Learn brush lettering | Lettering artist Jessica Keala interview

BESOTTED-WITH-JESSICA-KEALA-besotted-brush-lettering

Jessica Keala of Coco and Mingo is a favorite around here! Jessica is not only bubbling over with talent (she makes brush lettering look effortless, doesn’t she?), she’s also one of the nicest people we’ve met on the inter webs! Jess is going to share her resources and ‘secrets’ to learn brush lettering, we are so looking forward to this interview!

Where are you located?

Majority of the year, I’m located in Brooklyn, New York. Every now and then, I’m working from Honolulu, Hawaii, where I was born and raised.

Any brush lettering ‘secrets’ you want to divulge? 

I do quite a bit of practice before any major lettering project! I’ll do a quick sketch in pencil before going over with ink, but I mostly use the pencil lines as guides for the overall picture. I don’t have much when it comes to “secrets”, except how much paper I end up wasting! Time to get an iPad Pro!

BESOTTED-WITH-JESSICA-KEALA-overcome-fear

What are some of your favorite brush lettering supplies? 

Just a few of my favorites:

Pentel touch pens, Zebra brush pens, Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – both hard and soft tips, Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Pentel brush pen – medium tipRound watercolor brushes, sizes 3/0 and 0 – there are many brands that you can try out, but lately I have been using the Princeton Art & Brush Co. brushes since they are my favorite at my local small craft store (all resources are linked below!), Kaimei Lettering Pen Ink, Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours (White and Black)

Can you name some of your inspirations? (books, music, artists, etc.)

I am very into Metaphysics and the universe. I love books and reading. Some of my favorite authors/books in my home library consist of Henry David Thoreau, Marcus Aurelius, Lao Tzu, Richard Bach, and Paulo Coelho. I love nature and having adventures outdoors, it is probably what inspires me the most. I’m inspired by the places I live and love: the quaint Northeast and tropical Hawaii. I love any music that lifts my spirits and makes me want to dance!

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

When working on a new piece, I try to get a feel of it: the words, the people or company behind those words. Because I have a couple of different brush lettering styles, I’ll choose the one that works the best, and it usually involves having to do a few rough sketches. It really helps to have a non-cluttered desk that gets proper natural sunlight (especially if you’re working with watercolor lettering). It’s important for me to have lots of space – I sit at an angle (~45 degree angle), so that both my paper and body are aligned together at the same angle, both feet on the floor, and wrists straight. The grip on your pen should be light and relaxed. I hold my pen a bit “weird”, so it always takes a little while for me to get the grip on the pen just right (hey, nobody’s perfect!).

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

There are so many different styles out there, it can get overwhelming! For me, I just go with what feels the most natural. Try this: put pen to paper and write in your natural script. That is the groundwork for your own style. Then, look at YouTube or Instagram videos/photos of other styles you love, and go ahead and apply it to your basic groundwork (i.e. loops, flourishes, line thickness, letter height/width/dips, etc.). You can always try to make your writing look like someone else’s, but at the end of the day, it may look forced. If you want it to look natural, then go what feels comfortable and with practice, your natural writing will only advance! With practice, practice, practice, you’ll naturally develop your own style. The best thing about brush lettering is that it’s more relaxed than pointed pen calligraphy. Embrace the mistakes, ink inconsistencies, and imperfect line thickness!

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

Skillshare is such a great resource! Here are some classes I can recommend:

Brush Lettering Made Simple 

Brush Lettering Essentials: Starting Out 

Create Engaging Hand Lettering Designs Using Shape Nesting

Design Beautiful Greeting Cards: Using Brushpen Lettering Techniques 

Brushpen Logo Design: Develop Your Signature Style

Waterbrush Lettering Essentials

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

Don’t force it. Sometimes I create so many versions of a project and I get really frustrated, and none of them end up satisfying me. Sometimes all it requires is for you to step away. Once I come back I realize that the version I really like is one of the very first ones I created!

What programs do you use to clean + digitize your artwork?

Foto Rx Lettering Rx, all the way! I can’t tell you how much these actions have helped with cleaning up my scanned lettering work (thanks, Besotted!). If I want to keep it with more of the “raw” look, then this is as far as I’ll go. If I want more of a digitized look, especially for high-resolution or printed jobs, I’ll bring my cleaned up image (using Lettering Rx first) into Illustrator and then vectorize it from there.

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

I’m actually a pretty good cook! I grew up cooking with my mom and continue to cook with her to this day. Growing up in Hawaii, we’re exposed to so many different types of cultural foods, so we cook a lot of fusion dishes. Whenever I’m in Hawaii, we enjoy making vegetarian dishes with fresh vegetables from our garden. Lately I’ve been experimenting baking gluten-free desserts!

// RESOURCES //

BRUSH LETTERING SUPPLIES:

Pentel touch pens

Zebra brush pen fine

Zebra brush pen double sided

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen -hard tip

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – soft tip

Tombow Dual Brush Pens

Pentel brush pen – medium tip

Princeton Art & Brush Co. watercolor brushes

Kaimei Lettering Pen Ink

Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours (White and Black)

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

13 thoughts on “Learn brush lettering | Lettering artist Jessica Keala interview

  1. What an honor to be featured on Besotted today! Thank you Tristan and Michelle :) Excited to read other interviews and uncover new resources this week on your blog! <3

  2. This was so fun to read! Jessica’s work is amazing, and she is a wonderful person! It was great getting to know a little more about her.
    Hi Jessica! (if you see this hehe)

  3. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your weblog.

    You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good
    asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some material for your
    blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested.
    Kudos!

  4. I simply had to say thanks again. I do not know the things I would’ve
    gone through in the absence of those ways shared by you on such a field.

    It was a distressing crisis for me, nevertheless viewing the specialized tactic
    you managed it made me to cry with joy. I
    am grateful for this guidance and wish you recognize what an amazing job you are always doing training many others
    thru your website. Most probably you’ve never come across any of us.

  5. Hey there I am so glad I found your site, I really found you
    by accident, while I was looking on Google for something else,
    Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a fantastic post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the
    theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at
    the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do
    keep up the awesome job.

  6. The best ways to export graphics from iphone 4
    for you to Personal computer? The training physical
    exercise indicates you actually few methods to replicate as well as move footage via I phone in order to House windows 7/8/10/Vista/XP.
    Excellent together with iphone 4 Seven (As well as) along with os 12.

    With an iPhone, we can pick up good pics with the purely
    natural iSight video camera, in particular with all the brand-new new iphone
    4 Seven Plus individuals are really that come with taking photos having its implicit double camcorders.
    Many of us additionally sacrifice photographs coming from programs, one example is, Internet explorer in addition to Email on the iphone 4.

    In relation to attracting images by new iphone 4 to House windows
    Laptop or computer, you’ll use a snappy lessons.
    This article unveils for you Several approaches to alternate photographs coming from I phone
    for you to Windows 7 Computer system, such as a pair of regular solutions to download Photographic
    camera Throw footage from iphone 4 in order to Home windows 7/8,
    and the other way of signific all of the images (counting
    Dslr camera Jiggle, Photo Stream, Image Stockpile along with Pictures images) to
    Computer at the single break.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *