Still Alive


I'm still alive. Just really busy with life. The more I think about it, that's probably a good thing.

Hope to post more soon though. Need to get back on the wagon.



So the burning question in your mind is, how do I illustrate rope, right? Well, I'm going to show you the steps I used to create an Illustrator pattern brush to make rope for a design I was working on. Here goes!

  1. First we need to draw the basic segment of twisted rope. I don't pretend to understand how rope is made, so I won't spend any time talking about how to properly draw this shape. I just knew by looking at actual rope that it needed to resemble something like this. You, of course, may wish to tweak or clean up your rope segment. Have at it!


  2. Now we have to copy that single segment a few times to create a section that we can use for making our brush. Given the curve of mine, I needed 4.


  3. Now of course we need them all to be spaced correctly so select them all and use the Horizontal Distribute Center button


  4. Now for the next part lets make sure you have Smart Guides on under the View menu


  5. Now use the Rectangle tool (M) and draw a rectangle on top of your rope section


  6. Using the Selection tool (V), resize the left side of the box so that it intersects a segment anchor point within the section of rope


  7. Now similarly with the right side of the box resize it so that it intersects the same segment anchor point in the right side of the rope section


  8. Now expand the box vertically to cover the rope section. Don't worry about going too far above and below
  9. Select the box and the rope section


  10. Using the Pathfinder tool, select Crop


  11. You should now see a repeatable section of rope


  12. While still selected, click New Brush on the Brushes pallet


  13. Select New Pattern Brush and click OK
  14. Name your brush and select Hue Shift from the Colorization drop-down


  15. Click OK and you should see your new rope brush in the Brushes pallet


  16. Now go draw a line and use the Brush pallet to select your rope brush


  17. It might be a bit big or small for your needs, so you can resize it using the Options for the Selected Object on the Brushes pallet. Keep in mind you can use the stroke weight similarly. Rescaling to 10% looks good to me


  18. Remember you can now change the hue to match your designs. Have fun with it!


Letters to the Editor


In this case, the editor is actually Adobe Illustrator, and the letters are the glyphs themselves. I have long been a fan of script typography and whimsical period design featuring fancy filigree. Typefaces like Poem Script Pro and Sloop represent the awesome calligraphic style. I'm also infatuated with foundries and designers like House Industries and James T Edmondson. There are hundreds more out there and I'm doing my best to collect them into my Pinterest page now.

Here's an example of the people doing this amazing work. Max Goldt shows us how it's done.

Now I'm no where near the abilities of the amazing artists that craft these pieces of art, but I've always been fascinated with how something works or is done. Put my curiosity and love for the style together and you get the desire to try this hand lettering thing for myself.

I've quickly realized that the finer details found in Poem and Sloop are not coming too easy to me, so I'm starting basic with somewhat of a "signwritters" look. I'm working from type specimens that I like the flow of and then shaping the letters after that.

My first go was an "M".


It still needs some work and I'm not crazy about the tail. I think it's a bit too chunky for the rest of the weight of the strokes. I'll work on that!

Because I love this style so much, I've started to work on re-branding the blog here. I'm in the process of creating the letters for a new Threedown logo and I feel like I'm getting close to something acceptable.


I'm sure there's a better way of doing this, but I've always had problems with people saying this is how you "have" to do something. You don't learn a lot from that other than memorization. That's what computers are for.

I hope to launch the re-brand some time in the new year. Perhaps I'll throw a party to celebrate! Anyway, I hope this is just the beginning of my exploration of such an awesome art form. I'll be sure to post more samples as I try new things out or learn new techniques. Oh, and feel free to send me feedback too. As I stated before, I have really no idea what I'm doing so any criticism is welcomed at this point!

Just In Time for the Fall Season!


We received a special delivery earlier this month with the arrival of the fourth member of the family! Our son was delivered about two weeks early, but he's super strong and doing great! Much like his sister, he's a big boy tipping the scales over ten pounds! He's also over 21 inches long, so he's nice and proportionate.

We're blessed to have awesome family and friends helping us as we transition to a party of four. One item of note was having great friends deliver the day before we did and to have them literally a few doors down the hall in the hospital. Lots of fun!

We've been home for a bit and are adjusting well. The sleeping schedules are off slightly, but he's out from anywhere between 5 and 7 hours at night. I know, you all hate us. But I know that's all going to be out of whack when he starts teething.

Hope everyone else is doing great and Happy Halloween from the Stoffel household!

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