Posts Tagged ‘brushcalligraphy’

John & Anna Wedding | Watercolor Wash DIY


I had the joy to design and letter the wedding invitations for one of my cousins this last August. They were dream clients, too. Both have amazing taste and trusted my expertise and let me play with some fun, new techniques. 


I’ve really enjoyed playing around with watercolor pencils and the playfulness and depth they provide to a simple watercolor wash, so I mixed a few colors to get their wedding colors in the wash and went to town. See the below video for an in-depth explanation of how to get that wash. I love the energy that explodes from the background with those washes. 

Check out the tutorial below and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more tutorials like this in the future! 

We went with copper foil printing for the names on the invitation. Part of me wanted to do copper foil for all of the text, but I didn’t want readability to be an issue. We did digital printing with digital foil through a wholesale printer I have an account with, so it was quite affordable, too!

Man, foil is so hard to capture with a camera! It has a lovely rosy, rusty tone to it, it’s hard to see that in the images. But it popped nicely against the watercolor background. 

For the design, I used my go-to font Museo Sans and my own hand-lettering. I lettered the names and titles of cards with my iPad Pro using Procreate and Brush #4 from Fabian Fischer’s ultimate calligraphy brush set. I really liked the texture and functionality of that brush more than any other brush I’ve found around. If you’ve found other good ones, let me know!  

I ended up addressing all of the envelopes for the invitations as well. The couple gave me 100% creative freedom to pen them however worked best. I ended up doing a large-scale script for the names with an all caps for the address. I used the Cocoiro Brush Type marker (if you’re purchasing one for the first time, don’t forget to get a pen body to go with it). The markers lasted me about 75 invitations before it ran out of ink. I ended up doing between 500-600 envelopes. It was a project for sure, but I was THRILLED with the end result. 

I’ve recreated the invitations using my ink-jet printer and laser printer and foil laminator so you can see some of the spots where the foil didn’t adhere. All details have been changed for privacy purposes.

SLC Craft & Calligraphy Workshop


This Thursday (September 15, 2016) I’m holding a craft night at The Write Image! Click here for more info.


We’re going to be exploring flourished brush calligraphy and we’ll be decorating mugs with our fancy skills. Materials and dinner provided.


Freebie: Floral Calligraphy Party Invitations


Our sweet Miss Penelope got baptized this month a new member of The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormon, aka LDS). It was a really sweet day for the whole family, it was hard not to get rather emotional over it.


As a way to make a big deal out of her birthday and her baptism I threw her a party. The first real party since her dino brunch (favors, printables, invitation) when she turned three. I’ve got an amazing track record, folks. AMAZING.


As I was looking around online, many of the baptism invitations I found looked a lot like wedding invitations (super formal copy, formal design and a glamor photo). Photos usually included the girl wearing the poofiest princess dress. And while that’s exactly what some girls want (hey, you do you!), it just didn’t seem like Penelope. But hey, I’m sure you could use these graphics for a wedding invitation. Just depends upon how formal/informal the thing is. So, you know, I’m totally a hypocrite.


For the design, I hand-lettered the whole thing with bits of watercolor. Materials used for the design work:

For the process, I sketched out the wreath idea, and inked it up. Instead of watercoloring directly on top of the wreath I used a light pad and watercolor paper to do watercolor. I wanted to have as much flexibility as possible for changing things up as the design progressed.

Then I sketched the outline of the wreath and drew out lines for the text. I inked and scanned. Beyond cleaning up scans, I pretty much just layered everything together and printed. Coming up with the concept took longer than the actual design time itself. It still took a fair amount of time to complete.



Penelope invited her closest friends to the baptism, but since many of them aren’t of our faith, I wanted to include separate information in case a friend didn’t feel comfortable attending the baptism (everyone’s welcome to baptisms, but it can be uncomfortable if you’re not sure what to expect).

Since making the artwork, I wanted to put it out there for anyone to use (for personal use only, obviously). So see below for the printable blank version! I think it’d be the perfect printable invitation for a tea party, outdoor picnic, baby or bridal shower. Prints 2 5×7 invitations per sheet. Single-sided, full color. I hope you like it and use it!

melissaesplin-penelope-baptism-free-printable-3aCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Click the link above to download the printable. The printable is free for personal use only. Alteration or distribution of the files without written permission is prohibited. Feel free to email if you have questions about the artwork (see contact form above or comments section below).


For the actual party, I didn’t get around to taking many photos of the set up. It was just pure family and friend chaos. But so fun. We decorated for the party with handmade paper flowers and succulents. I managed to sneak shots of the cupcakes I made. I made strawberry vanilla cupcakes with these darling liners that kind of reminded me of flowers.


The food faire was simple. Make-your-own sandwiches, veggies, fruit, chips, dip, etc.


And I set up a photo booth for Penelope to take photos with family and friends. As soon as the baptism was over Pen swapped her darling dress for play clothes. She had so much fun goofing off in front of the camera. I printed out all of the images she took with friends and created a little scrapbook for her with them.


I kind of went a little bit on the crazy side for her big day! Part of me thinks I set a terrible precedence by making a big deal out of it; but I’m looking forward to Felix and June’s big days should they decide to get baptized as well.



Valentine Brush Calligraphy Workshop


How are we looking at Valentine’s plans already? EEP? Where has the time gone? I keep meaning to do a calligraphy workshop IN PERSON, and it just never happens. That’s probably why Alix and I started planning this workshop back in October. I’m so looking forward to partying, hopefully you can be there! If not, there’s always my online class. It’s pretty fun, too.


Alix and I have planned an awesome night out with lovely letters, good food, a photobooth (naturally) and great company. We’re going to learn the basics behind pointed brush calligraphy (or brush lettering as most people call it) and we’re going to make some fun little valentines.



February 3, 2016 | Lehi, Utah | 6-9 pm | $140

Fee includes: food, photobooth, valentine-making craft supplies, the above calligraphy kit (9 markers, pad of paper, exemplar book, pencil, glitter pen & zippered pouch). The class is limited, so it will be an intimate workshop with lots of hands-on help.

I look forward to seeing you there! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.


Will you be my valentine?

I’m Teaching At Pinners Conference


I’m presenting at this year’s Pinners Conference! I’m teaching a very casual crash course into marker calligraphy on Friday November 6 at noon! See a list of classes right here. Use code MELISSA for 10% off your ticket.


I’m going to take you through the veeeeeery beginnings of doing calligraphy with markers. The class only lasts an hour so I’ll be taking attendees through a guided craft (Holiday cards!) using markers and script.


I hope you come! It’s going to be a fun event with all sorts of great ideas, crafts, classes and items to help you gear up for the holiday season. I’ll have a table set up at the event selling class kits (brush kits and pointed pen kits) and lettering names for people.


Register here. Use code MELISSA for a 10% discount!

The challenge with only an hour long class is that I can’t possibly do a full beginner course. We’ll be focusing on the importance of positioning and grip (I’ll be walking around and helping people with that physically – LEFTIES included!). I’ll give you the techniques to get started on the right footing and we’ll create our own stationery using the methods learned in class. You’ll be making beautiful projects right off the bat!


Bummed you can’t make it? Take my Beginning Brush Lettering class online instead! It’s far more thorough than a crash course and I’ll send you a kit and everything. ;) Or sign up for our email newsletter below to find out about live workshops and discounts.

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