I recently did a hand-lettering workshop for AIGA Boston with some amazing people including, Lara McCormick, Annica Lydenberg, Carlos Pagan, and Ryan O’Rourke. During my presentation / demo, I showed these images and discussed my process for turning a quote or phrase into an illustration. Each image has some little notes diagraming my thought process and illustration process as I go. I thought I’d share it here, since people often ask about this stuff.

This is the phrase I’ve decided to draw.

Next I quickly and simply, write it out to check for spacing / word length / etc.

Sometimes I’ll write it in cursive to see how the letterforms look together.

Next, I’ll look at individual letters and letter combinations and see if I can spice things up.

Maybe I’ll get a little crazy and try some non-traditional ligatures or play with scale, caps, lowercase, angles…

Once I am in a place that is starting to feel right I’ll start to tighten things up and finalize.

Here’s my finished pen and ink drawing.

Here it is as a finished illustration. I added color in Photoshop.

During the workshop, Annica, Carlos, and myself did some lettering together on the chalkboard: Check it out on Instagram.