Monday, March 10, 2014

Adding Handlettering Without the Risk


Everybody likes options. Art directors are some of them. 

And me. 

Particularly when I finish a painting I think would stand well on its own… or with a little fun lettering. I've been listening to "The Rat Pack Radio Station" on Pandora--a recommend--and have heard this sailing song covered by a few fun swingers. It's been helping me get into the swing of nautical things. 

So the secret's out: I used Photoshop to bring the sailboat and the hand-lettered words together. This way the art could be presented with some possibilities. But I didn't want to compromise the grittiness of the painting's texture and splatters. 

For those well-versed with PSD lingo, here are my three steps:

  1. Clean up. (This goes without saying.) Magic-wanding, zooming in, cleaning edges, rotating, resizing… all of the things that you would do to add elements together seamlessly.  
  2. That white edge. Once I got the text in the place and orientation I wanted, I flattened a duplicated grouping of the words. I then filled this in white, stroked it in white, re-flattened and set it behind the original. After a slight tilt, I started chipping away at it. I wanted an imperfect sliver of white that occasionally disappeared. Knowing how/when to erase around comes with having done it by hand so many times. (Painting a background color around words that have already been painted is nerve-racking and never perfect.) And that's what I was going for. 
  3. Blending the background with the overlying words. I was sad to see some of those dark red splatters getting lost behind the words. I wasn't having it. I opted to put in a little extra time by working with layers and bringing some of those splatters forward. A little multiplying, a little copy and pasting, and a lot of making sure that my tracks were covered. 

That may have all been a bit time-consuming, but let's be honest: the hardest part was choosing which line from the lyrics to highlight. Like the author, I went with the first line of the song as its defining words. I leave you with Jack Lawrence's Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Somewhere Beyond the Sea, 1946

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailin'

Somewhere beyond the sea
She's there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms 
I'd go sailing

It's far beyond the stars
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon

We'll meet beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailing

I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon
We'll meet (I know we'll meet) beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailing

No more sailing
So long sailing
Bye bye sailing

Other posts you may like: Studying Flowers | Watercolorizing Logos | Sail Away Bedding Set Concept