Elizabeth Messina_MAYBELLE besotted blog 5

I am thrilled by the feedback of Maybelle’s interview!  I won’t keep you waiting, because I know you are anxious to read more, so without further ado…

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

Look at lots of examples, Seek out teachers who offer a style that you really admire, and approach them.  Keep an eye out for special collections at libraries, and exhibits at art museums. The work that you do should feel like it’s coming from you.

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

I would recommend IAMPETH, aka the calligraphy convention, I didn’t attend until after ten years of doing this professionally. There are certainly rules to follow, and be prepared to be writing in calligraphy for 8 hours a day with master calligraphers, some of them are in their 80s and 90s, National treasures! One of  the things I love is that you have access to their archives, I wished I discovered it early on last year. If you attend the next one in Indianapolis, be sure to visit the archive room sooner rather than later.

As for books, I love this book Mira Calligraphae Monumenta, but there is a pinterest board. Scripts by Louise Fili, Missing Ink: The lost art of handwriting, (required reading for anyone who loves lettering) 
and this book of ephemera, (you can find it at Kinokinuya).

Elizabeth Messina MAYBELLE Besotted Blog 6

Do you have some favorite projects?

I feel very fortunate to be able to do something that I absolutely love. I combine calligraphy workshops and travel and I work with some of the most talented people in the creative industry. I just worked with photographer Laurie Frankel on a stop motion Valentine greeting Last Fall I collaborated with Elizabeth Messina at her Photography workshop: A Lovely workshop.  I taught in Sydney and Melbourne at The School. This week I will be in Tokyo teaching at Fog Linen  and Singapore at Bloesem’s new creative space and a few other projects on the horizon that I can’t wait for you to see! Chances are I may be in a city near you soon!

  Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

I try to discourage tracing.

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

I play the piano.

Thank you Miss Maybelle for your interview!  And there’s much more to come, stay tuned friends…

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.


  1. Thank you Miss Tristan B. for taking the time to share this interview with Maybelle who is my absolute favourite calligrapher. If you think you may organize and bring Maybelle to Seattle for a workshop please let me know. I live in Vancouver, BC and would drive down! Love your blog!

  2. So excited that you did an this interview! I love knowing more about artists I admire. I purchased one of Maybelle’s calligrpahy kits and it is wonderful. Her taste is impeccable. I’m hoping one day I will be able to meet her in person at a workshop. Thank you for asking all the questions for us!

  3. I so very much love Maybelle’s style, and she seems like a lovely person to boot! Thanks for all of these interviews, Tristan — they are amazing!

  4. Excellent interview question! I am so new to calligraphy that I am still debating which type of nib holder to buy– thank you for keeping such an interesting and lovely blog. The Maybelle interviews are inspiring, can’t wait to browse around more :)

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