Too Real

Too Real  - student project

I've kept a mental note throughout the week on various quotes I've heard, however none quiet resonated with me as when I overheard a few other military spouses talking.

I should probably note, I am a military spouse and I live on a military base.

As we are waiting for our children to be released from school, I hear two spouses, obviously friends, talking about their week so far. She says, "I finally watched the Chris Kyle movie." I watch as other nearby spouses change their stance - there's an immediate change felt. Her friend replies, "It's hard to watch." She replies, "That shit is too real."

At first, I'm taken back by her response. Here is a mom inline waiting for her child. But, really she's just saying what we are all thinking. It's interesting how your emotions can affect your vocabulary. And honestly, the military community is accustomed to its share of profanity.

The more I think about the saying, the more I realize how it translates to other contexts.

So when I consider - "what world was this quote said in?" These are some of the images, colors, and typefaces that come to mind. On my moodboard, I've included a picture of one of my husband's returns from deployment - there are distinct colors, patterns and emotions...

Too Real  - image 1 - student project

When something is TOO REAL - is it something you can relate to OR is it something you'd rather not relate to? Are you perplexed?

Honestly, I'm perplexed. I can see a humorous side to the quote. I also tend to take a lighthearted approach to work. However, the quote in it's original context forces me to evaluate how I interpret the often paradox reality of being a military spouse. Ideally, I would like to create a final piece that speaks to a broad audience. I will continue my search for inspiration...

Feedback is always welcome! Thank you!



I examined the stylings from old military flyers and vintage advertising.

Too Real  - image 2 - student project

Using pencils HB & 7B, a fineliner and a king sharpie I created my first piece.


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Personally, I envision this piece as a low to medium tone - almost as if someone is examining the situation. But, I'd like to see how you as the viewer interprets the tone of the piece.

Replace the gun with the chick from The Ring... AHH! I'm out.


I really appreciated the feedback I received. With some additional guidance, I made some revisions and additions to my overall design. I hope to elaborate on this piece with the use of watercolor and ink.

First, I wanted to work more on the lettering style. Vintage military posters tend to favor a Sign Painter approach.

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Taking into consideration the subject and the text direction, I completed a rough sketch. My "is" got a little wonky. My goal was to tighten the overall composition, and have the illustration and quote interact. I want my finished piece to be similar to the vintage style, so I'll use watercolor for the illustrations.

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I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's progress! - Alex


To make the most out of the project, I wanted to consider an alternative tone for the piece. 

I chose to try out a different lettering style - Brush. I played around with layout and variations.

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Next, lettering within a shape - TV (Square and Rectangle)

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It's nice to see everyone's project coming along. I'm looking forward to the final pieces! -Alex

NOV 9 | LOW TONE ( Third Sketch)

Too Real  - image 8 - student project

For a low tone piece, I imagined a casual exchange between friends at the movies.

NOV 10 | FINAL PIECE- Digital

For my final piece, I wanted to challenge myself. I decided to go with my LOUD sketch. At first, I went with a black and white version, with lots of handdrawn ink (bombay and watercolor) textures and elements. I tried to incorporate the key themes of vintage military imagery and type. Then I decided to add color to add depth to solider and make him more realistic. I hope continue working on his coloring.

Here is some of the progression of the piece -

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I wanted to try out a final piece for my medium tone. I had to wait for my little ones to go to bed. I decided to go with a more modern approach. I used handdrawn textures and lettering for this piece. I couldn't help but think - NETFLIX & ZERO CHILL... too much?

Thank you for a rewarding live session! This project certainly helped pass some time while my Airman is away.


Too Real  - image 16 - student project

Great work, everyone!