Roy - The creation process of a typographic illustration

Since a few months I concern myself with typography in combination with illustration. Or more precisely: to integrate typography into illustrations. This little private project is a "declaration of love" to my horse Roy, who surprised me that day in the riding lesson with some new skills. So I had the idea to create a typographic illustration, dedicated to him, and maybe I'll make a name plate for his barn door out of it. In this blog article I share my creation process with you.


First there was the main idea, simply sketched on the next piece of paper, that I could reach.


According to this paper-sketch, I made some digital scribbles. But it didn't really work out, it didn't get the shape that I had in mind. Often I have an idea and I think that it is already finished in my head, so I just have to bring it to paper. But then it turns out, that the result is far away from my main idea. And then a long process of finding out the reason starts.


My conclusion of my first digital preparatory drawing was, that it is far away from the idea of a vivid horse in motion. And I concluded that it will never get some motion into this picture when I integrate the typography from the beginning. So I had to do some vivid horse sketches first.


When I found the most suitable shape for my "typo-horse", the idea suddenly worked.


From now on the biggest challenge was to find the balance between readability of the word "ROY"  and the recognizability of the illustrated horse. It was very difficult to ensure that you still see an "R" and a "Y" while seeing horses legs as well. I spent a lot of time on that. The "R" often looked like a "P". So I had to separate the two hind legs.
Then - if I only knew - I had the solution. But I needed some more time of processing, to see this. At this moment I only saw, that the second leg of the "Y" was confusing and affected its readability.


So I decided to join the leg-shapes, so there was no space between them, and this should make it look more like a common type shape.
So, this was my preparatory drawing, illustrated in Adobe Photoshop, to put it into Adobe Illustrator, where I finished it as a vector illustration.


I created the outlines, still trying to figure out the best working shape.


When I filled the shapes with color, I was not happy with the outlines. But I thought that they had to be, 'cause otherwise the horses legs would not be recognizable.


But then I went a few steps back to my former preparatory drawing, and then I saw the perfect solution: I just had to give the second foreleg another color – dark grey, like the other parts of the horse, that are "non-typographic". The "Y" doesn't need two legs. Sometimes it is that simple, but first you have to try several ways to find out.
So, this is the final artwork!

Write a comment

Comments: 10
  • #1

    Axel (Tuesday, 15 January 2013 16:32)

    Nice. And very instructive . . . if I could only draw a bit :)

    I somehow like the next to last one that puts some emphasize on the left foot although I agree that the last one works better.

    By the way: we want pics of the real Roy too!

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