learning hand lettering
I think I was about 12 years old when I bought a calligraphy kit from a book store. Perhaps it was this one?
Anyway, I remember sitting on my floor, in my bedroom, trying to draw pretty letters. Then I spilled ink everywhere and I pretty much gave up on it right then.
I’m a real go-getter, aren’t I?
I learn better by being taught how to do something instead of reading and teaching myself. So I should have known that reading a book about how to do something artistic was going to be a huge fail.
::fast forward a few decades::
Hand lettering is everywhere. And dang, it’s truly an art form. I’ve been dying to learn how to do it, obtain the right tools, and watch a pro hand letter before my very eyes.
I came across a class teaching just that (with tools included) at Gather and signed up right away.
A lovely, talented woman named Karm taught the class. She integrated a little calming exercise into the beginning of our time together which turned out to be pretty useful since a steady hand and still composure are essential for pretty writing.
We had a few different brush sizes, water, ink, and plenty of paper to practice on.
This was my first sheet.
Remember in grade school when you would cover up your test with your arm so your punk neighbor wouldn’t copy your test? Yeah I wanted to do that with my first page.
Whew I needed a lot of work. At that point I was thinking, “It’s just not in the cards for me, is it? I’m just not artistic like this!”
After much observation of Karm working her magic, I was able to churn out a few pretty letters amongst the mess.
Then it came time to write our mantra on the heavy card stock paper. You don’t know pressure until you go to hand letter on a real piece of quality paper. Everyone in the class was putting it off, myself included.
Finally, I went for it. I looked over my shoulder, saw that no one was watching, dipped my brush in the ink, and started writing. My intention was to write “it is well, with my soul”.
I got through “it is well” and was pleased enough. I just knew in my heart if I kept going and added “in my soul” I would ruin the whole piece with the letter “l” at the end. I just knew it. So I left it alone.
While I was working on my paper, I glanced up at the materpieces that Jordan was creating. Girlfriend can write. It was really fun to watch her process. Everything she writes is stretched out and airy. I tended to cram letters together and write a little bit smaller.
The class came to a close too soon. It was so refreshing to sit with other women and work on a skill we all wanted to either learn or get better at. Rumor has it there will be another class in the fall, and if there is you can bet that I’ll be there again.
Are there new skills you’ve been dying to learn? Hand lettering was just one on my list. I’d love to learn how to make the perfect pie crust. I would also love to learn how to paint. Graphic design would be fun to learn too.
It’s tempting to just stick to my to-do list during the day, instead of indulging in purely pleasurable things that may even take away from time spent on the to-do list, but man it was good for my soul to take a little breather and do something new and relaxing.
It might be my new “wind down” activity in the evening, instead of sitting on my iPad. A little bit more productive, don’t you think?
I hope this encourages you to go out and learn something you’ve always wanted to learn, no matter how bad you think you will be at it. I bet you’ll be glad you tried it.