Thural detail

Thural detail

Go have a look the final piece over at the Dead Words project!

For every Dead Word piece I do people ask me about the process. So I'll try to tell a bit about it this time. Hopefully someone will find it useful. Here is a process gif.

I started with a Tombow brush pen. Herbs are not static but have organic forms. Therefore I choose script. The brush sketch was then traced with pencil to sharpen corners and give the type more character. Nowhere near perfect but good enough to start tracing in Illustrator. I switch a lot between sketching and tracing during the process.

My original idea was to bind the herbs together with thread, as shown here. After already spending hours to get this right I printed it for the first time. Which I should have done sooner.. it looked terrible. The robe was removed and I continued adding the smoke/flames. I actually burned some herbs myself to check this out. Mostly smoke, powder, orange glow and no flames at all. This inspired me to try dotting with a mechanical pencil. It was perfect for the transition between the smoke and letterforms. I always try to surprise myself during the actual drawing by not following the digital version too much. The details are always an extension from the movement of the letter.

The drawing was then scanned and slightly modified in photoshop as you would expect. Warm grey tones, never black. There are some soft monotype textures in the background and on top of the type. Every decision I made was based on instinct. I try not to think, it blocks the process and custom type is something you must feel to get right.


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