How to: Create a Header in your own Handwriting
New lay-out, new header! Handwritten typograhpy is all the rage right now, and I love a nicely stylized handwritten font. The thing with those is that you can never really download a premade handwritten font – you just have to use your own handwriting! Not really my cup of tea, I thought, so I tweeted, chatted and contemplated a few different designers whose work I truly admire. But I was still a bit scared to close a deal with an artist who I never really met; what if we weren’t on the same page? What if I don’t love the final design? I just wasn’t ready to spend some serious cash on a design by someone on the other side of the world – I also didn’t find the perfect match in the pool of Belgian designers.
Also, and this is probably the main reason of it all: i’m super stubborn. I find it hard to outsource tasks on so many levels, and that’s why I usually end up doing most of the work myself. So, I thought to myself, why not do like the pro’s? By the famous words of Mariah and Whitney: there can be miracles, if you believe. So I sketched and I doodled, I searched high and low for the perfect pens and pencils and after a rainy afternoon full of DIY, I was pleasantly surprised! I’ve already gotten a lot of compliments about the new blog header/logo, and I want to share with you my ways. Because what’s better than personalizing your blog posts with your own lettering?!
– a sketch book
– pencils, markers, pens
– black ink
– a steady hand
– camera, scanner or phone (I just jused my iPhone, worked wonders)
– Photoshop or any other image editing program (GIMP is my favourite free resource!)
How it works
Get to work! Let your inner Picasso come out and start sketching. You may want to try the outlines of your font in pencil first, or just jump in head-first and dip your pencil into the black ink right away. I just tried various pencils, pens and markers to see what would work best, and ended up writing my header in marker and filling it in with black paint.
Happy with the results? Your first sketch doesn’t have to be perfect, because we’re going to import it into your image editing program. You can use a scanner, but I found that my iPhone worked just as well. Take a well-lit picture of your image and open it in your image editing program. In Photoshop CS6, unlock the background layer and navigate to image > adjustment > brightness/contrast. Play with the settings so that the background comes out the whitest and brightest as possible – don’t worry about the black of the lettering fading, we’ll fill that in later.
You managed to get the background white, but there’s still some texture of the paper visible? Use the Magic Wand Tool to select the background, and then delete it, making sure you preset your background color on white – or really any color you want your final header to be. Don’t forget the inner parts of letters like D, O and G. *snooooooop*.
Use the eraser tool to get rid of any excess texture, and use it to clean up your lettering. Next up: the colorzzz! Double click on your layer in the Layers panel and navigate to ‘Color Overlay’ on the left. Click the colored box and select the color you desire – or just stick with black for that authentic handwritten look. Need to darken your black a bit? Select black as the color and then decreate its opacity in the’ Color Overlay’ section. Play with the settings, you’ll quickly see what works and what doesn’t.
Et voila, c’est ca! If you’re down with it, you may want to get to the next level and try a cool metallic color for your header! Really easy if you use the Clipping Mask. Can’t wait to see how many of you will be experimenting with their own handwritten headers (these little words and quotes add the perfect touch of individuality to all your posts!) – be sure to show me the end results!