Let us guide you through the steps that Jimbo (ShoutBAM) covers when he works on his lettering compositions.
Starting with the sketches, then inking the piece, putting some colours inside and then on top of that showing you how to make some flowers.
This piece shows a 3D effect, and Jimbo teaches you how to create flowers coming up from inside the piece.
Make sure to give the full session a watch and let us know what you think in the comments below!
1. Time to kick off
Create a new canvas – Jimbo always creates his pieces ready for print, just in case.
Choose centimetres. Jimbo is an analogue guy, even though he’s now in the digital space he came from analogue, so centimetres it is!
For this piece Jimbo chose 30cm (w) x 20cm (h). DPI, the higher the better, but in Procreate you lose a lot of layers, so for this piece choose 300DPI and you will have 60 layers. Jimbo will be doing a lot of effects in this piece so this will accommodate that.
2. All about the box
What you need to do first is draw boxes.
For these kinds of 3D letters, boxes are really important.
It is not important to get super strict when it comes to lettering rules with this kind of exercise. Use whatever brush you want to use (Jimbo used the Dirty Halftones BrushSet - Crunchy Pencil) and draw the boxes.
Create a layer.
You can use the Procreate native settings, because when you draw a line and don’t move the pencil, it creates a perfect line. And if you tap on the screen you can adapt the line to an angle.
To do squares, what you can do is draw your square on the page, like this…
And if you keep the pencil inside/on the screen, you will get a square like this…
Once you have done 1 square, duplicate it – create as many squares as letters that your word has.
For these kinds of designs Jimbo always chooses really short words, because it is easier to read at the end. If you use a super complicated word, once you have added all the textures and additions it is going to be hard to read at the end. Jimbo recommends 3-6 letters.
From here, it is time to build the letters. Jimbo uses sans serif (which is recommended for this lettering, because it’s easier to work with). And remember the easier your chosen letters, the easier the process will be.
For the width of the letters, create a rectangle, like this…
Duplicate it and move it to the other side. That will create the width of your letters.
3. O' there is a lot to learn
Here’s an O drawn as an example…
If you want to ensure you are creating sans serif, you can duplicate your rectangles again, then go to free form and adapt them slightly - the vertical ones are typically smaller.
Duplicate it again and then bring the other one to the bottom.
When you create these guidelines, the actual lettering becomes easy.
For now Jimbo uses a perfect circle, even though O’s are not built as perfect circles. He then creates the middle.
Do this, paint everything inside, and it will look balanced.
Creating Jimbo’s word, you will see, the M has to be a little wider than the other letters.
The boxes are just a reference for you, you can go outside of them, you do not have to worry about keeping within them all the time.
With the exclamation marks, Jimbo exaggerated the shape a little to help define it. Another quick tip – when you do the circles, “the o’s” can go over the lines a little, because that will help it look completely balanced at the end – optically, not mathematically!
4. Time to ink up
Next up, it is time to ink the piece.
For inking you can use a lot of your own brushes, Jimbo is using his own brush, Old Inker. The native brushes are too clean and crisp for Jimbo’s liking. The Old Inker gives a rough edge. You can do the whole piece with one brush set. The Ripple-izer is a favourite. This gives the roughness that is needed, without it looking too dirty.
Go around your letters first and then ink the inside of your letters.
Next you want to set your 3D. Now, for this piece it is an infinite 3D (as in it will go out of the screen) so you want to first of all create a grid behind your letters. Jimbo does this using one of his Dirty Halftone Brushes, The Horizontal Lines Texturizer.
Spray your page with the brush. If you want an angle to your grid lines turn your screen a little first. Have a play and see what happens. There is also diagonal Dirty Halftone Brushes set to 45 degrees if you would rather just use that.
Now when you do your 3D you have a ton of guidelines. These guidelines are going to help you build up the whole of the letters.
Next, we want to do some 3D in the letters. Pick a color and draw a line out, following your gridlines.
Once you have lines out from your letter, simply fill in the gap with the colour.
When you have completed one letter, repeat the step for the remaining letters. Do this in different layers to help you do the effects after. As you go, make sure the order works as it can get mixed up as you create more and more layers.
Tip: the letters to the right should be behind.
Change the color of the 3D letters using a color palette of your choice.
Before moving onto textures, you can choose to move some of your letters around. Simply select your 3D plus the letter and move it to where you want it. This will make your piece a little more dynamic.
5. Fast and furious
Next up, you want to work on a fast outline. This will help you further on in the piece development to separate the 3D in your letter.
Use the ‘Old Inker’ brush again (from the Dirty Halftones BrushSet). However, to ensure an even line, go inside the brush panel, within the settings select ‘apple pencil’ and take the size to ‘0’. This will remove the pressure sensitivity on the brush, ensuring a consistently sized line.
With the adapted brush ready, add a new layer (a clipping mask) so it will act on your letters directly and not anywhere else.
Now you are ready to draw the line around your letters.
Jimbo decided to put a dark line first, followed by a white line. You can choose to do 1 or 2.
Now because you used a clipping mask here, if you release the mask you’ll see the lines you have drawn behind it, because it is no longer masking them. So, at this point, you need to get rid of all the fluff/excess line.
Go to the letters in layers. Click on them and then press ‘select’. Go to each letter. Place 3 fingers down on the screen and select ‘cut & paste’.
Now you have two layers. One with the fluff erased and one with the line.
The line is independent now and you can move it around.
6. Making it pop
What we’re doing next is as follows…
This will give a lot of depth to your piece. You can take it as deep inside your letter as you would like.
First step here is to duplicate one of the drawn letter layers – as shown below.
Next, bring the guidelines up and change the colour – Jimbo changed it to white. As a result, you can see what’s happening on top of the letters.
Grab your duplicated letter layer and bring it down. You can move it as much as you want to. Just follow your guidelines. For the purpose of this piece, Jimbo hasn’t moved them too much.
Once you are happy with the positioning of your letters, select the parts that are going outside of the letter and cut them. You can also do this with the eraser if you’d prefer.
Turn off the gridlines layer and join the cut letter with the inside of the full letter.
Fill the space now outlined with your chosen colour.
Once you’ve completed this step for all letters, move to the inside of the letter and join the cut version and the actual letter with lines and then colour the space in.
Complete this process with all your letters.
7. Head to the floor
Next up you will be working on the floor on the inside of your letters. You will do the following step two times, once with a soft shadow, once with a harder shadow, to create this…
First things first, add a clipping mask on top. Select your brush. Jimbo is using his brush set On The Road and using Powdery 02. This brush gives a mild texture, rather than rough.
Select a darker tone. Decide where the light is coming from. In this piece, the light is coming from the left upper corner.
Working on the harder shadow first. Add as follows…
Make it harder towards the top, softening as you move down.
Next step is to erase in a diagonal. You can use the guidelines if needed. Simply bring them to the top and mirror them so you get the opposite angle.
Jimbo didn’t use the guidelines, but instead used Procreate’s 45 degree line and went from the corner down with the eraser.
Do it on the other corner too, but remember when doing it, the line will end behind the fourth corner that we cannot see.
Once you have your lines, with the selection tool, select the fluff and cut it.
And you are left with one shadow.
Now you can add another clipping mask. Remember if you add any layer below a clipping mask it is automatically going to be a clipping mask. And then do exactly the same for the next shadow.
This time the light is coming up, so spray them accordingly…
And there you have it, the soft shadows for the first letter are complete. Now you need to do this for all your letters.
8. Inside out
You then do the same for the internal outer edge shadow as shown here…
You can create nice cuts by spraying it, erasing it and following this process as little or as much as you like.
You can then swap your colour to white or something lighter and do the same process, but based on where the light would be. Play around, there are no hard and fast rules.
Once you’ve done the inside, it’s time to do the outside.
You use exactly the same process as the outline above for shadows. You have two layers, the dark and the light.
Add a new clipping mask and then begin. Looking at the B, spray dark and then erase. Use the gridlines again to help you, if you need it.
Spray and erase as you see fit and just have a play until you are happy. Do this for all of your letters. And remember to do both the dark and the light tones.
Once finished, your piece should be looking something like this…
9. A quick draw
Now it is time to crank up the illustration.
Use one of the pencils and do a really rough sketch.
Pick those areas where you think your piece is crying out for illustration. Space can be good, so you do not have to fill the whole thing, but it is up to and you what you feel is right.
Feel free to draw some holes in the piece and sketch flowers growing out of these too.
If you don’t know what to draw, leaves are recommended by Jimbo. They are pretty simple to draw and can be super effective – circles work too!
As you ink the piece, make sure your lines have contrast and go from thick to thin, like with calligraphy, because this will give more excitement to the whole piece.
Once you’ve finished all the outlines, it is time to shade the flowers. Add colours, shadows and grain as you desire. Jimbo used the ‘Salt’ brush, within the Fade & Shade Brush Set to help him create great texture.
10. Give me some background
Right, once you’re happy with your illustrations, let’s get to the background.
Once you’ve got your background colour in, it is time to add some texture. Jimbo chose the Grunge Dots Shadow from the Dirty Halftones BrushSet.
This brush produces an effect as follows…
Use a darker one for a starter and use little pressure, then lighten the tone and increase pressure. The more pressure you add, the more distressed the brush effect is. Play to see what works for you.
11. The final flourish
The last thing is to add some texture inside of the letter as well.
Jimbo used Extra Wavy from the Dirty Halftones BrushSet (which can be found in the ‘extras’ of the set), but you can play with any texture/brush you wish to create a cool effect.
Go into the 3D layer and add as you desire.
And once you are happy, you are done!
That is it. Your final piece is ready to share with the Design Cuts community – seriously, post it. We would love to see what you have learnt and how you have been inspired. To join a community of incredible creatives and share your work, explore the fastest growing Procreate Facebook group in the world.