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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 16 of 21

Lettering By Hand: Flare Tip Pen

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

16. Lettering By Hand: Flare Tip Pen

Lesson Info

Lettering By Hand: Flare Tip Pen

The flare tip pen has a really small fine point on it uh it's like a felt tip type of thing there is no ball there's no medal up there it's just a felt tip so it's going to be really uh soft talking in a perfectly straight you know perfectly straight point on any of this stuff but it works the best when you um right small so uh give me work another word jupiter we say pepperoni yeah alright now they didn't give it another separate so what? Jupiter what I have found about hand drawn stuff and this is probably the best principal I could do is like if you try to make it perfectly straight the um natural things that are messy are going to be awesome so what I try to do is I try to make sense that I know aren't right because I am not trying to make a fought here I'm doing something that's hand drawn so with jupiter the way I would normally go about this is I really don't go much bigger than this. So for everyone um everyone who can't tell this thing is maybe an inch tall you know you can se...

e it next to my finger there but I can use this little thing to just really like get in there tight and what I normally dio is go back over it because if the first line is too straight oh then I want to comeback with a second line and make it you know purposefully not straight so we have jupiter here and I think what I really want to drive home to every body is that uh we need to have it have a story and to be some really familiar materials because there's something that seems kind of foreign to us if it's something that we're not used to so you know, for me growing up the punk flyers that I saw I know they're made with sharpies and paper cut out and whatever and glue and tape and all that so I think those little types of things are pretty valuable so I find myself when I'm using a flare tip in that this is sort of that the type of style that I usually gravitate towards now something like pepperoni we can straighten that out a little bit and what I love is trying to make letter straight and them not being straight and that in itself is really cool because if I wanted to look like a fun then you know what I'll use a fart p p p e r o and I to peace in the middle right so this is purposely I screwed up and I like it that way now there's um there happens to be a trend right now uh in graphic tees of really crappy hand drawn stuff and crappy meaning great so um a couple bands right now, like there's one bannon in particular that, you know, I've done, like, twenty graphic tees for him in the past, uh, year, and they're all sort of the same thing, and so give me one more word. Give me word that's a little bit more rock n roll. Okay, so we're doing stuff a little more like this, we're like we get in there and get nice and evil with it. I'm like so you see how I'm doing this here and there's this inconsistency that happens with this pin, it seems really difficult that keep this line wait exactly the same. Um, so, you know, my methods of lettering tend to not necessarily be cursive, and and I've taken ownership of that because I think most of the time when people think of lettering, they think of cursive and that's fine, um, but don't think that just because you can't do curse of poor, you're intimidated by it doesn't mean that's the only method out there, like lettering, is anything the only the only requirement is letters, okay, so I'm gonna do that, and then I'm gonna do some gnarly little drop shadow thing, and now I'm doing this drop shadow thing, I could show you an illustrator how to make this our block or whatever you wanna call this this little block thing I can show you how to do it perfectly but I do not want this to be perfect I want this to be um kind of messed up and you know like like it was on a punk flyer that's my world that's what I know and it's what excites me personally so this would be a good example referencing earlier in the class this is you know, finding a motivator let me do something that's like you know just just this hand drawn thing um that I've been wanting to do well this is my motivator for this whole thing so if you scan that's the little thing in this is going to look pretty pretty gnarly um on a t shirt so uh chaos will see what else could I put around chaos um just well, I should say chaos till death and again I'm doing some little punk type of letters here letting these things overlap in this pen seems to work really well for this. So what I think that this pen does the best is the wes anderson style um hand drawn thing you know? So it's like that tone is a tone of like listen, I wrote it a straight as I possibly could and this is what it ended up being so let me just um I think there's charm in this think about it lettering is I pride myself on spelling everything perfectly and having perfect grammar so I really really try I really care but when you're writing the letters out you just forget letters I wrote the word archaeology the other day and I sent it off to the client it was approved and everything and then I tweeted it and someone said well you left out a letter because archaeology a spell like a r c h e e o l o g y and I left out the before them as you would spelling that freaking word so yeah so that's just sort of happened so you become more concerned with writing the letters instead of and said doing that I have a family member who once stood in front of class to read and like the first grade or something and she said the whole town was filled with cha chose and it was the word chaos and she never read in front of class again issues too embarrassed but I think the stories funny um okay so that's what how I would like to do that I mean I think that's really what I do with the flare tip pen and so okay let's take give me one more word maniacal listed sick and twisted over here okay so then let me show you what probably happens if the band name is maniacal I'm gonna be doing this I'm gonna be doing these gnarly little things like this now one thing it makes a little more sense on sharpies um but to give you a better idea of how I want I think it's best to do this stuff these letters we're going to split them apart and move them around so they don't need to touch in the right way so for this I will have no, um turning I won't care about current at all I'm just gonna put these little things together it doesn't matter that they're stacked hee hee nothing to is the fact that this has got these little you know, these little imperfections in it um they're gonna look really, really cool once we bring it into the computer a man I eh is it basically maniac? All okay, maniacal yeah that's good. Whatever brain draws letters and whatever brain spells perfectly they're not the same one when I'm designing stuff. Okay, so that makes sense to me now the other thing I could d'oh is let's just make a like this these air really, really important things here. So I'm kind of glossing over him and I don't mean tio make your a like that and make the cross bar over here because once these things they're sitting an illustrator we can move him around and do whatever we want with him so I know you guys obviously understand that concept but um you're basically on paper you're drawing elements that you will then arrange inside illustrator um before something like jupiter obviously it's cursive so those kind of it would be more difficult to try toe not connect those so I would say it's smarter teo, you know, just write curse of the way you would write cursive but this is the flare tip in and this is the way this is the way it seems to be most useful to me. Um so that's uh, pin number one has anybody got any questions about this or, um, can I take a look at some of the stuff case of tyler did chaos and he put the drop shadow write with it and, um yeah, it looks great. I mean, it's just total punk flyer type of thing and she did. She did chaos the same way she's pepperoni with big p's and little ease and it it just has so like this could be use for a flyer for a pizza for, you know, pizza restaurant like it's just it has so much and I could see this whole thing being used to like let's take this peon like turned on its side and use it is different elements, but all these little things and none of them were touching will be able to be used later and once we bring him in the computer if she wants all those peas and the ours to be perfectly in line we could do that in the computer it's not necessary toe have everything perfect here I love you know I love just getting the elements out and I like the restraint or I don't know I guess I like the parameter of like now that you have these things can and do whatever you can to make them perfect because they won't be perfect but it's really cool to see what happens when you try to get them perfect. So again straight so she's got this, uh, this shallow, you know, like a tall x height here happens. I understand. It doesn't matter that once you get it in the computer, you can spell it correctly. Um, yeah, this is all great. So this is this is a perfect vibe and it's got you know, the way you did it is perfect with the shakiness of the line and it's cold in here, so everything shaky this is great. She did everything she did. She outlined it all, so she kind of got her own in line. So what's gonna happen here you have okay, so you've created the outline of your word pepperoni, but what you're not what's gonna happen when you bring it into the computer you'll also be able to have solid versions of the p and then also used the insides of those like an end line you know what I'm saying so then the online can be offset a little bit from it so you kind there's ways you could manipulate that inside so yeah he's he's put his own little cross bars and there to fill it he says chaos and flames so he's got these cross bars to go over a cross of it and so he's filling it in shading in the shading the spacing is inconsistent but that fits with the line a maniacal looks gnarly like metallica or something this is great. So yeah so you guys get it you guys get that like actually I think the smaller that you draw with this pin the better the results I think well here let me do one more let's do something like um I don't know um we do like old heritage type of thing um let's just do it let's dio I'm golden state warriors since we're here so what I like doing is just that I want to try toe arch this like an athletic team would be arched and there's no way I'm going to get it perfect and I'm already seeing that now I'm getting too big the d got too big compared to the g but that's okay like all that stuff is going to be editable inside illustrator but the biggest thing that you guys are realizing about this is that the goal with hand stuff his personality and the goal isn't to make it perfect the goal isn't to compete with you know jessica fisher whoever you're lettering gods are uh the goal is to make it personal and to make it have a story and to just make it natural in that you know you guys should get excited about the fact that thie thing that you just made has never existed yet and you just created it and I think you know I really get excited about that sort of thing so this would be like a um like an athletic tea and all these letters I'm gonna re space so it's just kind of always having that awareness off while it's all analog right now it's gonna get um it's gonna get digital and you're gonna be able to get everything right so I'm gonna do that I'm gonna draw basketball crap ily obviously that's not right but once I get the computer I'll make it I'll make it as perfect as perfect as can be but it's still gonna look flawed in a good way it's still going to have an identity to it so um yeah and then of course there's always stuff like uh all right um let's write golden gate house that okay so I do get in here and write these little curse of things no you'll see the smaller you make stuff, the more, um, pronounced. All the imperfections are so that's, sort of just up to your own discretion. On how, um, you know how close you need to get if you need it perfectly straight, um, put a little so the's air, just little things. And once we blow him up, they start looking really cool, right? Flare, tip, pen.

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.


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.