I figured a little lettering eye candy would be in order for this week, no?  This is the hand of Alissa Mazzenga of Feast Calligraphy, it’s so lovely, feminine and unique. Artists like Alissa raise the bar for every letterer that wants in on the modern ‘calligraphy’ scene.  There are many talented lettering artists in the world and I will continue to showcase them here and introduce you to some up & comers.  I am popping back in later today with some downloads for you (I hope you like). And one more resource post to round out this week!


I am beyond thrilled to share our very first Besotted video tutorial courtesy of my pal, one of my favorite Pinners and my partner in Souvenir Foto School Miss Michelle P.  When I mentioned what I was doing this week Michelle kindly offered to create this video for those that wanted to explore lettering in the digital realm.  The tutorial was created with Adobe Illustrator, which I sheepishly admit that I am not great with, but Michelle makes this tutorial very simple and even those not too familiar with the program can follow along (you can get a free 30 day trial here if you don’t have it). After I watched this I emailed her immediately and asked for more, she made it seem so easy that even I the Illustrator challenged felt like she could try this. You can view the video here (or click the image).
I knew when I started this week that I didn’t want to solely focus on calligraphy so I am including some resources for improving your own handwriting or creating a more interesting personal hand:
Love Your Handwriting by Heidi Swapp – Heidi is a well known scrapbook product designer, but it’s her distinct whimsical hand that has made her a stand-out in her industry.
Love Your Letters Workshop by Letter Girl–  I haven’t taken this class but I really want to.  I love Gina’s casual and happy hand.
Letter Lab-I took this online class, it’s not for everyone as the focus is for scrapbooking, but I am very open minded when it comes to classes + learning I try to always extract the kernels that will work for what I am trying to accomplish. I can happily say I did learn a few new tricks.
French Cursive-This may be one of my favorite foreign hands. I go crazy (in a good way) when I see French cursive. You will need a Cahier d’Ecriture, French ruled paper and a sample alphabet, if you scroll down on this link you will find one!SeanWes-Sean is an amazing lettering artist, but what’s even more amazing is that he is so generous with information. I really liked his post on copying (hope you do too).
I am a huge pen enthusiast, but this is a short list of pens I use in my everyday to assist with my penmanship. Lettering pens are a different animal.
Le Pen-These have a great tip, come in many, may colors and are nice and petite so they feel really nice in your hand.
Sharpie Pens-I love these, but they seem to come up missing when you use them (because others will love them as much as you do).
Muji Pens-These are great looking and you can get super tiny points. I find a tiny point makes everyone’s penmanship look better.
//FREE HAND-LETTERED FONTS//For those that won’t be trying out Michelle’s technique (I totally can’t wait to), here are some fonts that mimic a hand-lettered look.  The one I used above is Grant’s Ghost. Festus is a good faker too. If you are looking for a French handwriting font DuCahier is the only game in town.

P.S. If you have any questions for either Michelle or myself leave the questions in the comments and we are happy to answer.

P.P.S. The always lovely Going Home to Roost mentioned this week (thank you!) and added some of her own favorite links!


Okay, the Brause Rose nib is slowly becoming another favorite nib.  It has not made its way to favorite yet, because sometimes it feels like I am trying to hold on to a slippery piece of pasta. It’s aesthetically beautiful, it has an embossed rose on its body which feels so very Victorian and lady like to me. This nib takes a lot of practice to get comfortable with for a newbie to the craft.  I have only been doing this for a few weeks so I don’t know how long it shall be before I can pull this out and scribe without fear of ruining what I am working on. When I am having a good practice session I can make the nib create beautiful thick stokes that mimic what I imagine I would want a paint brush to do (lettering with a brush is VERY difficult), this is a good ‘cheat’. You can also get very thin hairline strokes as you can see on the uppercase ‘L’ and the word ‘rose’.  My suggestion would be to try the Zebra G or Nikko G and get a feel for the dip pen and then work your way after a couple weeks to this nib.  It feels very ‘springy’ to me and is categorized as a flexible nib, meaning to get those hairlines you are going to have to have a feather light touch and to get those thick strokes will take nary any pressure. I don’t know for certain, but it seems like a calligrapher like Molly Jacques might use a nib like this to create the beautiful thick strokes of her lettering.
In doing these posts I wanted to be sure to add in some random lettering tips. One I should have made clear immediately before practice is wear clothes you won’t care about getting ink on. I ruined 3 shirts and my favorite pair of jeans before I started putting on an outfit specifically for lettering practice. It’s just a black t-shirt and black leggings (I look like a cat burglar), but I don’t have to stress about ruining another article of clothing.  I also always put down a piece of butcher paper; I love my desk and would be so sad if I ruined it. I have already spilled an entire container of black Sumi ink on my desk (and keyboard) and I never want to re-live that experience. Again if you have questions ask me in the comments, I am so new to this craft, but at least I can share my experience.
You can read about the Zebra G + Nikko G nibs here and the Gillott 404 nib here.
P.S. You will find when you start out that certain letters will vex you. I hate my ‘k’s and seriously can’t believe I posted one. I am also having the worse time with the letter ‘B’. My favorites letters are the uppercase ‘L’ and ‘G’ I want to find words that start with them just so I can write them all the time!


The nib is spelled Gillott with two ‘t’s’ but Gillot was a French painter so maybe I wanted to write Claude Gillot’s surname with a Gilott nib for this sample, we will never know…I bought this nib (the Gillott 404) because it was recommended as a good nib for beginners. This is where I suck in my breath and tsk, tsk.  It’s a nice nib and you could technically make much thinner hairlines, but this nib is a bit tricky.  I found this could get messy really fast, on the upside if you wanted to make a splotchy lettered piece then this could be a good choice.  I had a hard time with skipping and running out of ink fairly quickly, so I would have to dip a lot (thus more margin for splotchy errors).  As you can see above, I had a very heavy hand and created something a lot chunkier than I would have liked. One of the tips I learned that you don’t find in a lot of books is to take a match to your new nib tip + middle, this burns off the lacquer that is put on at the factory to prevent the nib from rusting.  If you don’t burn or clean the nib (some suggest using a toothbrush), than the ink doesn’t stay in the well (this little well thing is pretty close to magic btw). Another tip that I have been using is cleaning my nibs with unscented baby wipes. It’s SO easy, this is how I clean my rubberstamps as well, no mess and I don’t have to run downstairs to wash them and then  lose them in our sink drain!  If you want to see a couple of my current favorite nibs visit this post.


One of the hardest things to navigate in hand lettering seems to be what nibs to choose. The most frequent answer to my questions have been answered with, “it depends on the person”. I understand the gist of that sentiment, because each person holds the pen holder with a different weight and it does depend on many variables, but I still wish someone would give me one concrete suggestions. I am hoping that maybe my experience can at least guide you in the right direction. I am going to pop in with a few pen nibs that I have tried out. My current two favorites are both Japanese nibs, the Nikko G and the Zebra G (they are very similar to each other so if you are having a hard time finding one, try the other). The sample above is with the Zebra G, I love that it can make such beautiful hairline strokes. In calligraphy they refer to nibs as being stiff or flexible (and variations in between). For beginners it seems that a stiffer nib is easier to manipulate. One of the things I really like about this nib is that it is so smooth and doesn’t skip, you can have a heavier hand (like I do). The Zebra G’s first got popular with Manga artists and have worked their way into a lot of modern calligraphers tool boxes. When I posted a sample image on Instagram two of my fave lettering artists immediately commented that the Zebra G’s were their favorites.  I think starting a lettering practice with either the Nikko G or Zebra G will be a great start and give you a little confidence in your abilities.  Earlier I mentioned variables with nibs and you can’t even believe how many subtle nuances can change your lettering outcome such as type of ink, paper, even humidity.  Don’t give up, change it up! I’ll be back later with more samples and nib suggestions. I am no expert, but if you have questions please let me know.

P.S. I almost forgot! I was on Brooklyn Limestone sharing a crazy easy + cool no sew bed skirt D.I.Y.. come visit!