One Squiggly Line Blog

Hand-drawn pictures can make things clear, simple, and fun in blogs, too!

Visual Thinking & Lettering: Designing Lowercase D's


There's more than one way to draw pretty much everything. Especially letters!

For some great visual and creative thinking practice, pick something and try to draw it as many different ways as you can. If you set a time limit, you'll actually work a lot faster. It also helps you to not focus on whether or not you like what you just drew.

Here's my 2 minutes worth of lower case d's, drawn on a white board.

Visual Thinking & Lettering Design: Fill the Space!


Hand-lettering has a certain charm computer generated letters just don't have. The letters are never perfectly formed. Spacing is never 100% uniform. And lines are never perfectly straight. All those little imperfections are where that charm comes from.

Take a look at the quote above. This was done rather quickly, with a permanent pen straight from the start. So obviously, things aren't perfectly planned out. Or perfectly drawn in. But it's safe to say, the text is far from boring.

That's partly because pretty much all of the white space is between the letters. To make the words fit the page, I had to get creative with the spacing. It's unpredictable. It breaks the rules a bit. And that's what makes it interesting.

Big blocks of text can be very boring to the eye. So the next time you're faced with a big, boring block of text, let the words fill the space. And forget about making everything perfectly uniform.

Visual Thinking & Lettering: Use Those Lines!


Lines are a big part of drawing. When not used for the main part of the picture, they're often overlooked. But that's easy to change!

If there's something unique or surprising about the lines, people will notice. That sense of mystery draws them in. And the visual captures their attention for much longer.

Take a good look at the steam lines coming out of the mug above. There are a lot of ways those lines could have been drawn to give the effect of steam. There are a lot of ways "Merry Christmas!" could have been written, too.

When the words "Merry Christmas!" are written in the steam, those lines suddenly become much more interesting. The words become part of the picture. They're definitely not an after thought!

So use those lines to really unify your visuals!

Visual Thinking & Lettering: Add Some Action!


Movement makes people look. It's mysterious. Maybe even exciting. Kind of like going on a scavenger hunt. Even if you know exactly where you're going and what you're looking for, there are bound to be some surprises along the way! 

That's why it's great to have visuals with a lot of movement in them. Especially if the topic is not so exciting. An energetic visual with a strong sense of movement will keep people interested. And their eye will naturally travel around the whole page. That means they're much more likely to take in all of your great information.

Cartoonists often use what they call "action lines". That's how they create the sense of movement in a still picture. And it works! Just look at the word "merry" in the visual above. It look like it's moving, thanks to those action lines!

Visual Thinking & Lettering: Make it Personal - Gift Idea


Ever tried to buy a gift for someone who can buy whatever they want? It's not easy. And definitely requires an extra dose of creativity! 

So, here's an idea for you:

Give them something obviously created just for them - their name hand-drawn in a creative way. It might even include something you know they like, like the flower in the name above.

The name can then be framed or printed on any number of things (stickers, notepads, t-shirts, etc.) at places like Vistaprint or CafePress or used online.

Want more info? Email me and we can iron out the details of what would work best for you.

Visual Thinking & Lettering Practice: Designing Lowercase E's


Another super quick visual thinking, lettering design, and creative thinking practice - all in just 2 minutes! Just choose a letter and if it will be upper or lower case. Get some paper or whatever you're going to draw on and something to draw with ready. Set the timer for 2 minutes. Draw your letter as many different ways as you can until the timer goes off. That's it! Whatever you draw stays there - no erasing, no scribbling out. The ideas you don't like this time around may be just what you're looking for later on.

My 2 minute practice above was done on a whiteboard.

Lettering: Fill the Space!


Flowing calligraphy. Fancy script. Bouncy bubble letters. Bold block letters. They're all great but can take time to create. Sometimes you simply don't have the time.

Don't let a time crunch stop you from giving your letters some style! All you have to do is draw your letters instead of writing them. That means you really think about each line before you draw it. Also, think about how the letters fit together and look as a whole.

Your goal now is to make an eye-catching design with a message. Not to write out a word as quickly as possible. That's what computers are for!

Take a second or two to imagine how the image would look with a line in a couple of different places. Try to really see that line on the page before you draw it.

If you have a longer word, make it fill the space. Don't worry about making it all fit on one line. As long as you keep all the letters in order, people will get the message. But make it look like you broke the word up on purpose to make it look good. Not because you didn't plan ahead and ran out of room! If you have some extra spaces, fill them in with something simple related to the word. Like I used a star in mine.


Lettering: Make it Belong!


Lettering is all about drawing letters, instead of just writing them the way you usually do - without thinking!

If you want to add some words to something you've drawn, then it's really important that you think of the letters as part of the design, because they sure are! One way is to make the words part of the central image, instead of adding them somewhere in the background. Like in the image above - there's plenty of room to fit "Merry Christmas!" in the snow below the gingerbread house, but I made it part of the smoke instead. Now the viewer has the nice surprise of discovering a cheery message somewhat hidden in the smoke.

This image is one of 31 Merry Christmas! designs I drew last December, drawn in black marker and colored in Photoshop or Illustrator.