Yoho yoho... | Skillshare Projects

Anne Joshua

visual & intellectual creative



Yoho yoho...


My phrase: "Yoho yoho…"

The “…a pirate’s life for me!’’ is implied. Of course!

I always do this, for better or worse—distill text down to the barerst minimum of words. Therefore, my lettering probably won’t turn out as diverse as Mary Kate’s. But I’ll be truer to myself, I think, with this approach—few words; tons of meaning. 

So all this meaning I boast of…

To me “Yoho yoyo…” succinctly articulates the essence of the film Pirates of the Caribbean, which beautifully captures 3 of my favourite philosophies:

“Guidelines; not rules.”  Mindfulness.

“Not all treasure is silver and gold.”  Minimalism. 

“Bring me that horizon.” Self-actualisation.

Or to quote a different film, Amelia: “No borders, just horizons; only freedom.”


 - Wednesday, September 7th 2016 -

All right, on to the sketching! Here's my lettering warm-up:


Not bad, I think. Plenty of ideas! 

Some of my thoughts:

1 - Lettering as if it were the name of a ship. 

2 - I like the idea of referring to the fact that the phrase comes from the song. To that effect…  Using lowercase brings a nice rhythm and a fun symmetry (down on the ‘y’ and up on the ‘h’).  And visually I really like the music bar. Only conceptually I don’t. Somehow I don’t think using bars is the way to illustrate freedom. 

3 - Maybe the script with rope-effect could also infer the song. The flourishes and irregularity may be a better (more subtle) fit. The helm and compass could add a little bit of message, about steering and course correcting.

4 - The serif could maybe be sea-foam / waves or something. Or Greek pillars, with which to go the Poseidon route. But I'm not really feeling it. 

5 - I’ve no interest in a macabre, all things fleeting (Vanitas) theme. Not that my sketch comes anywhere near! It’s much too cartoony.

6 - Treasure. Many possibilities visually, easy to loose track conceptually. 

7 - I like the idea of it all having started with the theme park ride. And to bring it back there. Maybe the final artwork could be a poster or t-shirt for in the merchandise shop at the exit.  Also to be found there is this Finding Nemo inspired one. I quite love it. Though unfortunately, it’s not really one for hand-lettering, I think. There’s not much to add to it, other than turn it into a clean logo-like design. Plus, I suspect it’s been done already.  

8 - Speaking of applications for my project. Tattoo and blackletter would be a good combination, I think.

Out of all of these, the script with rope-effect, is the one I most look forward to sinking my teeth into.

However, I'm well aware, the rope in combination with maritime symbology has been done before.
I especially like the below example:


This means execution will be oh so very important!

Im only a beginner letterer, not yet familiar and comfortable with all script possibilities. So I cheated and sampled some fonts that I liked:


Here I'm trying to piece / puzzle things together. And I played around with the positions of items.


Meanwhile, a slight concept change happened: a horizon instead of a compass.

Also, I added an element to the top right corner, because I thought the overall shape was slightly off otherwise.


And some detail added: 1cc8c7a4

I’m mostly happy with this, except for the top (and lower) ‘H.’ As it turns out, applying the rope-effect on a straight line feels off. Funny, because it didn't bother me at all in my inspiration image.

On the other hand, what I learn from my inspiration image is that connections and continuations don’t have to be natural / possible in reality. Instead, it's ok to take advantage of this being a drawing. I've only got one sharp corner though, in the top ‘Y’. And maybe not coincidentally, the double ‘Y’ combination is by far my favourite part. 


- Thursday, December 28th 2017 -

Wow! It’s been awhile. I fell of the wagon for a bit there.
Still, I definitely do plan to finish this project, so this time I picked up the fountain pen and fineliners.


(If some of these look the same, it’s because I’m trying the same pattern with different pens.)

1 - stipling
2 - cross-hatching
3 - lines
11 - inverted. Turns out it’s pretty impossible to draw this by hand, but definitely worth a try on the computer later on. 

The first two have a difference in fluidity than the majority. It’s what I’ve been using in my pencil sketches up to now. The other resembles reality more. Doesn’t necessarily mean I have to go with the latter, though. 

I took and enlarged a snippet to try my top two contenders on.


Beforehand, I really thought I was going to like the striped ropes better than the dotted ones. However, applying the stripe effect all over, makes it fall pretty flat; whereas the dotted effect adds a nice dynamic, especially where segments overlap, but also from sometimes appearing on the left and sometimes on the right. 


The flat overall look prompts me to have a second look at my inspiration image, to see if it’s an issue there too. It’s not, they’ve added some shading where segments overlap. I gave that a try as well, and it’s much more better


Chances are, that in the end I’ll invert the image. Something to bear in mind with how and when to best apply the shadows. Because first applying shadow, and inverting later, will create an illuminated effect instead of shadow.


Doesn’t help with picking a pattern, though.

Maybe it’s a good idea to start working on some other elements first. Like these helms. (All are tracings from reference material.)



1 - no character
2 - love the black nails (somehow I much prefer them to outlines only; more piratey I guess)
3 - too skinny
4 - boring
5 - too cute
6 - six handles? It is what I used in my initial sketch, but eighth handles appear much more common.
7 - too cartoony, I like the extra 2 slightly irregular inner circles though, adding some dimension  
8 - not very robust, feels like the handles may snap at any moment

However, these observations might become invalid once I combine it with a woodgrain pattern, as I had planned. So below I’m checking how much detail it allows for. 


I was afraid the pattern wouldn’t go well with the more detailed helm; but actually it’s alright, I like it better even than on the simpler version.
Actually, I like it so much, that I might very well just go with it as is. 

Also works really well in combination with the patterned rope, I think. It kinda fits within the same visual style.47be2ab4

But still really undecided as to which rope treatment to go with. Argh!

What do you guys think?


- Monday, September 17th 2018 -

As I wasn’t 100% happy with the script yet, I went back an played around with it some more. I especially didn’t want any straight lines, because it doesn’t go well with the rope effect. And I wanted to try and include that wave element within the top ‘H’ after all.


Many iterations. And, I know, they all start to blend together. But it turned out ok. For now.  

I liked the element of sea in the top ‘H’ from the beginning. And the second wave adds to it conceptually, boosting the idea of going after that horizon.

So, now, on to some copy-pasting of the best parts.



Followed by a quick Illustrator line drawing, hopefully fine-tuning is easier that way.




What do you guys think of the new layout?


- Wednesday, February 6th 2019 -

It’s the lower ‘H’ that’s giving me some trouble in the end. I prefer to do a sharp corner in the bottom-right of the ‘H’, to have its shape be somewhat similar to that of the top ‘H’. Only this'll leave a gaping hole between ‘H’ and ‘O’ that I can’t fix by pushing the ‘O’ more toward the ‘H’, because I’ll loose the ‘O’ intersecting with the sun.



One final pencil sketch before I start on the final drawings. I tried fixing the gaping hole by just adding in a simple line, plus some others as well. And it actually improves the whole thing! It suggests movement, sort of like how they do it in cartoons. (I know it’s cheating! Because really, the lettershapes should be able to hold their own, without flourishes and ornamentation. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy with it.)



I use a fountain pen to do my final line drawing. It gives just this extra bit of grain that I like. And when I’m not completely happy with a line I’ve drawn, I point to the imperfection with an arrow, so I’ll know where to find it later, on the computer, so that I can fix it.



To then delete over half my arrow, because upon reflection it wasn’t so bad after all. ;)



Finally! This is what it looks like with all elements put through live-trace within Illustrator.
Even though the only colour used is black, there appear to be different shades going on. For example, the waves look blacker and far too pronounced. However, I think this might be something that can be easily fixed by adding colour.



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