Bonjour, bonsoir, bonne nuit, or whatever is the time you’re reading this. Yes, this process is all about croissants, pain au chocolat, cheese, delicious breads, crêpes… Is it weird that most of the things I enjoy about every place I go to is food? Culinary is a proof of each culture, and France let this very clear when I went there!
In France I sadly didn’t stay for a whole month because of a mastermind event my boyfriend had, but we visited so many towns and villages that I couldn’t let this pass. Which cities did we go to? Paris, Canet-en-Roussillon (really tiny and with a beautiful beach), Collioure, and Villefranche, a fortified village. As a Brazilian that had never seen castles, I need to say that I was pretty excited to see more of french history. And I’m pretty sure that I have a thing for castles and their architecture.
So, to start from the beginning, let’s take a look at Paris and its references. One word about it: copperplate calligraphy. They use copperplate everywhere. And if it’s not copperplate, it’s a really similar script style that has a classical look.
It also had more modern styles, recalling Art Nouveau. But from what I saw in those few days, I noticed that everything is really classy, including the architecture and those balconies’ ornaments.
Now come with me, let’s fall in love with balconies:
With that in mind, let’s go for some references in the south of France. First: the colors. So many beautiful colors that when I was creating the color palette for the lettering I was impressed by some stuff!
Yep, I took this with an iPhone. This is the beach in Canet. Pretty ugly, huh?
As you can see, the doors and windows were some pretty great references for the color palette. Now what about the type?
After a lot of references and knowing a bit about Paris and the south of France, here we go to the sketches! First of all, I’d like to say that I created more than 20 sketches about this lettering. And after not knowing when to stop, I threw away EVERYTHING. Yup. All the tracing papers, without taking photos or anything. And you know what? That felt good.
As a digital nomad traveling with only a backpack and a small carry-on wheel bag, the best feeling is remembering that you don’t need much to live. Let things go, the most important part you already have and it’s inside your head – it’s called memory. 🙂
Basically these sketches are all that I have left, now.
Hello, final sketch.
As you can see for the final sketch, it is indeed really sloppy. This is what happens when I already have the whole idea in mind and I just want to visualize the main part of it. I had part of it vectorized already, but I was having some difficulties in visualizing the ornaments.
I decided to use this one because I noticed that everything I saw from France was very cute and full of ornaments everywhere, not to forget the whole “romantic” feeling that Paris gives. I added those endings on the strokes to break this “cute” feeling, because I also had some not so good experiences there. With that in mind, I let them be discrete because we can’t ignore the bad parts, but indeed we can focus on the good ones.
About the vector, one rule for creating on Illustrator: the less points you make, the better. Start building your shape only with horizontal points, and ONLY IF NECESSARY you can add the vertical ones. In the image below you can see that I put guides to maintain the same angle in every letter, and I started building the shape only with strokes to fix the kerning and the curves. After all this, I built shapes to create the contrast. In this way I can maintain control of any adjustments that I need to do.
With all that in mind, I created a discreet frame inspired in some of the parisian cafés, adding a thin line shadow on the lettering, and then jumped to the colors!
As you saw on the pictures above, I indeed used those to define my color palette, but the only things I was sure about were that:
1. I wanted a light background
2. I didn’t want it to be too romantic (ironic, looking at all those curves)
3. I wanted it to be cute, and strong.
After another 20 tries of color testing, I finally came up to this!
If you didn’t have the time to go through at all, here’s a summary of the learnings:
1. Don’t be afraid of throwing everything away, the important learnings you had you definitely have memorized.
2. Don’t try to put only the good feelings on your art, the junction of the good and bad is what makes you, you.
And to conclude, know when to stop. Sometimes, to be creative you have to stop making art for a moment.
I hope I could inspire and help you in some way, and see you on the next art!
If you have any other questions about something I didn’t say here, you can send me an email or reach me on social media!
You can see the entire project here!