3 Rookie Mistakes with Brush Lettering

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I came out with a book! This Penmanship book takes you through the progression from all-caps print, to cursive, to developing your style to brush lettering. It’s a modern penmanship approach that uses foundations of Romans, Italic, Business Penmanship and Engrosser’s Script. Sounds like a hodgepodge, but it totally makes sense. Click here to snag a copy! 

Hello new friends from Studio 5! Check me out on Instagram to peek at all the fun stuff going on…

You can progress through the book in chronological order, or skip around as you see fit. The book is loose-leaf pages with a 3-hole punch so you can put it in any 3-ring binder and pull out pages for practice with tracing paper. We opted for this as opposed to a spiral bound book, because we wanted this to be approachable for both right-handed and left-handed beginners! The book is geared towards any beginner ages 10+. Ages 6-10 can work on it with grown up guidance.

So let’s talk about the 3 common mistakes that I see in beginners approaching penmanship AND brush lettering and how to fix it…

Mistake 1: Holding the pen wrong and too tightly

Hold the pen or marker (check out my line of brush markers right here!) in a traditional tripod grasp. Don’t let your thumb take over! And if you’re having a hard time with holding the pen too tightly, hold a pen or object in your non-writing hand as tightly as you can. Your grip in your writing hand will naturally ease up.

Mistake 2:  Going too fast

99% of my beginner students write too quickly. I’m constantly saying slow down. Slowing down will give you better structural precision until muscle memory takes over, and it allows for better and more controlled transitions from thick to thin when doing brush lettering. GO SLOW. Then, GO SLOWER. Slow, purposeful practice is going to get you better, faster. 

 

Mistake 3: Practicing willy nilly

Use those guide sheets!! I have multiple blank guide sheets and practice worksheets for each letter I teach in my book. Practicing with guides makes all the difference in bringing muscle memory into learning. With all 3 of these tips combined, you’ll be unstoppable! 

Hope you enjoyed my segment on Studio5! Let me know if you have questions about my book. And if you’re the kinda person that needs to learn face-to-face… I’m teaching a beginning brush lettering workshop next week, September 19th. Click here to register. And as always, my online class is always open.

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Upcoming Fall Workshops

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I’ve got a whole lot of workshops coming your way!! The best way to stay up-to-date on local workshop offerings is messaging me on Instagram or checking out Calligraphy.org Local Workshop Page!

Next week I’m teaching beginner visual journaling! It includes penmanship instruction, a copy of my new book and how to format it all in a notebook. This instruction is geared towards visual journaling, bullet journaling, church notes, study notes, etc. 

After that, I’m teaching a beginning brush lettering on September 19th! We’ll start with the basics of script brush lettering with the emphasis on lowercase letters and forming sentences and style. 

In January, I’ll be hosting another intermediate flourishing class where we will be covering capitals and flourishing for both brush and pointed pen. 

Hope to see you there!!

 

 

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    Jane Rhodes Summer Visual Journal Project

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    I love the idea of summer bucket lists, but our household is learning first-hand how overwhelming the summer over-scheduling can be. It’s intense. I was asked to make this summer “vision board” so-to-speak for Jane Rhodes and her family, and I really like her approach to summer. It’s less of a “we HAVE to get these things done” mentality and more of a, “let’s fill our lives with things that make us fill THIS WAY” vibe. I could learn a thing or two about that. 

    Jane and her family are passionate about adventure, quality time and LGBTQ+ rights. Each item on their vision board circles back to one or more of their core family values. It makes me think, what would I put on my own family’s vision board? 

    When Jane asked me about doing this for her, she sent me this mock up with each of the items she wanted on her vision board and I just took it from there. See below for more of the process:

    If this aligns with your summer vision, check out the free B&W printable for you to color yourself!

    I mocked everything up on my iPad (quite loosely) and then used my light pad and the mock up as scale and spacing reference to copy it onto the paper. Materials used: 

    I really like that Joseph Campbell quote: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” So true. 

    I had a fun time working on this project for Jane. If you had a vision board for your summer, what would it include?

    Want to learn how to make one of your very own? Check out my brush lettering workshop over on Calligraphy.org.

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    2019 Easter Treat Box Free Printable

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    This post is sponsored by Canon. 

    I’ve been a long-time Canon printer fan. I previously had, and LOVED, the Canon MG5620 for 5 years and loved it (here’s the newer version at $75). When I got the opportunity to try their TS9521C Craft Printer, I jumped at the chance! I set it up successfully all by myself. In an afternoon.

    The craft printer boasts printing 12×12 borderless, I’ve ALSO successfully been able to print borderless 11×17 as well. So score, right? A larger printer that can handle bigger print and cut projects that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?? I’m sold. 

    See the bottom of the post for the download, but if you want the low-down for this printer, check out my pros and cons list. 

    PROS: 

    • Easy set up
    • Pre-loaded templates
    • Wireless Printing
    • 12×12 borderless printing*
    • Scanner
    • Duplexing Scanner
    • Front and Rear feeds for different media types

    CONS: 

    • Scans legal sized paper, not 12×12
    • It’s not compact
    • Front tray doesn’t work well with thicker paper

    These cons by all means aren’t deal breakers at all. It would be amazing to have a larger-format scanner, but it does do 9×12, so that’s pretty darn great. The size of the TS9521C is a fair amount larger than my older Pixma MG5320, but that’s to be expected of a larger-format printer. Just don’t expect it to fit in to super tight spaces. ;) And the front tray doesn’t work well with all of my card stocks. It works with Neenah card stock, but not letterpress. HOWEVER, that’s what the rear tray is for! It’s great to have that option so I can work with thicker card stocks no sweat. 

    The cons list aren’t really cons because I’m so excited about this printer. 

    *It doesn’t print borderless as a default setting. When you select print, you’ll see the option in print settings where you can select a borderless option in the paper size selection area. See image below. 

    I painted up this floral and made a print and cut, and didn’t have to worry about borders. I’d call that a win. 

    The box dimensions are 3.75 x 3.75 x 1 inches; It’s the perfect size for a few candies or a cookie. The perfect little treat to gift to someone in celebration of this Easter week. 

    There’s something about Easter that makes me go for blues and greens. See below for different file downloads. 

    PDF Easter Print & Hand Cut

    Silhouette Print & Cut File

    More goodies for your Easter Celebrations below: 

    2017 Easter Scripture Print2016 Easter Basket Tag • 2016 Easter Box • 2016 Easter Scripture •2014 Easter Banner • 2011 Easter Box • 2010 Easter Box

    This post is sponsored by Canon. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

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    1. Natalie Kay says:

      Does it print envelopes?

    TUTORIAL: Visual Journaling at Church

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    I teach calligraphy and lettering over at Calligraphy.org, and would absolutely love to teach you the lettering aspect of journaling. I have a very, very beginning fundamentals class for hand-lettering right here. The hand-lettering fundamentals will show you how to push beyond just stick capital letters and lowercase letters to add dimension to your work. I also teach a brush lettering class, it’s geared toward complete beginners and I personally walk you through manipulating the brush/marker to create beautiful work in your own style. Use code SUNDAYNOTES for 10% off through April 30, 2019

    I’m so excited you’re here! Here’s a resource to the supplies I use. I used some affiliate links here. By purchasing through my affiliates your price isn’t changed, but you help support my art habit. ;) I’m linking to the sites I shop that carries each item at the lowest price. 

    MY JOURNALS: 

    Hanji Notebook: I’m currently using this journal for my Sunday notes. So far it has handled watercolor well, and out of my pens, the Sakura & Pigma pens/markers work best. It’s 5×7 inches without gridlines or ruled lines. Erasing pencil lines is a little tricky here, but as long as I’m gentle, the paper fibers withstand erasing.

    Hahnemüle Nostalgie Landscape Notebook: I busted this one out for my recent Yellowstone trip. We sketched and journaled our fun on the trip (Penelope and Junie got really excited about it!). It handled watercolor far better than I imagined. My tombow pens didn’t do so hot on this paper, but my Sakura pens did fabulous here. This paper withstands erasing like a champ. No budging or smudging. It’s 6×8 landscape, but you can find it in a lot of different sizes. 

    Golden Coil Notebooks: These notebooks are big. It’s a little less portable than the top two notebooks, BUT…. you can customize how you fill your pages. If you like blank, lined, listed, graph, dot grid, spreadsheet pages you can select them. And you can even do a mixture of all of those with up to 260 pages in each notebook. It’s a great value. I’ve found it works really well with all ink types. It does okay with some watercolor washes with little to no bleed-through. These notebooks are bound on a spiral, making it very easy to write on every page with a flat surface. 

    House that Lars Built Notebook: If you’re wanting the color to take care of itself and you just want to focus on form, this pretty notebook from HTLB and Abrams book is gorgeous, with different color background and white dot grid to keep your writing level. Printed paper is ideal for felt tip pens/markers and ball-point pens, but not fountain pens. 

    I have some dedicated watercolor journals that I’m waiting to bust out on my trip to Holland next month, so jury’s out on those for the moment. These are by no means all the journals that you can choose from, but the ones that I have and can recommend. 

     

    MY PENCIL CASE: 

    I may have a few too many writing instruments in my pencil case… it’s like my security blanket having all my favorite pens with me! I style my journal entries with the supplies I use, so if you ever have a question about something pictured, or how I did a certain letter, feel free to ask me on Instagram. I’m quite responsive on there. :)

    Sakura Micron PN: This pen is waterproof & the kids can use this pen without damaging the nib!

    Pigma Professional FB, MB & BB: Sometimes I need a different size brush pen to emphasize different things. This set includes the 3 sizes I would need most and best of all, this set is waterproof. 

    Pigma Calligrapher 3.0: This chisel nib may not be your jam if you’re not into calligraphy so much, but I really like how I can accentuate and bold words with this broad-edge pen. Also, it’s waterproof. 

    Mechanical Pencil: I don’t want to spend my time sharpening a pencil, so I opt for a mechanical pencil with an eraser here. 

    Watercolor Pencils: These are great for drafting out things/shapes that I want to watercolor or adding color in small areas that I want to watercolor without having to bust out my watercolor palette. It’s not crucial that these pencils are sharp, so I don’t sharpen them often, but I do have a pencil sharpener hooked to my zipper just in case I need a finer point.

    Pocket Watercolors: While you don’t have to spring for handmade watercolors, having a tiny tin of the colors you like most is helpful. I have a bit of a rainbow of a palette here so I can mix just about any color here. I also like Prima and Sakura watercolors for travel. 

    Tombow Fude soft & hard: Is it redundant that I have these and the fine Pigma professional? Maybe? But sometimes I want the feel that these nibs give and I don’t need the waterproof aspect. These pens are not waterproof and sometimes bleeds on certain papers. 

    Gelly Roll White 10: I like the size 10, it gives you a very opaque white line. I like adding white dots on the downstrokes of my bigger marker work. 

    Sharpie Marker: because… sometimes you need to write something permanent on a plastic surface. 

    Waterbrush: I like to use a fine-point waterbrush for my sketches because I’m usually only ever doing small washes and I like having that control. 

     

     

    MY APPROACH: 

    It’s not always practical to take the kind of notes that I’ve been posting on Instagram. I’m a mom of 3 and sometimes listening is impossible when I’m wrangling a runaway kid (Felix, I’m looking at you). Since my youngest is 4, my ability to listen in longer uninterrupted chunks is opening up.

    I remember when Junie was just born (my youngest), and feeling completely starved at church. I was there, but always missing out on the meat of the meeting. It was frustrating. I was spiritually hangry. If you’re feeling this way and thinking, Who the hell does this girl think she is, encouraging me to write notes at church?  I know It’s not easy and it doesn’t work for everyone. I recognize that I’m in a new stage in life without itty bitty babies so my hands are freed up to write notes. 

    That said, here are some tips that will help you get in the flow of things; whether you have kids or not. 

    1. If you have kids (big or small), try to bring a pen/pencil/marker/crayon or two for them. And maybe a notebook that they can pillage. If you’re lacking for paper, let them draw with you. It only makes those layouts all the more precious. This does a few things: it teaches them to respect your desire to write notes and teaches that they can do it too. I’m still learning how to incorporate my kids into journaling without being a demanding art director, but including them has been tender. 
    2. Use singing time and announcements as down time to catch up or mock up your layout. I use that time to write out the date at the beginning of services. This warms me up and gives me some time to get in the mood. Sometimes my dates turn out fancy. Sometimes they’re meh. DON’T GET HUNG UP ON GETTING IT PERFECT. 
    3. Listen for big-picture themes. Not all talks/sermons are great or easy to follow. Listen for the overarching theme, write your own impressions on the theme and perhaps a scripture/quote/hymn/verse that calls attention to the theme. If the speaker references a hymn or scripture, jot it in pencil in the margins. During downtime or post-church, you can write that in the blank spaces. If you’re listening to General Conference (a semi-annual conference of amazing sermons from leaders of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), listen for these two things: an invitation and a promise. It keeps note taking from getting overwhelming.
    4. Use columns and shapes to separate ideas, quotes, speakers or soundbites. I generally separate each page into two columns. They’re not always equally divided. But breaking down the space into small chunks helps.
    5. Add a pop of color to emphasize a thought or idea. 
    6. Use this time to play around with handwriting, lettering or calligraphic styles. This is playful time. Just explore. Sometimes your explorations will work and sometimes they won’t. It doesn’t matter if they don’t work out. You tried and you listened. That’s all that really matters. 
    7. Use decorative designs or illustrations to separate thoughts, quotes, ideas, themes. See below for that printable ideas sheet.

    Did you draw up some church notes? Let me know!! I’d love to see how they turned out. 

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE IDEAS SHEET

    This freebie is available for personal use only. I hope you enjoyed this post and it gets you working on your own journals. Tag me on instagram @melissapher if you end up using these tips. Looking forward to seeing your progress!

     

     

     

     

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