Whale of an Ale

I regularly get ideas for cheeky beer names. "Whale of an Ale" has been something I've wanted to design for some time now.

My inspiration was old beer labels and scrimshaw knives.

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Once I had my inspiration I roughed out a few thumbnails and landed on a favorite...before promptly changing my mind.

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I fleshed out a couple of options and started lettering my beer name. I like to draw my letters liniarly to ensure they're all the same proportion. I can edit the angles and size digitally later. Sometimes I'll build a wire frame of my lettering in Illustrator, print it out and then re-draw it. This time I just drew most of the label in pieces.

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After I drew the above sketch I realized just showing the tail wasn't enough, so I went back and came up with this.

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There's that cheeky little whale! I decided to put the type of beer in the lock up with the whale. Once I got it all traced and inked I scanned it and live traced everything with a custom preset in Ilustrator.

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Once everything was editable it was time to play around and add some color.

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I should have drawn everything separately and built the design in Illustrator. Since I drew it all on one piece I had to get creative with the pen tool and fill in the whale and clouds. Then I added some texture.

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This was looking pretty good, and I could have stopped there. But I decided a darker label would be cleaner. I also wanted to add where this imaginary beer was bottled.

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Not quite perfect, but that's sort of the point. I'm pleased with how the lettering and artwork turned out on this one.

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