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Case study: Beer label design - Tall Dark and Mysterious Stout

🔮 Tall Dark and Mysterious Stout. 🔮

Here’s a walkthrough of my process from sketch to final.

I’ve been wanting to design a beer label for a while now. I started taking Mary Kate McDevitt’s Skillshare course on lettering basics. Her instructions were to pick a phrase to letter but then give it context. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to letter for a beer label. Being a Guinness fan I decided on stout. 

I researched fortune tellers, creepy guys, circus posters and victorian type on Pinterest. These collected pins created a mood board for my label. I wanted it to be dark, elegant and mysterious. I was aiming for a witchy steampunk vibe.

Research on Pinterest

Going for a mysterious Victorian vibe

 I created some thumbnail sketches to work through my ideas for the lettering and the composition. I was trying to decide between a fortune teller and a creepy guy. I decided to do a mysterious man because I felt it fit better with the “tall dark and handsome” cliche that my label name is based on.

Thumbnail sketches and lettering sketch

Originally I sketched out the figure in profile. Then I referenced a shot of Jude Law looking over his shoulder. I preferred seeing both eyes. I also uncovered his face from his collar.

To reach the final sketch below was about 4 hours of work. It included research, thumbnails, sketching and refining the lettering. Painting the final was another 5 hours of work. The whole thing came to 8 hrs and 45 minutes of time in Procreate - that doesn’t include initial sketchbook sketching, research and final prep of files in Photoshop. So you can see how much work goes into these more detailed pieces of mine.

Pencil sketch done in Procreate

Here are some more detail shots of the final illustration. Hoping you enjoy seeing the behind the scenes of how I work.

Detail of the mysterious man

Detail of the hand lettering

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