To Travel is to Live | Skillshare Projects

Kim Haskell

Calligraphy, Lettering, and Illustration



To Travel is to Live

Hello Everyone:

I've just become aware that you are only permitted to upload one project per class here, but I loved this class so much that I simply couldn't resist trying my hand at a second alphabet. Therefore, I'm simply going to overwrite my previous project and share a new one. :)

Here's a little photo of what my first project looked like.


I'm terribly late starting the two week challenge as I was away on holiday, but with all of the inspiration that comes from travel, I was bursting at the seams to create something new now that I'm settled back at home. 

The majority of my travels were in Denmark, and that sparked the inspiration for my current project. One of the most famous Danish authors is Hans Christian Andersen and I've been a fan of his ever since I was a toddler wandering around with a hard-covered collection of his fairy tales in search of anyone who would read them to me. As luck should have it, it seems Andersen was a keen traveller and I found a poem from his autobiography that spoke to my own wanderlust.

        To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,

        To gain all while you give,

        To roam the roads of lands remote,

        To travel is to live. 

Since it's my second project for this class, I decided to challenge myself with a longer passage. I also wanted to up the ante with a script font. I was looking for something that isn't overly formal or ornate with a stroke thick enough to allow the watercolour effect to shine. After a little online search, I stumbled across Great Vibes and loved everything about it (even the name!).

When it came time to paint, I reflected back on my inspiration of Denmark. I spent lots of time in the coastal areas admiring the seas and sky with my toes in the sand. It was an easy choice to pick blue, green, and brown to represent the colours of those elements. I'd recently picked up some Holbein watercolour tubes so I used cobalt blue hue, viridian hue, and burnt umber to complete my alphabet. 

I had actually collected a small sample of water in Grenen, which is at the northen tip of Denmark where the Skagerrak and Kattegat seas meet. I used this water to dampen my paints for this project so there's actually a little Denmark in there. 



In my previous project I'd used Strathmore 300 Watercolour paper which is very textured and I found some issues in controlling some of my letters. On recommendation from Amarilys, I picked up a lesser textured paper (Canson XL 140lb cold press) and I did find it easier to control the application of water to that paper. I did also paint a few punctuation marks and capital letters that I required for my passage but they seem to have missed out on the photoshoot. 

I scanned my image at 1200 dpi and loaded it into photoshop to eliminate the background. These are the resulting vectors that were created in Illustrator.



Admittedly, the next step of arranging my alphabet into my quote took quite a long time. I had to copy and paste a lot of letters repeatedly and there was some trial and error in my alignment techniques. Initially, I simply lined my letters up using the grid.


I wanted the letters to seem casual so I wasn't too strict on them all being perfectly level, but I did find I was having a hard time with spacing between words. I didn't want to risk the passage being illegible, so I followed a tip from Amarilys and created a new layer in Illustrator with the passage typed out in my font. I then simply re-arranged the spacing between my vectors using the typed layer as a guideline. 

When all was said and done, this is what I ended up with. 


I was really pleased with the result and think I'll use it for a print in my home.

I also wanted to create an alternate version that serves to remind me even more of my travels. One morning in northern Denmark we awoke before sunrise and headed for the beach. It was a very peaceful morning- there wasn't another soul around and the only sound was the waves licking the shore. A very thick fog made everything one big hazy blend and it was hard to see where the sky ended and the sea began. A photograph I'd taken of that very seascape seemed a good compliment to this passage without overpowering it.


Thanks so much for visiting my project. As a watercolour newbie, I'm always happy to hear any feedback on my process or how I might be able to improve. 


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