Authors: Joanne Sharpe
Tags: #Crafts & Hobbies, #Mixed Media, #Art, #Techniques, #Calligraphy
Do you want to know the secret to creating whimsical lettering? As Glinda the Good Witch from
The Wizard of Oz
said, “You’ve always had the power.” That power originated as a child when you were taught to write with pencil and paper.
Look at your own writing and you’ll see that it has a distinct look; it shows your personality. Your handwriting is your identity; it is as much a part of who you are as your voice, your laugh, and your walk. It’s how you show yourself to the world and how you respond to the universe in visual form. Combined with various creative techniques, your handwriting can be transformed and designed into a distinct style that is recognized as clearly your own.
Watercolor with black waterproof pen lettering
When you begin to learn how to define your own lettering style, remember that this is a craft that takes time and practice. Think of this experience as your first piano lessons. You might not be playing a piece by Mozart immediately, but rather mastering the notes and movement of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” taking baby steps on the journey to your personal perfection. When you’re learning an instrument, it’s important to practice every day. It’s the same when learning hand lettering, in that you’re only going to get really good at it by practicing the same letters over and over and over. Practice really does make perfect, and it’s important that you embrace your own personal perfection. While you’re making efforts to learn a lettering style, my best advice is to embrace your work as being “perfectly imperfect.” Know that each brave attempt in any stage of a creative learning process is a perfect result in your learning curve.
Copic marker background and lettering outlined with black Micron pen
Copic marker background with Pan Pastel accent colors and black Pitt pen lettering
My philosophy on artful lettering is to empower you and give you confidence in your own handwriting. It’s sometimes more frustrating to copy a style or alphabet because it never ends up looking like the sample you’re trying to imitate. While copying and reproducing an art style is perfectly fine, it’s important to dig deep in your own abilities and stretch yourself to develop your own creative identity. If your artwork is hanging on a wall, your style should be recognized from across a room, with an aesthetic that reflects who you are.
Your “inner font” emerges from a personal interpretation of alphabets and letters created with basic design elements, line variation, shape, size, and pattern. If you can write your name, you can letter with creative flair. Exploring new materials, stretching your existing supplies, and manipulating line, shape, and form are the key elements to the development of an artistic lettering style. Call on your own creativity to design a signature font and make your handwriting a personal expression.
Practice, patience, and openness to explore alphabets as an art form will define your signature style and authentic artful lettering. “Play, practice, write, repeat” is the mantra I teach my students learning about artful lettering.
Copic marker and Pan Pastel background with black Micron pen lettering
In this book, I share the techniques and approaches I use consistently in my lettering art. Practice them, play with them, and then let your own inner font emerge to make the art you have always had the power to create.
W hat are the best pens, inks, markers, papers, journals, and substrates for lettering? I’ll share my favorites with you and show you how they contribute to the look and style of my lettering art. Of course I’m sure you can dig into your own stash to find comparable items. There are so many supplies to choose from, but the magic of lettering really comes from deep inside you.