365 Days of Hand Lettering: Reflections After 300 Days



Do you remember that image above? For those of you who are newer to my blog, that was the first image I posted on Day 1 of 365 Days of Hand Lettering, nearly 300 days ago on January 1 (today is Day 299). When I started this project, the idea was to get good at calligraphy and traditional lettering (you know, the kind with a nib and ink in a bottle) by practicing it every day for a year. It’s amazing what can happen over the course of the year, and what has happened here, in this project, has definitely NOT been calligraphy practice.

I wrote about it a little here on Day 114 — around the time I’d begun to realize that calligraphy was not my thing, that writing with a nib was excruciatingly challenging for me, too messy, with too many uncontrollable variables, and not fast enough (and to put something out every day, I needed to be fast). I still wish I enjoyed and was skilled at calligraphy and more traditional lettering, because I find calligraphy and traditional lettering incredibly beautiful. But even after a calligraphy class and lots of practice, I still found it too difficult. So I eventually put down my nib and stopped trying. My 365 Days of Hand Lettering project instead became a slow process of developing my own lettering styles (drawn with Micron pens), the most prominent of which is my “Petit Lisa” style (which I subsequently named it) and a few other forms of printed styles and various script styles. This process of working on my own styles of lettering everyday became much more enjoyable than practicing calligraphy and has also led to some pretty amazing other stuff.

{Example of my “Petit Lisa” style of lettering.}

What the project has mostly morphed into over time is daily hand-lettered quotes (and occasional poems and other short sayings) coupled with illustrations. This all is led to a book deal (more details on that soon!), loads of new illustration work, and two fonts based on my hand lettering (available at myfonts.com): Petit Lisa and Geraldine.

{Example of my script styles of lettering.}

The lessons here?

+Try. I tried calligraphy. For about 100 days I practiced it (at least a few times a week) and posted even my most feeble attempts. So trying stuff is important.

+If you don’t like it, move on. Ultimately, if you don’t like practicing something, don’t force yourself to do it. Enjoying your work & hobbies is incredibly important.

+Find what you do like to do and go with it. I managed to figure out a way to keep the project going, even though it wasn’t what I’d originally intended. 365 Days of Hand Lettering slowly and subtlety morphed into a project of hand-lettered quotes. Not what I’d set out to do originally, but just as fun and (as it turns out) even more popular with my readers than the original idea.

{Example of my another printed “outline” style of lettering.}

What’s next? Well, I have about 65 days left (66 to be exact) in this project. And this daily project WILL end on December 31. But I will also continue to share my hand lettering with you on this blog in other ways (I’ve got a few other related projects lined up for 2013). There will be a book of some of the best quotes (more on that soon) and I’ll continue to sell prints of some of your favorites in my Etsy Shop (stay tuned for a big shop update in mid-November!).

Thank you for your continued support and love. You have helped to make this all possible!