Calligraphy: Keeping it Real With Dooce


I’m excited. Nay, beyond the MOON to share with you a fun collaboration that I had the pleasure of completing with Quarterly and Heather Armstrong!


Quarterly approached me on Heather Armstrong’s behalf to see if I could put together an art print for her calligraphy-themed box. Ummm. . . Heck yeah!

The phrase: “Neither Representing nor Keeping it Real” is in a box full of pencils, a broad-pen calligraphy set, paper and envelopes.


I had more than a little fun flourishing the border for this piece, keeping them simple with  a monoline, but making them meander every which way.


Heather and Quarterly were a dream to work with, letting my creative juices flow. The icing on the cake? The kindest shout out from the queen of blogging herself! In the box’s letter she writes:

“There is a local artist named Melissa Esplin –– whose work I follow religiously, and in this package I’ve included an exclusive hand-lettered print that we worked on together: her talented hand giving life to a phrase that once served as a tagline on my website. I love the juxtaposition of scripted letters that are so often associated with inspirational and romantic notions being used to render my facetious twist on a popular phrase.”


Chris couldn’t stop laughing at my half hour long happy dance when I showed him the shout out. It. Made. My. Year.

Did you know that this month (in addition to being Black History Month) is International Correspondence Month? Kind of perfect given that Valentine’s day is basically upon us. I’ve written 2 letters so far this month (pretty sad), but I intend to use every envelope in my Quarterly box before Feb 28th and send some letters. I hope you take on a similar challenge and write to someone you love this month.

All photos taken by the uber talented Will Deleon.

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    1. Joscie says:

      this is so much awesome! :)

    2. Kristin H says:

      What, what! You are living the artist’s dream and killing it. Fantastic work! So glad you are getting the exposure you deserve.

    3. alana says:

      You know if Dooce gives you a shout out, you’ve made it!! Congratulations!!

    4. Pauline says:

      Melissa, this is gorgeous! I’ve never thought single stroke swrils would look this amazing!

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