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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 11 of 21

Illustrate Original Letterforms: From Sketch to Illustrator

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

11. Illustrate Original Letterforms: From Sketch to Illustrator

Lesson Info

Illustrate Original Letterforms: From Sketch to Illustrator

So I like to work in large um large canvases and illustrated the reason for that is the bigger the bigger the canvas is the more control you have on the line with so like a point size, you know, if you do something really small the difference between um you know, one setting on the line thickness in the next set changes drastically so the bigger you are on the thing so I work most of them were working like sixteen inches by twenty inches tall rectangle for this let's do like sixteen will do a sixteen inch square and then screen sanity d p I out there three hundred okay, so most of the time with my layers I will put whatever color I want on the back uh on the first layer and then make another layer for the graphic so most of the time um it'll be something like background in graphic and I do name on my layers because I'm o c d like that, but I think it's I think it's valuable um all right, so I am going to use image capture to scan in what I got and I don't necessarily like using it to t...

race over top I just I kind of like more to just use it as a reference I usually like to have it beside what I'm doing so I don't know if everybody uses this skin this for their scanning photo shop used to do scanning internally they don't do that anymore and the other thing too like I looked through my sketchbook and I don't love the way any of that looks but I just don't put any value in having a beautiful sketch I really don't so like you know I started I used to throw my sketchbooks away and then I realized I should keep all these sketchbooks and because I'll go through a sketchbook I probably get a new sketchbook every month so it's probably one sketch book is about a month of stuff and I know now I have a big stack I could look through and see what all it is but sometimes it's just scratch and most of my sketchbooks have just scratched because it's okay if your sketches or crappy like I said the time to spend well if there's time to spend a sketchbook its this one I do you say that this is the most time you'd want to spend but you gotta know that the lines that you make on this sketch aren't the final lines you know what I mean? The final lines are going to be what we're doing an illustrator or if it ends up coming out of photo shop okay so we're done scanning dragged us in I scanned at a higher resolution so it's gigantic so maybe we'll try I think what's going to end up happening is I'm gonna put this underneath we'll say er ref image send current layer um so we'll put this here and I'll bring down the transparency of it just that's there like I said it's just a reference this isn't this sketch is not a big dictating thing it's just me deciding how the layers were goingto work without, you know without being an illustrator and also I think I've realised so much as I managed all these projects that it is so great when you can do work outside of the computer when you feel like you've been productive, you've got things done and it happened outside of the computer so you know if you're freaked out over a project that you've got to create like eight concepts for well if you take the sketch book to your porch and you sketch out a concept as soon as you're done with that, that pressure is gonna come off you and you realize, oh, I've got most of the work done now I just have to do the technical work of the thing, but for the most part the work is done because I've already sketched out so again those are the big values of ah big guys have sketching them on incoming online question for you why did you make the dp I so low what's wrong with using a higher dp I um well, I've got six hundred dp I scan and I use three hundred dp I hear he may have thought I had seventy to, um to explain d p I for ill estate or so vectors if you if you're more um if you're more familiar with photoshopped um photoshopped works in raster so master is images and stuff like that so illustrator works with vectors and vectors are mathematical in large and everything is a mathematical thing so no matter how much you enlarge something on illustrated how much larger vector it doesn't lose it doesn't lose any resolution the the exact is opposite in photo shop if you enlarge something, you're just stretching things out sort of like you would if you if you drew on a balloon and then the balloon deflated and then it's like that drawing gets more christian if you stretch it back out, it gets less crisp so in vectors really the dp ias faras what we're doing now the dp I isn't that important, I would say I would just say do three hundred d p I to be safe, but you're gonna copy and paste that into photo shopped for the final thing anyway and photoshopped will work in three hundred d p I and resolution isn't all I mean the size of the thing you're making is also very important, so you can't just like do anything can't do like four hundred pixel by pixel seventy two dp I expect that to be anything you have to you know, the size of the thing in photo shop has to be exactly what you need or bigger you can enlarge and keith are you can you can shrink and keep quality but you cannot enlarge and keep quality and photoshopped. You know, an illustrator you can do all that stuff I'm gonna say this now, um, I'm not gonna act like I save stuff right away. I work on something for three hours and then realize it's called untitled. Okay, so first thing that I see is this reference reference image is crooked for what I want. I don't know what the dictating horizontal line is, but I want this thing to be a little more just trying to think how I want this final product to look that's okay, transference that dance he has you guys going to see that? Okay. Okay, on to the graphic. Now, this is what we're going to get into the weeds of the technical work tell about mental. This is what illustrator is isn't this tool. So we're going to stay here on this layer? Are we on the graphic and we'll have a black stroke, so when you're tracing this stuff out, especially circular things, you're gonna want the most of the time you want those four points and I wish there was a quick way for me to explain how to trace this stuff. Um, but there's, just it's, you know, as faras curves, you really just gotta figure some stuff out on the fly. And you, especially if you trace an s, you're going to be going over and over and over and over. So at least this is sort of where I want to start with this whole thing. But I want you to see the value in this repetition.

Class Description

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to know how to hand letter and draw to create rad custom typography. In fact, Brandon Rike – whose star-studded client list includes everyone from Pharrell to Madonna – creates his unique lettering almost exclusively in Illustrator. He’ll show you how its done in Simple Methods for Custom Lettering. 

Working with type is a huge part of graphic design and custom letterforms can be applied to just about every project you’ll work on. In this class, you’ll take an in-depth look at type and learn Brandon’s methods for customizing it to fit the project. 

You’ll learn about:

  • Matching the typeface to the mood of your project
  • Working with color, shape, and form
  • Customizing letterforms based on existing fonts
  • Improving your workflow

You’ll learn three methods for creating custom typography and how to differentiate between high and low-quality letterforms. Brandon will also teach his super efficient workflow, so your projects aren’t bogged down during the lettering process.

Both beginners and professionals will learn new ways of working in Adobe Illustrator to produce rockstar-quality custom type.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brandon Rike - Simple Methods For Custom Lettering Working

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

This was a great class to watch. Extremely informative and fun. It's great to see someone so passionate about they work.


A great class that inspires a lot of confidence and shows off some very simple yet effective techniques to create great lettering.

Cory Kensinger

Totally worth my time! I wasn't expecting Brandon to give such an impactful launch into this course. Brandon really gives you an insight into his life and his real experience as a designer, helping you not with just designing cool things but helping you set your mindset and expectations, pursuing this as a lifestyle and craft. I found lots of little workflow tricks that I will be using immediately. The only downside I found in this course was the speed Brandon teaches some concepts. I had to use the 15s rewind button a lot while taking this course. I know it's because Brandon is used to working fast, but I would have really appreciated a more paced explanation of something. For example, he used Option key a lot during the course of the class while using a Pathfinder function. That was one little thing that never got explained. After looking it up, I found it was for creating a compound shape while cutting the shape. Aside from that, one of the best design courses I've seen yet.