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RJ & Stephanie's Wedding Invitation

My brother and his fiance asked me to design their wedding invitation with hand-lettering. While I have some experience with hand-lettering, I've always noticed a big gap between my initial pen drawings and the final product. Something gets lost along the way, I suspect during the "live trace" phase in Illustrator. So I'm taking this class to learn some pointers.

First I sketched out an outline on grid paper, overlayed tracing paper, and filled it in with pen. I use tracing paper sometimes to skip erasing pencil marks and potential wrinkling the page.

Below is my (crooked) scanned-in pen drawing before any digital manipulation.

In Step 2 below, I straightened and cleaned up the image in Photoshop:

In Step 3 below, I used "Live Trace" and "Roughen" to turn the illustration into a vector file:

The vector version stayed pretty true to my Photoshop file, with some help from the Live Trace settings.

Below is a close-to-final version of the entire wedding invitation, using the hand-lettering techniques from the lesson. There are a few places where I substituted fonts ("The Andalusian Court") because I wasn't super happy with my own handwriting. I'll have to keep working on that. 

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