Rope type Process

My latest published project was a fun hand-drawn illustration for a Rope Climbing Challenge at Sac State. I wanted to share a glimpse into my process in creating this for anyone who is interested. I'm also working on developing a workshop on hand-lettering with a colleague of mine, so please let me know what you think by commenting below. Enjoy and hope this helps you out in some way or another. 

The first step was the write out the words in cursive and play with spacial relationships and how the individual letters could interact with one another. This is by far the most creative part of the hand-lettering process, in my opinion. There is room for editing past initial sketches, but I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to produce from this step. After writing out the words into something that I thought would work, I outlined the letters to have a thicker rope look. 

The next step was to refine the sketches. If you look closely, you can see that I increased the space between the two words and cleaned up the curves in the letters. 

Next I drew in the rope texture and outlined the entire drawing in ink. This is the most tedious part of any hand-lettering project. Of course, any minor mistakes made can usually be fixed in photoshop. This is the scanned image (600 dpi) of my final drawing. After this I scaled the scanned image up by 300% and did a live trace in Illustrator. Next I did some minor tweaks to the image, which resulted in separating the type into three parts (seen below) so that I would have more freedom in playing with color in the next step.

Next I applied color and texture. This is when the illustration really comes alive to me. I finally begin to get excited about finishing. This is the part of the process that probably takes the most amount of time, and a good knowledge of the software really helps to achieve the look you are going for.

Finally, I put the illustration into it's final context — a poster advertising The Rope Climb Challenge. My goal was to apply color, texture, and type in a way that would give the poster somewhat of a nostalgic/retro feel since the content is referencing a "gym class classic."