Lydia Robins Hendrix Modern Calligrapher Interview

Lettering by Lydia Robins Hendrix via besotted blog

We have spent the last few months deeply immersed in lettering, even more so than usual. We currently are experiencing what I can only describe as a lettering high, our class made it to the #2 spot in trending classes on Skillshare and we are not ready to let go of our current euphoria. Many lettering artists have written to us that our site had an impact on them, that they were able to find resources, insight and inspiration for their own lettering journey, those types of notes warm our hearts to no end. To celebrate we are doing a week of lettering artists, we wanted to showcase some up and coming talent with hopes that their stories will inspire you in your own lettering or inspire you to put nib and ink to paper.

 Our first lettering artist is Lydia Robins Hendrix, I believe I first spotted her work on Instagram, I was immediately hooked. It’s so hard to develop a distinct hand and I feel that Lydia has done just that seamlessly. It is casual, yet elegant, feminine but not girly–just lovely. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her a little better, we hope you do to!  Give Lydia some love here in the comments or visit her here.
I strongly believe that if it works for you, it doesn’t matter if it’s the “right” way to do something.

//LYDIA ROBINS HENDRIX CALLIGRAPHY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS//

Where are you located?

Columbia, SC

How did you get started in lettering?

It’s all my parents’ fault, really.  My dad picked up lettering in architecture school and had various pens and even some books around his study while I was growing up. I was really curious and played around with it as a kid. This was mostly broad-edged calligraphy, not pointed pen, but when I was getting married I was certain I could just pick up where I left off.  Cue roaring laughter.  It took me forever to find my way to a pointed pen (even just four years ago in 2011, you could not find information the way you can now!) – it was trial and error messing with the tools in my mom’s art supplies (she died when I was 5 months old – that’s not to elicit sympathy, I just would have asked her if I could have!) to come across a pointed pen and finally make the connection between the tool I needed to use and the style I wanted to achieve.  It then was a matter of getting a book from the library and studying the contemporary styles of people whose work I really admired, trying to find my own way to sort of blend the two.  I pulled out a lot of my hair that year.

What are some of your favorite supplies?

My bread and butter are a Zebra G, a regular ‘ol Speedball oblique pen holder, Sumi ink, and Canson marker paper.  I do a lot of lettering for scanned purposes, so that is what I’ve found to be my favorite combination for that end.  I also still love a Brause Steno nib – it’s what I used when I really started figuring out what I was doing, and it seems to play nicer with thicker inks like gouache and metallic, as well as also having a smoother, broader edge that doesn’t catch as badly on cotton papers with those little fibers who like to jump out and ruin your day.

Can you name some of your inspirations?

As far as other calligraphers, Elizabeth Porcher Jones, Paperfinger (Bryn Chernoff), and Fat Orange Cat Studio (Li Ward) are whose work I obsessed over when I was getting started and still drool over to this day. I actually do now try to keep my head in the sand, if you will; I appreciate the work of so many people, but I have found it’s so much easier to avoid the temptation to compare and belittle my own work if I just stop looking at everyone else’s.

In general, as an artist?  This may sound strange, but I am really inspired by the culinary world.  If I’m not in the studio, I’m thinking about food, I’m reading about food, I’m watching food documentaries or food shows…  Okay, and being smothered by my dog (though he will crawl all 65 pounds into my lap in the studio, as well).  I have been thinking a lot lately about how chefs work in cycles – they very frequently will work very intensely on a project and then take time away to learn or get inspired by something new.  That’s something that I think is likely extremely important to develop oneself and grow as an artist, but it seems really scary.  Knowing that there’s another profession where it is occasionally necessary to walk away from everything that you’ve set up that is starting to feel stable, that is really comforting to me.  In particular, I’m crazy about Francis Mallmann, an Argentine chef who is about as free-spirited as it gets, as well as the insight of Dan Barber.  Dan Barber lost his mother, as well, and he very frankly admits that his work is in all likelihood some sort of attempt to heal that wound.  That resonates with me intensely. I think there are likely many parallels between people who are drawn to the culinary world and people who are in the fine arts.  Needless to say, I highly recommend the Netflix series “Chef’s Table”…

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

My process is pretty no-frills – I am committed to being as easy to work with as possible, so my goal is to produce excellent work efficiently.  I try to get as much information as I can up front (and I’ve gotten better at figuring out what information I need over the years), and just run with it.  Especially being in the wedding industry where there is so much stress, I try to leave as few open ends as possible so there’s less anxiety for all parties involved!

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

I think learning fundamentals (i.e. traditional lettering) alongside gathering inspiration from people you admire and really pulling from a broad range of others is a good way to really find your own style.  If you have a solid foundation in traditional lettering, you’re going to find it easier to play around with those structures rather than just copy someone else’s style.

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

Oh gosh, the book that I used when I started is probably not the best out there, but I know that John Neal Books has some incredible resources.  I have taught modern calligraphy workshops, but I really do strongly suggest pressing into Copperplate either before or simultaneously to working on more modern styles.  JNB has some great books and tools for that!

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

Eeks! I recently finished up some invitations that I lettered and then screenprinted myself on Silk and Willow’s handmade cotton paper – it’s a suite I’m really, really proud of, but the wedding isn’t until June 24th, so it will be a while before any decent images of it emerge!

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

Nope! In fact, I am really not a rules girl.  I strongly believe that if it works for you, it doesn’t matter if it’s the “right” way to do something.  I am to this day not sure if other people do things the same way I do them, and I’m okay with that!

If you want to mention any upcoming workshops…

No upcoming formal workshops, though I will be teaching a brush lettering class at The School of Styling’s Charleston School in August.

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

I’m fluent in Spanish? My bachelor’s degree is actually in Spanish, so I get really excited if I get to use it even just a little bit.  Ironically, my husband is a German teacher, and I have found I’ve been addressing things to Germany and Austria a lot lately.  Go figure!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. 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.

Around here…

lettering + photo by ez pudewa from Photoshop for Lettering Artists class project

What an incredibly exciting week we have been having! It never gets this exciting around these parts. The most exciting thing that has happened to me lately before this was when my 18 month old daughter said, “Help, Mommy, poo poo.” That was freaking awesome; those with children may fully comprehend how glorious a moment that was for me, but it was no comparison to this week and the launch of our class and the warm response we have received–thank you!

Since the platform is not a secret anymore I thought I would share some of the wonderful classes I have taken via Skillshare, hold on to your hats because the list is quite extensive. What can I say I love to learn! I have mentioned some of these classes before, but I think it’ll be nice to have them all in one place to reference.

Bonnie Christine of Going Home to Roost is just amazing, a kind, creative and talented individual she has two wonderful classes on Skillshare on Surface Design that I have taken. If you have an interest in patterns and real world application of them I can’t recommend her classes enough here and here.

I am such a fan of Bryn Chernoff’s hand, she has a series of classes on Modern Calligraphy and it’s always nice to hear about the lettering process from someone you admire.

Molly Jacques did a really nice job with her Introduction to the Art of Modern, it was one of the more simple ones to follow and I was able to get a lot out of it. I think it’s perfect for the complete newbie to lettering. One of  my favorite things she said in the class when she discussed some of the lettering artists she admires was that her goal was not to copy them but to evoke the ‘feeling’ their lettering had on her. I think that’s a perfect articulation of anything that inspires another artist!

Marte Marie Forsberg is an Instagram sensation (rightly so). Her Capturing Food, Flavors, Conversation lifestyle photography class is short and sweet and filled with photo inspiration. If you are short on time but still want to take in a photo class this is for you!

Jennifer Schwartz is the creative director of Crusade of Art, her mission is to help artists find their visual voice and share their work. She is now up to 6 classes on Skillshare (and I do want to take each and every one of them), but so far I have only take one-Becoming a Fine Art Photographer.

Mary Kate McDevitt’s class-First Steps of Hand Lettering  It is SO good!  I love that it is a lettering class and not just a calligraphy class (where you would need special tools like nib & ink, so no excuses). All you need is a pencil, paper and some imagination.  It’s worth every penny if you are even remotely interested in lettering.

If you have any commercial lettering aspirations than lettering legend James Victore’s class Radical Typography might be a class for you. I thoroughly enjoyed his passion and enthusiasm for his craft.

I haven’t taken this class yet, but the images for Minimalist Food Photography looks like it would be something I would love.

Winners of the 3 spots for our Photoshop for Lettering Artists are @vivabailey, Rachel Headley, @laurasuejohnson, congrats!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. 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.

class project by student ez pudewa

Photoshop for Lettering Artist the Class!

photoshop for lettering artist class launch via besotted blog

After much toil + tribulation, with a healthy does of enthusiasm thrown in we are so pleased (and proud) to be able to announce our class–Photoshop for Lettering Artist on Skillshare! When we were choosing what class to create (we have ideas for so many more) we really kept coming back to a huge void for lettering artists. Of course there are classes, very, very indepth classes for digitizing your lettering, but there was nothing out there for a complete Photoshop novice. After all, if you are lettering you may enjoy the very organic and tangible process of lettering and the thought of computers and a very daunting graphic design program may seem near impossible a challenge or something that you feel you have no passion for. It’s so hard to learn a skill, even one that is needed without a spark for it. It’ s a conundrum, because now that your lettering skills have started to flourish you want to share your work with the world, you want to make things with it and you have one very big elephant in the room–Photoshop. We hope that we have made this class as simple and comprehensive as possible, we are utilizing the immersion method and jumping right in, teaching you only the things you will need to know to get the job done. We want you in and out of Photoshop, sharing your work and back to lettering as soon as possible! We hope this class gives you the skills and confidence to do just that.

This morning when Michelle asked me to peruse the pdf download for the class I admittedly hadn’t peeked at it earlier (for shame) and when I did I was completely floored. Michelle basically created a textbook version of the class for you!  It is beautifully designed, written in very simple and comprehensible language, plenty of visual examples and I am going to go on a limb here and say that it is quite possibly one of the best (if not the best) download/handbooks for a Skillshare class and I am just so darn appreciative to have such an amazing friend, creative collaborator and business partner.

We are open to questions or concerns, please do feel free to ask us anything in the comments. You can sign-up for the class here. We can’t wait to have you in class!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. 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.

Photoshop for Lettering Artists Class Giveaway

 

Photoshop for lettering artists promo via besotted blog i

We thought we’d pop in and say hello!  This is our launch week for our Photoshop for Lettering Artist class and Michelle and I are in a grand mood and thought this cause for celebration! We are going to be giving away 7 free spots to the class to those that are signed up for our mailing list, the winner’s will be announced on class launch day.  You don’t even have to do anything, just sign-up, heck if you want to unsubscribe right after, it is easy peasy (but we will miss you). You can sign-up here.

If you aren’t the mailing list inclined, but still would like to try to win 1 of 3 spots we are giving away then there’s a little, teeny, tiny bit of legwork involved, but nothing too daunting. Pin this image, tweet it, regram it from here, or follow fotorxco on instagram, just one will do (but if you’d like to do more..), you can use the hashtag #fotorxclasses if you like. We will be choosing 3 winners this week to join the class for free!

Is this class for you? Are you a lettering enthusiast but have zero to limited Photoshop skills? Do you desperately want to learn how to get your lettering from paper to pixel–social media, your blog, website, etc.? Are you taking hours to clean-up your lettering now, but think there could be an easier way?  If you answered yes to any of these questions this class is for you!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. 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.

Around here…

happinessis peonies by shannon eileen via besotted blog

What a week it has been for us! We are still recording and editing for our class which we seriously thought we would have ready yesterday. In the midst of all our preparation we uploaded our video files and then found out that we had made a bitty (okay, big) error, you couldn’t see our screen clearly, kind of a big deal when we are trying to teach a massive program like Photoshop to complete PS novices, gah!  After much angst, research and dark chocolate we solved our mystery and are back in action, but a little behind on our anticipated deadline. Again, we are going to definitely go over all of the trials and tribulations about learning how to screen cast so if you ever decide to try it you won’t be flailing in a sea of contradiction like us.

And on to other lovely things!

We got the bestest mention ever from Shannon Eileen of Happiness Is blog. Her before and after’s are completely gorgeous (as witnessed by the photo above). We are thrilled to have such beautiful results and images to share.

We are also thrilled about these new dog haircuts, they are smile inducing.

Even though I am a die hard non-ficiton fan, so many of you mentioned this book and Michelle also offered the thumbs up. I finally gave in and started reading it and I am happily immersed in a most wonderful, magical and charming world, thank you!

I have been wearing this BB cream a lot because it’s pretty goof proof, I have mentioned it before but I think it’s a great little cosmetic for the extra lazy (the color comes out white and transforms magically on your face), no SPF but Michelle swears by this one. I just slap it on while I am doing something else like brushing my teeth and it still manages to look good.

We are going to be giving away 10 free spots to our Photoshop for Lettering Artists class 7 of those spots will be going to people that are signed up for our mailing list. We will will announce the subscriber winners the same day we  launch the class! If you would like a chance to win a free spot and be the first to know of the class launch you can sign-up here.

photo by shannon eileen

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. 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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