julie song feature besotted blog

I can’t believe I have been sitting on this interview for so long, granted I hope I have a good excuse and I pinky promise it is so worth the wait.  Today’s featured lettering artist is Julie Song. One of the reasons I reached out to her is because she is doing some spectacular work with her watercolor lettering, it’s just very fresh and original and I just know she is going to become one of your favorites (as she is one of mine).  She does wedding work of course, but some of her recent logo work has me wishing I was as gifted.  Lucky for us she is generously sharing her ‘secrets’ with us. Please feel free to leave questions in the comments and as always it’s so appreciated when you leave a nice note for our interviewee so don’t be shy and let her know how grateful we are! Without further ado…



Where are you located?

Currently in Oakland, California.

How did you get started in lettering?

I think I got into drawing bubble letters as a kid through some artsy relatives, and then somehow that evolved into me trying to turn every school assignment into an art project. I remember having to write a report about the Medieval period, and then buying a gold calligraphy pen so I could write it in a gothic hand on a parchment scroll, kind of like an illuminated manuscript. I’m sure it was horrible, but you gotta start somewhere :)

What are some of your favorite supplies (inks, brushes, nibs, paper)?

I think this is fairly common, but I love Sumi ink for so many uses, and enjoy using round watercolor brushes for brush-y lettering. But I love trying anything and everything to see how it writes, including Chinese brushes! I have a variety of nibs, but I’ve been using the Zebra G the most lately. I generally write on grid paper, especially if I need to write particularly neat or straight.

Can you please discuss any watercolor lettering supplies or techniques?

As I mentioned above, I love round watercolor brushes because they can hold a point well. I actually use some generic Blick brushes, but I keep buying new ones when the tips start losing their points (and I should probably take better care of the ones I have by not leaving them pointing down in the water too long!!). It’s nice to experiment with different sizes depending on what effect you’re going for. In terms of the paint, I tend to mix about a 40/60 ratio of paint to water, but again, this may vary depending on how transparent I want the lettering to look. Or I will use watered down gouache if I want it to be a bit more opaque. On technique – ironically, it seems to take a lot of tries to make something look spontaneous, so I seem to end up using more paper than I’d like!

Can you name some of your inspirations?

I’m of course very inspired by calligraphers like Neither Snow and Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls, who can do no wrong! I’m also fond of signatures of painters like Joan Miro – or even anyone’s signatures for that matter. I love their efficiency and personality. And I know this is cheesy, but I’m always inspired by children’s drawings in all their awkward splendor, and save all of my niece’s and nephew’s art for inspiration. I guess I agree with Picasso, I seriously hope to draw like them someday.

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

For projects involving hand-lettering, I typically write the wording out as close as possible to scale, and then scan it in at 300 dpi or higher resolution. There is often some cleaning of rough edges in Photoshop or Illustrator (unless of course it’s part of the look!)

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

Make a lot of different marks and then keep pushing the ones you like best! One fun thing to do is to experiment with everything, from writing tools to surfaces…even writing with things like feathers are fun just to see what marks you can make! A glass of wine is a great tool too …I think loosening up usually helps :)

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

Everyone probably already knows this, but I know Maybelle provides classes all over the world. For book inspiration, I love any and all typography books to see how people are using letter forms, such as Louise Fili’s Elegantissima.

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

I’ve started to slowly populate my Society 6 and Etsy shops again with some fun (but maybe not very marketable) products! I also love combining gold foil and letterpress with watercolor; in particular, a recent rustic invitation suite involved the combination of letterpress and embossing with vibrant watercolor and hand-lettering on handmade paper, with other handmade details like stitching and wood paper, dried caspia sprigs, and stitched linen menus. I think this was one of most handmade detail-heavy projects I’ve done, but I think it helped convey the personal effort the couple put into creating a special wedding weekend for their guests. There are some peeks of this on my Instagram feed.

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

Yes! Don’t let your desk get so messy that your inkwells sit precariously at the edge of your desk, and then knock them over with one fell swoop, spraying black ink all over your white walls. And don’t put your paint water right next to your drinking water. But in seriousness, I think it’s important not to be afraid of mistakes, because sometimes you’ll love how they turn out.

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

Carving rubber stamps. I used to carry around an X-acto knife at all times as a kid so I was at the ready. Until they confiscated it from me at the airport. So sad.

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 just welcomed to the world a baby girl. 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.


signora e mare_LauraCatherinePhotography_besotted blogI am fascinated by people that take on multiple disciplines and are actually good at them. You’ll often hear people admonish someone with multiple pursuits with the cry of ‘focus’.  I think it’s a modern state of mind to chastise those that want to try on different ‘hats’ so to speak. If you were living in the Renaissance it would be par for the course. Katie Decker Hyatt is one of those wonders someone who has pursued photography and is obviously gifted and now she has tried her hand at lettering and in a very short amount of time has developed a signature style and following.  Katie was in the middle of a move when I asked her to please participate in our interview series and in perfect multi-tasking form she was more than happy to oblige.  Please welcome her here and make sure to let her know how much we appreciate her taking the time out of her busy schedule to divulge her secrets.  Thank you Katie! [Read more...]


bailey amon interview collage

I feel so very lucky yo be able to bring you Bailey Amon’s interview, she is one half of the very talented duo known as Antiquaria. Unless you have been living under a blog rock, I am pretty sure you have heard or seen their gorgeous work. Bailey is the lettering artist and Emma James the illustrator, together they create work that makes you want to shout ‘Brava’ at the top of your lungs, it’s just that good! Speaking of good, between Bailey’s interview and her new calligraphy tutorial series you will find so many resources and such good information for your calligraphy adventure that you won’t know what to do with yourself! [Read more...]


mary kate mcdevitt class besotted blog

Some heavy hitters in the lettering world are teaching both on-line and in person classes this month, for those wondering where to get started I have listed some great places to visit!

For those of you that haven’t signed up yet for the Molly Jacques Skillshare class, what are you waiting for?  I have enrolled but being that it’s hard for me to do anything these days I still haven’t had a chance to watch!  I have heard good things about the class, that it’s a great place to start for beginners. Speaking of beginner’s if you are new to Skillshare you can use my instant discount and get the class for only $10! Seriously, what’s stopping you? And for those that have taken Skillshare classes in the past I have been begging them to give you all a discount since I do know a lot of you are signing up for multiple classes and it does add up, I promise to keep you posted if they will oblige me on this! If not, then I will keep my eye out on alternate resources.

Another fave Mary Kate McDevitt, you may have seen her work in your local Anthro as she has done a lot for Chronicle Books is launching her new class ‘The First Steps of Hand Lettering-Concept to sketch‘ It doesn’t launch until October 16th, but I am anxious to sign-up!

The darling + talented (and nicest person on earth) Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls will be in Australia next week a Megan Morton’s School for a week of classes, there’s all day and half day available, some are sold out but I see a couple still open.  I want to go to  Australia so badly and Megan’s School would be one of my dream, stops. Sign-up here!

ondise besotted blog

The extraordinarily prolific font designer Jess of Magpie Paperworks has launched another winner of a font!  I don’t know how she is doing it, because putting together a font is not easy, especially when they are as robust as Jess makes hers, and to continue to introduce coveted fonts at that?  The woman is obviously a genius.

Some other fonts you may like are the sweet Mina and Carolyna.

P.S. Do you have a class (any class, it doesn’t need to calligraphy/lettering centric) that you think I should know about?  I get asked about classes for specific locales all the time, especially international ones, so please let me know besottedblog [at] gmail [dot] com

P.P.S. Jessica Hische of Drop Cap fame is teaching a lettering class (that looks amazing) in November!

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 (possibly November). 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.


Pentel Black Color Brush Pen Besotted Blog

Ever since I featured Christine Wisenieski, I have been dreaming about dabbling in my own brush lettering endeavors.  I haven’t had much luck with the traditional paint and brush lettering technique, it’s very awkward for me and it’s also (in my hands) very messy! I had read about the Pentel Color Brush and thought it would be easy to find at my nearest art supply store, oh, how wrong I was. This elusive little creature was near impossible to find, I went to four (yes four!) stores and nobody even knew what I was talking about!  I finally resorted to buying on -line and waited eagerly for its arrival.  I have to say, it’s one of my new favorite lettering purchases to date!  The ink is housed in the barrel, it has synthetic hairs at the tip which form the brush, you squeeze the barrel to release the ink and get to lettering! I loved my results, so organic and ‘perfectly imperfect’, my model Michelle above had fun with the pen too and was able to achieve some very cool effects.  I even liked when the brush was running out of ink and you could see the dry brush strokes on the paper, it adds to the element of hand done.  I haven’t had a chance to scan in my results yet but I have a good feeling that I am going to be happy with bringing the samples into Photoshop or Illustrator and playing with them. Have any of you tried this pen before?  Maybelle told me she accidentally bought this pen and it was a happy accident, I would concur!

Tomorrow I shall delve into part deux of the embossing tutorial which I am hoping motivates some of you over the weekend to possibly try your hand at it!

P.S. If you want the look without the effort font designer Ursula Hitz has just launched the charming Olivier font. There’s also Dave Rowland’s Pastiche which is quite nice as well!

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 (possibly November). 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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