Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hand Lettering Process Post by Diana Ting Delosh

A BEAST IN THE WOODS © Diana Ting Delosh.
Page 5 - Title page. A sneak peek from my Picture Book Dummy.
Hand lettering: Ink, old wide brush on watercolor paper. Bold, san serif, untamed, caps. Colored by bringing into PS making the black ink lettering clear and placing over a watercolor swatch of purple ink.

My process for hand lettering begins with questions. Does the words/phrase evoke an image, a mood? Sure you can hand letter anything but some words or phrases beg for special treatment. Take the word  BUNNY, what comes to mind? Sweet. Cute. How about BEAST? Something rough, primal, maybe even old monster movie-ish. The word Flourish: a verb or a noun, very organic, something herbaceous.

1: FLOURISH Sketch. I want it to feel organic, flow, vines floral, herbaceous - a script
Next I decide what type style. Does it feel like a serif, or san serif?   Caps or upper and lower case?  Is it a script font??? Bold or light? Formal or casual? Is there an attitude? Do the letters themselves suggest images that relate to the meaning? Is there room for decorative flourishes? Sketching & Doodling commence. I like to make the form of the letters follow the meaning of the words or story.

2. FLOURISH line art © Diana Ting Delosh. Inked with fine tip Radiograph Pen on bristol paper. 
On to inking. Maybe with a fine tip pen or markers or brush - in black sometimes on watercolor paper, sometimes on vellum or bristol. It all depends on what I plan for it. The words dictate the style. Depending on the final usage I may do this a bit oversized. However I do prefer working to size whenever possible. I scan my inks as bitmap art (Black and white art or Black & White Document setting) minimum 600 dpi. Depending on the piece I may just save the scan for in case I screw up  when painting in the lettering or I may bring it into Photoshop to color.

3. FLOURISH finished colored art © Diana Ting Delosh. Painted the original line art on bristol paper with water-soluble transparent colored inks. 

Finally the coloring. Sometimes I hand paint my line work with transparent colored inks, watercolors than scan the finished colored art and clean up. Easy peasy. Sometimes I bring my line art into Photoshop and digitally color it. First I change the mode to RGB or CMYK. Usually I work in  RGB. I can change the color of my lines with the Magic Wand tool. Uncheck contiguous, so every speck of black gets selected, and click on the black than select a color with the eyedropper tool and fill the outlines with the new color. I can then fill in the outlines with the paintbrush tool and multiply so my line art remains. Or I can select the line art with the magic wand tool, make it clear, like a stencil, and layer it over a watercolor wash. Sometimes it's almost all created in PS. So many ways to go...just have some fun with it. Below are more samples of my hand lettering.
Peace to ALL © Diana Ting Delosh.
One of my favorite sentiments. My design for my personal 2016 Christmas Card.
Available at
Hand lettering: Black marker on vellum. Peace: formal script made from olive branches. Creatures: Serif, U&LC with a swan for an"S" to represent feathered creatures. Big: Caps, sight flared serif with a reptilian flare for the "G" to represent scaled creatures. Small: sans serif, fuzzy, Caps with a little critter for the "A" to represent furred creatures. Scanned the inked lettering and would've painted them per my usual BUT my scanner crapped out. SO, rather than wait for the new scanner I took the line art into PS changed the black line to an Ochre and digitally colored them. 

OLLIE ALONE © Diana Ting Delosh.
Title page from my Picture Book Dummy.
In the story, Ollie is distracted by fireflies. I decided that the title would be made up of glowing fireflies.
Hand lettering: Inked fireflies to form the title with a fine point pen. Bold, san serif, blobby, upper & lowercase. Colored by Painting in PS with a brush so the edges are fuzzy, like firefly glow.

Some Fun News: My Hand Lettering, FLOURISH is on page 19 in the Gallery pages of the book,
Hand Lettering Creative Alphabets for Any Occasion by Thy Doan Graves published by Quarto, UK and St Martin's Griffin, US and Canada.

Twitter: dtdelosh

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  1. I love this post! Beautiful published hand lettering!

  2. This post was many bunches of your creative awesomeness! Glad you brought your wonderful hand lettering out of hiding and congrats on the spot in the book!!

  3. I like the visuals which accompany the process. The title 'Ollie Alone' is soft like the owl. The nighttime setting makes both the owl and title stand out. Well done!