My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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Modern Calligraphy

Modern calligraphy
I took a modern calligraphy workshop over the weekend. I’ve been interested in hand lettering for a while now. A few years ago I took an online lettering class where I used a brush marker – a Tombow, which is a flexible marker that can produce thin lines as well as thick lines when you apply pressure.
My brush marker practice sheets:
brush lettering with a Tombow marker

This weekend was the traditional route with a calligraphy pen with a nib, ink, and an ink well for dipping. It was interesting, in this day of online learning, to be sitting at a table, chatting with a group of strangers. It’s one of the elements you don’t get with learning online. The person on your left saying to you, “That looks great!” Although three hours seems long, the class flew by. The teacher, Christie Jones of Swell Anchor Studios, was really nice and thorough, demonstrating the steps to create each letter on a blackboard. Another benefit to learning in person, Christie and her sister, walked around answering questions, and offering help and suggestions as we worked – things like proper posture, holding the pen correctly, and the amount of pressure to apply.

The main takeaway was – as with anything – if you want to get good at it, you have to practice. The workshop included all the supplies and materials needed to practice at home, which is great. Christie also has a closed Facebook group for those that have taken the class. She encouraged us to share our work online and reach out to her whenever we hit a snag.

If you are interested in learning calligraphy and an “in person” workshop doesn’t work for you, Christie recommends the book Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy by Molly Super Thorpe.

Supplies you’ll need:

I want to incorporate lettering into my paintings. I’m hoping to use what I learned and apply it to lettering with a brush and watercolor. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

 

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Practice, practice, practice…

hlerin
Last week I participated in an online hand-lettering workshop. Impatient person that I am, I quickly realized that this craft takes a lot of practice! Today I sat down to write a Gaelic phrase, “Erin Go Bragh,” which means, “Ireland Forever.” (It’s March, I can’t help but celebrate my Irish roots.)

hlpractice

I wanted to write the phrase perfectly, so I kept practicing. After a couple of tries I started to “get” how the words best fit together. Thirty-four tries later, an hour later, my hand was tingling and it still wasn’t perfect! My letters were definitely improving, but I have a long way to go. To get the hang of hand-lettering, I’ll have to work at it. And this is only one style of the alphabet!

I’ve hit on several of my goals for 2015 and it’s only March. Here’s the list of things I wanted to try:

  1. Linocut
  2. Lettering
  3. Online workshops
  4. Painting on dark paper
  5. Doodling
  6. Video
  7. Patterns
  8. Maps
  9. Digital Brushes
  10. Watercolor Parties

 

I’ve tried linocut, practiced lettering (with the help of the online workshop), doodled, made a few patterns, and used digital brushes. I’m happy I’ve achieved this much already. The problem is – to excel at any one thing, takes time and work. And time is in limited supply. As I continue trying these things, I have to decide which things I’ll stick with and which I’ll have to say goodbye too. 😦


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So excited! (Calligraphy Workshop)

calligraphyworkshop
Today I started an online Calligraphy workshop. I really like it. One of the supplies for the workshop is a Tombow brush pen. I have smaller Tombows, but this pen is awesome! This is exactly what I was looking for – hand lettering with a brush (not a nib and ink). The pen makes it almost easy.

The workshop is about an 90 minutes. I made it halfway through. I still have to do the lowercase letters. I’m so impatient, I want to jump right to the fun stuff! I know taking the time to learn each letter and practice will pay off. Can’t wait to show you!


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I’m thankful I finished this project!

givethanksfinal
I finally got around to finishing this. I started it back in the summer, when I painted the background for two signs. One sign became my “beach lover” sign, which I finished over a month ago. For this sign, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, what words to paint on it – Fall harvest? With Thanksgiving getting closer and closer, I decided on “give thanks.”

Two years ago Thanksgiving took on a whole new meaning. My siblings, parents, cousins and my aunt were all affected by Superstorm Sandy. They all had major renovations to tackle and some of them couldn’t even live in their homes. Living 20 minutes away, our home was unaffected. So Thanksgiving 2012 was here at our house. We hosted around 40 people. I wasn’t stressed at all. I knew everyone would be happy, just being together in a warm, dry place. There was no need to sweat the small stuff. Although they suffered damage to their homes, everyone was safe and that was definitely reason to give thanks.

Technique:
I used the same technique for the lettering as last time. Using the side of the pencil, I quickly colored on the back of my printout. Then, I flipped the printout over and taped it to my sign. With firm pressure, I traced the letters on the printout, using a Nintendo DS stylus pen. I peeled the printout off and, using the light pencil marks and indentation as a guide, I painted the letters. After the letters were dry I added a little white for effect.

thanks1thanks1b    thanks2a thanks2thankspaintthanksalmost


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Beach Lover Wooden Sign

beachlover
I bought a piece of wood and had it cut into pieces at the hardware store. Using acrylic paints – teal and white – I added streaks of both and blended them, to get achieve a beachy, sun bleached look.

Wooden signs
I set up the lettering on the computer and outlined it. Last time around I cut custom stencils which was a lot of work. This time I found advice on hand lettering. I laid the printout on the wood and using a hard stylus pen (from my kid’s old DS), traced the outline of the letter. When I was finished I could see the outline impression on the wood.

Following the outline impression on the wood, I painted the letters black. When they were dry, I painted white steaks over the letters with a very dry brush to capture the distressed look. I’m happy with the results!

Click here to learn more about how I painted the background.


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Practicing Painting Lettering

hello
I’ve been practicing! The other day I copied an alphabet from a book (2x). Today I wrote “hello” many times! It’s interesting what you learn by doing, especially when you keep repeating something.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Too much coffee makes my hand and my letters shaky
  • Light touch – thin line, more pressure – thicker line. I learned this from watching this video.
  • Painting downward is easier than upward
  • The brush needs to be wet enough. I re-dip before each letter.
  • Paint in sure strokes. I wish I could remember where I got this tip from. It is so true. When I hesitate it shows.

I practiced the alphabet below from the book, “Hand Lettering for crafts” by Sandra Salamony. The book was helpful because it showed what part of the letter to paint first and what direction to paint each part in.
practic


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Thank you to all my followers!

thank-you-1
Last week I decided to try my hand at lettering. I love the look of painted words in a watercolor. I kept painting “thank you.” I think I was hopefully anticipating one more follower which would bring me to 100. A goal I couldn’t even fathom when I started. Since last week, several new followers have pushed me past this goal. So, I want to thank all of my followers! Your feedback is an amazing source of motivation to me!