“Love is a smoke made from the fume of sighs”–William Shakespeare

"Love is a smoke made from the fume of sighs"--Shakespeare
One of my favorite love quotes. More to come as we edge toward V-Day.

A favorite love quote by the Bard. In case anyone’s interested, here are some general details about how this piece was created. As most of my work these days tends to be, this piece involves working back and forth between hand lettering, Photoshop and Illustrator:

  • First, the background and “smoke” shape was drawn as a vector shape in Illustrator and placed in the base Photoshop file. The whole thing was printed out and the shapes traced onto paper where the lettering would be drawn.
  • The text was hand lettered by pencil, using the base shapes as a guide, then inked, scanned and opened in Photoshop where it was cleaned up a bit and the contrast increased with Levels, using the white and black set point “thermometers.”
  • A copy was pasted onto a blank Illustrator document (the same size and resolution as the final piece) and Live Traced. Once the text was in vectors, a copy was pasted back into the base Photoshop file. More clean up.
  • Once all text was in place, the final adjustments to text layers was made. This is always a case of playing with blending modes, transparency and color until the right look is achieved.
  • The face shape was created separately in Illustrator and the filled shape pasted into the base Photoshop file. Shadowing and detail were added in subsequent layers.

Tip: If you like this kind of thing but you want to avoid the “totally from scratch” hand-lettering part, stay tuned for our next, free tutorial that involves setting text in Illustrator, Word, et al and tracing. A great way to get comfy with basic letterforms and give your creations a hand-lettered-ish look.

Skills used: pencil and ink drawing, layering, using blending modes, masking, scanning, cleaning up, lasso tool for selections. Resources used: Photoshop CS4, Illustrator CS4, vintage background textures collected from ephemera sites, Wacom tablet, flatbed scanner, #2 pencil and sharpener, various thicknesses of artist’s fine line ink pens. Time to complete: App. 6 hours.

3 thoughts on ““Love is a smoke made from the fume of sighs”–William Shakespeare”

  1. Pingback: OilCoolant.com

  2. This is cool! Just stumbled onto your site while reading about lettering. If you don’t mind the random question, what kind of paper do you hand letter on? Does it matter? I’m just curious!

  3. James Ketsdever

    I usually use a cold press watercolor paper for pencil (chalkboard) and a regular Canson sketch book for inked lettering. The lettering for this piece was sketched in pencil first then finished with an ink pen with a brush tip.

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