Incorporating Typography into Your Art

I usually try to incorporate some type of signage or typography into my work.  My interest in type goes way back to when I was a kid.  I used to paint logos on my bedroom walls, and create mix tapes on my Atari 800 computer.  That was pre real fonts and desktop publishing.  I remember hacking into early computers to create my own fonts before people called them fonts. Also remember ordering type from type houses and doing real cut and paste-up.  Kids today will never understand the complexity of layout using old-school tools and being high on rubber cement thinner all day.

When I created the CREATIVEBLOCH brand, I wanted something that would represent a bit of an edgy look, not formal, with a bit of heavy metal thrown in. After researching countless fonts, I settled on DekapotMasss. A great grungy, umlaut based, teutonic styled face. Its imperfection was perfect for the look I was going for. Things like kerning, leading, baselines, were thrown out the window for a more artful look.

I also wanted a font that I could recreate with paint for signage, posters and merchandise. I started this painting with a sketch, roughly following the look and feel of the original digital face, with a more painterly casual appeal. I use alot of skulls in my work, for the graphic quality and anatomy.  I was trained as a medical artist and spent hundreds of hours drawing skulls.

Sketch with Sharpie

Sketch with Sharpie

As usual, I begin to block out dark areas with black paint, gradually building up layers.  At this point I carefully balance the amount of contrast and "boldness", as this stage sets the tone for the entire piece.

Blocking out darks with black paint

Blocking out darks with black paint

For this image I decided to keep it mostly black, white and silver with limited use of color. I usually try to incorporate silver into my work, as this adds a nice "fine art" feature, that only those who see the original can appreciate.

Building up the Skull and warm tones using gold and yellow ochre

Building up the Skull and warm tones using gold and yellow ochre

Next I try to balance out the cool with warms shades of gold, yellow ochre and naples yellow. This also adds additional contrast to the piece.  Textures are built up layer by layer over a period of weeks.

Almost finished, lots of textures and fun to create

Almost finished, lots of textures and fun to create

I added a few more accent colors, and added some more texture using various tools and layering techniques.  Hope you enjoyed this article, and try to incorporate some typography into your art in the future!