Art & Words

The logo below was designed for an exciting new project I'm doing for publisher Candlemark and Gleam. Art & Words will be an ongoing, occasional series of elegantly designed books meant to draw the reader in, and give them free rein to stretch their imaginations.

First in the series - The Raven!  

 Head on over to that blog to read more about it.


To read about the creation of the logo, continue reading...

I thought I'd share with you my process for the design of the Art & Words project logo. click to embiggen


As with most projects I first started with a brainstorming session. This usually involves many sheets of vellum, and lots of thumbnail sketches.

This session didn't really go well. I'd had a stressful day and I was distracted, I couldn't get the shapes to line up in a composition I wanted etc etc. So I tabled the project for the night, had dinner, a little wine, family time and trash t.v.

After a good night's sleep I came back into the studio the next morning and everything came together in this drawing - the first one I did that morning!

Yay! I knew I wanted a really clean, vintage woodcut look to the logo. So I scanned my sketch into the computer and carefully re-drew the whole thing in Corel Painter. While I love Photoshop for laying out a design & playing with the composition, I prefer Corel Painter for actual fine art drawing and illustration. I find my control over the line is exceptional in Corel Painter.

Here's the Corel Painter drawing of the logo based on the thumbnail sketch.

Now, while I tried to keep my sketch really tight and refined, still I wanted to take it further. To get that super sharp woodcut look I needed to take the drawing thru one final step.

This final step is something I do a lot. I use it to make coloring pages for GeekMom, I use it to refine drawings that are slated to become rubber stamps, and for any project that requires crisp and precise line work.

I flattened my Corel Painter drawing down into one layer and imported it into Adobe Illustrator. Using the Live Trace option I previewed several vector tracing presets and finally tweaked the settings to arrive at something I liked. I then converted the pixel drawing into vector art - which not only serves to simplify and stylize my lines but also gives me a file that I can easily resize, with excellent resolution, for a variety of future projects.

Here's a close up.

click to embiggen

On the left you see a close-up from my drawing in Corel Painter. On the right is the same image after being Vectorized in Adobe Illustrator.

The final step in the process was to head over to to find the perfect font to accompany the image.

I hope you like it too, and I hope you found the walk thru helpful. Using the auto trace option in Adobe Illustrator is a great way to clean up your line art and add extra refinement to your digital drawings.

I'm so pleased with the result that I'll soon be offering t-shirts and other items with this image!