This was one of the most one of the most challenging designs I have ever done and also one of the designs that I am most proud of. It started from the idea of making a cheeky design featuring a stereotypical, cartoon style burglar on the front with the phrase "like a thief in the night" written in big bold brush text on the back. It was important for our subject to look graceful yet deliberately comically portly so no one could take the wording too seriously. I wanted the meaning to be ambiguous which hinged on striking the right playful tone for it to work.
The first step in my design process is often to accumulate a folder of images that contains all the elements that I want to include in the design. I use this kind of as a storyboard that sets the mood for the design.
The second step is to sketch out the idea on paper to see if it will work even though my drawing skills are admittedly very limited. It serves more as a proof of concept for me to refine and build on digitally.
Here at Novel Ways, I have always taken great pride in doing all of the artwork myself, however brush calligraphy is not one of my favoured artistic abilities. After spending many hours scrawling out the text "Like a Thief in the Night" on paper and then even buying a Wacom drawing tablet to experiment with, I had to concede that I did not have the technical ability to achieve something of the level of quality I was after. After much deliberation, for the first time I hired some outside help for this specific part of the design. I commissioned an expert in the Philippines who specialises in brush calligraphy to write out a few versions of the text I was after. The first image below shows one of the first versions we received back and the next one shows a version after we requested some specific revisions to be made.
What I got back was still far from a finished work and required many more hours of my own digital refinement to get it to the exact graphic style and consistency that I was after. This method was fantastic in creating organic lines, textures, splatter and peculiarities within the brush strokes that I would have never been able to achieve as authentically on my own. The end result is a mix between the organic wildness of actual brush calligraphy and a sharply ordered bezier line based artwork that is more legible but still looks real. I spent way more hours tweaking the details on this design than I care to disclose!
* * *The finished product is available for you to purchase in store now.
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