The art of ornament

Recent Computer Arts cover illustrator Tom Lane reveals how he uses Illustrator and Fontographer to create impressive decorative typefaces that can be used to inject something special into your work.

Decorative illustrations, paintings and typefaces have inspired artists for centuries, and re-working historical design elements or even bringing life to your own sketches and doodles is a great way to create exciting illustrative elements with a contemporary edge.

For me, the process of searching out and discovering old inspiring illustrations is really rewarding, and these ideas can be used when experimenting with my own contemporary artwork. Illustrator CS2 is ideal for taking roughly drawn or scanned pieces and transforming them into modern digital designs.

In this tutorial I'll explain how to master some vital techniques using multiple tools in Illustrator and the Pathfinder palette. Once you've got to grips with the process you'll soon be creating flourishes and decorative elements that can be utilised in your illustrations or adapted to inspire and invigorate your designs.

Once you have completed your artwork I have also suggested in the final stages of this tutorial a way to take this project a little further - by utilising Fontographer to turn your designs into your own bespoke typeface.

Click here to download the support files

Click here to download the tutorial for free