Have you ever tried holding your brush or pen and just writing whichever way you want? With all the ‘rules’ we need to remember when writing with a pointed pen, not thinking about writing at all can be liberating. I always say that it’s better to ‘not think, just write’, and that you’ll get a good result nevertheless.
But how about just scrawling large words onto paper and not caring what the outcome is? I’ve coined a term for it – ok, not really, but still – I call it Lettering Without Thinking. So it’s not that clever, but it makes you want to try it, right? Just whip out your brush, dip it in paint and write – no holds barred.
Gather all your materials – copy paper, watercolour or acrylic paint, brush pens, Sharpies, paintbrushes, the sky’s the limit. Experiment with different brushes and pigments and see how your works turn out. It’s like Jackson Pollock writing letters. It’s messy, it’s invigorating, and who knows, you might actually come up with something frame-worthy.
It’s a breath of fresh air after doing Copperplate drills or trying to figure out a certain flex nib. And you know what? I somewhat feel that I will be doing this more often.
I have three things to share today. Three simple little things that can make a difference while you practice calligraphy. Nope, not hard and fast rules, just some tips that can help you be more satisfied with the outcome of your writing.
Number 1: Free Your Mind
I’ve done this a lot of times – thinking about something else while writing. Hmm, what cookies should I make tomorrow? Should I read this book tonight? If you have all these things on your mind, you will definitely misspell a word. You may even skip one or two. It happened to me so many times! Don’t think about dinner. Don’t even think about the alignment of your words or if your swirls are perfect. Focus on the words you are writing and nothing else.
Number 2: Love Thy Own Handwriting
Each one of us have our own writing styles even with just using a regular ballpoint. Some write with messy strokes, some with floating baselines, some super neat and straight. No matter what your style is, embrace your own handwriting style and you’ll see how easier it will be. Yes, you can compare your calligraphy with others’ works – you’ll learn that way – but love your own style and don’t be too hard on yourself! Having your own style and loving it will make your writing more consistent because you play by your own rules and not somebody else’s.
Number 3: Practice Makes Pretty
Ah. Those drills. Those practice sheets that we fill with lines, curves and swishes. They’re monotonous, repetitive. I know we all just want to get down and write words, letters, paragraphs, even. I’m skipping the overused phrase here and get down to the third and most important tip I can think of – Practice Makes Pretty. Why? Lots of practice makes a whole lot of difference. Last December I wasn’t to get hold of my pens and did not write for a couple of weeks. I came back to Singapore from our family holiday and my writing was downright wobbly. Oh, and it took me more than 2 years of practicing till I got the style that I wanted, and it doesn’t end there. Practice is essential and learning is continuous. Remember that to be happy with your own calligraphy style, aim for pretty (which is subjective) and not perfect.
We’ll talk more about these 3 things on my workshop here in Singapore – the first one is just a few days away! If you’d like to know when the next one will be, sign up for the mailing list!
This is usually how my morning goes. I launch Firefox and go through my bookmarks – which mostly covers fun, lighthearted blogs from all over. I go through each of them so I end up with about eight tabs on my Firefox window. And it wasn’t even 9am yet! So anyway, I found out that my morning browsing will be considerably organized if I just signed up with Bloglovin’. After a few days of reading other users’ reviews, I took the plunge and signed up. Claimed my blog, even. I was surprised at how easy it is now to read all my favorite blogs (I know, I sound like a celebrity endorser but no, I didn’t get paid for this. And I’m no celebrity!). Click on the image below to go to my Bloglovin’ page so you can follow the Happy Hands Project.
As you can see, I even made an art work just to announce my new discovery. To think that I’m pretty late to the party on this one. I was experimenting with Photoshop brushes today and ended up making three watercolor circles that can be used, well, anywhere, actually! These are high resolution, good quality brushes! Here are just some of my ideas as to where I can end up using them:
A personalized notecard
A desktop wallpaper
Stickers in different colors
My advise is this – go crazy with your brushes! Experiment with colors, play with different layer styles. Just make sure you use different layers in Photoshop for every click of that brush. Just layer it. You can thank me later. If you need help on where to save the file onto Photoshop, this is helpful. For more lovely (and free!) brushes, plus how-to videos, check out this post on Creature Comforts. These are probably just about everything you need to get started.
Now it’s time to download the Happy Hands Project watercolor brush pack here.
As always, for everything that’s on the house, these brushes are for personal use only and cannot be sold or re-distributed. I would appreciate linking back to my post if you would feature this on your blog, and not host them on your own server. Whew! I just had to get that out. Thanks for reading!