Fine Hand Lettering Skills of Britt Wilson

Posted at 4 pm on May 24, 2012 by

Posted in: Comic Art, Digital Illustration, Ink Illustration, Tutorials, Typography

We’re big fans of Canadian Britt Wilson’s whimsical, funny and accomplished illustration style. She primarily works on comics and cartoons with her unique expressive touch. Every piece we’ve seen of hers demonstrates a lot of hard work and attention to detail, which we like at Ape on the Moon.

She claims to have lived under the sea with crustaceans in her earlier life, which might hint at how her work has been inspired, or that she simply likes pulling people’s legs! Her recent beautiful hand lettering work to accompany various publications, including her own comics, caught my eye. It is to her lettering that we now turn, and how she does it…

Here’s a quick look at my process when doing lettering!

I start with a thumbnail. Actually I often start with many thumbnails, but this design is pretty simple, and the other thumbnails were ugly, so I’m only showing you one. I often do a whole buttload of them before I figure it out.

Then I work on a final sketch. I drew a few versions of this before I was happy, and you can see where I taped another piece of paper below, because I started drawing too low and ran out of space.

I use col-erase pencils to sketch with, starting with a red or an orange, and then I go over the final lines with a darker one. Mostly to make the next step easier.

Once I have my final drawing, I pull out my ginormous light table. I don’t like inking directly onto my final drawings. I screw up a lot, or I change my mind, so I often start over a couple times.

I’m still working on streamlining my process, or even what my process really IS. I don’t have any set in stone method, sometimes I DO draw directly onto sketches. Whatever, stop looking at me.

I inked this sucker with a brush, but sometimes I use pencil, or a nib, or a marker. Sometimes I screw up a lot, because I have shaky hands, so I often have to go back in with an opaque white, and clean up some edges, sharpen a few things, thin a couple lines that got all fat by accident, etc.

So here’s the final inked version.

I did some further clean-up in photoshop and now it’s all ready for colour! I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of how I colour linework, because frankly my computer skills are embarrassing.

You can tell when I’m working on the computer just by the amount of swearing emanating from my desk. Let the experts handle that one.

Colour! The more I look at this, the more I think it’s not quite finished. Oh well! I’ll keep tinkering away at it, you can tune in to my blog to see what I end up with later!

© Britt Wilson, 2012