Wow! I can’t believe that it is now the last week of the semester! It has passed in a bit of a blur but I am so excited about the new skills I have acquired through my learning project! When I was initially choosing what I wanted to work on for my learning project I knew that I wanted to do something creative. I am a fairly creative person but during the school year artistic activities, along with many other things I love doing, tend to take a back seat. When I started out I was so excited that I would have to have built-in time every week to sit down and embrace my inner hipster artist.
Did that actually happen, you ask? Did I get to break into artistic bliss every week? Did beautiful art just flow out of me when I put pen to paper? Well not exactly…
Looking back on my hand-lettering journey:
- Introduction to my learning project- ultimate goal
- Inspiration Board on Pinterest
- Trip to Michael’s to buy fancy pens and a notebook to keep my masterpieces in
- Testing the markers and my calligraphy pen/practice strokes
- Brush lettering is one of many forms of hand-lettering
- I used practice sheets to work my way through the alphabet
- Awesome YouTube calligraphy tutorials
- Attempts at two different styles of calligraphy
- Basic words
- Experimenting and playing with mixing words and images
- Valentine’s Day inspired lettering
- Adding accents- dandelions and feathers
- Shifting to a different style of lettering with more geometric styles- 6 varieties
- I tried doing the traditional gothic style lettering and it was a slow and detailed process.
- I also looked into the possibility of learning hand-lettering using a free app but there is only one and it is not useful for developing your actual skills at all and it doesn’t measure your progress in any way
- I collected three more complex sayings from Pinterest and then I attempted to duplicate them
- This week I found a new way to learn hand-lettering online using a website called Lettering Studio. It is a free online class that takes you from the basics of lettering all the way to digitizing your lettering using photoshop. You get a different email each day with the next step and it’s a great way to learn what can be a difficult process.
- Also created a few more lettering images
- I explored the various lettering communities that exist beyond Pinterest
- My Top Five Lettering Artists on Instagram
- Hand Lettering Tutorial Website has tons of awesome resources to learn to letter and best of all they have podcasts! Which is awesome because it finally allows you to get up from your computer in order to learn.
- This week I used Screencastify to demonstrate how you could take your hand-lettering and digitize it in Photoshop and how to place it on top of an image.
- This was maybe my favourite part of my Learning Project
- For the last week of my learning project, I decided to try a different medium for creating my hand-lettering so I decided to paint
- Two things I learned from painting my hand-lettering: #1 painting is hard! #2 there is a reason people use watercolours to do hand-lettering!
Throughout my learning project, I learned a number of things both about creating hand-lettered sayings and words and about learning a skill online with a limited budget.
When I started out on my learning project to basically re-teach myself how to write. The letters in the different fonts have specific ways that they need to be written in order to look as beautiful as they do online. I learned about downstrokes and upstrokes. And overall I not only learned a new creative skill but I it also changed my view of student writing. I never struggled with learning to write in school but when I tried hand-lettering my letters were shaky and misshapen most of the time. It has taught me a whole new level of empathy for students who have LDs in written expression. I also learned about the tools of the trade and the importance of having good tools. In some cases, it isn’t worth it to pay extra for a fancier thing because the less expensive thing works just as well but when it comes to calligraphy pens and markers it is totally worth it to shell out the extra cash to get the proper tools.
Another thing I learned about lettering is that the creativity it takes to come up with new things and ways to letter takes dedicated time and it takes being willing to try and have it turn out looking nothing like what you envisioned. Very rarely was I able to come up with brand new ideas for lettering out of my own mind, usually I drew inspiration from other artist’s works and images that came up on my Pinterest or on my favourite YouTube letterer’s feeds. Creativity takes time and commitment. You also need to make sure that when things don’t turn out looking the way you want to it is important not to give up. Lettering is a skill and just like any skill it needs to be honed and practised. No first draft is a work of art.
On Learning Online…
Generally, I fund that learning to hand-letter online was fairly easy. There are many different ways to connect with communities of lettering artists online through platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. Pinterest was an especially valuable resource for finding inspiration for my creations. Another platform I found invaluable to my learning project was YouTube. It was so helpful as a novice letterer to be able to see someone else form the letters and then mimic it. It was also great to find YouTubers who had a variety of resources available from very basic alphabet examples to more extravagant words and images. Websites like Hand-Lettering Studio and Lettering Tutorial were also great because they offered challenges that went beyond simply writing out the lettering on paper. One of the parts of my journey that I was most proud of was the lettering that I created in PhotoShop. It felt really good to be guided through the process in detail and to produce such a beautiful final product.
One of the major drawbacks of learning to hand-letter online was that if you are on a budget some of the resources available online will be inaccessible to you. When I went in search of apps that could develop my skills further there was only one free application and it didn’t really do anything to develop my actual lettering skills or track my progress. The rest of the apps available cost a minimum of five dollars. This was also true for the online courses on websites like Hand Lettering Studio. There was one free course available to teach you the basics but if you wanted to go any more in depth you have to pay for the courses.
Hand-lettering was a fun skill to learn and develop over the last 13 weeks. I really appreciate all the support and encouragement I have received from my peers over throughout this process:
I highly recommend taking the time to learn to hand-letter. It was one of those skills that I have always wanted to develop but had never made time to practice. I found that by building time into my schedule each week to decompress and do something creative was really beneficial. It provided a much-needed break from the academic stresses of the semester. Through this project, I not only learned how to create beautiful hand-lettered words and sayings but I learned so much more too.