Lettering Piece Case Study: Welcome to the Jungle

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Lettering Piece Case Study: Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle is a personal project. My goal was to explore more illustrative styles and push lettering further than the custom type realm.

Sketching

The sketching process was key for this piece. I drew around twenty iterations for it, from the first sketch on a post-it note to the final refined pencil drawing I used to vectorize.

Initial concept - on a post-it note!
Initial concept - on a post-it note!

I first explored the route of serif + cursive, but ultimately realized that combining different kinds of serifs would suit the square layout better.

I knew right from the start I wanted my final piece to be highly detailed, and contain illustrative elements. My first thought was to have a snake and an elephant. I quickly ditched the elephant idea, as it is a heavy animal that would cause balance issues. Instead, I decided to replace it with a tucan, which still evokes the jungle, but is much lighter and would be much easier to integrate by sitting it on a letter.

Welcome to the Jungle - Refined sketch, the tucan replaced the elephant
Welcome to the Jungle - Refined sketch, the tucan replaced the elephant

I also wanted the lettering to have a bold, bling-bling look to emphasize the double meaning of the sentence. The emphasis had to be made on the word “jungle”, so the 3D gold bar effect was a great fit.

In the end, I decided to ditch the snake and only keep the tucan. The problem with the snake is that it was creating a busy background behind the word “jungle”. It also had become the focal point of the piece and making it too litteral.

Welcome to the Jungle - Final sketch
Welcome to the Jungle - Final sketch

Digital treatment

I wanted the final piece to look like a bold painting with vivid colors. I wanted a hand-painted (therefore imperfect) look, but keep a solid structure; this is why I split the digital treatment process into two distinct phases:

  • a clean vectorization pass
  • a digital painting phase

In other words, I first made a crisp vector to build a strong structure, and messed it up to make it look hand-painted.

Welcome to the Jungle - First vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - First vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - First vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - First vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - 3D vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - 3D vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - 3D vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - 3D vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - Effects vectorization pass
Welcome to the Jungle - Effects vectorization pass

I added a light source and cast shadows to reinforce the 3D aspect. I also covered the entire piece with a grainy texture to make it more life-like and minimize the plastic aspect of vectors. This was also a great way to add additional levels of smoother shading on top of the solid layers of light and shadows.

Result

Welcome to the Jungle is a vibrant lettering piece with vivid colors. The light and texture, along with the subtle presence of the tucan add even more life to it.

Welcome to the Jungle - Final
Welcome to the Jungle - Final
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up
Welcome to the Jungle - Close Up

I used:

  • Adobe Illustrator CC 2017
  • Adobe Photoshop CS 2017

No 3D software/functionnality was used. Everything was hand-drawn / hand-digitized.

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