The Art of Letters
PROJECT 17 | 05.23.21
GRADE LEVELS: 1 - 6
DURATION: 1 Hour
MATERIALS: Paper, Pencil, Eraser, Black Pen, Colors (ink pens, colored pencils, crayons, Ruler
CLICK ICON TO DOWNLOAD PROJECT GUIDE PDF
Video Editing by Jorge Davies, Graphics by Melissa Sabol
Typography is the design and appearance of written letters to create an impression on the viewer. Using typography and your name you will design your own personal font to describe your personality.
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT
Explore letters and words in a new way
Teaches different styles of writing
Express yourself through words
Experiment with different colors and patterns
Learn how design influences our choices
Encourages experimentation with font styles for impact
Colors (ink pens, colored pencils, crayons)
We are going to start by writing our name in three different typeface categories:
Sans Serif - stick letter with no feet
Serif - stick letter with feet
Script - curly
What do you want your Typeface to say about you? What is your style? What is your personality?
Other things to consider...
Will you use capital letters or lowercase letters or a combination of both?
Are the letters tall or short?
Are the letters big or small?
How big are the spaces between the letters?
And...Where will you place these letters on the page?
Think about placement...
If you want to center your name on the paper, find the middle of the paper, either eyeball it or fold in half. Count how many letters are in your name. If it’s an odd number put the middle letter in the center, if it’s even, draw half of the letters on one side and half of the letters on the other...working your way from inside to outside. If it’s ART, R will be in the center, A to the left and T to the right.
3. Draw Your Name as a Decorative Typeface:
Create Skeleton: Sketch out stick letters of where you’d like to see the letters of your name.
This is called the skeleton.
Option 1 - Block Letters: Trace a hard edge all around the stick letter, then erase the skeleton centers. And then try one or more of these embellishments...
Block with Serif: Draw a block letter, add feet and connect with the edge with a half circle, erase unnecessary lines, trace the letter.
Block with Shapes (horns/wings/triangles/stars): Draw a block letter, add shapes on to end points, erase unnecessary lines, trace the letter.
Block with Shadow: Draw a block letter, imagine the sun is coming from one direction and create a dark strip on the opposite side of the letter. Do this for each piece of the letter, erase skeleton, trace the letter.
Block with Pattern (cross-hatch): Draw a block letter, erase unnecessary lines, add a crosshatch, trace exterior line.
Option 2 - Bubble Letters: Draw a smooth, rounded racetrack all around stick letter, then erase the skeleton centers. And then try one or more of these embellishments...
Bubble with Shapes (drips): Draw a bubble letter, add shapes on to parts of the bubble, erase the unnecessary lines, trace the letter
Bubble with Shadow: Draw a bubble letter, find midpoint and draw a thick line shadow on the left side of each piece, erase unnecessary lines, trace the letter.
Block with Pattern Draw a bubble letter, add in-line stripes. Trace the lines
Outline and Color: Trace your lines and outline in black ink. Erase any remaining pencil lines. And finally add lots of color!
TIPS & TRICKS
Draw your skeleton lightly so that it’s easy to erase.
Have a good eraser
A ruler can help you line up your typeface.
For your main project you are going to create a decorative typeface of your name that will communicate something about yourself.
Create an account - Share your art - Be inspired
Try taking three of your qualities or personality traits, and using your full name, turn each one into a typeface for your First, Middle, and Last name.
Do you have a pet? Pick something about your pet, and try a typeface that describes your animal friend, using their name.
ARTISTS TO KNOW
is a graphic designer and illustrator from Mumbai, who specializes mainly in paper typography. That is to say, she creates type and letters by hand using only paper, which is the primary thing that sets her work apart from other typographers. She says that this “evokes many reactions from the viewer, especially because it is all handcrafted by me and nothing is done digitally”.
sabeenakarnik.com, 2010, paper
A still life typography artist was born in Yorkshire, United Kingdom and moved to London in 2001. She worked at the Guardian as a picture editor while studying furniture at Guildhall University. Her combined love of photography and her practical skills as a designer led to an accidental career as a set designer. She grew up on a farm in North Yorkshire which had a big influence on her work. She uses a wide array of different materials as well as everyday and discarded objects.
Nicola Yeoman, 2012, mixed media/typography
Commonly known as ‘the Godfather of Graffiti’, Seen was not one of the first on New York’s graffiti scene, but he has remained active one way or another since he started in 1973.
He first gained recognition for painting the subway, including dozens of whole cars, some of which are featured in Subway Art. Seen has used various mediums throughout his career including canvas, 3D sculpture and tattoos.
Seen Ua, 1983, aerosol on canvas
Typeface: Typography is the strategic arrangement of type in order to make written language readable and visually appealing.