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Create Thumbnails

Lesson 3 from: Brush Lettering: Putting Together a Finished Piece

Laura Worthington

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Lesson Info

3. Create Thumbnails

Lesson Info

Create Thumbnails

All right, so let's get started actually doing some thumbnails, so I'm going to show you guys, you know how I've done mine and we're going to spend about fifteen minutes on some nails, and I want you guys to go through and sketch son, and I'm going to sketch some of my own, but I'll show you guys what I got started before we do that, this is just a really fast, really just a quick little tip kind of an overview of the way the rest of this course is going to work out what we're going to dio so we're going to start out with thumbnails with with pencil and or brush, and I'll kind of explain that process will move into a pencil skeleton where we take the thumbnail of our dreams and we work it up into something a little bit bigger. We'll do lettering of multiple renditions. I think that you can not spend too much time going over and practicing and refining your lettering, combining the best lettering elements together into one piece, so maybe save letter this expression twenty different tim...

es. And, you know, I like a from this page from page two, and I like to be from page for we put all those together, and then we're going to refine it by tracing or lettering over the combined piece. and then we'll talk about since we're not really have a lot of chance tio actually do this in class but finalizing scanning and digitizing you're using a light box and quality paper there's a lot of different ways that you can approach finalize and work and so we're really going to go through that and talk about all of those different pieces in parts and I find that the finalizing process and the refining process is highly interpretive you know it's back and forth to all these different elements so you know there's really no right or wrong answer but it's good to know all of the tools that with there are within the toolbox for refining revising and finalizing because first thumbnails so these are my thumb elf as you can see I kind of went all over the map with them so you guys can go ahead and get started if you want to you know start sketching some of your own thumbnails for your phrases and of course you know for the online audience I would love to hear what you guys have say what your expressions there going to be what you were going to be working on and of course I would love to see your thumbnail thought so exciting and interesting to see this is really where a lot of the creativity starts to arises when you move into the thumbnail parts just a question for you in terms of as we're doing this how big should they be on the page and western and then and how many approximately do you think we should dio and then how do you go about choosing the style if you will that you're going to see the finished piece as even when you're just doing that some now yeah so the first question is how is size how big do you want to make them so everyone is a little bit different with us I find that you know for me might tend to be about maybe to the three inches you know in height you know I tend to not make them very big I like to do it small I find that the bigger that you make them the more time you end up spending on them and then you start getting more precious about them and really start getting more detailed and that's not really what you want to do with thumbnails you want to start out brought in general and then go narrow and specific which really sounds like what my english composition teacher would say about writing an essay rot in general narrow and specific so I say not to make them too large you know make them big enough that you can get the detail in there that you need to get but not so big that you end up spending a lot of time in this process I mean the point is to really get as many different ideas out as possible and move on from that so and then the next question was let's see size of some nelson how many I would say do at least five for this exercise at least five you know when I was in design school and when I was teaching design and typography I would sometimes require fifty to one hundred yeah especially I would only do that once too torture my students you know but I really wanted them teo you know explorers many possibilities as they could because what I found is that you know if you only do a few people tend to get really locked into that first time that they do and then I go I'm done this is the layout that I want without really further exploring what it should look like you know there's a lot of things to consider and the more you d'oh the more you stretch yourself outside of the box the more combinations and clever elements you can come up with so I think a copious amount I think the more the better and then the third part of it you said is determining style so I think actually in this is good point where you don't really think too heavily about style you think about it a little bit sometimes the style starts lend itself to the thumbnail this that you're trying to you know say for example like when I started drawing I think this one right here or actually talk about this one you know I kind of thought in my thought that I wanted to do a bit of like a badge kind of like a monogram type type style and so I thought well I'm gonna have to use the script in the middle because the script is going to lend itself to having all these flourishes and embellishments and interesting stuff going on but then if I'm gonna have text around the top in the bottom it's going to have to be pretty simplistic so do you see what I mean it was like just by coming up with that idea that thumbnail it sort of started to lock me into a style in the style became kind of obvious at that point you know what I think I'm going to do is try to do something a little bit more interesting with the word all you know maybe I'm going to start that with that one and have that be like my primary my primary word I'm gonna make all all powerful I'm gonna have to make sure that I don't love he could look like some of them know that I've already done so I'm just gonna I'm going to do this kind of large so that it you guys get to see it and I'm going to nest the's l's in here together just simply because they end up taking up a lot you know the's two l's together they end up giving like this huge gap and it's like jeez you could hit a small child in between these cells way too much space so I'm going to mess them you know which which gives me a little bit economy of space and it gives me something kind of interesting and now kind of like what we were talking about with style kenna is that now that I've done these two else you know a l l and they've got the nested together that sort of sets the stage for something else so I got them nested together so how do I do something like that with the rest of these letters and where would I put you know creator so maybe you know I've got like this little like a triangle piece that I could work with over here got kinda another shape like this got space up here what am I going to do with the word creator I mean that's got to be a really important one so I think in working with these diagonals I think I'm going to do something like this and just kind of build up a little bit of a framework here you know this is kind of like this outer frame here so I'm going to actually put creator up in this part right here this little area I'm starting to run out of space plan ahead but that's ok because you know I'm just gonna go okay my next rendition of this I'm just going to leave a little bit more space for the uh actually kind of move it over a little bit that can be as messy as you want it to be given a little bit more space over their creator so I have the words you know there's a creator and all of us so where am I going to put this letter a bit take advantage again of creating kind of something geometric going on up here so I've got like a two different styles and I'm starting to mix it I'm starting to get you know like a little bit of a cursive style mix in with you know this block kind of sarah's style in here so I'm gonna add in another cursive in here somehow I'm going to make that fit it doesn't now but let me tell you I'm going to make it work but I might do something underneath here there's a creator yeah I'm definitely gonna have squashed down here to kind of fill up this space all came tell us what a swash is yeah so you know it's it's a funny thing way have the terms squashes and flourishes and I actually looked this up because I wanted tio make sure that I was explaining it right they essentially mean the same thing except for that flourishes more commonly used in calligraphy and squash is more commonly used in type because with swash is generally we were referring to capital letters that have additions and pieces added on to them so a flourish or squash is really any additional element that goes outside of that that is in addition tio the standard letter forms so you know for example in a looks like this and this is all we need just a really simple part for an a the minute I go like this that is a swash just this section right here that becomes a swash but we could also call it a flourish they're kind of the same thing and since I primarily in the type designer I tend to use the word you know wash all the time just to throw everybody else also you know so now I'm going to do this word us I'm going to repeat having a sarah if in here and then I could come down in here and creative live you know they have kind of this interesting little block style here you know what they go creative and it goes on all the little boxes c r t if you guys have seen that with you know creative I did a really crappy job of just you know sorting that out but you guys got it open then there's like little squares over her something somehow working the creative live logo so that now I have like this nice you know kind of completed so when this all gets done this will all be like one nice big kind of like rectangular shape so let me kind of clean this up a little bit because this is looking super massey so it's kind of hard to see what's going on and I'll be quick about it so how's it coming with everybody said thumbnails you guys all any anyone running out of ideas we're all doing good you know silence is actually a sign of progress news classes so I will take that as a sign that's really cool just to see you go through the thinking process and why you're actually thinking in the moment yes definitely because you know you see that one piece you know starts to play off of another you know it's like you put one thing down I wrote this this a l l and it was like a soon as I did that it immediately started to inform all of the other pieces and parts that go around with it you know it's like how also my going toe you know do this here I mean we have toe figure that out which cursive style there's uh I'm gonna put the creator down here of course we have to do some interesting swash with this tea right here to fill up that space so that when these lines go away you know we start to see that this is a uh rectangle rectangular shape and then down here with sit the rest of the creative blighted logo something interesting with this wash there or maybe not maybe instead make it too confusing all ad in some interesting little lines in there often so there is my finish time now this is done aa lot larger than I normally would but I want to make sure that everybody gets to see it these are the ones that you create that these previous could you take us through a little bit about how you created those as well yeah you bet so let's son so let's see you know it's really funny when I started sketching this out this was the very first one that I did and I was sold on it I thought to myself that's really cool it's really dynamic and that's the one that I'm going to go for and I remember thinking like ok I already got this figured out then going to do this but then I said you know that's always like the kiss of death don't you know I mean like the first one sometimes is the best one to go with but she wanted start doing a little bit more so than I moved over into doing this one and as you can see that's kind of a similar concept with I did with the other where I thought I'm going to start out with the word you know all and then mix the creator in there and see if I can you know see how those letters kind of interact with each other I was trying to kind of you know work out a way where maybe like a first I started out with this word creator down below thinking like how many's across part of the tea to make the crossbar of the a and it didn't really work but I thought you know this is cool I mean you know I can put you know I've created this squash with the tea and you know like I said this is kind of an interesting thing about flourishes and squashes is that they have a lot more function above and beyond pure aesthetics they give us a little bit of a structure to where to put other things so I thought well adding that there's a you know in all of us and that worked out pretty good and then I thought you know I want to work with in a shape side europe a circle and you know how can I create a shape in there that's kind of interesting I decided you know it would be cool teo you know in a perfect world to make this look like it's almost like a glass and it's pushing out houses you know three dimensional you know round effect kind of like a globe or something that you can really look into like a crystal ball that you can see this was kind of the idea doing almost like a medallion style you know there's a lot of different design elements and things were really common themes that people use you know badges and italians and reads and and so on and I thought that kind of fun to create like a little piece that you know where we're picks up of that idea this is the one that I ended up going with and you know it was fun it was like I started drawing out the word creator and then I started adding instance washes and if you notice I mean you can see there's a lot of messiness in here where you know it's it's like I started drawing out this wash this one I thought now that's not quite big enough strong a little bit bigger and as I started drawing out the squash is really large I thought you know this is perfect it's created a bit of a container for me to put other pieces and parts in there and I can sit this stuff in here and so I actually you know when I went tio work with this one a little bit further I tried you know like making this area bigger and spreading out these words so that they all fit into this little shape and it didn't end up working very well and ended up being to spread out there's you know this one right here there's a creator I tried it to match the elements you know I tried to you know match up this cross bar of the tea to this cross bar of the a and the crossbar of the el and then fit the other words you know kind of like right in between there so it almost ends up being this really nice tight compressed almost like a logo type this was something I wanted to do that would you know be exciting and you know just expansive and poof bush and it's all You know pretty similar in style I mean if I were tio letter that I would dio something really decorative a simple style but a more decorative simple style with the word creator this is another idea of working within an oval instead and really trying to fill up the oval obviously if I were to do this and you know to its completion I would remove you know the container that I created for it um this was something that you know I kind of like a little bit of like fifties kind of style upright tight script so having these crossbars in here and then down one down there at the bottom I felt creates kind of this nice little almost like a little frame that you could work with him

Class Materials

Free Download

Sample Thumbnails

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tips for Great Brush Lettering Compositions
Workflow | Pencil Skeleton to Ink

Ratings and Reviews


I was fortunate to be in this class live and I am so glad I own it! I have gone on to buy more brush pens and continue to practice (relax :) ) on my own. She is thorough and engaging. I feel like I learn a new gem each time I watch it!.


Laura Worthington is one of the best calligraphers I follow. She is an excellent teacher and I enjoyed this class very much. It allowed me to know her "in person". She teacher her tallets and allow students to follow their own style.

Student Work