Under the pseudonym ‘There Is’, Sean Freeman is constantly seeking new and interesting ways of treating and creating images, as well as type. He has explored materials ranging from flour, milk, and hair gel, to ink in water and his tongue. His work has appeared in various books and magazines and has led to commissions from The New York Times, Esquire and VH1, as well as featuring in Digital Arts’ selection of the UK’s hottest new illustration talent.

This striking, slightly gothic image shows how effective type can be as a creative element – even when it doesn’t actually say anything. In this tutorial, Sean Freeman uses dummy text so that the letters are experienced as purely aesthetic forms. Of course, you can always personalize your image by using song lyrics, names, phrases or anything that you feel adds an extra dimension to your piece.

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While the effect itself is simple to achieve, it does require a fair amount of time, skill and patience, and relies on the right image to base the type treatment on.

You’ll get pretty friendly with the Distort tool, and will see the Multiply blending mode at its most brilliantly effective.

Sean Freeman says: “This as a technique has so much potential for some seriously cool pieces, with the right idea, the perfect image and some real copy you could create some very powerful stuff.”


Photoshop CS2 or higher

Time to complete

6-8 hours

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