Guys, I’m so excited right now!! Today is our very first guest blog post written by one of my very good friends, Grace! She is a sweetheart and so incredibly talented! I can’t wait any longer so I’m turning it over to Grace!
In case you didn’t know, I’m not Abbie. My name is Grace, and Abbie has graciously allowed me to invade her personal space on the interweb for a few minutes. So thanks, Abbs, for your online hospitality. If that’s even a thing.
Today, I’m here to talk to you about lettering. EEEEEEPPPPP. Sorry, I’m just very excited. Lettering is basically drawing typography. At least that’s the best way I can think to describe it. Basically, all of those gorgeous canvases and prints and wooden signages with inspirational quotes or scriptures. I’ve been lettering for almost a year, but I am still very much in the growing process, and I always will be, especially in this area. I got started with lettering because I loved typography, handwriting, and creative things. I started writing random things (like handwritten Walt Whitman quote , which was my first piece I consider lettering), and I discovered that with some practice and a whole lot of patience, I could actually make some pretty cool stuff. And that’s what I’m sharing with you today.
Today, I gave away my pieces that have been my babies for the past week. I love when people ask me to make things for them, but it’s always hard to part with something that I put 10 hours of my blood, sweat, and tears into. Well, maybe not all that, but it was a lot of energy. Someone at church asked me to do four scriptures for her, and of course I leapt at the chance. Lept? Leaped? Whatever. Anyways, I figured I would give a little insight into my creative process to hopefully get your creative juices flowing. Or if not, then at least to entertain your mind for a sec.
The first thing I do for any piece, no matter who it’s for, is sketching. Sketching just allows me to get some ideas down, and sometimes it’s super hard. I might start off with an idea right off the bat, or I might have absolutely no idea whatsoever. Lettering block. It’s a thing. For example, my “Hear O Israel” piece had a path from the get-go, but my “Romans 12” piece… not so much. It took a couple of sketches to get the latter right, and even then, my final turned out to be a little different. Even so, sketching is important because I can experiment with a ton of ideas, whether they’re wonderful or really terrible. I also try to experiment with different fonts sometimes to get my creative juices flowing. For the record, the phrase “creative juices” sounds a bit icky. Just saying.
Once I sketch, sometimes I have an intermittent stage of full-size sketching. So basically, I sketch what I want to do on a comparably-sized piece of paper with the fonts and spacing I want so I don’t royally mess up on the real deal. This time, I guess I was just so confident with my designs (laugh) that I skipped that stage and went straight to my paper. Two of my pieces were 14×17 and two were 9×12. For my prints, I use a pad of drawing paper by Strathmore, a Micron pen or my Pentel Sign Pen, a ruler, and my pencil/eraser. It takes a ton of trial and error to get the spacing right, but once I’m happy with my penciled-out work, I trace over it with my marker/pen.
After I trace, I do the fun stuff, namely adding down-strokes. Basically, filling out down-strokes is the key to making your lettering look like a pro even if you’re a major amateur (like me). All you do is make an extra mark whenever your pen moves downward. This makes your script look like calligraphy when it isn’t, so I always do this. Filling out down-strokes, adding serifs, and other last-minute details are my favorite parts because this is when the piece starts to look good. And as an artist, it’s always a great time to look at your work and go, “Yeah, that totally looks legit.” It makes the piece come together, and there’s nothing I love better than happy endings. Awww.
Here are all of my pieces together, and I have to say I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. Every time I sit down to create something like this, I make it a goal to produce the best piece of work I’ve done to date, and I think this time I succeeded. As a premie letterer (is that a word?), my goal is just to practice and get better, always aiming to expand my horizons and try new things creatively. I took a big risk with these four because I added in some things that I don’t normally do (like the leaf details and the serif fonts), but I think they (and I) are better for it. The end.
Hopefully, I have inspired that creativity that is inside of your body to make something fun. My advice: do something you love and don’t worry about how it looks. If you care, and if you do it enough, your skill will grow. Just be patient and practice. If you like what you see, check out my WordPress blog Lettering By Grace OR you can go to Instagram, search @letteringbygrace and hit that blue follow button. Whatever cranks your tractor. Ok, I guess that’s the end.
Go make stuff. And live long and prosper.