Usually, I create custom wedding monograms as gifts before a couple’s wedding day. On this occasion, I created a voucher as a wedding gift for the couple on their day and subsequently worked directly with the couple to conceive a personalised monogram designed to encapsulate memories from the wedding day itself.
Below I’ll take you through the process of creating this custom wedding monogram in ink and demonstrate the myriad of personal references to the couple and their special day.
Step 1: Typography
The first step in the consultation process is to decide whether the client prefers serif or sans serif typography and whether they want the illustration created inside the letterforms of the monogram or outside the letterforms.
From there, I design the serif or sans serif typography based on what I think will compliment the items I intend to illustrate within them.
When designing the typography, I use a typeface as reference and make design adjustments to the letterform I have in mind.
Here is an example of the initial sketch and design process for the ampersand I illustrated for this monogram:
Step 2: Pencil Illustration
Once I have the letterforms complete, I make a mental plan of what I’d like to go into the illustration and source my references images, via books and web searches. Sometimes I sketch out a separate plan of my ideas and other times I don’t feel it is necessary to do so and just get started on sketching the illustration in or around the letterforms.
When sketching in pencil, I draw the outlines of everything I want included in the illustration before starting in ink. This way I get a good idea of whether the illustration is balanced before committing it to ink.
Here is the M and D of this monogram finished in pencil:
Step 3: Ink
When I’m ready to ink the illustration, I work on one letter at a time. I ink all the outlines first, then I fill in any block ink areas in black and lastly, I add in all the intricate detailing. I work in this order, leaving the details till last, to help me establish the balance of detailing required.
This time-lapse video shows the process of creating the letter M in ink, from the outlines, to the background fill and finally to the detailing.
The aim with this custom wedding monogram was to weave the magic of the couple’s garden wedding day into the illustration to create a keepsake that would hang on the wall in their home and remind them of their wonderful wedding day every time they looked at it.
The monogram includes lots of oak leaves and acorns to represent the huge oak tree under which the couple were married. The music woven behind the letters is the score for Tom Misch’s Isn’t She Lovely, which he performed live for the couple’s first dance. The flowers are all taken from the beautiful wedding day flower decorations that filled the garden to bursting and were created by the bride’s mother.
The M is for Milly, a very talented artist and illustrator who, like me, loves to create illustrations in ink. There is an illustrating hand and a spilt bottle of ink within the letter to pay homage to this. There’s a corner of her beautiful, lace wedding dress and her engagement ring included amongst the flowers. The circle/line pattern included in part of the background is also taken from the lace of the wedding dress.
The foxglove featured here represents magic – in folklore they are said to attract fairies – and creativity. The couple are both very creative and their wedding day really did show off this creativity. The bee symbolises community and brightness. The wedding was filled with a community spirit from the couple’s friends and family who came together to create and share their creativity and talent. From the bride’s father being the celebrant, to friends performing music and the groom creating a piece of music for the bride to walk down the aisle to. The hearts on string are another reference to the beautiful, handmade decorations from the day. The bride’s mother also created red velvets hearts to hang from the apple tree in the garden, making guests walk right under the romance of the day.
The D is for Duncan who is a music manager, referenced by the keyboard and the headphones. The headphones also pay homage to the silent disco which was part of the wedding day festivities. Hidden behind an oak leave, is the groom’s spotted bow tie from his wedding day attire.
The couple were so happy with this custom wedding monogram that they said it gave them goosebumps when they first unveiled the finished illustration!