Type Tuesday: The Letter Z

This is a continuation of the series of designs based on the alphabet from our Creative team. Each post will include their designs and a peek into their process. Here’s a look inside Oliver’s process. Enjoy!

The letter Z is really cool. The faster you write it, the better it looks. If the letters of the alphabet were competing in extreme sports, X would admittedly win gold, but I think Z would get silver.

I had multiple ideas for how to design this letter that I attempted early on, but I ultimately decided to illustrate it freehand.

I was partially inspired by street art and its very raw, natural process. Now, I understand that digitally painting something is much more forgiving than if this was painted up on a wall, but you’ll notice in my design that the strokes were kept intentionally fast and messy.

I wanted to capture the feeling of speed and almost have the Z look as if it were “hastily” drawn.


This illustration was created in Procreate, so I was able to export a time lapse video of my entire process from the empty canvas to the final image. I love this feature because I always enjoy watching an artist’s process (even my own).

I grabbed screenshots of each stage in the process so I could explain what was going on a little better.

The Doodle

I started off with the crazy squiggles in blue just to get a shape of the letter without committing to any specific style. Then I went over top of that with the initial sketch lines to form the Z.


Refining the Line

I traced over the rough sketch and refined the line work a little more, giving the lines just enough “messiness” to get the look I was going for.


Filling In

I filled in the line work with color and gave highlights to the individual shards that make up the Z.


Lurking in the Shadows

I masked off individual pieces to paint in the textured shadow.


This Cracked Me Up

I battled with indecision to choose a base background color and then I started adding cracks around the outside of the Z.


Final Touches

Some extra shading around and underneath the Z to give it a little extra depth and I also added some lines for subtle texture into the background.


This was one of the first “real” pieces of art I made using Procreate, so it was interesting to see how quickly I could get used to the app while using it. It turned out to be a pretty smooth experience!

Oliver Greenbarg, Graphic Designer