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Creating hand-drawn type with the Blob Brush tool

From: Designing a Book Cover

Video: Creating hand-drawn type with the Blob Brush tool

In coming out with the concepts for these book covers, I've used four approaches. So, I've tried to distill my different approaches to each design into one of four approaches and these four approaches admittedly have quite a lot of overlap. They are the Big Book Look, Typographic Solutions, Abstract Solutions and Illustration Solutions, and I'll be explaining what I mean by each of those. We are going to begin with the Big Book Look.

Creating hand-drawn type with the Blob Brush tool

In coming out with the concepts for these book covers, I've used four approaches. So, I've tried to distill my different approaches to each design into one of four approaches and these four approaches admittedly have quite a lot of overlap. They are the Big Book Look, Typographic Solutions, Abstract Solutions and Illustration Solutions, and I'll be explaining what I mean by each of those. We are going to begin with the Big Book Look.

Now, this is a term that I am borrowing from Steven Heller and Louise Fili, and they mentioned it in their excellent book, Stylepedia, which I highly recommend. Essentially, the Big Book Look is all about having a very big title and a very big author name and that is basically your design. Sometimes the title and author will be combined with a symbolic piece of imagery, such as this one here from Catch-22. In my attempt at the Big Book Look for each of our three books that we are working with.

I won't say novels, because Homage to Catalonia, Orwell's account of his volunteering to fight for the Republican cause in Spain during the Spanish Civil War is nonfiction. But my first attempt is derived from or inspired by the work of the Catalan artist Joan Miro. He was responsible for this poster in support of the Spanish Republic and also this poster here many years later for the 1982 World Cup, which was hosted in Spain.

Here is the first of my book covers using the Big Book Look, big title, big author name, using hand-drawn type, drawn with the Blob Brush in Illustrator. The Blob Brush could have been designed for drawing Miro-like handwriting, so that's what we're going to do. We are going to go through the steps of creating this handwriting. First of all, just getting the letter shapes something approximating this and then filling in the counters in the letter shapes with these bright primary colors: the red, the blue and the yellow.

So, I am going to start out in Illustrator using the template that I created in the previous movie, book cover.ait. Here, I have two layers. I am going to turn off the guide layer for now and make sure that I am only artwork layer and the tool I am going to be using for this is the Blob Brush. I am going to zoom in, Command+ Spacebar or Ctrl+Spacebar, click-and-drag. Now, what so useful about the Blob Brush is that as you draw and you can just draw as if you are working with a pencil or a crayon.

What it will do is it will make one vector shape. Well, rather than creating a whole series of overlapping vector paths, it's going to make one vector shape. You can then come back. You can change the size of your Blob Brush by pressing the right bracket to go bigger or the left bracket to go smaller. Then you can paint over that some more and you will add to that shape. So, you can build up shapes by just painting over them and there we have one vector path.

Let's see what I can do in the way of creating some hand-drawn type here. Thankfully, for me what's working in my favor is that this style of type is extremely child-like and very forgiving. So, all of my mistakes, I could pretend though I wanted them that way, anyway. You don't need to see me carry on with my hand-drawn type.

You can finish that in your own time or if you wish you can use my already prepared version, which is in the Exercise Files folder. So, here is the result of my Joan Miro inspired hand-drawn type using the Blob Brush.

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Image for Designing a Book Cover
Designing a Book Cover

36 video lessons · 20857 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 2m 42s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 44s
  2. 29m 57s
    1. The project brief
      2m 30s
    2. Doing research
      4m 16s
    3. Setting up a document in InDesign CS5
      5m 4s
    4. Setting up a document in InDesign CS4
      6m 4s
    5. Putting your InDesign CS5 document on a grid
      3m 2s
    6. Putting your InDesign CS4 document on a grid
      4m 31s
    7. Setting up the document in Illustrator and placing it on a grid
      4m 30s
  3. 40m 39s
    1. Creating hand-drawn type with the Blob Brush tool
      4m 13s
    2. Using Live Paint to color type
      3m 40s
    3. Choosing typefaces
      3m 42s
    4. Creating a simple illustration using the Pen and Gradient tools
      8m 43s
    5. Applying type effects
      5m 42s
    6. Manual tracing
      4m 42s
    7. Using the gradient and transparency effects
      9m 57s
  4. 17m 27s
    1. Distressed type
      5m 42s
    2. More distressed type
      3m 35s
    3. Using mirrored type
      3m 34s
    4. Using giant wraparound text
      3m 56s
    5. Starting text on the cover
      40s
  5. 13m 7s
    1. Illustrating concepts with abstract shapes and transparency
      6m 27s
    2. Representing the book content with icons
      6m 40s
  6. 24m 8s
    1. Using historic photography
      6m 21s
    2. Using Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 19s
    3. Using gradient mesh in Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 55s
    4. Using Live Trace on a photograph
      3m 52s
    5. Using black-and-white images creatively
      4m 41s
  7. 25m 30s
    1. Developing a book set
      2m 50s
    2. Designing the back cover
      8m 42s
    3. Designing the flaps
      2m 41s
    4. Designing the spine
      11m 17s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. Using spot varnish
      4m 30s
    2. Preflighting your document
      4m 51s
    3. Preparing the PDF
      3m 35s
  9. 13s
    1. Goodbye
      13s

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