ALPHABET SOUP - ILLUSTRATOR
This brief requires me to produce an alphabet from the letterforms I produced in response to the word I pulled out of the randomiser. Using illustrator we are going to digitally produce a full alphabet from the letterforms. To help us learn how the program works we do weekly illustrator workshop sessions with Simon, who tells us about different techniques and tips.
Pen tool exercise
Task one asked us to complete different pen tool exercises, each one made us test a different technique. The exercises started off at quite an easy level and progressed gradually getting harder. I have previously worked with illustrator so completing the sheet wasn’t challenging.
Vector letterform exercise
Next, Simon presented us with a quick sketch of the letter G that he had produced before the session. Using the skills we had just learned we had to produce a vector version of the letter.
After creating my vector versions of the letterform using the pen tool we then had to adjust and refine our letterform using the direct selection tool. With this tool you can readjust points of your letterform or illustration, which is very useful when you need to make changes to your work.
In our next sessions the first exercise focused on using the pathfinder tool, we had to reproduce the ‘G’ letterform that we looked at last week. Pathfinder is a handy tool that allows you to combine, subtract and divide paths and shapes, allowing you to save a lot of time. I found using the pathfinder tool much easier and more convenient than just using the pen tool.
Manipulating existing type exercise
After experimenting with the pathfinder tool Simon moved on to talk about how to manipulate and adapt existing typefaces, something that happens regularly in the design world. First I converted my chosen typeface into outlines, which then enabled me to adjust the points of each letter. Using the direct selection tool I could then adjust points of the typeface, this technique enables designers to create new typefaces from a base font.
In this exercise we learned to adjust the width of strokes using the width tool, this technique is really useful when producing illustration work. You can use the tool to adjust the width of individual lines or shapes. Moreover, you can also choose the type of width profile, which essentially changes the shape of the width of the line. Examples can be seen below
In this exercise we looked at the blend tool, the blend tool takes two shapes and blends them into each other using a range of different techniques. The tool gives you control of how many steps this change takes place in, and the option to change it to a colour gradient. Below is my experimentation with the tool.
In todays session we used the skills that we have learnt in the last few workshops to start digitally producing our alphabet. We were left to our own devices, and had to decide what technique would work best when recreating our alphabets.
|Scanned in letters from my alphabet.|
My alphabet portrays sound waves, through a mixture of straight and waved lines. Therefore, it uses a lot of intricate lines, because of this I believe the best way to reproduce my alphabet is to use the pen tool.
I decided against scanning in my letterforms to work from as the lines are quite compressed, so it would have been hard to follow when replicating each letter. Instead, I downloaded ‘Gabo Drive’ the same typeface that I used as a base when creating the type. I want the lines that run off each letter to meet when used at a typeface. Therefore I set guides up to help me accurately place each one. I then started re-creating my typeface digitally, images of this process can be seen below.
|Setting up the guides.|
|I used the pen tool to form the waved lines.|