Reconnecting with my creativity: A 31-day hand-lettering challenge

3 March 2015

So I barely made it through the first weekend of Spring Break without getting completely antsy. Despite my tenure as a somewhat hermit, it can still get to you. I mean, eventually you run out of things on Netflix, and the idea of spending the entire week deep cleaning your apartment just isn’t all that appealing.

But then I happened across something on Erin Wiggle‘s instagram. A hand-lettering challenge. I knew she had taken an online class in hand-lettering recently, and apparently the woman who was running that said class (Caroline) decided to host a challenge through the month of March for her students to keep them practicing. Meet Yourself March – 31 days of prompts designed to keep you working on your craft as well as do a little introspective reflection as well.

I had done some hand-lettering before. One of the things about the portfolio school I went to was that you do everything by hand first before you bring it to a computer. So, working on that perfect font for a logo? Yeah, draw it out first. Granted, in those sketches, things didn’t have to be perfect. But there were times when hand-lettering was the best choice for the project. However, I will unabashedly admit that I am not the best hand-letterer or illustrator out there. Give me editorial or typographical design any day. There were, though, some pretty amazing designers who were pretty phenomenal in hand-lettering. Like Jennie, who was one of 3 designers in my cohort including myself. I had always admired her skill.

So, I thought about it… and decided, what the heck, let’s go for it. I missed being creative. This was a skill I’d always wanted to work on, but never gave myself permission to go after it (and fail at it, and be ok with that). I used to sketch all the time. Now I just use sketchbooks to make lists and look longingly at my pencils and micron markers, never actually reaching for them out of this stupid notion that anything I’d create wouldn’t be good so why bother? Ugh. I hate that notion. I want to tie it up, put it in a bag, and bury it at the bottom of the sea.

And so with that… I hit purchase and signed myself up for Caroline’s Better Lettering Course. Which means if you’re following me on instagram, you’re going to see daily posts of work and progress. I’ll be doing the #MeetYourselfMarch challenge, as well as her original 30-day to better hand-lettering challenge from the course. Not sure if I’ll post from both each day, but I’d like to post at least one piece just to hold myself accountable to actually keep doing it each day.

Here’s a few of the pieces so far:

Hand-lettering Erini#BetterLetteringCourse Day 1 – Your name. Decided to try out a handful of styles. I feel more comfortable with thin, single lined fonts, but I’d really like to work on my scripts and bold letters. I also really like how the script of my last initials look together, so I’ll probably work on that more. Also, ignore that terrible N in the left middle.

Hand-Lettering Challenge Day 1#MeetYourselfMarch Day 1 – Three words that you’d use to describe yourself. Curious and creative were the easy ones to think of. Curiosity really drives me in many ways — figuring out how things work, why things are the way the are. It’s the root of my love for education. And creative, well, yeah, it was the easy one. I couldn’t think of a good third word though. I was originally going to go with “in-progress”, that sense of still growing and figuring out who I am. Then I thought maybe “compassionate”… and I also thought maybe “alone” or “hermit” because I do feel that way, but didn’t really want to be a downer. Then I remember “quixotic”. I sort of hate using it. It’s one of those words you use while listening to Dashboard Confessional or something when you’re 13 and think life is tragic. But. Well. I am indeed a hopeless romantic in many ways, so it does fit.

Hand-Lettering Challenge Day 2#MeetYourselfMarch Day 2 – Three things that make up your idea morning. Calm, quite, peaceful mornings are my jam. Over the years I’ve become more of a morning person. It’s just become my time to get things done or just relax a little before moving on to the day. On tour, I sort of love being one of the first ones up. Especially in certain cities because I can go out and explore on my own before it’s time to load out for the day. Warm is my other thought. Warm mornings are just the best. Not hot, just warm enough to stay in that sleepy haze for a bit. Though, well, ugh. I’m not fond of how my “warm” turned out. And then cuddles. I mean, how could I not include that. Currently it’s with my cats or all the blankets and pillows I have (or my new memory foam mattress topper)… but yeah, those memories of waking up in someone else’s arms… Those are pretty great. (…. and this is why I used quixotic….)

Anyway. I’m enjoying the prompts and the challenge. I’m hoping soon I feel a lot more comfortable and confident with my lettering. Although, this is definitely making me realize I suck at a lot of cursive letters used in script fonts. Guess I’ll just have to find away around that or use my own bastardized handwriting in a better way.

If you decide to join the class, or are already in it, let me know!

  • I feel like I’ve seen a lot of people doing this hand-lettering course on Instagram lately. I think it’s a cute idea to spur creativity and I am glad you’re enjoying it. I’ve been trying to paint more during the week, so I get the need to be creative more often.
    xx Abby a geek tragedy

    • So far it’s helping some. I’ve just gotta keep that Ira Glass quote in the front of my mind so I don’t get discouraged between the discrepancy between where I want my skill to be and where it is. I saw a few of the paintings you posted and they were great!

  • Kay

    Love it! And I think you’re hand lettering is great. Despite being decently proud of my artwork, my handwriting/hand lettering skills are atrocious. I hope you enjoy the course, and look forward to your Instagram posts!

    • Aw, thanks!! After doing it for almost a week now, I’ve realized my cursive/script isn’t where I’d like to it to be. And a lot of times I forget how those letters are supposed to look. Going to need to just sit down and work on those for a while.

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