Kate Moore

Designer • Illustrator



Sucking at something is the first step toward being sorta good at something!

10/24/13 — Starting out

Hello everyone! I just joined the class yesterday after seeing it pop up on Facebook—normally I don't click on ads but I've been working on my hand lettering a lot lately, and it seemed too good to pass up :) I'm a professional designer/illustrator from Missouri, trying to work my way toward full-time freelance illustration, and I'm very excited to be here with all of you talented folks!

For my quote, I wanted to do something that would be a good "reality check" for me when I get all dramatic and moan about how my work is terrible and I'm terrible and I'm never going to get any better. (It happens more often than I'd like to admit.) While watching Adventure Time last night (such a great show—really adult themes packaged up in a cute cartoon), Jake the dog reassured Finn by saying "Dude, suckin' at something is the first step towards bein' sorta good at something!" It really resonated with me, and I thought it was a reminder I could benefit from. So even though it's a bit long, the phrase I'm going with is:


I scribbled down some associated words last night. Since the words are all pretty abstract, the focus will be mostly on the type—I don't anticipate having a lot of concrete images involved, but you never know. I do like the idea of "first step" being represented in a way that has to do with travel/trails/journeys.

Then I started on the research. I stumbled across a Pinterest board full of examples from the Sanborn map company and immediately got really distracted by how beautiful their covers were back in the late 1800s (conveniently including one for my hometown, St. Louis!).

I love their big blocky ornate serifs for the city names and would love to incorporate some of that into my image. Atlanta in particular stands out to me. Then, I gathered some examples from other sources—some modern, some vintage:

I am really liking the combination of tall, bold, strong serifs with three-dimensional elements, and swoopy scripts (like "Farewell Company," "Tiny Stories" and the really cool K in "Killaloe").

I love the three-dimensional quality of the numbers in 104 and the sharp corners of Zebra and Giraffe. The very tall skinny layout of the clothing labels could be something interesting to explore—I'm thinking of this in terms of a poster, I'd like to have one printed for myself and maybe some for my artist friends as well.

So what do you think? Any suggestions, questions, things I've missed?

10/25/13 — Lettering warm-up

I worked on my warm-ups tonight while watching a movie. I chose "GOOD" for mine, because I thought if I went with a shorter word I could put more detail into each letter, and also because I am bad at curves and needed practice. I came out with five-and-a-half words; I ran out of space on the blackletter example and subtracted an O since there were two (thus ending up with "GOOD GOD" written across the bottom of my page). I like my dimensional sans serif and think both the serif and the fancy serif have potential. I'm not as fond of the representational one (I wish I'd only shaded the bottom half of each letter, rather than the whole thing) and blackletter isn't really my thing, but I thought I should give it a shot!

10/26/13 —Lettering warm-up part 2

I wasn't totally satisfied with the stuff I did last night when I reviewed it this morning. I decided to do a longer word and try to keep things a little more loose/hand-written. I also went and snagged a few tools (like a compass, a nice pen and a big, soft eraser). I like this batch better—I think they'll be more useful in the final sketch!

11/11/13 – Thumbnails

Sorry for the break! I've been swamped at work and haven't had much energy for anything else. I've done a handful of thumbnails now and am looking forward to really getting started. I'm leaning toward the one on the left; I like the tall skinny layout and the "road" banner, plus it allows room for ornamentation without relying on a ton of it. (The one on the far right is meant to show the transition from caterpillar to butterfly, but ultimately I don't think I want to be that representational. Also, ignore my terrible spacing on the bottom, horizontal layout!) I'd appreciate any thoughts/opinions!

12/30/13 – Sketching

At long last, I've had some time to finish up my sketch! It took quite a while because I got pretty picky about it, haha. I received a lightbox and some very excellent pens (Microns, a Pilot parallel pen, and a Kuretake brush pen) from my family for Christmas, so I'm eager to do some inking! But first, I do think this needs tweaking. Things that are currently bugging me:

  • I think the thumbs up/thumbs down should probably be shrunk so they don't intersect the text at the top and bottom.
  • I'd like to add some kind of flourish around the thumbs up/thumbs down so they look more integrated into the design, but I'm having trouble figuring out what (as you can probably see from my eraser marks). If anyone has any suggestions for this, I would mega appreciate it!
  • I think the "FIRST STEP" lettering is a little wonky. I find it easier to do positive (black surrounded by paper) text than negative (paper surrounded by black) text, so I might ink that part separately in the final version and then invert it once it's digital.
  • "SOMETHING" seems like it might be a bit too light/empty. I don't think I want to simply color in the empty thick strokes, but I was considering a pattern—but then I was concerned it might compete too much with the little lines on "SUCKING." Any thoughts?

As always, I'm thrilled to hear critique/ideas. Thanks so much to everyone for your feedback so far!


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