Art by Elvis Swift

Choose a word or phrase. Render it with a brush or calligraphy pen in a style that is expressive of the meaning and tone of the phrase. Use a surface and tool that best demonstrates your chosen lettering style. The size of your page will be determined by your artwork. If you’re using a rough brush and heavy paint, go large. If you’re doing refined Spencerian script, a smaller page will probably be better. Make sure your artwork is nicely placed on the page.

For your final execution, you can lightly pencil in the general placement of your letters and words. But don’t carefully outline each letterform. That will rob you of the spontaneity of making the mark with ink. I’ve said nothing about using color, and won’t. Your judgement call. A successful solution could be done simply with black on white. If you do add color, the artwork should not rely entirely on the prettiness of the color. The design and lettering are the central focus.

Illustration students in particular: integrate a spot illustration as part of the design. Embed it, entwine it, make it a part of the whole in some fashion.

Sketches and sample lettering styles due next week (Feb. 11): have your phrase chosen, numerous thumbnails of the design and test strips of your media and lettering style of choice. Finishes due and crit in 2 weeks (Feb 18).