Contemporary Calligraphy by Erica McPhee

Contemporay calligraphy by erica mcphee

Okay, we have been a bit ambitious this week with posts haven’t we?  I hope next week is not a barren sea of crickets here, we are trying to get at least one post up a week, on a good week maybe two, but we hope they are worth the wait. Michelle and I have been working behind the scenes feverishly or as feverishly as an 11 month old will allow her mama to work, to re-envision our brand. We are taking all of your feedback to heart and using it to help with a top secret project we have in the works (feel free to add your 2 cents to the mix). I spotted the graphic above by Erica McPhee and loved it, such a great example, I wish I had time to work on my lettering, alas my plate is currently full. I have mentioned Erica McPhee before with her Flourish forum, it seems it is a resounding success, over 2,000 members and 20, 000 posts?!  An active lettering forum is a dream come true, I am so happy to see it um, flourishing. If you haven’t already you should stop by and peruse or join, it’s free and there is some serious talent and resources to be found there.

And since we are talking lettering, I thought I would link to some supplies + resources, you most likely will be getting inspired and will want to try out some lettering for yourself:

Resource list

Fave Nibs

Nib Identification Chart download

Modern Calligraphy Book

Lettering Workshops coming up

Have fun!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. She recently lives in sunny Seattle with her handsome husband, wonderful baby girl and two pups. 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.

Lovely, lithe script font

a nice monoline font via besotted blog

Michelle found this font and asked me what I thought and I think I may have squealed.  The String family by Maximiliano Sproverio is one of those finds that makes you want to go and design something so you can use it. This font would look great on everything from invites, to your holiday cards even a fun brand identity. It has a casual feel with a dash of fancy added, if it were an outfit it would be jeans, a white button down with a sparkly statement piece added. I am partial to the holes version, it reminds me (a teensy bit) of the beloved Mr. Boddington hand (now if they ever came out with a font I would be one of the first on line).

Let us know if you use it in a project, we always are up for some eye candy!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. She recently lives in sunny Seattle with her handsome husband, wonderful baby girl and two pups. 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.

Pretty handlettered font

pretty hand lettered font via besottedblog.com

I don’t usually share the fonts I use in my shop, now that would be silly of me don’t you think? But this one font (the one shown on the stamp) I get so many emails about that it would make a whirling dervishes head spin. So in a moment of extreme generosity and to selfishly keep my inbox from bursting I am going to spill the beans, but first let me tell you why I like it–indulge me.

I initially had this font in my original logo tries for Besotted Brand, a testament to how much I like it. I love that it’s feminine but not too girly (too girly never works for me). It has nice swashes and alternates to really make this font your own, so basically you can dress it up or down as much as you like. Options, I like options! It feels simple and handwritten, not too much flash but enough to get your attention. It had its hey day when it first launched, but it seems to have died down quickly, which in my opinion is great since you won’t see it everywhere.  I think this would be a perfect font to use for holiday, heck make your own own custom stamps (I happen to know a wonderful stamp maker). Okay, I won’t hold out any longer, feel free to go and add it to your collection here.

Psst, you can find some of other font loves here.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. She recently lives in sunny Seattle with her handsome husband, wonderful baby girl and two pups. 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.

 

Laura Worthington Interview Part II

shelby font by laura worthington

As promised please find part deux of our Laura Worthington interview, enjoy! You can find part I here.

Any tips for newbies on how to develop their own style?

While I encourage studying others lettering for practice, as it helps to learn how certain forms, strokes and effects are made, I think when it comes to your own style, you need to put that aside. Do not compare yourself to others, or wish that your lettering would look more like so-and-so’s lettering. Both of these things will not only discourage you and cause unhappiness and discontent, but they also prevent you from developing your own style and learning how to truly express yourself.

Can you discuss the font process a little, how you came to create all these gorgeous fonts and how would a lettering artist go about doing so?

It usually starts with experimentation or practice with one of my tools (my favorites are pointed pen, brush and folded ruling pens). From there, I will come up with a letter or word that sparks an inspiration for a font. I then continue to write more words or phrases to develop the idea further. I like to take breaks to define and clarify what I saw in this that inspired me: I write about it. I journal almost daily and most of what I write has to do with my work. I find that it helps me think through what I’m trying to achieve with my lettering and designs, what I’m struggling with or what’s working and so on. It helps me to focus and channel my thoughts and I find that it pushes me past any creative blocks I may be facing and develop new ideas and gain insight as well.

Once I have the project well defined with some lettering as a starting point, I set forth producing will be used as the basis for the design. I practice the new style I’m working on to develop muscle memory till I can letter the new style with ease. In the beginning, it’s usually a bit frustrating as I try to push myself to be uncomfortable as that’s what it takes to come up with something different than what I’ve done before. I take frustration, struggle, discomfort and uncertainty as signs that I’m doing something right. If it’s easy, I’m not trying hard enough.

Once I get several pages of lettering completed, I scan it all in. In Photoshop, I go through and find the best version of each letter, copy and paste it into FontLab to use as a reference to redraw the letterforms with the pen tool. I do this quickly and keep it rough initially because I need to see how it looks when typed out in words and phrases in order to catch any global changes that need to be made and/or re-lettered. I try to work from macro to micro, general to specific as I develop the font. Big changes need to be made in the beginning, and the highly detailed work done towards the end.

I work with the lowercase letters first as they make up most of what’s used in words and phrases. The goal of the lowercase is to have a strong sense of rhythm, harmony and personality. One of the ways to achieve that is to have a few key letters that are very unique while keeping the rest general and not too obtrusive. Trying to make all of the characters unique is the recipe for a chaotic design, while not having enough letters stand out can be boring. The uppercase set, however, with script fonts in particular, has the opposite goal. As they’re hopefully used sparingly (please, don’t set a script font in all uppercase letters!), are to be the jewel – the centerpiece. Of the word or phrase

After all of the letters are drawn and they’re working well together, there’s production and mastering to complete. Kerning (that is, the space between characters) is very time consuming, thousands of character pairs need to be reviewed and adjusted. The space around the characters is as important and shape of the characters themselves. Designing diacritics, and programming are also on the long list of things to do. Finally, there’s testing the font, not just to see if it works technically, but also to proof and review it at various sizes.

Finally, there’s putting together promotional images that show off the font’s offerings and how it may be used, getting a description written, a user’s guide with examples and technical details, and then packaging everything together and send it off to my distributors to be published.

For any lettering artists wishing to get into type design, there are a few things you should be aware of before getting started. Realize that not all lettering styles translate well into type design. It’s best to start with a simple style until you become accustomed to the complexities of the craft. Also, learning to design type is a big undertaking – there is very little information and resources available to learn how create typefaces, especially script styles. Plan to be largely self-taught and which means you therefore must be motivated and patient. The work is very detailed, technical and challenging to learn, but also very rewarding.

Any recommendations of books or classes for lettering enthusiasts to further their studies?

There are actually A LOT of different books and classes/workshops for lettering. Almost too many to mention! Let’s see… there are a few workshops in the realm of calligraphy, such as Iampeth, Cheerio, Legacies… take a look at the John Neal Books website as they keep a great list of both workshops and excellent books. Also, Type Camp offers hand lettering workshops and there’s some great online courses through Skillshare too.

Do you have some favorite projects you would like me to mention?

Charcuterie, Adorn, Samantha Script… these are all really big families, the first two are collections which is an interesting concept of offering a grouping of distinct yet related typefaces and ornamental fonts.

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

Don’t give up too quickly. It takes time to learn lettering! Also, if you’re totally new to it, I don’t recommend starting with a brush or pointed pen right away. I think it’s best to begin with pencil practicing basic letterforms from well-defined models, learning its ductus, then move into using lettering tools. Trying to learn a new lettering model AND how to use a tool at the same time can double the difficulty and frustration.

Name one random talent you have that people may not know?

Voice impressions! I can cluck like a chicken as well as smattering of other strange and random people and animals!

image  of shelby font by YouWorkForThem

Calligrapher Interview Laura Worthington Part I

laura worthington interview besotted blog

Ah, a Laura Worthington interview, you all are in for a real treat! If Laura’s name seems familiar it’s because  we have featured her fonts before and if you have been lurking around our fave font shop, Laura is quite the prolific font designer/lettering artist.  It is a privilege to be able to feature her today. This is part I of her interview, there’s so much good information that we didn’t want to overload you and allow you to take it all in! If you have questions be sure to leave them in the comments. Thank you Laura for such a detailed and inspired interview!

Where are you located?

Bonney Lake, Washington – which is about 50 miles south of Seattle

 How did you get started in lettering?

When I was nine years old, instead of learning the standard roundhand cursive styles typically taught, my 4th grade teacher had opted to teach us italic printing instead. Her handwriting was beautiful and the way she described how to construct the letterforms and what they should look like in their ideal state struck a chord with me. I was smitten and knew immediately that this would become a passion of mine. My mother, at the same time, was taking a calligraphy course at a community college. It was a perfect storm of events that set forth my future – from that moment on, I studied and practiced calligraphy and anytime I handwrote notes, essays, journal entries, et cetera, I viewed it as an opportunity to perfect my handwriting and train my hands and eyes. All throughout school I lettered certificates, wedding envelopes, poems and anything else. I taught myself many of the basic hands from calligraphy books. Chancerian, Foundational, Carolingian, various forms of Blackletter and so on.

 What are some of your favorite supplies?

For paper, I love Rhodia dot pads, Borden & Riley Cotton Comp and Vellum, Canson Marker and Vellum as well. For ink, I like Moon Palace sumi ink as well and I use Noodler’s ink with my treasured wet noodle fountain pens, which I collect.

For nibs, there are quite a few I like. For steel dip nibs, I prefer the Brause Rose, Nikko G and the Hiro Blue Pumpkin. For most of my pointed nib lettering these days, however, I use wet noodle fountain pens, especially for practice. My favorites are the Waterman Ideal #2 and Mabie Todd. What I love about wet noodle fountain pens is their convenience and ease of use. All of mine are either lever or eyedropper filled, so you can write quite a bit without needing to refill them every couple of letters as you must with dip pens which means I can practice in the evening while sitting on my couch watching a movie with my husband, or sitting outside in my garden. Also, the wet noodles are often extremely smooth and responsive, so you don’t have to be as careful with upstrokes that often damage the tines of a steel dip nib.

For brushes, I use Pentel Colorbrushes,Prismacolor Faber Castell felt brushes, DaVinci Maestro pointed brushes and Raphael Kolinsky. For chisel edge brushes I use Windsor & Newton.

What are some of your inspirations?

I am such a visual person that most of my inspiration comes from what I see. I love to check in with what other lettering artists, type designers, graphic designers and illustrators are doing. But most of my inspiration comes from just simple lettering practice when I have no goal in mind other than the sheer pleasure that comes from applying ink to paper.

To be cont.

//Resources mentioned//

Rhodia dot pads

Borden & Riley Cotton Comp and Vellum

Canson Marker and Vellum

Moon Palace sumi ink

Noodler’s ink

Wet noodle fountain pens

Brause Rose

Nikko G

Hiro Blue Pumpkin

The Waterman Ideal #2

Mabie Todd

Pentel Colorbrushes

Faber Castell felt brushes

DaVinci Maestro pointed brushes

Raphael Kolinsky

Windsor & Newton Chisel edge brushes

 

 

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