Hand Lettering and the Art of Illustrating Words

You may have noticed some of the wonderful hand lettering on the signs and banners in the library.  All of that was created using some tips and pointers I picked up online and from books found on our very shelves.  As the Manager of Creative Services, it is my job to make sure that all the signs and banners that hang in the library are beautiful and eye-catching.  A lot of times that means I am designing things from scratch to get the look I want.  Up until recently, I relied on premade fonts for any text I needed.  That was until I tried my hand at hand lettering.

One of my favorite online places to learn a new skill is a website called Skillshare.  It covers everything from graphic design and photography to fashion design and even some cooking.  There is something for everyone.  The classes are online videos that you can follow along at your own pace.  There is also a place for you to show off your progress, get feedback from the teacher and also other students.  The best part is that classes are very inexpensive (usually around $20) and the teachers are usually well known and cutting edge leaders in their respective fields.  The first course I took was Introduction to the Art of Modern Calligraphy followed by The First Steps of Hand Lettering: Concept to Sketch.  Both were really interesting but the Hand Lettering course was by far my favorite.  In fact I am now signed up to take 3 more lettering and calligraphy courses.

 With my new-found lettering skills under my belt I tackled a few of the large banners you see hanging in the atrium.  First up was the holiday banner. Using a mix of calligraphy and hand lettering, I illustrated the words by hand before coloring them on the computer.  Not bad for a first try!  

 Next came our Simplify theme.  For a portion of the banner, I did some calligraphy placed over top of a watercolor wash. I do see room for improvement with my calligraphy skills but overall love the results.  A few months ago I never would have even known where to begin with a calligraphy pen.  I thought it was so hard but it really isn't!

When looking for inspiration for lettering one of my favorite resorces in Pinterest.  Just a simple search for "lettering" will give me more than enough to look through.  Sometimes however, I prefer to go offline and just sit with a good book.  The fourth floor at DPPL is my usual go-to spot as I love all things 'reference'.  Thankfully we have a really good source of books in our catalog to help supplement any online learning.  While taking the Skillshare classes, these were some of the books I checked out and still regularly refer to for advice and inspiration.  

Creative Lettering Book

Creative Lettering; Techniques & Tips From Top Artists

by Jenny Doh

This book had tons of inspiration from various artists. My favorite part was reading which pens and other tools each person liked to use.  I had a field day at the art store after reading this book.

Modern Calligraphy book

Modern Calligraphy; Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy

by Molly Suber Thorpe

By far the best calligraphy book I've read.  It focuses on current trends in calligraphy which is very different than your grandma's calligraphy.

Art of Whimsical Lettering book

Art of Whimsical Lettering

by Joanne Sharpe

This book is brand new and on order.  I've already put it on hold because it looks promising.  Certainly worth a look.

Lettering of the 60's & 70's book

Custom Lettering of the '60s & '70s

Of course it is always good to look at how things were done in the past and this book has tons of fun stuff to pour over.

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