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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 20 of 21

Lettering By Hand: Working in Illustrator

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

20. Lettering By Hand: Working in Illustrator

Lesson Info

Lettering By Hand: Working in Illustrator

So let's go to the computer and we're kind of going to select a few of these things teo to scan in so we'll go back we'll start with flair tips stuff were just kind of scan a few things and what was my favorite flare tip and you guys can open your flair tips stuff I want to do maniacal for the flare tip so we remember what we did here um remember what we did here from maniacal so I'm a scan these and again image capture I'll do resolution of six so flare one okay, so, um bring in the photo shop take the image and I okay, so like chaos right? The first I would leave this alone I would be done with this I copy this I go to a new canvas I have this sixteen by twenty saved um and I would pace this thing in inverted it. Okay, so the first thing that I'm gonna d'oh I inverted that. So you guys obviously know what happens when I invert it lights become darks and dark comes lights. But the best way for me after I scan something in on paper is to hit command out and mess with levels so if you'r...

e not familiar with levels this is sort of like, you know, before you may have just messed with contrast or something like that a levels are a little more you know they're just you have a little more control so I'm gonna bring the blacks up so everything that was kind of black is gonna get really black everything that's kind of white over here can get really white if I wanted teo but there's a balance in here that I want to dio so the middle is sort of the balance between the two so I kind of want to do that another method that I'll dio is all so uh filter sharpen smart sharpen and you kind of see here it's going to pull out all those little things if I want that stuff and I messed with the radius to kind of change it so we'll leave it there I'll be saturated and adjustment brightness contrast crank the contrast bring down the brightness and I would put that on a t shirt because it's it's trendy right now it's sort of like something that works so yeah, I'm all about putting something like that on t shirts so that's a simple one now what I really want you to know is what we do with this stuff an illustrator so control that I'm gonna put um for theirs back on my little sixteen by whatever seen by twenty so I'm gonna open this up get back to the levels obviously I need the whites get wider blacks can get a little bit blacker then for the sake of vectors I want to crank the contrast so I know that all my spaces of either black or the white I don't graze aren't gonna help me at all right now so I cranked the contrast a little more brightness I could get some of those interior lines out so we'll call this um maniacal and I usually just say it as a j peg um and we'll take this j peg now the new version of illustrator has live trace but the illustrator cs five has a way better live trace um so I do that but they both work the same way so I have a setting here for one color logo and let live trace will pull all the black I've traced pulled all the blackout and I expand so now all of my stuff for now tractors so if we can go back pasted in white so now many uses little lasso uh selection tool so I know that each one of these shapes I want to be in something so option unite and if nothing happens it means it was all its own shape anyway means there was no little pieces of dust that came off the ends so let's just do that and make sure we have every little piece make sure there's no dust see there's a little bit of dust here and there come on deleted it doesn't help that much so now this is what I'm talking about you now I get to do whatever we want with these letters so essentially all we were doing a sketch pad was creating shapes and elements that we could use later and if we want them to overlap we can do that and let me show you this, eh there's more and if we need to kind of readjust the whole thing, we can skew it like that but I think that original slant was kind of cool, so now I'm gonna take that whole deal well, here is the only relationship I care about on this is option dragging this thing too black and again that's the benefit of having cross border cross bore and having it separately I mean, so now it gets to overlap this stuff, so don't leave it like that actually like that. So I'll combine these two quick and then he selected us, okay, so now this is all one shape. So now that we have this, we can put some finishing touches on it and we'll go back to my old offset path deal preview to around a lot of crazy lines and offset path it's miter is just going to give you a bunch of gnarly stuff so you want to do around it's going to be a lot easier to work with and we'll drag this and put it behind maybe make it yellow maniacal I think that this needs to come out of that move it up here so they go let's do this and yellow uh in this and orange maniacal so it's for the flare tip pen so let's take the next thing principles are basically, um the same for the sharpie for the other things that I want to do is get can I use the sea the water colors he has this watercolors fantasy can I see that I'm gonna scan and her fantasy work there's a lot of cool things to it and, um I want to make it kind of princess e like a popular movie about cold weather skansen and you're gonna find that you're gonna get up you're gonna get like incan junk all over your scanner that's totally cool. So what I want to show with watercolor is you know I still want to go all black and all white but what I really want to do is show you how to sharpen all those little edges so that you can still get black and white with all that detail in it. So most of this is going to start in photo shop select this word and the reason I like doing everything all black or all white is because most of the work that I do is for t shirts and you have to screen printed so you you know, the more colors you need um then you know, the more money it cost so if I could do stuff with you know, where the fall of the great and all the different stuff all the different tones air inside um that thing and I don't need to do it with color if I'm gonna make something orange I wanna make it orange I don't want to have a little yellows and longer reds inside of it so again going backto levels bringing that white down they're bringing the blacks and so I needed aside here which parts of this stuff I think it's cool that it trails off think it's cool with the right side is lighter so we have that let me just duplicate this now the next step is going to that filter sharpen smart sharp in try to get all these little pieces wait okay, so you'll see based on the radius that you have set that's gonna pull some stuff out so you see all that little texture there I'll stick with that I actually really like that so let's crank this bright as a contrast again and I use legacy because it's more extreme so I want to get rid of that outline that it made so we'll take the brightness up enough that gets rid of that outline but I like that it almost seems like it's snowing in there um okay so here's another way we took in an illustrator before what I'm gonna do here is just he has a magic wand tool select the black and in select similar and create a new layer and find black or whatever hey uh planned elite and now that is all by itself on its own liar so we can do this and do this finishing touches that just sort of like you know this now becomes that's cool little gonna select the background layer bring it up in front of the fancy so that's one way we can go about doing it and if we want to make it like the title of the movie well then maybe we take out all the imperfections and we just um you know we make it like wait make it solid then once it gets in the illustrator we can uh we can use it a little more like a solid shape so that's one method and then so now that becomes a little more usable um you know you can use that you know, on top of an image or something like that he helped from online says is it even possible for random to write something unappealing what does his grocery list looked like tell her she looks awesome there you go that's uh how we take all these awesome tools and use them inside of illustrator for away that actually makes sense to us and is editable

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.