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Drawn to Type: Lettering for Illustrators

Quite a few illustrators incorporate lettering in their work. There’s a current vogue for certain kinds of brush and hand lettering, but a much broader range of techniques and styles can be explored.

Presenter: Marty Blake
This webinar originally aired on February 17, 2021. Approximately 1 hour long.

Quite a few illustrators incorporate lettering in their work. There’s a current vogue for certain kinds of brush and hand lettering, but a much broader range of techniques and styles can be explored. The exploration is deepened with a foundational understanding of the histories of design, calligraphy, and typography. It can be useful to group the exploratory process by media and ways of creating. Set type can be vectorized and manipulated. Pen and brush calligraphy tools are classics that can be used in both formal and informal styles. For hand lettering, letters and words are drawn and painted; language itself becoming the illustration. Alternate media can be employed: objects of any kind, arranged to form messages, from paper collage to flaming bamboo and anything in between.

Creators can seek harmony between picture and text, unified with the same medium, or they can push for dramatic contrast between the two, using different means to create them. The materials and style chosen can amplify the visual communication, or there can be dramatic irony and tension between what’s being said and the way it’s rendered. Explore the myriad options of how illustrators and designers can wed illustration and written language together.

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More About This Webinar or Presenter

About Marty Blake:

Marty Blake has been working as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer for many years. Marty’s illustration is grounded in collage, usually digital. Her pictures are composed of scraps from her extensive library of old books, magazines, ephemera, and vintage cigar box labels. She uses her own photographs and stock photography when needed. Her personal work is cut paper with sundry oddments glued on.  Design clients include arts and educational institutions, restaurants and fine foods, on projects such as logos, branding, packaging, brochures, ads, posters and publications. Marty’s work has been honored by inclusion in the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Print magazine, 3×3 magazine, Communication Arts magazine, and other publications worth note.

Marty is Program Coordinator and Assistant Teaching Professor at Syracuse University. She’s serving a second term as Education Chair on the Board of ICON11, the Illustration Conference. ICON11 was delayed by the pandemic, and will be held in Kansas City, Missouri in July, 2022. The conference attracts presenters from all over the US and the world.

Drawn to Type - Cover image

Cover Art by @SteveSimpson

A published author, Marty’s first book, Drawn to Type: Lettering for Illustrators, was published by Bloomsbury Art Books, London, UK in February, 2021. Intended as a teaching guide and inspiration for budding illustrators, it will be distributed in the US and the UK. The book features examples of work by over four dozen practitioners of the arts of illustration and lettering, as well as tips and tricks, and project ideas.


Marty’s book can be purchased on Bloomsbury Art Books,  Amazon,Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble.


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