be a very assertive, dominant word on the page so I chose it for my warmup. 

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Since I envison this being a framed print that I can give to my husband, I was set on a vertical format. Here are some of my layout sketches. 

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The lightbulb came out of nowhere as I was thinking about how we like to brainstorm together about all kinds of things. But there's nothing really romatic, natural or really "us" about a lightbulb...

I struggled the most with the approach for “Life” and “Our Way,” so these explorations into those two pieces of the puzzle. Since "Ours" and "Our Way" were going to be strong, heavy fonts, I felt like "Life" needed to be lighter and in script. I'm still not sure I love how it, but it creates a nice organic contrast to everything else. 

I also decided to add ginko and cedar leaves to symbolize our childhoods and where we grew up.

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I really like the knotted "Our Way," but I felt it was way too heavy handed.

Here is my not-so-final, horribly spaced sketch. It was originally just an exploration of the word “Ours,” but I liked the lettering so much, I just kept building on it. The spacing is awful so I need to do another sketch. I'm also toying with the idea of putting "Ours" on a curve, as you can see in the bottom left. I think it will add some oomph.

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 As I was working on my final sketch, I had a lot of surprises... and did a lot of erasing. The first big change: the wood grain was back in. I felt like it provided a much needed link between the leaves and the woodblock font just wasn't coming through as strong as I wanted. Plus, the straight horizontal lines in the letters on the curve were killing me. I am so, so, so glad I put "Ours" on a curve because it's definitely more dynamic but it definitely presented a lot of chanllenges. The next thing to go was the second pencil. It was just too long and make the bottom feel heavy and crowded. At my husband's suggestion, I switched it out with a nut and two bolts to represent another of his creative outlets. I really like the juxtaposition of the metal elements with all the wood. 

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