Keep Cool But Care Drawing Tools

Keep Cool But Care

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As I mentioned in my September 2020 Update, I have been working on a lettering project which has stalled because one of the things I want to accomplish with it is to do a version in Adobe Illustrator. My Illustrator skills are pretty basic so I need to work toward being able to move my lettering project there.

Instead of waiting for that to get done, I thought I would post about what I have done so far.

Since I’m in the midst of a Thomas Pynchon re-read, I opted to go with a pithy quote from V.: “Keep Cool But Care”.

This is uttered by a minor character, the jazz saxophonist McClintic Sphere. His full quote is:

Love with your mouth shut, help without breaking your ass or publicizing it: keep cool, but care.

I began with a very rough sketch of what I was thinking of. For the fonts, I looked through my copy of The Calligrapher’s Bible, and decided on Routunda for the “Keep Cool” part and Pen Script, bold minuscule for the “But Care” part.

Keep Cool But Care rough version
Keep Cool But Care rough version

Based on that, I got a better idea of the spacing and then did a more serious draft. I wasn’t too worried about getting the spacing exact because I knew what I wanted to do with one of the following steps.

Keep Cool But Care first draft
Keep Cool But Care first draft
Keep Cool But Care first draft
Keep Cool But Care first draft
Keep Cool But Care first draft
Keep Cool But Care first draft
Keep Cool But Care first draft
Keep Cool But Care first draft

I then went over it to darken the lines.

Keep Cool But Care darkened lines
Keep Cool But Care darkened lines

One of the big takeaways for me from Martina Flor’s Lettering Seminar (which I’m still not quite done. See above re: stuck on Illustrator) is the concept of using tracing paper to continue drafting versions of a lettering project. Of course, that depends on what the finished product is meant to be. I knew I eventually wanted to scan my project to finish it digitally so doing an iteration with tracing paper helped me further refine details and spacing.

As I worked on those details, I also began filling in my letters.

Keep Cool But Care tracing paper
Keep Cool But Care tracing paper
Keep Cool But Care tracing paper
Keep Cool But Care tracing paper
Keep Cool But Care tracing paper
Keep Cool But Care tracing paper
Keep Cool But Care tracing paper
Keep Cool But Care tracing paper

At that point, I felt ready to scan it.

Keep Cool But Care scan
Keep Cool But Care scan

The final step, as of now, was to import it into Procreate, trace it, and add colors and a background. I went with a cool blue for the “Keep Cool” part and a warm orange for the “But Care” part. I thought it would stand out nicely with a black background.

Keep Cool But Care Procreate version
Keep Cool But Care Procreate version

It’s far from perfect, but it was the first time I seriously tried a project like this. I really enjoyed the process and will soon–I hope–be able to do another version in Illustrator.

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