Shape your Reality. Focus. | Skillshare Projects

Leanda Xavian

Illustrator & letterer



Shape your Reality. Focus.

I wanted to create something special for a friend who was visiting from overseas. I asked her to choose a favourite phrase or affirmation that meant something and 'shape your reality. focus.' is what she chose. The idea was to transform this into a final piece of artwork which she could hang on her wall (or perhaps discreetly throw in the bin!).

Stage 1. Sketches.

I began by sketching out and inking some simple arrangements, without thinking too much about flourishing. I just wanted to play with the wording.

Stage 2. Adding flourishes and refining.

After settling on an arrangement for the words, I started to play around with flourishes. I'm not that confident with my flourishing so found this stage tricky. This was my first attempt.

I wasn't really happy with the flourishes at the top of the design, so practically erased the whole lot and started again. I felt I wanted a more circular design. It took a long time to get right, but I finally settled on the layout shown below.

Stage 3. Inking in the design.

I chose to go down the traditional calligraphy route using ink and dip pen, although my flourishing was fairly tragic!

Stage 4. Scanning and correcting the artwork.

After scanning my design at a resolution of 600 dpi, I found I had so many corrections that I decided to break them down into two stages. Pink indicates larger, more general corrections and blue indicates finer details to be corrected. I had the best fun with the warp tool!

My paper was slightly tinted, which left quite a lot of cleaning up to do. Here is what the artwork looked like when it was first brought into Photoshop:

and this is the result after following Molly's (quite excellent) directions!

Stage 5. Vectorizing.

I have a slightly older version of CS, but was able to approximate the trace settings that Molly showed us. I just loved playing around with the design once it was expanded.

It was so satisfying seeing how well the design worked within a circle and other bounding shapes. It also worked well rotated at a 30° angle and enlarged to overhang the bounderies. I could envisage this format as a rubber stamp or product label.

It could instantly see how it might be used in other applications, a tattoo for instance:

Ultimately, I chose to inverse the text and overlay it on a watercolour texture before printing it onto a heavy textured Hahnemuhle paper.

I had such fun doing this class, Molly made her videos so clear and simple to follow. As with all Skillshare classes I never fail to learn something new and am looking forward to applying this process over and over again!


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