Behind the Scenes: City Inspired Designs
I’ve been into traveling for basically forever. From family vacations growing and moving to San Francisco for a job to backpacking across Europe for 8 weeks and now living in Budapest. Based on my love of travel I’ve started to create a few city inspired designs and thought I’d share the process and the end designs!
The theme of these designs are all based on using the major attractions of each city and incorporating sketches of them plus depending on the layout I also incorporate the state or country outlines to give more depth and shape. I hope you enjoy a look at my process.
My first step is to pick a city and do a little research of what the major attractions are. In my first round I went with Budapest (obvious choice for me), London, Paris, and Columbus, Ohio (maybe a little random but it’s my home state and I know a lot of people back there!) I have been to all these spots so I had a general idea of what I wanted to use but I still researched to make sure I was happy with my choices.
The next part of my research for these city inspired designs is to find imagery of the attractions so I have something to base my sketches off of. I like to pull a large variety of images with different perspectives so I can come up with my best interpretation.
Up next is of course sketching! This is pretty much a staple in all of my design projects. As you can see in other behind the scenes posts I share the sketching stage for each project: logo design and quote lettering designs. Since I’m more comfortable with letters, sketching out the images took me a little more time but I really enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone and coming up with new designs and finding my style. I sketched all of the attractions in pencil multiple times until I got the basic outlines that I was happy with and was ready to move on.
Refinement & Tracing
After the sketching stage I wanted to clean up my sketches and make it easier to digitize them. So instead of just scanning them in I used transfer paper and re drew all of them with black markers (these are my favorite ones Sharpie Ultra Fine Point) so I could get the crisp lines needed for the computer version. I really like this step since it preserves my pencil sketches and makes it so much easier once I get to the computer.
Scan In & Digitize + Clean Up
This next step is very similar to all of my other projects. I use my printer scanner to get a high quality black and white JPG file. From here I tweak the image in Photoshop to make sure the contrast is high and the background is only white.
Once I have a good JPG I open it up in Illustrator and live trace the image. From here I spend time cleaning it up using my Wacom Tablet. This is the more tedious part of the process but very important to making the art look professional and sharp. I share a little more details about the process in my Behind the Scenes Look at Quote Lettering Designs post.
The last step for these city inspired designs is creating the final layout. Usually when I do hand lettered or calligraphy pieces I plan the layout when I’m doing the initial sketching, however with the city designs I approached it differently. For a few of the designs I drew out the country and state outlines to see if the artwork could be contained within them. But until I had everything digitized and started to move it all around I wasn’t sure what the final design would look like. I tried out multiple layouts for each design until I came up with one that fit right as an 8x10 print with enough white space. For the final designs I also added some simple type with the city and country name to ground the overall design.