I’ve been using selected colours of Sharpies in the past few years. Aside from black which I use almost every time I do script lettering for commission works, I also have silver, gold and bronze. As a graphic designer, I create all my lettering in black then colour them in my trusty laptop.
Everything totally changed last week when I received a full set of Sharpies for a class I will be teaching in a couple of weeks. I wanted to test the tools and see if the markers will work well with the paper. I made my sketch in pencil and started filling it with colour… and I was hooked! I just realised that it’s actually fun to go totally traditional and colour my artwork on paper.
I mean seriously, why would we rely on the computer when it’s all the more fun to fill in the colours by hand? I was thinking about why I didn’t do this before, and I could only think of a couple of things — first, colouring it in Illustrator is more convenient. I can do and redo as I please. Command Z. Trusty shortcuts. The works. Second, I wasn’t confident that I’ll be able to nail the colours in one go. There’s no ‘undo’ in the analog world. If I’m not pleased with my work in the end, there’s no other choice but to crumple the paper and do the whole thing all over again.
Well, obviously my lettering still needs a lot of improvement, but I’m quite happy that I did it anyway. I guess it never hurts to try a new tool, and if it doesn’t work the way you expected it to, don’t give up! I’ll probably be opening a Beginners’ Lettering Class here in Singapore in the near future so if you’re on this island, email me if you’re interested! In the meantime, here are a few more Sharpie DIYs around the web that I think might be fun to try:
If addressing envelopes in calligraphy seem intimidating for a beginner, here’s a way to use Sharpies instead. So pretty!
For coffee lovers like me (who can’t get enough of mugs), this is a fun DIY to try.
I’m in love with these black journals with gold Sharpie lettering! Gold on black never goes out of style, even if it’s not Christmas.
Gosh, it’s Friday already? I hope you’ll all forgive me for the lack of posts the last couple of weeks. The thing is, I was on holiday with my family in Manila, Philippines (which is also my hometown) where I was invited to teach a beginners’ calligraphy workshop as well. It was a pretty big deal for me because it was the first time that I ever brought The Happy Hour Workshop outside of Singapore!
So now that I’m back at the Little Red Dot, I’m on Pinterest looking for some calligraphy inspiration. There’s this style that I’m recently falling in love with, and it’s this playful, no holds barred style of freehand. Each calligrapher has his or her own way of doing this, and I’ve selected four of my favourites from all over the web.
This style works so well on a rustic setting, surrounded by wild flowers and timber and early morning sunlight. For those of you looking for inspiration for your next calligraphy project, check out these truly amazing works. Too beautiful for words, really.
WildField Paper Co. (top row)
The first one on the left was written in watercolour by Annie Mertlich. For some reason, the lettering on wood that I stumbled upon was again done by Annie Mertlich. So I guess I can say I’m a fan! You can see the full blog post on Green Wedding Shoes here.
Shannon Kirsten (bottom left)
This white lettering on black is up on Etsy, and was written by Florida-based calligrapher Shannon Kirsten.
Sam Dubeau (bottom right)
Oh, this hand-lettered piece was an instant favourite of mine! By Toronto-based Sam Dubeau, this piece is a lovely example of hand-painted lettering.
Hey you guys! I’m still on a high from weeks ago where I had the first ever Calligraphy In Colour Advanced Workshop. I kept thinking about how immensely talented each of the participants were, and when I saw them writing all I could say was, ‘Wow, you have been all practicing, weren’t you?’
And they were! Some were present in my beginners’ class from months ago, and they have been practicing diligently and have improved their calligraphy by doing so. I’ve probably said this before, but it took me 2 years to find my own style. Calligraphy is not easy, but it’s a continuous learning experience for me. I never stop learning, and I never stop practicing. That’s what’s great about this craft. There’s always room to grow.
In calligraphy, practice is something that you cannot be without — that’s why I came up with this calligraphy quote. Making time for the things you love is important, because simply put, it makes you happy. If you like to read, set aside even a few minutes to have time for yourself. With calligraphy, it’s not easy to be able to practice daily specially with everything that’s going on around us. Why not set aside an hour every Saturday? It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing!
Oh, I currently have a bunch of downloadable calligraphy over at the shop, the ones above included… go get ’em! It’s been a while since I’ve put new items for sale and this is the start of a new batch of downloadable calligraphy. I hope one of these will adorn your walls someday.
It’s such a pleasure to be showing you the logo for Mita Kelder, a photographer here in Singapore. I really enjoyed working alongside this lady! Mita wanted a logo, and a logo mark as well that will serve as her photos’ watermark. She also wanted a hand-drawn camera to go with her name.
I’ve been doing a number of photographers’ logos lately, but each one is different. I enjoyed drawing different styles of the camera for her, and after a few mixing and matching, I was able to finalise the logo and watermark symbol. I’m very much delighted to share these photos with you today!
I was amazed by so much talent during the first Calligraphy In Colour advanced modern calligraphy workshop here in Singapore. I was happy to be back at Joo Chiat Place, too! There were some familiar faces, ones who I’ve already met in my beginners’ classes. There were new faces, too, and all 12 ladies were very enthusiastic about mixing colours and exploring new styles.
During 2014, I’ve always had beginners’ classes where we use black ink and focused on drills and basic letter forms. In the advanced class, we used different types of coloured paper, different kinds of inks and paint, and an end project that everyone so creatively pulled off. We got a little technical as well, because I believe that these things are better taught during an advanced class where everyone is already familiar with pointed pen calligraphy.
Oh, and as always, we’ve got a sumptuous menu for our lunch specially catered by Carpenter and Cook.
I’m looking forward to having another Calligraphy In Colour class in the next few months! If you’re curious if this class is for you, well, you just need a basic knowledge of using a flexible nib and be familiar with the letter forms. A more detailed class description can be found here. After practicing calligraphy in black ink, it’s a whole new experience when you start customising colours and finally creating your own work of art. Thanks to everyone who came, you were all awesome!
There’s a growing trend in script fonts right now – I’ve seen numerous posters and flyers using plump, rounded scripts like Pacifico. I’m always in search of a nice, free font (and believe me, there are A LOT), but I totally dislike overused ones. When a font becomes overly popular, I try to find an alternative. The not-so-popular-but-just-as-nice font. Or even nicer.
Everyone, I’d like you to meet the latest font I fancy… Olivier. I love the thickness of it, and the carefree feel of it, and thought to myself, I need to use this font somewhere somehow. Combine it with some gold sparkles and it’s right up my alley. The free demo can be downloaded here and the licensed version here.
Want a bit of sparkle on your desktop? I made 2 versions for you all! Spread the love!
Late last year, Yasmin of Coffee Creative got in touch with me through my Etsy shop to write their wedding invitations in calligraphy. It was for their wedding in Texas, USA, and I was thrilled! It turned out to be a lovely suite, because calligraphy matched the awesome drawing Yasmin did of her and her groom! I would be totally inspired by this idea, now I wish I’m getting married again. It has a lovely, organic feel and I am super happy to have provided calligraphy for this wedding. Photos were taken by Kristen Swanson.
I”m excited to share with you this hand-lettered logo for a wonderful photographer, Vanessa, of Captured by V and Co. So far I’ve been doing logos for these awesome photographers, both here in Singapore and in the US, and I have to say it has always been a pleasure working with these creative ladies. Vanessa was no different. A self-taught photographer who does newborn and maternity sessions, I’m quite surprised that her new website has a theme that’s quite different from all the others – nautical!
The hand-lettered logo I’ve designed specially for her (she wanted a lil red bow) turned into a logo that complements the theme, and makes an elegant watermark for her photos, too. Featuring this logo is a great way to end this super busy, super rainy week. Have a lovely weekend, everyone!
When I need to write small, I always reach for my Esterbrook 355. I don’t have a vast nib collection (though my husband might have a different opinion), and I only have a few favourites, but more often than not, small sized calligraphy always calls for the Estie 355.
Those who have been to my workshops here in Singapore have probably heard of that small nib I burned when I put it over a flame. This might be the same nib, actually. The Esterbrook 355 is tiny – it can easily get sucked down the drain when I wash it!
At first glance, it may look intimidating, with its tiny body and pointy tip. It’s very soft and flexible, so you will get very nice line variation with minimal effort. You won’t get very thick swells though, that’s why I use this when I write penpal letters.
I struggled a little bit when I first started using this nib. Be warned – because of its thin and pointy tip, upstrokes will be a pain specially on textured paper. The ink might not flow on your first dip, so always have a jar of water so you can dip your nib. This helps with the ink flow.
Once I got over the first few obstacles (which were worse when I was starting out 3 years ago), I’ve learned a couple of things to make writing with 355 easy peasy.
1. Start small If you’re a beginner, start writing small with this nib. It will write beautiful thin strokes when you opt for bigger letters, I admit – but practice with small characters first.
2. Keep your upstrokes feather light This nib gets stuck during upstrokes sometimes. To avoid this and ultimately save your work from the splatter, use no pressure at all during those tricky upstrokes. No pressure at all. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
So are you ready to practice with the Esterbrook 355? I always purchase mine from Paper & Ink Arts here. Happy inking!
The 29th of November marked the last Happy Hour Beginners’ class for 2014! Woohoo! It was my first time to have it at a different location, due to numerous requests to have it in the city centre. The class was held at Coffeemin at Clarke Quay Central.
The first time I stepped into Coffemin’s private room, I was pretty impressed with its floor to ceiling glass wall because on a beautiful day, it only means one thing – gorgeous natural light! Oh, and it was indeed a beautiful day when we had our class! Its white walls were perfect for the original artworks that I always bring. There was going to be another bare wall, so I thought I’d write and draw some informative posters.
Here are more photos from the workshop! As always, thanks to everyone who came and for being so patient! Hugs to my husband who took these photos for me and helped with the setup, and to the wonderful people at Coffeemin for having us.