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5 Reasons to Learn Hand Lettering

Every now and then, I tell myself I should “settle down” with one major creative outlet. But who wants to “settle down” these days? Isn’t settling down the end of the line? Aren’t we all slightly crazed multi taskers? Cooking while watching Netflix and taking Snapchats, exercising live on Facebook while checking the news and chatting with your BFF? And what’s wrong with that? Well, if you read my post about travelling solo in the Grampians, I have discovered why multitasking can have disastrous consequences. But the reality is, we all do it, and trying new things is a way to keep learning, in my view. As Emily Wapnick says, we can all be multipotentialites! So I’m always looking for new creative pursuits, and I keep an eye out for things I haven’t tried before… Work-Shop is a good place to discover new and quirky things I might want to try. And when Alena from Moonlight Creation hosted a workshop at the Saporium in Sydney, I went to have a sticky beak… If you want to go beyond the “just because” of creativity, I have 5 reasons to learn hand lettering for you to think about.

It’s Creative

If you like creative activities, hand lettering is an easy one to get started with. Indeed, all you need is some paper and a set of pens. And it’s a bit like drawing, you proceed with trial and error, repetition after repetition, and eventually, you create your own style. What I like about it is the definitive handmade feel: you work with your hands, with simple tools, and you explore a different way of using a felt pen. It’s no longer “writing”, it’s exploring the shapes and dynamics of letters and words.

It’s a Challenge

When I sat down to get started, I made an assumption. I’ve been crafting for a while and I’m quite good at it. Also, I have touched on many different crafts or creative pursuits: card making, embossing, knitting, embroidery, sewing, colouring… Understandably, I feel quite confident when it comes to trying new handmade practices. But when I sat down and started tracing lines on the paper, I felt like a mere beginner… What’s so hard about tracing lines on a sheet of paper? It’s not hard but you do have to train your hand. The trick is to control the movement of your hand so the pressure you apply when tracing varies, in order to draw thin or thick lines.

It’s not easy at the beginning but you get better at it quickly. The printed guides on the workbook are a great help! In order to draw thick lines, you need to add more pressure on the pen and “break” the tip. I admit it, my dainty colouring self struggled with that initially… The Artline pens provided at the workshop glide softly on the paper so it’s easy to go with the flow.

It’s Relaxing

I look to handmade activities for relaxation. Indeed, we live in a busy, digital world, where typing on a computer is now more mainstream than scribbling on a bit of paper. And whilst progress is great, it is sometimes necessary to move away from all the devices in our lives and go back to the basics of handwriting.

The repetition of tracing lines quickly becomes a meditative act, a bit like colouring or knitting. Hand lettering is a very good way to retreat from the digital world.

It’s Personal

Initially, hand lettering is about following the guides, switching between fine lines and thick lines. It sounds boring but as you get more confident, you have the opportunity to create your own style, and even develop your own cursive type.

And after that, you can apply your skills to creating beautiful stationary and writing kind words to your loved ones…

It’s Portable

As a crafter and maker, I feel that in a lot of handmade pursuits, I have to acquire a lot of gear, sometimes even before I can get started. As someone who has tried a lot of different handmade techniques, I wonder about that every time I’m interested in something new. Every new craft seems to require a whole new kit… That has stopped from trying new things, like jewellery making for example…

I recently took a Shibori class and a screen printing class, and both techniques are really good fun and highly creative, but getting the gear in order to do it at home took a while.

On the other hand, hand lettering only requires some paper and a handful of pens, so it’s not too much of a commitment if you want to try it and see if it suits you.

I occasionally like to take a bit of crafting when I travel, but I don’t have many options. Even colouring is tricky. The colouring book is one thing, but the big bag of colouring pens doesn’t really work if you want to travel light…

Good quality paper and a few pens will easily fit into a bag !

The Space

Not only did I find 5 reasons to learn hand lettering, but I also discovered The Saporium. It’s a newly renovated warehouse, with food shops and organic cafes. There is also an interesting “space within the space”, dedicated to cooking classes.

Have you tried your hand at brush lettering? Tell me what you make using this technique in the comments below!

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15 Comments

  1. xolittlebee

    May 30, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Oh I love this so much! I have good penmanship but when it comes to actually doing a design hand lettering, i’m a complete fail. I can’t do artsy types at all. Where did you get the book that says “hey there” and what pen’s/markers would you recommend?

    1. Delphine

      May 30, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Don’t worry, I felt like an idiot when I started lettering, and that’s because it is different to writing. It’s closer to drawing and I’m really not good at that. But you get better with practice. I received the workbook and the pens when I did the class at Work-Shop. Check out the link in the blog post, they have some hand lettering classes in June (if you are in Sydney).

    2. Alena

      May 31, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Hello 🙂 it is a booklet I give out during my workshops 🙂
      Visit my page Moonlight Creation for upcoming workshops

  2. Idriss

    May 30, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    That all looks super familiar to me. I loved learning hand lettering, it was such a calming and positive experience 🙂

    1. Delphine

      May 31, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Hi Idriss, I look forward to spending more time practising and relaxing at the same time!

  3. Hannah E.

    May 30, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    I bought a stash of beautiful writing materials years ago. Thank you for inspiring me to pick them back up again:) LOVED THIS> Your hand writing is gorgeous

    1. Delphine

      May 31, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Hi Hannah, I’m very pleased you’re inspired to pick up your lettering again, it’s a very relaxing craft!

  4. Adventuring The Great Wide Somewhere

    May 31, 2017 at 2:38 am

    I would love to learn hand lettering. I adore the look of calligraphy on signs, place cards, art prints, envelopes, etc. and would love to be able to recreate the look for myself. I have to find that book for myself and get some practice.

    1. Delphine

      May 31, 2017 at 8:00 am

      I agree with you, calligraphy looks really nice on stationary. Maybe check out Moonlight Creation, Alena is the one who created the workbook.

  5. Michelle

    May 31, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Wow! How fun, this is a great idea! The lettering is beautiful! You make it look very easy. 🙂

    1. Delphine

      May 31, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Hi Michelle, hand lettering is harder than it seems initially but it gets easier!

  6. Dani

    May 31, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Such a lovely post! Thank you for inspiring me – I’ve wanted to try this for a while but keep putting it off. Definitely adding it to my “to do” list over the next couple of months

    Dani x

    1. Delphine

      May 31, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Hi Dani, I am pleased you are going to try hand lettering, let me know how you go!

  7. Bailey

    June 1, 2017 at 2:34 am

    I am terrible at this sort of thing but I really want to give this a try!

    1. Delphine

      June 1, 2017 at 8:30 am

      Hi Bailey, I felt I was really bad when I started but I got better after a little while! Crafting is always challenging at the beginning but very rewarding when you see how well you can do! Do give it a try and see how you go!

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