Monday, 25 February 2013

Reply from Geoffrey Holstad

Sent from me;

'On Feb 22, 2013, at 5:04 AM, Tess Palmer wrote:

I'm currently finishing my degree in Illustration and Print, in Plymouth, England at The Plymouth College of Art.
With my major study I have to put forward some of my favourite artists works, explain why ect.
I wanted to go that step further and just ask you a little about your work, because I've favoured it for a while now, if that’s OK of course?

I've got a book called 'Reinventing Typography' where I read that your type is hand-rendered?
What materials do you use to produce your type? Initially and then to edit?
I loved your 'Moosejaw Mountaineering' project, the text and simple imagery really works well! I'm very much into producing hand rendered type but I'm really not too good at editing, you see...

Answering these questions would really help me in the production of my work, plus I'd be super grateful!

Thank you very much,
Tess Palmer

Reply from Geoffrey Holstad;


Hello! I'm more than happy to answer any questions! Thank you for all of the kind words.

As for my process, for anything vectored (like the Moosejaw piece in that book) goes as follows:

1. I hand-draw everything on cheap computer paper. In order to eventually live-trace everything in Illustrator, and get the most predictable results, you want to get the blackest-blacks and the whitest whites. You will learn through trial and error, and through tweaking in the computer, that you can change these contrasts to get the results you desire once vectored. I draw everything out with pencil first, then use Papermate Flair Ultrafine Pens for the outline (they don't bleed as much as Sharpies), then just inside that I use Sharpie Ultra Fines, then just regular Sharpies to fill in the shape. Erase the pencil, get everything as clean as possible to prepare for the scan. At this point everything is black and white. All color will come once it's vectored.

2. I then scan this drawing at 600 dpi. This step too will be some trial and error. 600 dpi gives me the detail that I want, as it catches all the little wobbles/bleeds in the lines, which will get picked up when vectored. If you want cleaner lines, I've found that scanning it at a LOWER dpi (like 200-300) generalizes the shape more and will do the same once vectored (smooths things out but you have less control over tiny details).

3. Bring the scanned image (.tif) into Photoshop and tweak the levels and contrast to get the blacks as black as you can, and the whites as white as you can. Save this edited image and open it in Illustrator.

4. Now is when you're going to LIVE TRACE the image. (NOTE: I work in CS4, and these directions also apply to CS5. Not sure for CS6)

Direct select (white arrow) the image.

Click Object > Live Trace > Make and Convert to Live Paint

While it's still selected, click Object > Expand (this "breaks" all of the shapes apart)

Click the Magic Wand and select the white of your image. Delete the white.

Your image is now vectored, and you are able to resize and change colors at will. Hopefully this looks as similar as possible to your original drawing.


You of course don't HAVE to vector the image, and there are other pixel-based solutions to editing and integrating hand-type, but this is the way I do it almost 100% of the time.

Let me know if you have any further questions, and good luck!

Thanks again,
Geoff '

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