Quentin Blake Exhibition


Blake is one of Britain’s  best loved illustrators, known famously for his illustrations in Roald Dahl books. Blake himself writes about his techniques and experiences of being an illustrator. The exhibition brings together first drafts and finished art work to demonstrate how his own ideas evolved.

Images taken from Cardiff museum website

We looked at 9 books chosen by Blake and next to each book he talks about how he developed characters and mood, and examines the essential balance between text and pictures. A interesting part of the exhibition for me, was a short film that showed how he uses different types of techniques with is pens to create the distinctive look to his unforgettable illustrations. There was also a piece on the design process showing illustrations from the “The Green Ship”, it was interesting to see the working out of how blocks of text and Illustrations were worked out to sit within the space nicely.

The whole exhibition was very well laid out with a lovely flow to the exhibits all encompassed in a light and open room, adorned with large illustrations of his work all around to see. Over all it was all very familiar, stirring up great memories of reading Roald Dahl books in my childhood. Has also inspired me to look up other works that he has illustrated.


Modular Typefaces

A Modular typeface is an alphabet constructed out of a limited number of shapes or modules. Below are a few example of ones that I found.


APPHabet 7 by Marcus Leis Allion 
Ruby font by Carlos Vigil 


Each of the typefaces are have been produced in many different ways. For our course we were put into groups of 5-6, we were provided with graph paper, so that during the session we had to design the basis of a typeface using a system devised by ourselves. It had to be consistent / legible. As well as Considering which letterforms that could be deconstructed or repeated to make other letters forms. We began by each drawing out some designs of our own. From there we made a decision of which one we would develop further. Below are the first designs that I came up with.


After making a decision on which concept we preferred we then as a deducted a strategy for constructing the letterforms. Our module for this needed was 6 circles up and 3 circles across on the graph paper. To make the process easier we decided that we should start with the letterforms that could be deconstructed or repeated. Such as the letter d, which could then be a p, b, q. img_1987

Our group letterforms were then presented to the class. As a whole I feel that we achieved an effective and creative modular letterform.

To take this process a step further we were asked to digitise our own letter form using illustrator, based on the typographic system that we developed in our groups.




The process of making a modular typeface has given me an insight into how typefaces are constructed. The ability to build a modular alphabet can be a really powerful tool in the creation of bespoke type. Often producing some beautiful an original pieces of artwork.

Word – Typographic Terminology

As Graphic Communicators it is important to understand the specifics and terminology of typographic letterforms, their shapes and context. As part of our research process we were required to research and illustrate certain typographic terms in our sketchbooks.

These different letterforms can be applied to different typefaces. For instance when looking at the typeface Helvetica. Helvetica in essence is a san serif letterform but there are many variations. There is Helvetica bold, light, italic and the list goes on.  Variable fonts gives  creators a broad palette of typographic features without having to manage hundreds of font styles. Variable fonts are all about doing more with less.

By looking at the anatomy of different typefaces you gain a understanding of what makes a certain typeface. This website was a great help when researching for this: http://www.thinkingwithtype.com/contents/letter/ 


This anatomy of Didot which is part of the serif family of typefaces, shows the different parts of the type which makes Didot Didot!

This was really interesting to research about, the terminology of typography is extensive and I have a lot to take in and learn. I has made me appreciate the art of typography even more.

Summer Task

Illuminated letter forms 

I had to develop one contemporary illuminated letter form. By using the first letter of my name which is D. We had the choice as to how we wanted to present our letter, whether it being hand drawn, computer generated, collaged etc. No bigger than A3 and based on an existing typeface. It had to include three essential pieces of information:

  • Who inspires you?
  • An interesting fact about myself.
  • Why choose Cardiff School of Art and Design?

I first began to research illuminated letter forms. I enjoyed learning about how letter forms / typefaces started and developed.

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From research I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do. I would have liked to encoporate Andy warhol style to my finished piece, by using the technique of screen printing. However, with limited materials at the time, I decided that  stencilling was the best option to me.

So I started to research techniques this website below was the most helpful and relevant to what i wanted to achieve.


I also researched a street Artist called Bansky. One of his main techniques is the use of stencils when he works.  https://en.wikipedia.olaugh-now-sandwich-board-wearing-monkey-by-banksyrg/wiki/Banksy. I am fond of his works and I find some humorous however there are many political connotations, which make you think twice about what you are looking at. His technique is very effective, and I hope to achieve the same effect.



After much research and development in my sketch book. I got started on my final piece


I really benefited from and enjoyed this project as it has reignited my passion for Graphic design, and art.   I look forward to getting stuck into my course with enthusiasm.


Word – Typography Introduction

Typography is one of the main parts of understanding graphic design. It is the art and technique of arranging type to make them appealing and legible to the viewer. Understanding the basic principles of typography such as the history, form, and function of visual language will increase my awareness and appreciation of typography, to be able to be expressive within my own designs.

One of the first exercises that we part took in was looking at spacing between the type.   Which is known as kerning and tracking.

To kern” means to adjust the spacing between a pair of letters, numerals, punctuation, etc. (properly “glyphs”) so that their spacing looks correct. The letters AV, for example, have to overlap in any usual typeface, otherwise at least one them ends up looking lost and bewildered. Their kerning is tightened to snug them up to one another. An italic f will collide with a following question or quote mark in some fonts, so the kerning must be opened up from the default spacing.”

“Letter spacing (often “tracking” in software applications) adjusts the spacing between all the glyphs in a piece of text. This can help to make a page look a little more open and inviting, for example, especially with a similarly open leading. Very large type, such as a big headline, almost always benefits from tightening the tracking. Tiny type, such as in captions or footnotes, is made more readable by opening the letter spacing a bit, especially if the paper is absorbent and will allow the ink to spread a little.”

Information taken from Graphic design website on stack exchange: http://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/2606/difference-between-kerning-vs-letter-spacing


For this exercise we had to write our names whilst tracing over the top of either serif or san serif letters. I found it quite difficult to begin with, to get the spacing right. As you can see from the photo of my sketch book it took a few goes. After trying to master free hand spacing, we were asked to cut up and stick to word language onto place, this too was fairly difficult, my first attempt left me with letters floating off the line.

These exercises help myself to gain a better understanding of the importance of spacing between type as Kerning and tracking can be applied to text to create special text effects for headlines, subheads, newsletter nameplates and logos.Exaggerated tracking can produce an effective and eye-catching title. Extreme kerning or over-kerning creates special effects with tightly spaced or overlapping characters.