Hand Lettering Design Process – Irish Eyes are Smiling

Irish Eye Are Smiling

Today I want to show you my design process on how I created this hand-lettered illustration, “Irish Eyes are Smiling,” for a St. Patrick Day design pack.

(A design pack is just a collection of designs revolving around a similar theme.)

I was asked to create something for St. Patrick’s Day using my hand lettering skills. At work, we try to stay ahead of whatever holiday that is on the horizon. I know it’s crazy to be thinking of St. Patty’s day in January, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles in the corporate design world.

Of course, I was thrilled when my boss gave me the liberty to hand letter for a design. It made me feel like I have potential. ๐Ÿ˜€

First I did a quick google search of some Irish phrases. I even looked up how to say “Happy Saint Patricks Day” in Gaelic. I have no idea how to say that! lol

How to say Happy Saint Patricks day in GaelicBut then the phrase “Irish Eyes are Smiling” popped into my head and I felt like that was right wording for this assignment.


I looked up Celtic fonts on Pinterest, and most of the designs were fairly intense. I knew my design would have to look like vines to somewhat resemble Celtic knots.

Celtic Font

Here is my rough sketch

Irish Eyes are Smiling -Rough Sketch

Irish Eyes are Smiling Hand Lettering Design

Once I have the design drawn, I traced over it with a Fine Point Sharpie Marker. This marker was not bad to work with; it just dried up while I was using it. And it didn’t go over the white out very well. I think the whiteout clogs the felt tip, preventing the ink from coming out smoothly.

Irish Eyes are Smiling -Traced with Black Ink

Irish Eyes are Smiling Hand Lettering Design Process

Because I didn’t have my usual Fiber Castle pens, I use a regular Sharpie Marker to fill in the black. I had to be extra careful because the fat tip did not allow me to have as much control as I would with a finer tip.

Irish Eyes are Smiling – Scanned in Gray Scale

Irish Eyes are Smiling Hand Lettering Design Process Traced with sharper maker

I think I did alright. Using a bigger marker helped my design to be thicker overall, which is helpful because I have trouble making my designs too thin.

This time I remembered that the design was going on a”Kelly Green” shirt, so I made the design white with a tonal green color for the stroke embellishments.

Irish Eyes are Smiling -Vectored and Colored

Irish Eyes are Smiling Hand Lettering Design Final product

It looks quite alright on the shirt. I’m curious to know how many people will buy this shirt because of the design. I have trouble appreciating my work, but that’s what keeps me trying.

Irish Eyes are smiling t-shirt

Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

Designed for Champion ยฎ Hanes Ink. 2017. All rights reserved. 

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