In this session, we sat down with a true veteran of the design industry, Gia Graham. Although her experience is vast, you may know her for her "modern design enlivened with lush florals, foliage and a keen eye for color." Her colour palettes and lettering have been touted by many as the best around, so make sure to watch and learn all about illustrative lettering and negative space with Gia!
Create Basic Letter Forms
Draw a basic letter form of the word ‘calm’ on the canvas. Ensure that the strokes on the letters are wide and simplified, making it easier to use the negative space.
Turn on guides and choose the 6B pencil on Procreate. Reduce the opacity of the word. Start sketching with the pencil on a new layer. Draw flowers, leaves, and geometric shapes around the lettering. The idea is to trace the outline of each letterform with your illustration simply.
Draw the center of the flower with petals. Add a flower on the top curve of the C.
Add a stem on the letter ‘C’ bottom curve and draw leaves on the stem.
Draw leaves on the inner curve of the ‘C’.
Draw a big leaf between the ‘C’ and ‘A’. Strike a balance between making the objects look natural. Fit the leaf in the open area in a way that reveals the letterform.
Pro tip: The negative space lettering can be defined or set loose.
Turn off the lettering layer to see what you're working with. Come back and fill the little areas. Rework the sleek slick that comes around and fills the space better.
Fill the gap between ‘A’ and ‘L’ by drawing inverted leaves. Draw along the edges of the letters to give them a shape.
Draw on the edges of the ‘L’ and fill the gap between ‘L’ and ‘M’. Draw freehand using organic shapes to make it look authentic.
Fill the negative spaces with the floral type of graphic techniques. Draw a big flower with leaves on top of the M.
Fill the gaps in between and under the ‘M’. Draw a flower falling out of the edges.
Fill in the negative spaces around the word by drawing extra leaves and flowers.
Pro tip: The major rule is to keep the illustration legible.
Add a big daisy flower at the bottom of the word. See the image below for reference.
Add definition to the florals by drawing tiny lines on the leaves and flowers. Use the Dry Texture Brush Pack for inking the lettering. Add a loose inking style to the composition.
Add a new layer and reduce the opacity of the sketches. Use the same color palette as posted on Gia’s Instagram. Choose a cream color for the background.
Pick a light green shade and color the leaves. See the images below for reference.
Add a mask on top of the layer and choose another color from the palette. Use the Sharp Crayon from the brush set to draw tiny detail lines on the leaves.
Pro tip: Use a free hand to draw these lines to make them look organic.
Pick a popping light pink color from the palette and color the flowers.
Choose a dark pink color and draw the details on the flower. Draw simple lines to add dimension.
Pro tip: Understand which flowers would look better with lettering and understand the content type. For example, rounded flowers go well with anything sweet, happy, or cheerful.
Pick a light purple color and color the daisy flower at the bottom of the word. Add details by choosing the darker pink shade and draw lines on the daisy.
Pro tip: Choose a color palette based on what you draw. Find inspiration and tweak the colors together.
Choose a peachy-orange color and color the tiny flowers in dual-tone. Pick a white color and add tiny detailed strokes on the flower.
Add brief highlights on each letter to give it dimension.
Congratulations, you have successfully learned about illustrative lettering and negative space.