Thursday, June 2, 2011

Subway Art Tutorial; An Art Adventure for You

Recently a blogger posted about having trouble making Subway Art. I tried to help explain what went wrong for her, but then thought, why don't I just make something and use it as a tutorial, because it's not really that hard to do. You can just use any word processing program. I used Pages on my Mac, but Word does the same things.


The key to making successful subway art is to make everything fit in a rectangle. If it all lines up, it will likely work. The most simple subway art has one word or phrase on each line, and stretches all the way across, like:

Each line is the same length.

For something a little more complicated like this:


the text still fits inside a rectangle, but it's a bit more like fitting together a puzzle.

First open a document and use the guides to outline the size you want to use. For this project I set my guides for a 8 in. x 10 in. image.

For every phrase, word, or quote I used a separate text box. I did not worry about any kind of formatting; I just had each phrase in its own text box. This part is more about getting down all the options.

Some parts of the finished product will stand out more than others, so I chose what phrase I wanted to dominate. Since the theme was "Boys" I wanted "Boy, n. a noise with dirt" to be very prominent, so I started with that. (Don't think about color at all yet. Just fonts and sizes.)

Then I built on to that phrase. Sometimes a new phrase would pop into my brain and sometimes I realized something had to be eliminated.


The key is patience. You need to tweak things often. And many times it is moving something just a tiny bit.


In the above picture I found a couple issues. The Accidents quote wasn't fitting right and needed more tweaking. And then, Mischievous and Off on an Adventure both used the same font and went vertical facing the same way. I either had to change one (and I really liked both phrases in that font where they were) or I had to balance it out somehow.


So I again used the same font, similar size and on the vertical but flipped it to face the other direction with the word Curious. Big improvement.

For each phrase, treat it like a mini subway art piece. Make it fit in the given dimensions. In this box, I used just about every trick possible to make it fit the way I wanted.


Each line is it's own font size and several lines had the kerning adjusted. I also had to adjust the line spacing, but it works. This little box by itself makes great subway art.


Once I was pretty confident with my layout, I then began to introduce color. I decided to stay monochromatic (only one color), but I used many variations on blue.

 
Tips and advice:
1. The sizes listed in the drop down menu for the fonts are not the only sizes. You can make it any number you want. If 64 almost fits, but not quite, type in 62. Keep trying until you find the right fit.
2. You can adjust the space between each letter. If just adjusting the size of a font won't make it fit properly, adjust the space between each letter (kerning). In Pages it's under the text button in the inspector. There's a menu that allows this in Word too, but it's been awhile so you'll have to play around to find it.

3. You can adjust the space between lines, tuck them closer together or space them out more (leading or line spacing).

4. You can change the size of a single word within the rest of your text. Highlight it and change the font size and it will apply only to that word.


5. Keep it simple. Limit yourself to only a few fonts. Too many and it will get confusing. Limit your color palate as well. You don't need every color of the rainbow. Use each font and color more than once for continuity.


6. But, make sure that different phrases right next to each other have enough difference that they don't blend together. You don't want to confuse people. It shouldn't be work to look at it and read it.


And finally, if you've read this far and you like this, but don't want to do it yourself, shoot me an email and I'll give you this PDF. :)


This post may be linked at the following parties (for their Blog Buttons see my Link Love page): (M) Mad Skills , C.R.A.F.T., Amaze Me Monday, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Singing Three BirdsMasterpiece Mondays, Making the World Cuter, Sarahndipities, A Little Birdie Told Me (T) Stories of A to Z, The Blackberry Vine, How To's Day , Type A, Amaze Me August, Ten Buck Tuesday, Handmade Tuesdays, Anything Related, Tuesday's Treasures, Strictly Homemade, Show Me What Ya Got, Time to Shine, Show Off Your Crafty Side (W) Whassup Wednesday, Blue Cricket Design, Look What I Made, What I Whipped Up, The Trendy Treehouse, Wicked Awesome Wednesday , Good Life Wednesday, Inspiring Creativity, (TH) Beyond the Picket Fence  Creative Juice, Somewhat Simple, Thrifty 101 , Smilemonsters (F) Fingerprints on the Fridge, Furniture Feature Friday, SevenThirtyThree (Sat) Tatertots and Jello (Sun) Creative Blog & Hop

25 comments:

  1. Wow they look great.
    What program are you using?

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  2. I used Pages; Mac's word processing program. You could use Word or any program that let's you make text boxes.

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  3. Nice- thanks for that, it makes so much more sense now!

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  4. Thanks! I have been wondering how to do this for a while.

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  5. This is an awesome tutorial, Thank you for linking up with our Show Off Your Crafty Side Blog Hop, I hope that you come back next week.
    I'm stopping by to return the follow.

    Have a wonderful week!!

    Cindy

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  6. Fabulous tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to teach us how to do it.

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  7. Thanks for sharing a great tutorial at Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

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  8. Boy: a noise with dirt, lol! Love that saying! Thanks for stopping by to add this to our Wicked Awesome Wednesday party!

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  9. Love this subway art!! I am featuring this tomorrow at Strictly Homemade Tuesday!! Come by grab a feature button and show off your latest and greatest project!!

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  10. Thank you so much for this tutorial! It was exactly what I needed to get started on making my own subway art.

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  11. How much would you charge to do one?

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  12. I assume you mean to make a new custom one for you? For something like this where I can simply email the electronic version, $15. If you wanted something larger, we would have to discuss that. Why don't you send me an email and let me know what you want? j.vannette@yahoo.com

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  13. Hey Jen, I'm just now seeing this and love it. I tried to print it out so I can follow along but for some reason it freezes up my computer. If you could shoot me a pdf of the instructions I would be ever so grateful. my email is kdbruer@gmail.com. Thank you so much!

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  14. Hi There
    Can I just say this is the best tutorial I have found on how to make subway art using something like word or pages. You have done a great job on it.

    Thanks Heaps.

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  15. Awesome tutorial, thanks! I'm off to try it :) One suggestion, though, for us windows users...if you have Publisher, use that!!! The text box manipulation is much much easier, more like in pages. In Word, it can be a hair-pulling experience, but it can be done (I used to publish newsletters, so I know how frustrating it can be)

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    1. Thanks for the tip. I do recall that about Publisher. Honestly, I spend so little time using Windows, that I forget things. I'm a Mac girl, what can I say? :)

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  16. My life has changed now that I understand what kerning is and how to use it in pages! Thank you for the tutorial, off to make birth stat subway art for my boys!

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  17. :-( i just cannot get it to work - you see the very first picture in b/w you posted? my words just don't spread to the same length... what am i doing wrong here?! (using word by the way...)

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    1. Aw, I'm sorry it's not working, but not to fret. We'll figure it out. First, make sure each word is in it's own text box. Then adjust the font sizes so that they are close to fitting. Highlight a word and then adjust the character spacing or kerning (it's technically called kerning, but some programs label it character spacing and I don't remember which way Word has it). You should be able to expand the space between characters to spread out the word or shrink the space to tuck the letters closer together. I typically use my Mac, but I will try to go on Word at work tomorrow and play around to see if I can give you specific instructions for where to find things in Word.

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    2. Perhaps choosing "justify" would help fit it in the text box? You'll find it in Word (I use a Mac) under Format, then Paragraph, then the Page Alignment choices. You can choose Left, Right, Center, or Justify. Justify spreads out or squishes together words on a line to make each line within a document (or text box) the same length; it's what newspapers do to make articles fit within an allotted space on a page.

      Joyous New Year all!

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  18. Love this tutorial! Can't wait to try it ... thanks!

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  19. thank you so much for this. I have learned a lot by following your instructions. I am doing one in pages but don't understand how to rotate the word so it is not horizontal. Can you explain this, please.
    kc

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    1. Click on your text box and go to the 'metrics' tab in the inspector (the little ruler). The bottom of that menu says 'Rotate' and you can then use the wheel and drag it around until you like the angle, or use the angle box just to the right of the wheel to type in 90 or 270 degrees depending on which direction you want the word to face.

      If you feel the need to edit the text after you have rotated it, don't panic when it changes the box to horizontal as you edit. When you are done, it will pop right back into the angle you set. If just does that because it's easier to read it that way as you edit.

      Hope that helps.

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  20. Hi I think its absolutely amazing how you done this. Thank you for sharing how to do it step by step. Im quite poorly & not very great on a computer although im trying to teach myself when im awake. I have been looking fir something to make for my grandsons as a keepsake & reminder of me when there older unfortunately as much as I have tried I simply cannot manage to do it would you please email me the pdf please I would be very grateful thank you again for sharing to everyone my email is lizal30.ih@gmail.com best wishes izzie :-)

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