A Personal Project

Make Praise Your WEapon

A lettering and illustration personal project.

The Project

The Idea

I saw someone say this in passing I think on Instagram a while ago and it’s stuck with me. So I created art for it of course. Interpretation of art though is always personal, words can be the same, but here’s my thoughts.

A couple of years ago, a mentor was coaching a small group of us in our mindsets. He was asking us what we truly reach for when we hit obstacles, times that are hard, or just hear something that upsets us (even if it is only that your favorite ice cream is no longer available at your usual store).

What we reach for? It took me a minute to understand as he explained. We all have a habit when confronted with the negative. What’s our habit? Do you reach for comfort, for complaint, for anger, or do you reach for an alternative?

I felt moved by these words and wanted to create a project with them.


The Details

Size | Color | Tools

I first began with the idea to offer as a poster or notebook cover. I am a big fan of notebooks and sketchbooks and love posters as well. It’s the tactile realness of seeing the art printed that makes it even more exciting. So I went with a common art print size of 11×14 which I knew I could easily translate to a notebook size.

The tools I used for this project were pencil and paper, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop.

From Beginning To End: Make Praise Your Weapon

The Process


Step one

Step 1: Ideation | Thumbnails

This is a snapshot of how I create one piece. First I dive into looking at the moodboard and playing around with ideas for the lettering. How I want the word to be conveyed and how I might play with the letters. This I do in thumbnail sketches. I may pull out extra inspiration for the lettering to determine a good direction to go. Once I have around 10 or 15 thumbnails, I pull out one or 2 I like, and begin a larger rough sketch of those.



Step two

Step 2: Sketches

Once I have a sketch I like (this may take a few more of big changes to get me where I want to be), I begin tweaking that sketch by overlaying tracing paper or using a light table and resketching the piece. I keep tweaking and at times changing things up by making the lettering thicker or taller, or slanting it. I keep working sketches until I have something I love. Usually I get through about 10 sketches, then I create the final sketch.


Step three

Step 3: Digitize

After scanning in the final sketch I get to work in Adobe Illustrator, using the pen tool to create the letter shapes and illustration pieces. Here, I print out what I have and check for necessary changes. I adjust in Illustrator and print again. I use this process until I like how the letter shapes and illustration look.

Once I have the base down, I begin working through the detail using a number of tools in Illustrator depending on the need. Here I’ll print again and make necessary changes. After I have the details done, I work on color applications. I may work through several, trying them out on a number of different screens and eventually printing 2 to 3 and deciding on 1. Then it’s off to the final steps in Photoshop.


Step Four

Step 4: Finalize

Most of my letting art in this project makes it’s way to Photoshop. In photoshop I copy of layers and begin adding fine detail to the lettering and illustration. Usually this means light, shadow, textures, line work, and any effects like noise layers, drop shadows or bevels that I didn’t do in Illustrator. From here I take it to a couple different screens and print it off again. If I like how things look I move to creating mockups and the actual use items like the notebooks and poster.

Image Gallery

Make Praise Your Weapon

Mary Kathleen Scott

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