If it’s one thing I enjoy it’s drawing. When a client approaches you and says “I don’t want you to rush, I’m willing to wait for your best” it’s humbling and exciting. The client requested a Samurai but from that point forward the details were left to me. After the initial research I began sketching the Samurai mask. I didn’t want to leave details out or be limited in any way so I decided to just go wherever I felt necessary. I knew that once I got it in to the computer it would be a ton of work to vector but I didnt care. I wanted to see where it would all go. The above vector illustration is the result. To see more of the progress pics or other color ways you can check my Instagram feed at: http://instagram.com/sweyda
It’s my job to push the boundaries every time! Although I have done a handful of snake vector illustrations it’s never “business as usual” I am always looking for new approaches, new techniques and above all new frontiers in how far I can push my talent. This is no easy task, it adds pressure and forces you to draw, re-draw and draw all over again if necessary. When I finished this piece I was stoked. It represented a small victory in my growing demand for the “next level” but it was short lived. Being insatiable is a needy monster. It forces you to be hungy at all times and once you get a taste the hunger grows and grows. Never satisfied!
If it’s one thing I enjoy it’s creating custom lettering. I have always enjoyed the art of lettering starting from a young age playing around with Graffiti. To take a letter, break it down and then build it back up in to a new creation is both challenging and rewarding. It would only be a natural progression that I moved from custom lettering in to custom fonts. Each type project I get always challenges me to come up with two to three (sometimes more) concepts for the client. During this process is where I find my custom fonts. Above is just two recent examples of some fonts I created. You can see them all HERE or check out some examples of client lettering HERE!
When it comes to custom vinyl toys VINYL THOUGHTS is definitely the premier show in the south. When Cody Phillips approached me about doing some custom lettering and branding for the next show FREE 4 ALL I was stoked! Vinyl Thoughts showcases younger artists jumping off the usual canvas that hangs on a wall and applying paint and sculpy to vinyl art toys. Figures like Kid Robot’s Munny and the MadL by Mad Toy Design allow artists to work in three dimensions, creating fanciful creatures, bold statements and crazy pop art that defies easy explanation. The Vinyl Thoughts Art Show is the first recurring event in Dallas to bring so many artists under one roof with the express intent of showcasing this fringe art form. If your in Dallas Texas September 12th you need to stop in and check it out!
When RAW CREW approached me to do a design I was torn to be honest. My schedule was full, I had been working weekends and was a bit overwhelmed BUT I also wanted to be a small part of what they were doing. I gave it a day (to think on it) but after looking through the site and other artists I had to say yes. I like smaller companies / brands mostly because they let you “off the leash” so to speak. They are unafraid of the current “trends” and profit margins and more focused on the integrity of the work. This is why I do what I do and what keeps me excited about art. This is the first round (available soon) of what I hope to be a longer relationship.
What started out as a late night doodle has ended up as a laser etched piece and now stickers. This customized Stormtrooper sticker comes 4 to a pack. Two gray with gold accents and two steel blue with gold accents to a pack. Head on over to the SHOP and get em while supplies (very limited run) last!
If it’s one thing I enjoy it’s creating custom lettering and custom fonts. I often get my ideas through client work. Each client who comes to me requesting custom lettering or custom type always gets several to choose from. Often during the process of developing the customized letters I get several ideas for fonts. Once the job is completed I usually take the type that was left behind and begin developing the entire alphabet to see if it’s something I want to keep!.This is just a small sampling of some developed and to be developed custom fonts that will be available in the shop soon! To see more examples of some custom lettering pieces I have done in the past visit my Typography section HERE!
What was your process (start to finish) with the recent cat vector illustration you did?
TO SEE EACH STEP BY STEP PANEL CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE!
First off this approach to doing graphics is not new and actually has been around for some time now. It’s a short cut method! With the advent of the computer and the deep / profound effect it had on art it became obvious that the tools were designed to give you more flexibility and control but also speed the process up greatly.
To start out the client asked me for an illustration of a cat head, straight on view. He wanted it a bit cartoon and a bit real but all attitude. With that direction the process was as follows:
#1. I started with the traditional “pencil to paper” approach. I sketch a very loose structure of shapes (ovals and lines). This assists with proportions and a framework for me to start detailing. The next step is to begin adding in the details of the illustration. What you see is half
of the piece because it’s faster! Why illustrate the entire thing when the client asked for a head on view? Other types of illustrations (like the snake or Stormtrooper vector I did HERE) have completely different starting points and approaches.
#2. I then scan the piece into Photoshop, duplicate the layer, cut it in half, mirror the image (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal) and line it up. This becomes the foundation from which I will start the next step in the process.
#3. I then pick a portion of the illustration I want to start with. The portion I choose is completely based on preference and honestly I just go where I feel called! I use only the Pen Tool!
#4, #5, #6 and #7 are all using the Pen Tool and slowly illustrating half of the piece. Once the foundation is in place I duplicate and flip it again.
#8. Once I have the foundation of the piece in place I start adding deeper detail as I see fit. This process is completely based on how much time I am willing to spend and if I feel it’s necessary (too much detail can also kill a piece if done wrong!)
#9. The last step is adding color. This is usually determined by the client but on this one I had the freedom to choose.
What are those patterns in the custom lettering you do and are they created in the computer or hand done?
This is actually easier than you think. All the patterns I do are custom but not all are created in the computer! Before I jump in to some details it’s important for me to postulate like I’m a know it all! (Joking) What is important (I believe) is that I developed these skills OUTSIDE of the computer. When I learned (all hands on in print shops) everything started out as a pencil sketch. This “sketch’ was then re worked over and over until EVERY aspect of the hand lettering, graphic etc was exactly what you (or the client) wanted. The next steps were to lay acetate, vellum or rubylith over the drawing and start the labor intensive process of doing separations (A steady hand and inks) All patterns were either created by hand, photocopier “magic” or (much later) you could buy patterns to cut out and add on your separations to give them a more professional look. Reason I say all this is to get you outside the all to easy computer and look for alternate ways of making patterns unique!
All in all I have approximately sixty patterns I’ve created and use regularly. I am ALWAYS looking in the world around me for new patterns, shapes etc that I can turn into patterns.
Once you complete your pattern (patterns) I would suggest building a file to store all of them for easy access. The patterns are good not just for custom type but all sorts of areas in your projects. Limitations only exist when you fail to exercises your creativity so to speak!
CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE AN EASY TWO STEP PROCESS IN ILLUSTRATOR!
I’d love to say that every piece of custom lettering, custom type, hand lettering and typography in general is approved and portfolio worthy but the truth is we all have losses. I try to make it a point to get to know as much about my clients as possible. I gather all the info I can on the project to get a “feel” for the identity and stylistic direction I should take. I ask the questions and truly listen to not only what was said but what wasn’t! All this is like fuel, like ammo in which I use to deliver something unique but more importantly something that will represent the client. The above pieces were done for DJ Mays. NOT ONE was selected or approved! I felt at times I was close but at the end of the day it’s the client I represent and if they feel like it’s not on then… it’s not! I will say that not all is lost regardless of the approval or not. Each custom type piece I work on is a learning and stretching opportunity. I carry all this forward and blend it in to my future projects wherever they may fit!