Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Drawing in the Digital Age by Gerard Huerta

Illustrator, type and brand designer Gerard Huerta has created some of the most visible and recognizable mastheads, logos, magazine and album covers. You'll recognize his work...

He's a creative who loves to draw each and every letter making them unique and personal for each individual client's solution.

I love him not only because he is so talented but because he also likes to share his knowledge, skill and expertise with other creatives. Keep in mind that all of his artwork is custom drawn before it sees the computer. 

When we spoke recently he offered to share his keen insight about "Drawing in the Digital Age". If you love letterforms - you'll love this...
     "I do not reminisce about the days when I didn’t have my computer. The ease of executing vector-based artwork does not make me long for my Rapidiograph pen, and all of my artwork is prepared digitally. But the initial stage of drawing is where almost all of my basic lettering design decisions are made, and that is well before anything finds its way into the


Since I draw all of my letters and always have, the process of visualizing something in my mind and then sketching it out allows for a unique and personal solution. This is based upon my ability to draw. I don’t begin with a font. Font design requires a different discipline from logo design. A good font is one in which all letters must work harmoniously with each other, regardless of which letter ends up next to which. It is for this very reason that I find using fonts somewhat limiting in my own work. Drawing allows me the freedom to customize a letter depending on its immediate and permanant neighbor. If I were to select a font as a starting point for a logo design, my creative possibilities would be minimized. In drawing the reverse happens: what if I put serifs on it? What if the first letter was script? Why don't we tuck the leg of the “R” under the “T”? What if the baseline were curved? It is an editing process based on a mental/visual/physical action.

The rock'n'roll concert posters of the 1960s are wonderful examples of drawing in this fashion. The uninhibited letter forms were created to pay as much attention to the shapes between the letters as the letters and counters themselves. Equalizing the relative weight of the negative shapes sometimes compromised legibility. But because the letter forms were hand-drawn a wonderful typographic pattern was created that was fun, curvaceous and musical.

The process of drawing for me is one of wonderful discovery. The pencil moves in a motion creating a combination of curves and straights, slow and fast. I see my mental images beginning to take shape before me as I guide my pencil. I sometimes feel as if the drawing is already in the paper and my pencil is simply detecting the forms embedded there. The practice of drawing not only helps me achieve more control over my newly created visual; more importantly, it continues to develop my ability to see.

My drawings have gotten smaller over the years; this, in part, because of better drawing ability, but also it is more efficient to work small. In the pre-digital age my drawings were about half the size of the final inked artwork, but being able to alter the working size in the computer has greatly changed my drawing and, obviously, execution style. Although my drawings can be looser and smaller, I always go to the computer with a drawing that contains most of the information I need to properly execute a final or a comp. In that sketch almost all of the creativity has already taken place."

For more about Gerard Huerta visit these recent interviews:

The Man Behind the Logos — Smashing Interviews Magazine

and Gerard Huerta gives shape, meaning to the letters that matter


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