INTERVIEW HEATHER BURNS | PERCH PAPER CO.

perchpapercompany_besotted blog Please indulge me and allow me to start this beautiful week off with an amazing lettering artist-Heather Burns a.k.a. Perch Paper Co.  I am a little upside down from last week, we moved into one apartment and moved out of it the very next morning and back to our former apartment. Did you catch that?  What you’ve never done anything as fantastically stressful as that in your life? I also missed my flight to California last week because of said apartment, in which a 100 year old lock decided to have its innards freeze thus locking me into my own apartment as a cab waited (not so patiently) for me to free myself (I didn’t in time for the flight). So, today I am moved back into our old apartment and off to California for work. I am starting this week off with a lettering artist interview because I think this week needs to start off infinitely better than last week, no? Without further ado I give you the incredibly inspirational (and witty, see her random fact) Heather Burns of Perch Paper Co.

//PERCH PAPER CO. INTERVIEW//

Where are you located?

Since opening my business almost five years ago, I’ve lived/worked from Seattle, WA, Billings, MT,  Tanzania, Africa (while I volunteered for three months at a baby orphanage this spring), and for the past two months… Helena, Montana.

How did you get started in lettering?

I started drawing at about the time I started walking. I loved writing my name (the only thing I knew how to spell!) over and over and over in different sizes, upper and lowercase, on everything I owned (aka: everything my parents owned! two year old’s don’t really own anything;) All through school I doodled on everything, backs of tests, newspaper headlines, fake sharpie tattoos on my feet. The love of doodling got me into The Art Institute of Seattle where I studied type and graphic design. I worked as a graphic designer at FLANNEL DESIGN doing logo and print work for outdoor companies before starting my own business.

What are some of your favorite supplies?

I’m currently having a love affair with white ink! Can’t get enough white ink on kraft  envelopes. I have also started using water colors in my calligraphy pens so the writing feels like it flows, both in style and color.

Can you name some of your inspirations?

I get really inspired at Goodwill and rummage sales. I imagine turning all that ‘stuff’ into wonderful creations. reupholstering a couch with fabric I’ve written all over. Finding old stationery with beautiful type and unique colors. I hate to admit this, but I love listening to romantic movies (chic flicks) while I’m working on anything ‘wedding’ related. Helps me feel all lovey dovey ;) – I love listening to mumford and sons while designing tattoos.

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

I try to approach every project individually with new ideas and new styles. If the client already has stationery in place, I like to incorporate the font they’ve used into the envelope addressing and create a calligraphy style that fits the ‘feel’ of their wedding day. If I’m designing the wedding stationery, I like to know what cereal they eat for breakfast, how they decorate their home, how they envision the day of their wedding.

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

Look at type EVERYWHERE. Garage sale signs, font books, backs of antique post cards, other calligraphers sites, calligraphy books, etc. Then just write.. on anything and everything. See what you naturally lean towards.. uppercase vs. lowercase. flowing writing, or block letters. Build your strengths from there.

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

I think a good understanding of basic type is a must. I took several typography classes in Art School and this has helped immensely. I also follow about ten blogs that focus on type and read those every week to keep up to date on what’s new in the lettering world.

Do you have some favorite projects?

Water color calligraphy, and custom wedding invitations with calligraphy, hand done lettering and illustrations.

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

Don’t spread yourself too thin and try to come up with a million different styles. If you trust your gut and your eye and really work on just a few styles you will be known for those. You can’t please everyone and your style will not be a fit for everyone, but for those people who adore your work, they will absolutely LOVE it and know how unique it is which will have them coming back to you time and time again.

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

I can leap like a real leprechaun. And since I’ve never met one, I’m assuming Probably even better.

Random facts?

I wear grey and white everyday – I love hot yoga – Since I was a child I knew in my heart I would someday adopt a child (I don’t know where this idea came from, I’m assuming Mr. Rogers) (I thought it would be in Africa while I was there) but I met an amazing man (whose wife passed away from leukemia when his twin girls were just one). They are now 3.5 and I’ll be adopting them when we get married this winter! – I  prefer to drink coffee and hike all day and work at night – I dream about secret passages in old apartments weekly. – cinnamon gummy bears are my weakness. – I prefer all my beverages without lids. – I paint all my furniture white.

Thank you kindly Heather! If you have questions for Heather or would like to thank her for the interview, please do so in the comments, I know the artists love getting your feedback!

P.S. Emily is the winner of last weeks bestowal, (I loved all your answers of course) and I have a new found appreciation for all the days of the week (thank you). This was Emily’s sweet answer…”I’ve taken Tuesdays off to be with my toddler and we don’t always have big plans but I try to follow him and not rush either of us, which makes Tuesdays some of my best days.”

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they are expecting a baby girl in December. 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.

AMETHYST FONT BY MOLLY JACQUES ERICKSON

 

Amethyst by Molly Jacques Erickson Besotted Blog

A day without internet is like a day without…(insert worse case scenarios here).  Seriously, I lived in the middle of nowhere and my internet was abacus slow but being in a bustling metropolis without internet is practically painful. Alas, I am back on-line and in time to announce Molly Jacques Erickson has just launched a new font-Amethyst that I think you are going to adore! Oh, and the price? She’s practically giving it away!  I love all of Molly’s fonts but this has immediately risen to the top as my favorite of hers. It has a nice simplicity to it and there are so many letterforms that I like (crazy for the ‘A’ and ‘B’ that never happens).  I can’t wait to start working with it! I think this font is so easy to incorporate into a future project, it is very legible and would be an excellent alternative for envelope addressing for holiday send-outs. Holiday?  I know, it seems too early yet I have it constantly on my mind for the shop (I need to plan ahead with baby b. arriving during my busy season!)

I am working on another wonderful lettering artist interview that I shall put up tomorrow and with Molly’s new font launch I am plenty inspired to get practicing and after you read this interview I think you may just as motivated!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they are expecting a baby girl in December. 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.

MODERN CALLIGRAPHER ANGELIQUE INK

Angelique Ink interview besotted blog

You may have spotted Angi of Angelique Ink’s  hand before and haven’t known who was the master behind it. You may have even pinned it a few dozen times (she has a bounty of beautiful styles), she has been quietly under the radar creating beautiful work for her clients from her Southern, California studio. Angi’s hand has an effortless air to it as does her personality, so kind and so very professional.  I am very excited to have had the opportunity to interview her and I do believe you will love reading her interview as much as I have (I love the sneak peek behind the scenes). Many thanks to Miss Angi for her time + generosity (divulging her secrets). And without further ado..

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WELCOME CANTONI!

CANTONI FONT BESOTTED BLOG III think a few of you may have heard of my friend and wedding font superstar Debi Sementelli, no?  She is of the Bellucia font fame (in my humble opinion one of the most beautiful and elegant calligraphy fonts around) and the equally gorgeous Dom loves Mary, both fonts have a very authentic hand to them and are perfect for projects that require a true calligraphy look. Debi always packs her fonts with extra glyphs and illustrations so you are investing in a true creative suite.

Thanks to you (I am sure), Bellucia and Dom loves Mary both shot to the top 10 rankings on my fave font shop and I am hoping that we can do the same for Debi’s latest font Cantoni!  Where do I start on this one? It’s a lot more casual than the previous fonts, perfectly girly (but not too sweet) and I think it works for a myriad of projects such as –Baby showers, Sweet 16′s, holiday cards (they are just around the corner) and anywhere you could use a cheerful calligraphic hand.  It is seriously packed with glyphs–1265 of them to be exact.  Seriously, Debi has worked overtime on this font offering! I think one of my very favorite touches is the inclusion of Roman numerals, who doesn’t love a great Roman numeral?

Like most good fonts when they launch there is an incentive discount and if you get yours soon you can get it for 30% off!  Oh, wait, you are a friend of mine so you get an additional 10% off!  Just use the code besotted at checkout and Cantoni is yours for a steal! Where is my head?  It’s Monday isn’t it?  I like to try to get a good Bestowal in so why don’t we give some Cantoni away?  Just answer the following question by Sunday, September 1, 2013 to enter to win and remember if you feel like really, really helping a fellow creative out spread the word on Debi’s new font, it would be so awesome if we could knock this one into the top 10 too!  What do we get out of it?  More fonts of course! Debi is on a roll and I know she is going to be bringing lots more goodness to us in the near future.

Who is your favorite female fictional character?  If that question is too hard to answer then let us know–

What is the first project you will be using the Cantoni font for if you win?

Good luck!

P.S. If you buy Cantoni this week and end up winning Debi will give you a full refund! This truly is win-win!

P.P.S. The winner of  Molly’s new book Modern Calligraphy is….Ingrid (such a touching story!).  I do have to say I LOVED reading your favorite words to write and everyone (as always) had such thoughtful answers. Molly even emailed me and said she wished she could give a book to everyone that entered, I wholeheartedly concur!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they are expecting a baby girl in December. 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.

RYLEE HITCHNER + SAGE LETTERING ADVICE

Photograph by Rylee HitchnerThis post is a public apology, a heeded warning, sage advice and a gripe all rolled up into one.  Now that I am pregnant I have decided to become an extreme multi-tasker, it’s not working out as well as planned.  First, let me publicly and humbly apologize to the uber talented Rylee Hitchner and Pearl & Godiva.  A couple weeks back I got an email from Pearl that she wanted me to do some lettering for a Rylee Hitchner shoot, it was all the stationery for a mock wedding, all I heard was “Rylee Hitchner shoot.”  I adore this girl, her talent is in spades and Pearl’s work is amazing as well.  Let’s step back a couple steps here, a couple weeks ago I had just stopped being fed through a tube and was just sitting up again, yes, I am getting better but no, I am not even close to being back on track. There is something well known in the world of both impending motherhood and motherhood it is called ‘pregnancy brain’ wherein you don’t think as clearly and in my case not at all. Did I mention I was just getting back to sitting upright?  Two weeks would not be enough time if I was 100%, it would be impossible in my current condition, plus the project had to be shipped overseas and to not incur exorbitant fee’s would need to be sent at least a week+ in advanced.  Let me also mention some other fun facts my ‘p’ brain was not considering A) I hadn’t been lettering at all for at least the last 6 months B) I am just learning to string words together with my lettering C) I don’t do wedding work or lettering in my business which makes a spec (gratis) project foolish for me, but all I could think of was ‘Rylee Hitchner’.  I was in essence a bit star struck.  If I was in my right mind I would have politely declined, but since my brain has been replaced with this new fangled non-rational one I said “sure!”  I think you might be seeing what a disaster in the making this is, no?  I missed my overnight deadline as I thought I had an extra day (see pregnancy brain), then we decided the morning of deadline I would send my work digitally and they would print there. Mind you as mentioned I am still not 100% and maybe it was also stress induced but I started getting sick again a couple days ago, the day of the rushed project my fingers had become sausage size (it’s called edema), I could not bend them to hold my pen holder and nib. From sitting down too long my ankles and feet swelled to disproportionate sizing (hamhocks come to mind). With only a few precious hours to work with I went to plan B a gorgeous font by my friends at Magpie Paperworks. I already knew this was a disaster but I still wanted to come through with something. I sent digital comps in the morning (comps are visual renditions of what you are presenting to the client) to make sure I was headed in the right direction, my heart raced, I was sweating, my fingers were numb. Hours ticked by, I begged for feedback on the comps so I could adjust accordingly, I did not hear back I kept working in between being sick. Alas, I threw up the white flag of surrender after hours of working and not getting feedback–I had to give up.  I sent the comps again + all the original files and got a-”Sorry, we are not going to use these”. Not only was I sick and swollen, my ego had been as Pearl likes to use the word, “gutted”.  I crawled into bed, cried my swollen head off (I cry easier these days) and fell asleep for the rest of the day.  Don’t get me wrong, I know this was a mishap of grand proportions, even with my brain not working properly I clearly see my role in this disaster thus my public apology.

Now on to the heeded warnings + sage advice a.k.a how this whole fiasco could have been avoided. Let’s talk spec work (where you work gratis in exchange for potential exposure).  I am all for spec work if it makes sense for your brand and your business.  In my case, where I am at currently I don’t have near future plans to add lettering or wedding work to my offerings (I am not confident enough in my skills) so this was a very foolish (read stupid) move. I took this amazing opportunity away from someone that could have benefited from the experience + exposure and that is my worse regret (again see pregnancy brain and how I am not thinking).

When taking on spec work, you should treat it as if it is a paying client and vice versa on the part of the individual requesting you to do this work for free. I plan to offer a download soon of a checklist on this, but in the interim here are some things I learned in regards to spec lettering projects–Create a timeline for you and your ‘client’, make sure you have a list of all your deliverables and the dates due ie. when will you send initial comps to client? Date when you expect to have feedback from client? How many comps you will be providing on spec before you will ask for a fee (this will eliminate the spec client from taking advantage of you)? Get the exact wording of everything from the client.  I had worked on another spec lettering project a while back that did not come into fruition and the client said I had ‘free reign’ for the wording, so I took the time to come up with the bride and grooms name, dates, etc. When I sent to the spec client they said the names were not ‘X” enough and the shoot was for the summer (where I had put in fall dates).  I had to start over again (lettering, cleaning up artwork, re-formatting files and re-creating comps–hours of work). Most of you that are working on spec jobs it’s because you are trying to build your portfolio and get exposure, which means you probably have a full-time job on top of running a household and being informed that all the work you created which you eeked out precious hours for is now null and void, that’s just not okay. Tell the client you will be happy to work on spec if they provide you all the copy (wording) and of course agree to your timelines.  You will be nervous enough trying to create the most beautiful lettering for the project you should not have to think of what you will be lettering.  You may worry that if you make these demands the client will walk away, this could happen, but more than likely the client will have more respect for you and treat you as a creative equal and realize that you take your craft seriously and are a true professional (unlike someone we know, yes, I am talking about moi). Hindsight is 20/20, looking back I would have not taken this project on, it didn’t make sense for me, but when I did I should have had something in writing so that both myself and my client were accountable.

Expenses?  This is tricky, if you have the budget I would say count this as the money you are spending for your exposure/advertising (the materials and shipping), if you don’t have the extra money (and can’t borrow it or find another way), you can be honest with the client and tell them how badly you want to do this project and that you will do an amazing job but you need assistance with materials or shipping (especially if it is an overnight job overseas). I haven’t worked in nearly six months, have incredibly huge medical bills and my shop has been pretty dead, buying materials and then the potential of over nighting the finished project overseas is an expense I could not afford right now (again, not thinking at all). I hope this little tid bit helps, it’s hard to know what to expect when this is all new to you. When I ran my PR business I would tell my interns and jr. staff ‘all we have are our reputations’, you need to preserve that, think about how you want to be perceived and be authentic to who you are (much easier to be you than someone else).  I like to think of myself as a professional and I take great pride in my work, this little (okay, big) fiasco was not a representation of who I am and my principles–in a word I f’d up, I hope I may have saved you from doing the same.

P.S. This spec advice should also be considered for whatever your medium is–photography, writing, styling, graphic design, etc.

photo by rylee hitchner

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they are expecting a baby girl in December. 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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