Why and how I digitized a hand-drawn logo for my blog

On the phone? You’re doodling. Need to explain something at work or during a game? You grab a pen or marker. In class? You’re sketching your latest masterpiece in your notebook. If you’re like me, you have always loved to draw, whether or not you or the people around thought you were any good at it.

I was recently inspired by Austin Kleon’s telling of how his work on Newspaper Blackout, a book of poetry made by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker. His love of drawing, his appreciation of physical media like pen-and-ink and his descriptions of feeling the newspaper he used for this book sparked something in me. As a self-proclaimed writer-who-draws, Kleon recommends using tactile or analog media when brainstorming or during other early stages of creativity, and opting for computers during editing or publishing.

Kleon challenged me to re-commit myself to writing online and putting skin in the game by changing the domain of this site to my own name. So it feels natural that he also challenged me to put my visual art out into the world, after hauling around with me from city to city several a notebook’s worth of pencil and pen drawings that I’ve made over the course of my teenage years and beyond. That is the story of this site’s logo, my initials, a drawing that was inspired by someone’s else art: black, unreadable, stylistic words printed on a T-shirt, that appeared to be in turn inspired by Arabic calligraphy.

To convert a hand-drawn illustration into a digital graphic, I took 45 minutes to follow Aleszu Bajak’s excellent directions on Storybench. I signed up for (and later cancelled) a free trial to Adobe’s premium subscription service to access Adobe Illustrator. I was able to skip a couple steps, including adding color, and I also added a couple steps, including rotating the image slightly and erasing some elements that were carried over from the uploaded photo of the drawing. Play around in there. I fiddled around with the exported image size and file type, reading from a couple websites. Overall, no issues. Below is a copy of the original photo.

What about you? Are you thinking about digitizing your artwork but are not sure how to go about it? What kinds of things do you like to draw or make? Do you have any questions regarding my experience following Aleszu Bajak’s directions?

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