Where did this lettering obsession come from?
I happened across the word “logophile” recently, it means love of words…and I’ve never felt so connected to one word! Since I can remember, I’ve had a passion for words – learning, speaking, writing, lettering. I find they hold incredible power and I love discovering new words or phrases that spark inspiration.
I worked in a pottery studio through high school and college. It was one of my favorite jobs – I had the opportunity to paint and draw and create art with customers everyday. I started doing customization (names, monograms, detailing, etc.) on pottery pieces and began to love that part of my job the most. Since then, I’ve continued to work on my handwriting and lettering, I’ve worked on perfecting the styles that come naturally to me and learning new styles that interest me – it’s a never ending process!
Favorite Writing Instrument
I always start with a pencil – I think it’s super important to get my idea out of my chaotic mind and down on paper as a rough sketch before I dive in.
As for finishing touches…I love a new Sharpie, that’s what I use on most of my thick lettering and to write on things like the journals. For more detailed designs, I like to use Microns – they allow for such precision and the different sizes help me create with varied weight.
**EDIT** If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have developed a (probably unhealthy) obsession with Tombow brush pens! These things take a lot of practice, but once you get the hang of it, they are AMAZING! My husband bought me a set for Christmas this year and I have fallen in love. I watched mounds of Instagram videos trying to figure out the right grip, how to turn the brush, how to keep smooth strokes, etc. I am definitely still a work in progress, but I do adore the look these give and it’s much quicker than filling in downstrokes later (see below).
My favorite letter to write is “G,” uppercase or lowercase. My maiden name started with a G and I spent a lot of time perfecting it for my signature. I love the loops and descender. I also like how many ways there are to write the letter G, it can be whimsical or elegant with only some subtle changes.
My Process: Sketch. Fill. Trace. Scan. Perfect.
As I’ve continued learning about lettering and art, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for process. I enjoy seeing how other artists work and often fitting their advice into my own process. High-level, my process is repeating a design until it’s “finished.” I adore the little imperfections of handwriting, so I try not to over-analyze the details in my letters – but I do a lot of perfecting with each piece…
- As I mentioned earlier, I HAVE to get an idea out of my head in a relatively quick way. Once it’s on paper, I feel like I can look at it better and get a real grasp of what I’m trying to do.
- I’ll start with a word or quote, pull out the words I want to emphasize and then figure out what style fits it best.
- An eraser is my BFF at this stage…
- Once I have a rough sketch, I can start filling it in. Most of my styles have heavy downstrokes and little details that I add in as I go.
- I typically consider the filled-in design my “Round 1.” From here, I like to get out my tracing paper and duplicate the design, changing small things or adjusting to get things better aligned or smoother.
- Sometimes I like the Round 1 version better, but the tracing paper does offer a smoother line and the ability to tweak my initial design.
- Scan + Perfect
- Most of my final designs are an output from my computer. I’ll scan my drawing with my phone (I use the app “CamScanner,” it seems to do the trick). Once I’ve got the drawing in a digital format, I’ll pull it into Photoshop and start playing with the details, colors and backgrounds.
- I don’t always outline my designs; but sometimes a vector format is necessary…so it just depends. Like I said, I love the imperfections and I try to keep that handwritten feel in my final designs. I do use the eraser/clone/pen tools frequently to perfect some of the edges and weights, or correct blemishes from a hand running across wet ink or my little girl grabbing my pen mid-letter!
Voila! Sometimes this process is quick and sometimes it takes a lot of time and revision. I don’t know that I’m ever fully satisfied with a design, but I get it to a place where I like it and I feel confident enough to share it with others. Believe me – my sketch book is full of designs I’m not ready to share!