December is a month of giving, most specially because the holidays are just around the corner. This year, December’s pretty special, because I made a hand lettering piece that is now up for auction for Pay Ink Forward 2018, an annual art exhibition where artists unite to help paediatric cancer patients.
This event was set up by Cancervants PH, an organisation of child cancer awareness advocates in the Philippines.
I can be pretty emotional when it comes to the big C, with my mom being a breast cancer survivor herself. I’ve seen firsthand how it was like to take care of a family member undergoing chemotherapy. Imagine how more challenging it will be if it is children who are inflicted, and medical costs are too high.
I believe that if you are thinking of doing a good deed or two this holiday season, this could be one of the best investments you can make.
Bidding is open on Instagram for this original hand-lettered piece and will end on 5 December 2018 at 11am (GMT+8). Starting bid is PhP1200 / US$23. I honestly think that for an original artwork, this is definitely a steal! Bid in the comments section with the price and use the code #G18CSG17. For the winning bidder outside the Philippines, shipping will be arranged and will be paid for by the bidder.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to share the love!
I spent a lovely afternoon writing personalised messages in calligraphy for My French Concession a couple of weeks ago. When I was asked early this year if I can write calligraphy on porcelain, I knew it was something exciting and totally different from what I’m used to. I had absolutely no idea which inks or pens will work on porcelain. But I had to try! After a lot of tests on different pens and inks and calligraphy styles, I was able to find which tools would work well for My French Concession’s delicate porcelain candle jars.
I have been writing personalised messages in calligraphy on their scented candles ever since, and today I’m sharing some photos from the recent event I had with them. It was my 2nd time at the Boutique Fairs with My French Concession, writing calligraphy on their scented candles.
These candles come in a variety of scents—I can honestly say they’re all very lovely because I occassionally have some on my desk and my space smells like heaven everytime. These candles have a burning time of almost 45 hours and are made in Paris with scents developed by a French perfumer. If you’re curious, my favourite is Chai Tea at Haji Lane (sounds like a perfect way to spend an afternoon, isn’t it?).
For any candle orders and personalisation requests, feel free to reach out to My French Concession.
Pentel Singapore and Happy Hands Project have collaborated to bring you a FREE (yes, free!) brush lettering booklet for every purchase of the Pentel brush sign pen set. I am truly honoured to have the opportunity to write and design a brush lettering instructional booklet for Pentel.
When I started with brush calligraphy, I had a background on pointed pen calligraphy. It has the same concept as a brush, but handling it is different. I bought brush pens but had no idea how to use them. What I love about this Brush Lettering Fun booklet is that it is bundled with a set of Pentel brush sign pens, so you’ll have the pens and instructions on how to use them as well.
So what’s in the booklet, you ask? It has instructions to get you started with brush lettering, along with a brand new alphabet exemplar and traceable words and illustrations.
The brush lettering booklet is currently available in Singapore, and will be available worldwide as well. It comes in limited quantities and can be found at different locations at a time, so it’s best to check Pentel Singapore’s Facebook page for updates.
Oh, and we are currently giving away a 12-piece Pentel brush sign pen and a booklet to one lucky winner! Join our international giveway on Instagram, which closes on 24 October 2018 at 12 midnight (SGT).
All photos were used with permission from Pentel Singapore.
The Happy Hour modern calligraphy workshops here in Singapore just had a makeover with a revamped calligraphy kit. Rebranding has been in my mind the past few months and it’s still ongoing as I try to update the tools here and there.
Last September, I launched a new modern calligraphy kit for the workshop which includes an all-new theme and additional tools and inks while retaining the ‘Make Your Own Happy Hour‘ workbook which is exclusive to the class.
A fun (yet useful) addition are the clay pen rests that I made specially for the class! During classes, the pen holders either roll off or drip ink on the table (or both) and these teeny pen rests keep those holders in place.
On top of that, I have significantly reduced the class size, making it even more beneficial to participants. Food and drinks will always be a mainstay in all Happy Hands Project workshops as I always say that writing with an empty stomach is definitely a no-no.
Have you always wanted to learn the art of modern calligraphy? You can subscribe to the workshop newsletter to get first dibs, follow Happy Hands Project on Instagram, or check out the workshops page to sign up for the next one.
Halloween is coming! Here’s a free download for you, my lovely readers—5 wicked Photoshop brushes for Halloween, plus 2 bonus ones to make your artwork more interesting. These are hand-lettered words converted into high quality Photoshop brushes.
You can use these brushes as overlays for your digital photos. You can use these on your blog post and Instagram photos, Halloween party invites, Halloween greeting cards, or as gift tags to go along with some hostess gifts. Calligraphy and lettering makes everything look more personal, so how about adding these hand-lettered brushes onto your design?
Installing the Photoshop brushes in your computer is easy-peasy. On a Mac, I just double click the .abr file or drag it into Photoshop, and it’s installed. More detailed instructions can be found on this post on Creative Market.
Can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with! As with everything that’s on the house, this Photoshop brush set is free for personal use and may not be distributed or sold. If you’d wish to share these goodies (thank you!), just link back to this blog post.
Hello brush lettering beginners! How do you make your brush lettering pieces unique? You have mastered the technique of using the brush pen and you’re even able to write beautiful lettering with it. The next step now is to make your brush lettering unique and different from your usual pieces.
I started out just writing in straight lines. I would centralize the words then that’s it. That’s what beginners normally do. But how do you make your brush lettering unique? Here are 3 ways that I use to give my pieces a bit more oomph:
FORM A CURVE
Sketch some curves lightly on your paper so you can plan where to place your words. Keep the hierarchy in mind—the most important word should be biggest to create more impact. Write your words in a slight curve to make it more interesting. Make the curve a bit wide for easier readability. Steeper curves might be more difficult to write on and read.
Draw your guidelines either freehand or with a ruler. You can position all your words in the middle or stagger them slightly. The most important thing is to pack your words close enough so you don’t create big gaps that would be noticeable. Fill those negative spaces!
BOUNCE YOUR LETTERS
If you haven’t tried this before, it may seem tricky because you would need to create a balance even when the letters do not touch the baseline. Draw your straight lines first. These will serve as a guide so you will still have letters that touch the baseline. The first letter of the word should touch the line first, then try raising and lowering the next few letters. Stop every so often to check the balance. If your letters seem to be going up, lower the next letter.
Bouncing letters requires some getting used to, but it’s a fun way to make your usual brush lettering style into something different.
There are endless styles that can make your brush lettering even more unique, so I’ll make sure to compile a new set next time. Now it’s time to practice! Looking for brush pen recommendations? You can hop here to see my favourite pens.
I witnessed so much love during the Mother’s Day weekend workshops here in Singapore with Pentel and Tokyu Hands! This was the first time I’ve taught classes using my favourite Hybrid Dual Metallic pens. What I love about these pens is that the inks are rich and sparkly, and the colour turns out differently when one writes on either black or white paper.
For the workshops, I taught wreath illustrations to decorate envelopes. Participants got to choose from white, cream and black envelopes, but the black ones were a hit. The decorated envelopes were given to the amazing mothers along with a small note tucked inside.
There were so many kids! Everyone had a blast designing their envelopes with leaves and wreaths, and my heart was so full just from getting a peek at their love notes for their mothers.
After decorating the envelopes with the dual metallic pens, I taught a quick lesson on brush lettering using the Pentel brush sign pens. Here are photos from both Tokyu Hands in Jurong and Orchard. Enjoy!
I have a free download for all you hustlers out there. I haven’t done a desktop wallpaper freebie in a while, and I think it’s high time to give one away! It’s time to give our desktops a makeover and at the same time have a reminder in plain sight to slay the day. Oh, and eat and love too, of course.
Have you thought about taking online classes to learn lettering, calligraphy or any other creative skill? I’ve rounded up 4 of my favourite online creative classes that I’m sure will kickstart your journey on lettering or calligraphy!
I’m excited to let you guys know that Happy Hands Project has partnered with Skillshare to bring you 2 MONTHS OF FREE PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP! With a premium membership, you can stream more than 18,000 online classes on subjects like design, business, and tech. What I like most about Skillshare is that students are learning alongside more than 3 MILLION members who are as passionate as we are. Members can share their work, give each other feedback and share insights and learnings through group discussions. And I’m telling ya, it could be a pretty great experience.
Use the gift code HAPPYHANDS2 when you register to get 2 months of free premium membership.
I have taken some classes on Skillshare when I was starting out with modern calligraphy. Each class has a project to be completed at the end of the course which makes it exciting. You’d want to learn as much to be able to get that project done the right way.
After learning the basics of modern calligraphy, it’s time to make something digital out of them! Digitized calligraphy can be used in print and online in the form of logotypes, advertising, title treatments, printed stationery, and beyond. In this course Molly will walk you through four steps—sketching, flourishing, inking and finally, digitising.
The distinct Mary Kate style will be taught by her in this beginners’ class. In this 2-hour class, Mary Kate reveals the first steps of hand lettering and shares how to concept, design, and letter phrases for any use—a poster, magazine, t-shirt, or anything else you might imagine. There are very useful downloadable resources, too, which will help you in conceptualizing your very first lettering piece.
I’ve been following Martina’s lettering work for a few years now. This class is all about different lettering techniques and styles and is perfect for beginners or advanced students of lettering that want to expand their stylistic palette when drawing letters.
If you’re interested in any or all of these classes, it’s definitely worth it to check out Skillshare. Skillshare’s giving away a free trial to my lovely readers. Just sign up using my link, or use the code HAPPYHANDS2 and you’ll get 2 months of unlimited online classes for free. No commitments and you could cancel anytime.
I have attended a few creative workshops in the past 5 years, and they have been nothing but amazing. I tend to be picky and only attend classes that are of my interest, so that means it’s mostly calligraphy, and these classes have taught me so much more than what I can teach myself in a year.
I have taught myself creative or modern pointed pen calligraphy, but what really got me going was after I attended Maybelle Imasa‘s class here in Singapore. I’m all for self-study, but nothing beats an in-person workshop, based on my experience. Here, I have put together 6 reasons why going to an in-person workshop is good for you.
1 :: It speeds up the learning process
It took me 2 years to teach myself pointed pen calligraphy. If only there were workshops here in Singapore back in 2012, it would have taken me just a few months! I had Eleanor Winters’ Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy book for ages, and I could just follow the instructions if I allowed myself to learn from the book. But when she came here in 2014 and taught our class how to write the strokes, I had so much insight that I could not wait to get home to practice.
Same thing with Spencerian. This is a hand that I’ve been wanting to learn for years. I bought the Spencerian Workbooks by Platt Rogers Spencer. I’ve had it for a year and have only begun on the first workbook (it had 5). I could not even master the entrance strokes.
Last month, I attended a 2-day beginning Spencerian class with calligrapher Michael Ward. After the class plus weeks of practice, I can already write monoline Spencerian in lower case (while using his exemplar as a guide). It would have taken me years if I depended on my time management skills and the workbooks.
2 :: Someone points your mistakes (and commends you when you’re right!)
Eleanor slightly adjusted the nib on my plastic oblique holder during class. It has been angled wrong all along! During the classes I teach, we were able to address minor issues right away—scratchy nibs, ink blobs and usually the most challenging—connecting letters to form words.
You will be inspired and encouraged when your teacher tells you you’re doing something right, and it’s something you won’t forget that easily. The most effective teachers I’ve met were those who point out mistakes but were never patronizing nor condescending. I wouldn’t say everyone’s a snowflake, but it sure feels good when students receive a little encouragement.
3 :: You learn tips and tricks that you wouldn’t learn elsewhere
When the teacher is right there in front of you, you can just ask a question and receive instant feedback. It’s hard to judge your work when you’re alone. I remember a question I posed to Mike Ward during class. I showed him my uppercase B’s and asked, “these look right to me, but something’s off. Can you tell what it is?”, and he took my sheet and marked the first loop. It had to be a tad rounder.
Calligrapher Paul Antonio taught us the importance of good posture and a breathing technique to make writing easier. And I have applied it to the way I write.
4 :: You will find the value of practice
These teachers give lessons because they are experts in their own field. You will realise the hard work they’ve been through to get better in their craft. Nobody becomes an expert overnight, and after learning from these experts, I have found the value of practicing in order to refine my writing.
You can spend so much money going to different classes but without practice, you will never get better at it. It pays to flex those (hand and arm) muscles and put on paper what you’ve learned so that the workshop fees you’ve paid for truly is money well-spent.
5 :: Your passion will be ignited
Being around people in a creative environment is enough to super-charge your passion. Writing calligraphy, lettering, or even painting, can be a solitary activity. But spending hours or days with people who share the same passion as you will trigger a certain passion inside you. It is up to you to do something about it!
I love hearing the teacher’s creative journey—how they started and how long it took them to be where they currently are. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t all roses and sunshine, but hearing how they got better at their craft was enough to inspire everyone in the room to keep going.
Have you ever gone to a painting class and could not wait to get home and get your painting tools out? If you have, that’s exactly what I was talking about.
6 :: You make new friends
During those breaks during class, you’ll end up chatting with those around you. You’ll exchange Instagram handles, or plan the next art jam, or ask each other which class you’re going to next. Either way, you’ll get to know those like-minded individuals and you might just hit it off with one (or even two) of them!
So there you have it. I hope this year you’ll decide to go to a class and learn something new. The next blog post will all be about online workshops—and why they’re good for you, too—specially when in-person classes are out of the question. Let’s all keep on learning!