Fine Cartoon Art

exaggerated, in a good way

Fine Cartoon Illuminated Manuscripting in 9 Easy Steps

Posted by jtebeau on June 8, 2010

Recently I was commissioned to make a little sign. A simple phrase, in convenient 5″ by 7″ frame-able form. Step one was getting the phrase: “Rejoice Evermore.” Done. The client took care of that.

Step two was finding a suitable font. I used one called Blackmoor out of an ancient Letraset reference manual I’ve had for years.

Step three: Sketching out “the look.” Good old sketchbook. If those pages could talk….

The client gave major leeway on this. He wanted me to do my take of an ‘illuminated manuscript’ look, but not too ‘religious.’ I get that. I wanted it to feel joyous, of course, but a bit more organic and less stiff than some of them you see. And given the small scale, I couldn’t be TOO detailed. I went with bold lettering and a simple vine for the organic flavor around the edge, as a border.

Step four: Sketching it onto nice, thick illustration board and begin inking. I used a Rapidograph pen with India ink for this.

Step five: Finish inking and choose appropriate colors. Obviously I would to go with something warm like yellow and orange. But I wanted something organic, too, because the client likes nature (hence a vibrant green). And I chose to do the letters in reflective gold to make it more… PROFOUND!

Step six: Paint the background. I always work from front to back, a habit of my silk-screening days….

Step seven: Paint the letters gold. This was Liquitex “Antique Gold”. Good stuff. Great look.

Step eight: Paint the border… then… jazz up the background. I went with a funky sort of sunburst look. Sort of psychedelic, sort of… well… joyous!

Step nine: Black outlines on the vines and text. It wouldn’t be cartoon art without the black lines, now would it?

If you’re interested in commissioning a neat little piece like this (or big ‘un), let me know: johntebeau@gmail.com

Thank you, Alan Janesch, for the cool gig.

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5 Responses to “Fine Cartoon Illuminated Manuscripting in 9 Easy Steps”

  1. Barb Cain said

    Love, love, love this!

  2. Jim O. said

    That’s sweet! Thanks for the Director’s Cut Making Of too…

  3. jtebeau said

    Thank you both for the buoyant comments! I had fun doing the piece and will probably do more like this in the future: “message boards” or whatever. Words like “FOCUS, ” “COURAGE” and “CHILL” and phrases like “Gunga la gunga” and “Be the Ball.”

  4. […] During an image search for hand lettering I came across an image of a pencil sketch for lettering. Below is the image which prompted me to contact the administrator of the blog, FineCartoonArt. With his permission I linked to the post about his 9 step lettering process. […]

  5. […] quotes you’d like to see illustrated, or illuminated, as the monks did in days of yore? This one below was a quote from the HBO mini-series about John Adams, and Alan Janesch commissioned it from […]

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