Two designers enter, but only one will leave victorious

Typefight is an online competition where two artists compete against each other by drawing the same character as a drop cap.

This was the first time I’ve entered this competition, not to mention my first attempt at drawing a drop cap. So this project was a real challenge, but one I really enjoyed being apart of. Plus I ended up winning by just 8 votes talk about a close call.

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March 2016

Online Competition



Time Spent: 15 hrs
Research: 2hrs
Drawing: 6hrs
Digitalization: 4hrs
Presentation: 3hrs

Project Duties:
Hand Lettering
Art Direction


While creating this design, I live streamed part of my process on Twitch. We shot 10 hours of footage over the span of 2 days and condensed it down to a 1:21 for your viewing pleasure.

Case Study

Below is an outline of my process from start to finish. Here you will be able to dig deeper into my design decisions and see for yourself how I ended up with the final result.

5 TypeFight Hand Lettering


I started my sketch process by drawing as many 5’s that I could think of. I knew I wanted something gothic, similar to black letter style that would make my number stand out.

Then after drawing about four pages of 5’s, I started to circle my favorite elements of each to then combine and Franstein together to make something truly unique. I ultimately went with the very last character, hence all the arrows and the smiley face.

TypeFight Hand Lettering

Drawing Concepts

Once I had my character figured out I needed to add in the details. The best part of a designing a drop cap are all the little fine points. The more ornate, the better.

I had the body of my number, but it took a few tries to figure out how I would decorate the number itself that would match nicely with a illustrated background.

I played with some ideas but ended up settling on the bottom right with the branches swirling around my letter. I liked how the bare branches married well with the sharp points of my number.

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Rough Drawing

Once I had my idea, I started to work bigger and bigger. I filled my page so that I could easily add all the details that would make this piece great.

I added a few levels of illustration to the number itself to make sure it was the center focus of the piece. My adding depth and layers of intricacy I could easily draw in the eye.

For the branches, I wanted them to seem lifelike, yet empty. I created weight in my branches from the bottom up so each branch would look like it was swirling clockwise. Then I added little pieces of dirt and twigs to add to my swirling effect.

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Final Sketch

I decided to do something a little different for my final piece, so rather then inking this like I usually do I decided to create a detailed pencil sketch instead. Pencil when inverted looks VERY similar to chalk when digitalized.

I used various pencils to add the darks and lights but without adding too much shading. I wanted the piece to look sketchy and handmade rather then perfectly clean when digitalized.


Final Piece

I scanned in my artwork and started to tweak it in Photoshop. Not only did I clean up all my scuff marks but also move around elements in my piece so each section could look more in line with the rest. I inverted my colors to white on black, and voila! Chalkboard was in full effect.

I decided to make my background illustration less opaque and added some vinette shading to bring just the right amount of focus to the character itself. I didn’t want this piece to get too busy that the five would get buried amoung the details.