Typography Typeface Portraits

Fun with font could have been the title of this post. My latest creations are two typeface portraits; one of Amy Winehouse and a self portrait. These are for my Typography class and were supposed to be done in Adobe Illustrator, black only, on a 10″ x 7″ art board. We had to pick a famous person and do a self portrait.

To start this project I began by searching for tutorials in YouTube on doing typeface portraits. Only one tutorial showed up in Illustrator, the rest were done in Photoshop. Since I’m learning both programs, and I thought the Photoshop creations had the effects I wanted, that’s what I went with for Amy Winehouse’s portrait. I used two fonts; Cooper Std Black for the shadows and Corbel Regular for the mid-tones. Learning the clipping paths took a few try’s, but finally managed it. I used the lyrics to her song Rehab, from the album Back to Black. I think it came out nice, just not in Illustrator.


For my self portrait, which I knew had to be done in Illustrator, I tried using the same principles that I used in Photoshop. Frist I picked out three fonts; Cooper Std Black for shadows, Constantia Regular for mid-tones, and Corbel Regular for highlights. Created an layer with a rectangle filled with each font of the correct size, 7″ x 10′. I did adjust a few effects for each font, kerning and tracking, to get the right shade. Then so I could edit, I changed the font to outlines. Using the lasso tool I began deleting what I didn’t want and leaving what I did. This sounds easy but you have to think backwards. Instead of selecting the dark areas for the shadows layer, you have to pick everything else. I’m learning how to use negative space and I think this was a good exercise for that.



I used Amy Winehouse’s song lyrics for the words because I already had them ready to use. I think the Photoshop effects look more professional, but hopefully the Illustrator portrait will get a passing grade. I really don’t want to do it over.

Learning Graphic Design-Continued

One of my latest projects in my Typography class was to create a typeface using any animal, using the letters that spell the word of the animal. I chose “Squirrel”, not really sure why but it seemed a good idea at the time. Next I chose a font that I thought was shaped most like a squirrel. (Use your imagination) I picked the font Cooper Std. Then using Adobe Illustrator, I created outlines of the letters and printed it out so I could sketch the animals inside the letters. The s, q and l were the most challenging.


After I made my sketch of squirrels and scanned it in as a jpeg file, then saved it as a psd file (Photoshop). I then opened the file up in Adobe Illustrator and let the fun begin. I have struggled using the pen tool but decided that was what I needed to trace my letters. So, I searched on YouTube and found a couple of really helpful tutorials on using the pen tool and layers which is very important. After a couple of hours of struggling I finally started getting the hang of it. The one thing that I couldn’t figure out is how to cut the inside shape out to create the “e”. I did a quick fix of creating a shape and filling it with white, but that isn’t the correct way. Below is my squirrel font.

GPeppers-Typography Design-Finish

I’m not really satisfied with my “S” or the “q” but the rest of the letters look pretty good. If I have time I’ll work on those before Monday, when I have to turn it in.


Learning Graphic Design-Part I

In my new adventure called college, I’m learning Graphic Design. After having many years in mechanical design & detailing using AutoCAD I thought the transition would take little effort. Let me say that I was wrong, no really, wrong big time. Learning new software, Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator on the fly as they say, has not been easy. You can get to the same destination but you take different roads. AutoCAD (because I know it) was like taking the interstate highway, fast, efficient, easy. Adobe (because I don’t know it) is like taking a back road pig trail. Difficult & time consuming.

For example; in AutoCAD, to create a artboard or page area I would draw a circle, mark the center & use tangent points. In Adobe Illustrator apparently drawing a circle is doable, but trying to use it for reference is not doable.  The handles & grips are different, and editing is stressful. I’m not saying one program is better than the other, just different. It’s hard to forget what you’ve done for 20 years & learn something new, but it can be done. But it takes the effort.

The Larger the Island of Knowledge, the longer the Shoreline of Wonder.        Ralph W. Sockman

Below are 2 Typography projects we had to do. These were design to go in a Library, painted on the wall in a reading area. I’m sharing these because they are the first things that I’ve had to do in my 1st semester of college. Lets hope that by the end of 2 years, I’ll be a lot better.

GPeppers-Project Library Quote-1B-Final-3

GPeppers-Project Library Quote-2C-Final-2