In This Lesson...
- Review: Mapping anchor points
- Review: Bezier handles at constrained angles
- How a perfect trace can still be imperfect
- Introduction of Smart Add/Remove Anchor Point
Awhile back, I posted a lesson about Mapping Anchor Points Before You Trace your hand lettering sketches in Adobe Illustrator. This is a great technique for both beginning letterers and advanced pros. Why? It helps you find the "extrema" of your letters, understand where crucial anchor points should be placed and, in turn, speeds up the vector tracing process.
Another related technique you've probably seen or read about is the practice of keeping bezier handles at constrained angles (0, 45, 90, etc). This topic that has been discussed in great length by whip-smart type designers in articles like this one: Bezier OCD Or Why You Should Know About Point Placement. Long story short, mapping anchor points and constraining bezier handle angles are considered best practice because they help ensure that curves are shapely and transitions smooth. If you use these techniques to trace your hand lettering, great! Keep at it. You'll consistently create beautiful letterforms.
Perfect Trace, Imperfect Letterforms
However, there will always be times when even a perfectly traced sketch doesn't pass the eye test and needs refinement. When that happens, and I feel like like a curve isn't round enough or tight enough or somehow feels "off," there's a tool with an amazingly simple, yet effective, function that I rely on to make the necessary adjustments...
A Smarter Approach to Anchor Points
Allow me to introduce the Smart Add/Remove Anchor Point feature from Astute Graphics 'InkScribe' tool! What is the 'InkScribe' tool, how does it work, and most importantly, how can the Smart Add/Remove Anchor Point feature help improve the speed and appearance of your vector lettering? I'll dive into those questions and more in an upcoming, expanded lesson that details how I use the 'InkScribe' tool to refine almost every letter I create.
In the meantime here's a quick video teaser that shows just how powerful this tool can be in the hands of the vector lettering artist:
Next Time on Type Builder
On the next installment of Type Builder, I'll walk through the basics of InkScribe's embarrassingly easy, yet effective, Smart Add/Remove Anchor Point feature. I'll also provide examples of the tool in action and hopefully, fill your head with all kinds of creative lettering possibilities.