Fun with lettering!

Lettering has become a huge thing over the past few years, have you seen it around?

It’s been a while since I have done calligraphy, however, got more heavily involved late last year as a mechanism of stress relief! As a lefty, it hasn’t been easy! Truly, I don’t know that I’ve crumpled up more paper and tossed it in my life! But I think that’s what’s made it fun: seeing the end result after so much practice.

I wanted to share with you my first piece and where I’m at now, at least the first piece I took a picture of:

The image on the left was from almost one year ago using my very first pack of Tombow Dual Brush Pens and the one on the right (yellow) was from about a week ago using a Pentel Brush Pen. It’s CRAZY to see the difference! I am in no way an expert, but I’ve practiced, BOY have I practiced.

So I have some tips for you lefties out there who might not think you can do it:

  1. Take your time! – Its better to be wobbly in the beginning than try to go fast and get frustrated. Believe me!
  2. Practice! – Doing calligraphy and lettering as a lefty is a struggle (hand smudges, anyone?), so it’s important to put in your dues (I still do). Do your drills. Practice when you can. Focus on the parts that make you the most frustrated or you have the most issues with. (Below I practice drills with a dip pen.)

3. Invest in some education – I actually enrolled in two courses to learn the terminology and structure of lettering and brush calligraphy. DEFINITELY worth it! You’re investing in you!

4. Did I say practice? – Once you know the terminology, you understand how to do your up-strokes and down-strokes, practice them. I do it during work in meetings sometimes (shhh, don’t tell). You know what they say? Practice makes perfect!

5. Get feedback – One thing I like about online courses is quick feedback on your work. It helps me know what I’m flubbing up, or if I know but can’t quite grasp the concept, it helps me learn how to adapt or correct it from someone who knows these things backwards and frontwards!

6. Try different styles – Move your paper around, try different lettering methods, check out other letterers (especially other lefties) and learn what has helped them! I learned that I can do one style if I completely turn my paper sideways and write from the left and another way if I write from the right side of the paper. It seems weird to say, but it works!

7. Once you get the hang of it, invest in some pens – I jumped in and got my Tombows immediately, but practice always helps before you jump in. Know which pens to get. I like the Tombow Hard or Soft Fude to start out with: easier to control and can take the pressure of a beginner!

8. Also do your research on different mediums! – I love the Rhodia pads and Cannon Marker Paper because they don’t damage my brush pens. I wish I had known that in the beginning! Tombow Dual Brush Pens aren’t cheap, so make sure you have good paper without grain, it can damage your felt tips! Tombow Fudes and Pentel Brush Sign pens can usually take the brunt of rougher papers. If you’re getting inkjet paper, get the smoothest you can!

IMG_7542

9. DON’T STRESS – Take a look back at the images above (also catch the spelling mistake in the immediate one above?) Oh man, would I get CRAZY frustrated. I wanted to look like the pros IMMEDIATELY (I still don’t but I’m more comfortable with my style now). Know that everyone started out with that first picture! It’s not just you! (Or maybe you are a protege who can take the pen and make masterpieces in the beginning… if so I’m super jealous of your talent but also applaud the heck out of your genius!).

10. Enjoy it! – Goes along with don’t stress! Enjoy that you are creating things with your hands and doing awesome. The one thing I’ve heard from other lefties is they still smudge too! It’s ok! Like I said, I use this as relaxation for me, so it’s definitely one of my favorite past-times!

Got any tips of your own? Share them below!

Check out some great artists on Instagram!

Heather

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