Would You Kindly? (Concept to Sketch)

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this class and quite new to hand-lettering as well.
What I hope to learn in this class is how improve my sketching and thinking of type. I'm usually fast at sketching, but therefore my sketches are very loose and rough. I also want to learn to see type not only as letters but a shapes, because I feel like I'm always fixed to the natural boundaries letters have but want to bring out the best of it. Also I'm always curious about other peoples working progress  :)

For this project I hope to create a illustration for poster full of atmosphere. Feel free to comment on my notes and uploads.


Choosing a Phrase

My phrase "Would you kindly?" comes from video game Bioshock. It is a code used by non-player characters in the game to manipulate its protagonist. If the protragonist is asked a question that begins with "would you kindly..." he is forced to fulfill the request.

Actually I choose this phrase because of the games setting and I always wanted to create a vintage illustration.

I wanted to go with phrases before, in case you wonder for the strange creatures in my sketchbook :)


Brainstorming and inspiration

I made some notes about the game's setting, but especially what came to my mind regarding my phrase.

A term that crossed my mind quite often was city under water and I think that this is a strong visual for the design. My first idea was to let part of the letters create the city.
Bioshock also has a lot of vintage brands, especially created for the game and that would be my idea for the whole lettering: vintage design. Going with the setting in a broken city, I would love the have parts of the letters looking like broken, luminous advertising or shop signs.


Gathering references

I searched for advertising from the video game, images that suit the mood I have in mind and typography that fit the 1950s.

Next step is bringing my ideas on paper, after doing some warm ups. Stay tuned and see you soon! :)


Lettering warm-up (April 9th)

I tried different styles to illustrate the word "would". I made up my mind to turn the word "kindly" into an underwater city and decided to not end up too wild with the other words. Even though I focused on a simple, retro typeset, I think I will add a little lighthouse detail to one of the letters to add more context.



Here are some small thumbnails, to get going with the layout. I like the diagonal set letters a lot, but I will go with a circle shape in the main area and will build the letters around it.

The thumbnail phase really helped a lot, since you try out how elements could be aligned next to each other, without too many details. But you definitely get a feeling for your layout.


More thumbnails and decorative elements (May 8th, 2014)

I started to turn one of my thumbnails into a larger sketch and decided on how my composition will look like, which part I want to decorate and what to do with the word "you". I did some further research how to illustrate the city on the bottom and did some alternate versions of all elements.


Sketching (July 1st, 2014)

I had a hard time with building up the city that is on bottom of my poster, but finally I got something done. The letters will be illustrated as lighted windows, but I didn't do any detailed sketching.

Instead I started with combining the elements I was working on seperately and I think, even though there's a lot ti improve, I'm on a good way.

Next thing is to go further with the sketch and post it for feedback, until I start with the final sketch. I know that there isn't much detail on the sketch, but what do you think so far?


July 14th, 2014

I addes some windows to get started with the structure of my city. I realized that I need to vary more between the window's sizes to add more depth. I tried out this plain version above in my sketchbook, but I also did a copy of my larger sketch to check out different versions of shadowing:

This looks pretty messy, because I tried different angles of shadowing but at the same time it makes the city look more interesting. Maybe I'll keep this as a "style" for the poster, to underline my poor understanding of perspective ;)

I noticed that there're a lot of huge buildings on my paper, instead of many smaller ones. That's ok, I guess, but it also appears to be a very heavy element in my composition. To add more some more contrast and to make the illustration appear "lighter", shadowing whole buildings would be a nice idea. I still need to figure out a way to illustrate my city that I feel comfortable with.

Thanks for watching and see you soon :)


July 28th, 2014 – Refined sketch
I started with my refined sketch the other day. I really like how this turnes out and plan to upload my finished sketch this weekend. :)


August 10th, 2014 – Refined sketch finish

I finally finished my final sketch. In the end it became a huge illustration something, but I have high hopes for the colored result to be pretty cool. Maybe I'll change some smaller details until I start inking next week, but that's pretty much it. So last time for you to give me some hints and tips to progress or just your general optinion about this project. :)


August 13th, 2014 – Inked!!

I thought that as soon as the refined sketch is finished, the rest is going to be easy. But that's far from it! Since I want my poster to be colored afterwards I needed to think about what parts could be colored one way or another. I got a little confused what where to start and went with the important elements and basic shapes. I also inked some elements on a different piece of paper to combine them afterwards.

Next I'll continue to digitize my artwork, following the second tutorial by Mary Kate McDevit. For that I'll open a new project. Thanks for following me so far and for your comments and hearts! See you real soon ;)

So far so good. This is my final inked version (just the major sheet):


August 23rd, 2014 – Ink Round 2

I was pretty confident that my recent inked drawing would be enough to digitize, but as I proceeded through the second tutorial (The Final Steps of Hand-Lettering: Color & Texture) I noticed that my inking was too sloppy and that I should have done certain elements on a different sheet of paper. I started over again and this time I took care that my lines would be more steady and solid and I didn't fill in the words, since this would happen while digitizing.

This is how my vector like and what different layers/ papers I used to seperate overlaping elements. Since I use Illustrator CS6 is was a little hard to find the settings that would fit my illustration best, but I think I got a result I can work with.

Thanks so much for watching my progress so far!

Any further progress will be uploaded on the related project page right there: Would You Kindly? (Color & Texture).


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