Calligrapher Interview | Mara Zepeda Neither Snow Part II

Anais Nin quote by Neither Snow | Mara Zepeda via besotted i

neither snow card

neither snow workshop

//Part I here//

What are some of your favorite supplies?

I’m pretty workaday when it comes to supplies and don’t do a ton of experimentation. You can find the supplies I use on my workshops page: Nikko G, Moon Palace Sumi ink, Dr. Martin’s Bleed Proof White. Canson Pro Layout Marker. What I am much more interested in is experimenting on different surfaces and with different materials. In London we calligraphed on leaves and the glass of vintage butterfly boxes. I love working with fabric and vinyl decals. And then there are the tattoos of course.

I may be wrong about this but someone mentioned you may be left-handed?  If so, any tips for lefties?

It’s true– I am left handed. After teaching many workshops one thing I’ve noticed, with left handed calligraphers specifically, but for everyone more generally is that ergonomics is the single biggest reason people feel frustrated, especially when they first start out. The angle of everything matters: pen nib, holder, paper, wrist, torso, shoulders, hips, thigh, chair seat. Most of my teaching comes down to helping each student identify the angle for all of these things that feels best to them. You will often find me adjusting elbows and crawling under the table to move the legs of a chair. The basic rule of thumb is all of these angles should be as aligned and harmonious as possible.  You can’t have your paper at a 55 degree angle but your legs at 15 degree angle and your shoulders at a 100 degree angle. My biggest tip for all calligraphers is to play around with the angles of all of these things and notice when you are contorting your body. Every awkward angle reverberates in your work. For left handed calligraphers they often need to move the paper practically perpendicular to their hand. Here’s a video of me at work as an example.

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Calligrapher Interview | Mara Zepeda Neither Snow Part I

Lettering by Neither Snow photo by Jose Villa

Neither Snow Menu

I have been wanting to know more about Mara Zapeda for ages now, just like Betsy Dunlap I was intimidated to reach out, doing these interviews the fear of being ignored or rejected is always on my mind, but luckily most lettering artists have been more than accommodating, even with their full schedules, it makes this lettering-phile happy to no end! Mara not only complied for lack of a better description she ‘brought it’, so much so that we are compelled to make this a Part I + Part II, there’s just way too much great information here for you and way too many beautiful images

Where are you located?

After living for years on the east coast (Philadelphia and Boston) then pinballing from Los Angeles and Florence, Italy, I am happily settled in Portland, Oregon. Everything you’ve heard is true: it is an incredible city.

I am so curious about the name ‘neither snow’, I know it’s from the U.S. Post, but I am dying to know how you decided upon this? Did you read it standing on line and it resonated? It’s so charming and genius.

Thank you! I started Neither Snow in the summer of 2009, right before my own wedding. I went to Reed College (more on that later) where we read Herodotus’ Histories. The quote originates there and was then adopted and adapted by the US Postal service as its well-known motto, which I’ve admired for years on the facade of the New York Central Post Office. I liked that it referenced both my time at Reed and the nostalgia surrounding hand delivered mail.

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Book by it’s cover | Peter Pan by Liam Stevens

Book by its cover Peter Pan by Liam Stevens

“It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness.”

I love Liam Stevens lettering and his interpretation of the Peter Pan book cover, so simple but still magical! I recently re-read Peter Pan (Peter & Wendy) and let me tell you it was so different from it’s Disney counterpart. It’s certainly not p.c. by any stretch of the imagination but if you can get through that and the idea that it was written another lifetime ago there is still a lot of the magic in there. One of my favorites parts that I did not remember was that the kids Wendy, John and Michael had a nanny that was a dog, I find that super endearing. There are plenty of wonderful quotes that you’ll find yourself wanting to highlight, one of them though is oft cited on Pinterest and the interwebs but is not the same as in the original book, I found myself wondering if the Disney version changed it.

If anyone out there is a designer/illustrator and a bibliophile that is feeling in a rut, I think re-interpreting your favorite books as an exercise would not only be something invigorating but great as a portfolio building exercise!

If you are inclined and feeling lucky, don’t forget our Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Kit giveaway!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Kit Giveaway!

Win this Intermediate Calligraphy Kit via Besotted Blog

So now that I got everyone excited about an intermediate modern calligraphy workshop and then shortly thereafter got you frustrated that you were no where near Cleavland, Ohio to attend said workshop, we thought we would bring back the excitement with a giveaway! Just like there are many, many beginner kits out there in the world, this one is sure to be one of our faves (but of course), there isn’t many intermediate kits. Calligrapher Lindsey Buck has done a bang up job of putting hers together, housed in a wooden tray with a charmingly illustrated sleeve you’ll find some excellent goodies to take your lettering to the next level.

Your intermediate kit will include the following:
2 nibs
1 wooden nib holder
1 empty bottle + gouache tube of paint (gray)
Pipette for mixing with gouache paint
1 gold ink
Words + Phrases sheet
Hand-drawn, how-to instructions
Digitizing Calligraphy how-to instructions
Practice papers
Practice envelopes
Resources sheet

And to sweeten the goodness we think we should absolutely include our very own Foto Rx | L25 Paper to Pixel Photoshop actions set! Word on the street amongst the lettering cognoscenti is it is the best thing to happen to cleaning up lettering since well Photoshop. We are biased and those who own it now obviously are too, but we know you’ll love it as well!

Firstly, I want to preface this giveaway by adding please, please don’t enter if you don’t plan on claiming the prize! It happened with our last giveaway, the amazing Maybelle even took time to letter the winning quote, we sent email after email and no answer. We are busy bees and (I’m a tired mama) so if I have to hunt you down, I will be choosing another winner and if I have to hunt that winner down than I will just keep the prize for myself (as she rubs her hands together in the most villainous of gestures). No, seriously, make it easy on us please, make sure you have an updated email we can contact you at, or check back in a week from now or check our Instagram feed next Tuesday, the winner most certainly could be you!

To enter to win answer the following question:

What skills do you wished you possessed? 

I have about a million of these I could list but singing would be up there, never ask me to sing….

Winner will be announced Tuesday, September 22, 2015. For additional chances to enter Pin the image and use the hashtag #besottedwiththehive Good luck!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Intermediate Calligraphy Workshop | The Hive Studio @ Christine Wisnieski Studio

Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Workshop by Hive Studio

The Hive Studio Calligraphy | Christine Wisnieski Studio

A few months ago I was lamenting on Instagram the lack of intermediate modern calligraphy classes. There seemed to be a plethora of beginning ones and once you got the basics down you were left high and dry. I put it out there in hopes that some savvy workshopper would run with the idea or at least let me know if one was ever in the works. What would this dream intermediate class entail? It would teach you how to connect letterforms and words (I am good with one word, any more and it is wonks city), it’s all well in good that you can create an alphabet but now what? How about an intermediate class that broke out the gouache and gold inks?  Not all inks handle the same and this lettering newbie can only letter in Sumi ink, which leaves my metallic and white loving ink heart so sad. Well, lucky for the world Lindsey Buck will finally be bringing this much needed workshop to life, teaching you all of the above and much more!

Lindsey’s work can be found gracing the covers of Anthropologie catalogs, UPPERCASE Magazine and on countless blog. I think she’d be a great person to learn from and if you are in Ohio you get to visit Christine Wisnieski’s studio where it will be held. I often stalk Christine’s feed (she’s not a shabby letterer herself) and I have found myself on more than one occasion sighing out loud that I wouldn’t mind a studio like Christine’s (if you had any idea how picky I am you’d know that is a huge compliment). The light, oh the light, the minimal yet warm vibe, everything just so, sigh. Lucky you to be able to visit! I did ask Lindsey if she would be taking the show on the road and you never know…I personally want first dibs on a Seattle workshop if she does!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.