Plume Calligraphy |Aileen Fretz Interview

Plume Calligraphy via Besotted Blog

Michelle was the one that discovered Miss Fretz of Plume Calligraphy. We both admired her ‘p’, it’s a hard letter to work with in my humble opinion and Aileen executes it beautifully. When Michelle mentioned I immediately looked up her site (a simple beauty), I was intrigued to learn more and I know that you as lettering enthusiasts are always up for a new discovery, so let us find out more about the lovely Plume Calligraphy

embrace the imperfections, don’t get caught up trying to be perfect!

Where are you located?

Just outside of Toronto, Canada

How did you get started in lettering?

My background is in Graphic Design and my love of typography and letterforms has been present my entire life! During elementary school I would create different ‘fonts’ with my handwriting, this is something I’ve never grown out of! I started practicing calligraphy as a 2014 new years resolution, I was searching for a new hobby and quickly became a lover of calligraphy!

What are some of your favorite supplies?

For inks, I love Higgins Eternal Black Ink, it’s my go to warm up ink. I recently discovered Pearl Ex powdered pigments for gold and other pearlescent colours – I’m in love with how smoothly they write. For colours, I love mixing very watery gouache so that you can see the paper texture and the colour gradients in the calligraphy.

For brushes, my favourites are Sakura Koi Water Brush & Grumbacher Goldenedge, but the Sakura Koi is my #1 go to for brush lettering!

My most used nibs are the Leonardt 111EF, Brause 66EF and my favourite is the Leonardt General.

For paper, my favourites are Canson Watercolour and Canson Mixed Media! Both are really smooth and the textures are just lovely!

Can you name some of your inspirations?

I am inspired by a variety of things, but I would say the most influential are old world centered. Antiques, vintage inkwells and pens, worn textures and anything Jane Austen!

Can you go a little into your process of how you work on a project?

When I’m getting started on a project, I will usually study a broad range of imagery related to a theme and use the overall feeling as a jumping off point for my creative process. For projects involving hand-lettering, I’ll write out the words in a variety of forms, playing with the spacing and size of the letter shapes, sharper, rounder, heavier and lighter to reflect the theme or feeling that I’m looking for!

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

Experimenting with different nibs and holders can help to develop your own unique style, by discovering what tools you like and don’t like. Practicing with different nibs and holders had a major impact on the development of my own lettering styles. I’ve found that I love the style of my calligraphy with an oblique nib holder much more than with a straight holder. Once you find the main combinations that work for you, incorporating a variety of different nibs will allow you to create many variations of your unique style.

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

I took Molly Suber Thorpe’s Digitizing Calligraphy Class & Molly Jacques Introduction to the Art of Modern Calligraphy on Skillshare. Both of these online courses helped me refine what I had self taught and learn techniques that I otherwise would not have known!

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

I have recently been working on a lot of editorial collaborations, which has been such a great opportunity to create for fun, the sky’s the limit and I can be as creative as I like!

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

I am a total perfectionist, which I think stems from my graphic design background, I naturally like things that are straight and perfect. But what I love about modern calligraphy is the ability to embrace the imperfect and accept, even strive for, the creation of unique letter forms. My advice would be to embrace the imperfections, don’t get caught up trying to be perfect! It will allow you to expand your style creatively and save you a ton of paper at the same time!

If you want to mention any upcoming workshops…

I am in the process of planning my first teaching workshop which will happen this summer! More info coming soon!

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.

Hope Scott Calligraphy Interview

Hope Scott Calligraphy Interview via besotted blog

When we were brainstorming ideas for this week and considering artists to interview I knew that I wanted to ask Hope Scott, there’s something very tenacious about her. Hope is amazingly honest about her journey and her advice is so much wiser beyond her years and time lettering. I have watched as her little business has grown and I think it might inspire some of you to take that leap if you were considering it. Hope’s hand feels very fresh and uniquely her own, I think you will find her story and lettering inspiring, she is one to watch as she is going places. Without further ado…

Sit down and write. Take note from other calligraphers, of course, but know when to close out of Instagram and Pinterest and just work on your own thing. Once you do develop your own style, have confidence in it.

Where are you located?

I’m located just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, born and raised in Northern Kentucky.

How did you get started in lettering?

I started practicing calligraphy during my junior year of college in the tiniest dorm room you can imagine. It’s ironic that I would pick up calligraphy, because in the 3rd grade my teacher used to get so frustrated that I didn’t know how to write in cursive. She sent notes home to my mom, I failed nearly every spelling test because my writing was illegible, and I vividly remember writing a note to my mom telling her I wanted to quit going to school because everyone made fun of me for not being able to write nicely! Like I said, the irony. So that year in college, I began seeing modern calligraphers take over social media and I thought, “I can do that.” I bought a $10 kit from the craft store and each night, I’d turn on the tiny desk lamp in my dorm and spend hours writing anything and everything, and quite horrendously at that. Eventually I found this blog and completely devoured every interview, buying every single nib, holder, paper, and ink that each calligrapher recommended. Buying good tools was the turning point.

What are some of your favorite supplies?

I am glued, absolutely glued to my Zebra G nib with this wood pen holder. I tend to have a pretty heavy hand, and I’ve found this nib feels and works the best for me. I’m also quite fond of the Hiro 41, but I haven’t used it in a while and would definitely not recommend it for beginners as it’s very flexible. I’ve also been practicing more with a Blue Pumpkin but I don’t feel very comfortable with it yet. I’m working on making it a part of my rotation, however. As for ink, this black Sumi is hands down my favorite. The 12 oz bottle has lasted me over a year and with daily use. It’s beautiful, affordable, and lasts forever–can’t beat that! For brush work, I’m addicted to these Akashia Sai Watercolor Brush pens. I use them all the time and have been so happy with the results. Regarding paper, I typically use 100# white cougar cover.

Can you name some of your inspirations?

Early on, I was inspired by those I considered the pioneers of modern calligraphy: Li Ward, Alissa Mazzenga, Mara Zepeda, Meredith Bullock, Chelsea Petaja, and Molly Jacques. Today, I find myself inspired by movies. I love stories. So when I watch movies (which is quite frequently), I love listening for quotes that I can letter later on, and I find that once I write them down, I remember them forever.

Can you go a little into your process of how you work on a project?

These days I’m doing a lot of logo design, which I absolutely love. Once I book a client, they fill out a design questionnaire that we share via Google Drive, and add me to a secret Pinterest board that they’ve created for their brand. I then take a couple days to begin sketching 4-6 concepts in varying styles to send to my client, and from there, we email back and forth; they send suggestions for the next round of revisions, and I upload those revisions and eventually the final files to their client password protected page on my Squarespace site.

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

Sit down and write. Take note from other calligraphers, of course, but know when to close out of Instagram and Pinterest and just work on your own thing. Once you do develop your own style, have confidence in it.

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

I’ve got a couple calligraphy books, but as I’ve never read them (I’m too impatient to read about what to do), I probably shouldn’t recommend them. I do, however, recommend your blog to everyone interested in calligraphy and those looking for new materials to use.

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

My favorite most recent project was a little something I created for Vogue. Talk about crazy! There I was sitting on my couch eating snacks and watching TV, when I casually opened my email and saw a message from an editor at the Vogue blog asking if I could call her. They wanted me to re-create some watercolor place cards for a piece on wedding calligraphy, to be featured the next day on the blog. It was an extremely tight deadline (maybe an hour?) to create the cards, let them dry, calligraph them, and then photograph before the light faded, but it was so rewarding and exhilarating.

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

If once you’ve developed your own style, you find that it looks a bit different than everyone else’s, avoid the temptation to change your style to fit in. I used to despise the style I wrote in, and wondered why I couldn’t make my work look like so-and-so’s. I felt my work was too much of this and too little of that. But then I got a few emails and comments from people who began to differentiate my work from other calligrapher’s; they would say, “I knew that was your calligraphy, Hope!” and that’s when I decided that I’d rather people say that than blend in with everyone else. It’s okay for your work to look different. It’s a good thing.

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

I know nearly every line of the Pride and Prejudice movie (the 2005 version). I’ve probably seen it well over 50 times. The music, the landscape, the language, the story. There’s nothing about it I don’t love.

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.

Lydia Robins Hendrix Modern Calligrapher Interview

Lettering by Lydia Robins Hendrix via besotted blog

We have spent the last few months deeply immersed in lettering, even more so than usual. We currently are experiencing what I can only describe as a lettering high, our class made it to the #2 spot in trending classes on Skillshare and we are not ready to let go of our current euphoria. Many lettering artists have written to us that our site had an impact on them, that they were able to find resources, insight and inspiration for their own lettering journey, those types of notes warm our hearts to no end. To celebrate we are doing a week of lettering artists, we wanted to showcase some up and coming talent with hopes that their stories will inspire you in your own lettering or inspire you to put nib and ink to paper.

 Our first lettering artist is Lydia Robins Hendrix, I believe I first spotted her work on Instagram, I was immediately hooked. It’s so hard to develop a distinct hand and I feel that Lydia has done just that seamlessly. It is casual, yet elegant, feminine but not girly–just lovely. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her a little better, we hope you do to!  Give Lydia some love here in the comments or visit her here.
I strongly believe that if it works for you, it doesn’t matter if it’s the “right” way to do something.

//LYDIA ROBINS HENDRIX CALLIGRAPHY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS//

Where are you located?

Columbia, SC

How did you get started in lettering?

It’s all my parents’ fault, really.  My dad picked up lettering in architecture school and had various pens and even some books around his study while I was growing up. I was really curious and played around with it as a kid. This was mostly broad-edged calligraphy, not pointed pen, but when I was getting married I was certain I could just pick up where I left off.  Cue roaring laughter.  It took me forever to find my way to a pointed pen (even just four years ago in 2011, you could not find information the way you can now!) – it was trial and error messing with the tools in my mom’s art supplies (she died when I was 5 months old – that’s not to elicit sympathy, I just would have asked her if I could have!) to come across a pointed pen and finally make the connection between the tool I needed to use and the style I wanted to achieve.  It then was a matter of getting a book from the library and studying the contemporary styles of people whose work I really admired, trying to find my own way to sort of blend the two.  I pulled out a lot of my hair that year.

What are some of your favorite supplies?

My bread and butter are a Zebra G, a regular ‘ol Speedball oblique pen holder, Sumi ink, and Canson marker paper.  I do a lot of lettering for scanned purposes, so that is what I’ve found to be my favorite combination for that end.  I also still love a Brause Steno nib – it’s what I used when I really started figuring out what I was doing, and it seems to play nicer with thicker inks like gouache and metallic, as well as also having a smoother, broader edge that doesn’t catch as badly on cotton papers with those little fibers who like to jump out and ruin your day.

Can you name some of your inspirations?

As far as other calligraphers, Elizabeth Porcher Jones, Paperfinger (Bryn Chernoff), and Fat Orange Cat Studio (Li Ward) are whose work I obsessed over when I was getting started and still drool over to this day. I actually do now try to keep my head in the sand, if you will; I appreciate the work of so many people, but I have found it’s so much easier to avoid the temptation to compare and belittle my own work if I just stop looking at everyone else’s.

In general, as an artist?  This may sound strange, but I am really inspired by the culinary world.  If I’m not in the studio, I’m thinking about food, I’m reading about food, I’m watching food documentaries or food shows…  Okay, and being smothered by my dog (though he will crawl all 65 pounds into my lap in the studio, as well).  I have been thinking a lot lately about how chefs work in cycles – they very frequently will work very intensely on a project and then take time away to learn or get inspired by something new.  That’s something that I think is likely extremely important to develop oneself and grow as an artist, but it seems really scary.  Knowing that there’s another profession where it is occasionally necessary to walk away from everything that you’ve set up that is starting to feel stable, that is really comforting to me.  In particular, I’m crazy about Francis Mallmann, an Argentine chef who is about as free-spirited as it gets, as well as the insight of Dan Barber.  Dan Barber lost his mother, as well, and he very frankly admits that his work is in all likelihood some sort of attempt to heal that wound.  That resonates with me intensely. I think there are likely many parallels between people who are drawn to the culinary world and people who are in the fine arts.  Needless to say, I highly recommend the Netflix series “Chef’s Table”…

Can you go a little into your process of how you work on a project?

My process is pretty no-frills – I am committed to being as easy to work with as possible, so my goal is to produce excellent work efficiently.  I try to get as much information as I can up front (and I’ve gotten better at figuring out what information I need over the years), and just run with it.  Especially being in the wedding industry where there is so much stress, I try to leave as few open ends as possible so there’s less anxiety for all parties involved!

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

I think learning fundamentals (i.e. traditional lettering) alongside gathering inspiration from people you admire and really pulling from a broad range of others is a good way to really find your own style.  If you have a solid foundation in traditional lettering, you’re going to find it easier to play around with those structures rather than just copy someone else’s style.

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

Oh gosh, the book that I used when I started is probably not the best out there, but I know that John Neal Books has some incredible resources.  I have taught modern calligraphy workshops, but I really do strongly suggest pressing into Copperplate either before or simultaneously to working on more modern styles.  JNB has some great books and tools for that!

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

Eeks! I recently finished up some invitations that I lettered and then screenprinted myself on Silk and Willow’s handmade cotton paper – it’s a suite I’m really, really proud of, but the wedding isn’t until June 24th, so it will be a while before any decent images of it emerge!

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

Nope! In fact, I am really not a rules girl.  I strongly believe that if it works for you, it doesn’t matter if it’s the “right” way to do something.  I am to this day not sure if other people do things the same way I do them, and I’m okay with that!

If you want to mention any upcoming workshops…

No upcoming formal workshops, though I will be teaching a brush lettering class at The School of Styling’s Charleston School in August.

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

I’m fluent in Spanish? My bachelor’s degree is actually in Spanish, so I get really excited if I get to use it even just a little bit.  Ironically, my husband is a German teacher, and I have found I’ve been addressing things to Germany and Austria a lot lately.  Go figure!

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.

Around here…

lettering + photo by ez pudewa from Photoshop for Lettering Artists class project

What an incredibly exciting week we have been having! It never gets this exciting around these parts. The most exciting thing that has happened to me lately before this was when my 18 month old daughter said, “Help, Mommy, poo poo.” That was freaking awesome; those with children may fully comprehend how glorious a moment that was for me, but it was no comparison to this week and the launch of our class and the warm response we have received–thank you!

Since the platform is not a secret anymore I thought I would share some of the wonderful classes I have taken via Skillshare, hold on to your hats because the list is quite extensive. What can I say I love to learn! I have mentioned some of these classes before, but I think it’ll be nice to have them all in one place to reference.

Bonnie Christine of Going Home to Roost is just amazing, a kind, creative and talented individual she has two wonderful classes on Skillshare on Surface Design that I have taken. If you have an interest in patterns and real world application of them I can’t recommend her classes enough here and here.

I am such a fan of Bryn Chernoff’s hand, she has a series of classes on Modern Calligraphy and it’s always nice to hear about the lettering process from someone you admire.

Molly Jacques did a really nice job with her Introduction to the Art of Modern, it was one of the more simple ones to follow and I was able to get a lot out of it. I think it’s perfect for the complete newbie to lettering. One of  my favorite things she said in the class when she discussed some of the lettering artists she admires was that her goal was not to copy them but to evoke the ‘feeling’ their lettering had on her. I think that’s a perfect articulation of anything that inspires another artist!

Marte Marie Forsberg is an Instagram sensation (rightly so). Her Capturing Food, Flavors, Conversation lifestyle photography class is short and sweet and filled with photo inspiration. If you are short on time but still want to take in a photo class this is for you!

Jennifer Schwartz is the creative director of Crusade of Art, her mission is to help artists find their visual voice and share their work. She is now up to 6 classes on Skillshare (and I do want to take each and every one of them), but so far I have only take one-Becoming a Fine Art Photographer.

Mary Kate McDevitt’s class-First Steps of Hand Lettering  It is SO good!  I love that it is a lettering class and not just a calligraphy class (where you would need special tools like nib & ink, so no excuses). All you need is a pencil, paper and some imagination.  It’s worth every penny if you are even remotely interested in lettering.

If you have any commercial lettering aspirations than lettering legend James Victore’s class Radical Typography might be a class for you. I thoroughly enjoyed his passion and enthusiasm for his craft.

I haven’t taken this class yet, but the images for Minimalist Food Photography looks like it would be something I would love.

Winners of the 3 spots for our Photoshop for Lettering Artists are @vivabailey, Rachel Headley, @laurasuejohnson, congrats!

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.

class project by student ez pudewa

Photoshop for Lettering Artist the Class!

photoshop for lettering artist class launch via besotted blog

After much toil + tribulation, with a healthy does of enthusiasm thrown in we are so pleased (and proud) to be able to announce our class–Photoshop for Lettering Artist on Skillshare! When we were choosing what class to create (we have ideas for so many more) we really kept coming back to a huge void for lettering artists. Of course there are classes, very, very indepth classes for digitizing your lettering, but there was nothing out there for a complete Photoshop novice. After all, if you are lettering you may enjoy the very organic and tangible process of lettering and the thought of computers and a very daunting graphic design program may seem near impossible a challenge or something that you feel you have no passion for. It’s so hard to learn a skill, even one that is needed without a spark for it. It’ s a conundrum, because now that your lettering skills have started to flourish you want to share your work with the world, you want to make things with it and you have one very big elephant in the room–Photoshop. We hope that we have made this class as simple and comprehensive as possible, we are utilizing the immersion method and jumping right in, teaching you only the things you will need to know to get the job done. We want you in and out of Photoshop, sharing your work and back to lettering as soon as possible! We hope this class gives you the skills and confidence to do just that.

This morning when Michelle asked me to peruse the pdf download for the class I admittedly hadn’t peeked at it earlier (for shame) and when I did I was completely floored. Michelle basically created a textbook version of the class for you!  It is beautifully designed, written in very simple and comprehensible language, plenty of visual examples and I am going to go on a limb here and say that it is quite possibly one of the best (if not the best) download/handbooks for a Skillshare class and I am just so darn appreciative to have such an amazing friend, creative collaborator and business partner.

We are open to questions or concerns, please do feel free to ask us anything in the comments. You can sign-up for the class here. We can’t wait to have you in class!

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.

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