Tuesday, April 9, 2013


For this week's illustration, I've chosen the word 'lost' from IF's previous words. Loss is almost always associated with confusion, and one of the many confusing phenomena around us are optical illusions, so I've decided to use one to be the reference for my typography piece.

After some searching, I picked the following image and inserted it in Photoshop CS5, where I started building my piece:


For the centres of the circles, I used the word 'lost', giving it a radial blur effect and creating a couple of rotating duplicates, with a stroke applied to every other layer for differentiation. Notice that the colours are derived from my reference image.


Then, I started creating the rest of the circles' 'swirls' using question marks. One unit consisted two marks, one of which was upside-down and reflected;


which, in turn, was copied and rotated to create one 'loop':


The loop was then copied and scaled to create the other ones and hence complete the circle:


The circle was then copied to create the other four circles in the corners, and a path was drawn and used to create masks for them, so that they appear to be behind the central 'main' circle.


The final step was to remove the reference layer, leaving us with the result:


And there you have my 'typoptical' illusion! Hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, March 25, 2013


This week's word is swim, for which I decided to take a slightly different path. I picked out an image from Corbis and decided to digitally render it completely in type.

I had a sort of idea of the image I wanted to pick for rendering: a zoom-up on a professional swimmer in action. After some browsing, I decided to use this image shot by Sebastian Kahnert in the German Swimming Championships 2012:


For the rendering, I used Photoshop CS5, building a layer of words for each part of the face and applying a mask for definition. I didn't want it to look too crazy, so I preferred to stick with the word 'swim' for all the layers; in the same font and size. As for colour, I used the eyedropper tool to derive the colour of each area, and applied a 1 pt stroke in a darker colour (also apparent in the same area).


For the water, I used three layers: one for the vast blue, another for the white splashes and a final one for those transparent areas around the swimmer and the bubbles. I refined and softened the edge on the splashes layer, and changed the mode on the bubbles one to lighten, as well as dropped its opacity.


After placing the largest 'blue water' layer in place and removing the original image; this is the result; that's around 870 'swim's in total!


I hope you enjoyed it and remember to check back regularly for more!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


This week's Illustration Friday word is 'Yesterday'. Yesterday for a lot of people - if not all of them - carries a lot of memories; happy ones, painful ones, etc...and so I've decided to go with that theme.

Firstly, I went on corbis to research some photos of seniors, as they would have the most memories and tend to reminisce more. After looking at a bunch, I drew two concept sketches for the two I most believed would fit my theme.



After some thought, I decided to go with the second sketch. Photo-referencing from the original image by Arman Zhenikeyev, I digitally rendered the image, as well as gave it a black background and a couple of effects and filters.



Afterwards, I added the word 'memories' between the background and the image, repeating it in several colours, sizes and orientations.


And there we have the final piece! Hope you liked it; stay tuned for the next illustration!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fly Free...

I'm back with this week's post on the Illustration Friday word: 'wings'! When I think about wings, I automatically think about freedom. So I came up with the theme 'longing for freedom' to go with; here's the concept sketch:


I wanted to use typography to depict the main 'characters'; the eagle 'free' and the girl 'freedom'. First, I created the minor elements of the piece using photo referencing, my trusty tablet and the 'film grain' Photoshop filter:


Next, I drew in the main elements as black silhouettes:


Then, after creating my layers of text, I applied clipping masks to both characters; so that they appear to be composed of words:


Finally, I applied an overlay to the minor elements to make the main ones stand out:


And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the piece! Please feel free to leave any comments; and stay tuned for more!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Overflowing Words...

So, this week's IF word is 'ocean'. The first thought that hit me when linking this word to my theme was "the endless flow of knowledge" acquired by reading.

After researching, I made a list of the five words on which this piece will be based:


Taking these five words, I started building layers of text using tracing paper, in order to get the 'depth of the ocean'.

Work in progress

The second layer:

Work in progress

And another layer:

Work in progress

And yet another one:

Work in progress

When I was finally satisfied with the density of the text, I added the final graphic layer; depicting a doorway to the vast ocean of words.

Work in progress

And there I had my first draft; the template to my piece.

Next comes the digital process, created in Photoshop CS5.

Allow me to take you through the stages:
Firstly, I created the ocean background by first laying down a solid blue layer, and the topping it with a blue-to-black gradient. I then started adding the type, starting with a small size. You will also notice that some of the words have been given an outer glow to create a 'plankton' effect.


I then added the second layer of text, slightly increasing on the size and the glow as well.


And then the third layer of text, again increasing the size, but removing the glow completely this time.


The fourth layer of text, with the glow and the upsize of text size.


The final and largest type size layer, without the glow. I've also overlapped the layers regardless of their size to add depth.


Next comes the glass panel wall, usng some simple layer effects such as bevel and emboss. The door area has been cut out of the wall one.


Then comes the door layer I've cut, with hinges and a knob, created also using layer effects. I've also distorted a bit so that it appears slightly opened.


Next comes yet another word layer, this time created to show the words flowing out the door; jammed between it and the wall. No glow effect has been applied here.


Then in comes a small stream of water, again between the door and wall layers, to depict the 'overflow'. Opacity was dialled down, liquify filter applied and a custom-made 'droplets' brush used.


Finally, another custom-made brush which depicts bubbles, was used on various layers to add a 'sinking' effect to the type.


I hope you enjoyed this piece of work! Please feel free to comment, and stay tuned for this week's 'IF' word: 'wings'!