series breakdown: artists as letterers

Off the top of your head, could you name some famous painters?

If you had to recall high school art class you’d likely think of Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso and maaaybe that guy with the cut-off ear (yup, that was Vincent Van Gogh).

My drawing series Artists as Letterers takes a spin on some of these famous painters and presents them in one of today’s popular mediums: hand lettering and modern calligraphy.

How did I come up with this idea? When I lettered the lyric “beauty in a canvas, even when it’s blank” by Jazz Cartier, it oddly reminded me of Pablo Picasso’s one-line drawings. I didn’t think anything of it until a few days later at work, when I suddenly had that ah-ha! moment 😅.  

“If [insert artist’s name here] lettered and did modern calligraphy, how would it look?”

I started to think about all the other artists I could adapt their styles to lettering as a challenge for myself... and that’s how this series was born. As an added bonus, I picked lyrics from songs that I felt resonated with that artist: whether it’s their values, their artistic inspiration or something they were known for.

Like most good things, some need to end to make way for more ideas. I had a bunch of other artists also in mind for the series, but I ended up going to California for vacation, and felt the series would be strange to pick up again. I didn’t feel the same motivation to continue with it, which is okay, because I was focused on another area which was the When Little Ideas Become a Reality series.

Nonetheless, the Artists as Letterers series allowed me to break free from my standard aesthetic of peach-and-ink drawings, while learning how to maintain and possibly create a new signature style.

I completed 9 drawings using the Procreate app on the iPad Pro. Beside each of my posts is the reference image I used to create my version. As well, I included the meaning behind why I chose a specific lyric for a certain artist. Take a look at each post, and tell me if you believe it captures the essence of that artist!

  1. Pablo Picasso – so simple it's beautiful
  2. Vincent Van Gogh – in a dream-like trance 
  3. Jean-Michel Basquiat – known for being rebellious and outspoken
  4. Mark Rothko – emotional, thought-provoking and ethereal
  5. Roy Lichtenstein – pop culture references at their finest
  6. Andy Warhol – more pop culture references at their finest
  7. Jackson Pollock – expressive yet aesthetically reminded a friend of Osmow's chicken-on-the-rocks
  8. Frida Kahlo – forever loving her muse, Diego Rivera
  9. Keith Haring – fiery with lots of movement
Parmeet BirdiComment