Madison - Interlocking Letterforms

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - student project

Hello!

Thank you very much for taking the time to check out my project and class! I did my best to explain my process for creating interlocking letterforms in a condensed style, so I hope the video lessons are informative! Below, I have outlined my process from Sketching and Planning, to Executing the sketch with Font Manipulation, all the way up to Refining the lettering for Finalization.

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - image 1 - student project

I decided to devote my project to the capital of my home state of Wisconsin. I grew up and actually still live in a suburb of Madison, and I've got to say Madison is a nice little city. 

1. Initial Sketches The first step is to create some loose initial sketches. The idea is to draw relatively quickly in the spirit of making quick decisions and achieving results in an efficient manner. It's all about finding interesting letter relationships. Download the Sketching Worksheet and sketch either digitally within photoshop, or print the worksheet and work with a sharpie marker. 

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - image 2 - student project

2. Execute Sketch With Font Manipulation After sketching a few options and finding some interesting letter relationships, I decided to move forward with my last sketch (in the above image on the bottom right ). I typed out my chosen word "Madison" in the condensed alphabet font I have available for download. And then manipulated it to incorporate the characteristics established in the initial sketch. 

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - image 3 - student project

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - image 4 - student project

3. Refine Lettering To Include Sublte Curves In this third step, we redraw the above sketch with lines that have a subtle curve to them. So, Instead of having straights lines next to straight lines (which can look static) we have subtly curved lines next to other subtly curved lines, which creates tension and excitement. 

We basically set up a matrix of vertical and horizontal lines that correspond with the letters in our sketch, and then we delete parts of the lines that we don't need, and we draw in connections to create the letters.

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - image 5 - student project

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - image 6 - student project

4. Fill Letters and Add Roughness to Contour This fourth step is done within Adobe Illustrator. We bring the above into illustrator to live trace it. This allows us to fill in the letters quicker than painting them in, in photoshop. And while in Illustrator we can also add a distortion technique to give a more authentic aesthetic to the contour of the letters.

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - image 7 - student project

5. Refine with Masks in Photoshop The last step is to take the lettering back into photoshop to clean it up a bit. We can finesse curves, and round off sharp corners. And we can also add a bit of color!

Madison - Interlocking Letterforms - image 8 - student project

Ray Mawst
Lettering & Design
Teacher