Monday, May 5, 2014

Lettering Exercise (I like THIS kind of Exercise!)

I haven't made it very far on my "list of things to do while on my week long sabbatical." Strange how everything really does take longer than you think it will. But at least I have a start on a few things...

One of my main intentions was to learn more about lettering. I had signed up for a class on Skillshare that looks great, but I get bored watching all the videos. I'll get back to that one when I get home and have the paints available for the projects. I did dive into one of the books I brought along though -
Hand-Lettering Ledger: A Practical Guide to Creating Serif, Script, Illustrated, Ornate, and Other Totally Original Hand-Drawn Styles


I loved the cover. Yes, I DO judge a book by its cover. And "ledger" is such an accurate description. I'm getting kind of tired of the recent trend to turn every book into a "workbook". Sometimes it feels like a sneaky way to add more (blank) pages to a book and charge more. But if done well, the workbook aspect makes sense - as it does here - as a ledger to practice your letters. But then, I don't like to write in books anyway.

The first section of the book has explanations and examples and step-by-steps. The second part is mostly dotted-blank pages with occasional tips and exercises. Then there are pages to practices techniques and special alphabets.

Here are some of the practice quotes I have been working on. The first one seems particularly appropriate!

The intention is to scan the hand-drawn lettering and add color, etc. in a computer drawing program. But I am blissing out on the sketching and inking part of the process. Maybe it is old-fashioned, but I take such great joy in the thinking-idea-brainstorming stage of sketching. Hunting for the line that is just right. Inking it all in, and then erasing the old lines.

I have some trouble with getting things centered and spaced just right - but THAT part is easy enough to fix on the computer. For this Hunker Down piece (also good advice for me) I decided not to follow the exercise exactly and to leave some of the embellishments looking more organic and flowy. And I didn't add the fancy dropshadows that make it look more like a carnival poster.

My weird enjoyment of drawing, inking, and lettering is making my choice for summer camp even more exciting. I signed up for a summer program at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. And as with all the schools I have procrastinated applying to - I used a scholarship as my decision maker. Since I got the scholarship - I HAD to go, right? ;-)

I have a fantasy about going back to school for my MFA... this school recently offered a new MFA in Applied Cartooning (that means using cartoons in other areas, like health care and education) and this summer will give me an idea of whether I might really want to go for it. Of course, I can't go anywhere until my son graduates high school (next year!) and I'd have to find some magic genie lamp that would enable me to rent an apartment AND bring my daughter and my cat with me... and maybe a Kickstarter campaign to pay the tuition and rent? It's just two years. I could do it. And my daughter has already agreed that she would be happy to come with me.  So I'll start with the summer workshop and then, if all goes well, I'll put the whole plan out to the Universe.


  1. Looks like fun Sandy! I may have to check out that book. I am currently working through Card Makers Hand-Lettering Workbook. NancyD

  2. LOve your lettering. I to must check out that book. I have fun hand lettering in my sketchbook but it's always about the same style. I need to change it up.
    As always, impressed with your enthusiasm and energy!

    1. Judy - I hope you will share some of your fabulous new work with us soon? I would be honored to have you do a guest post... whenever you are ready. noodge noodge. ;-D

  3. I found a freebies that you might like looking at:, which is an old penmanship/alphabet book, published in 1854. Letters are so much fun and I love seeing what you are doing with them.

    1. Oh this is a fabulous link! Thank you. I downloaded it and love the section with the weirder alphabets. Very nice. :-)

  4. I love lettering, so this books sounds intriguing to me. By the way, I gave you a shout out in my current post. Blessings!



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