Posts Tagged ‘hand-lettering’

Sign Painting Inspired Photo Backdrop


Sometimes I enthusiastically say, “Yes!” to a project before understanding the scale. It’s a problem I get myself into constantly. As much as these decisions cost me in time, I benefit in learning new things: new methods, techniques and at the very least when I should say, “no.”


AlixMegan and I were asked to head up a photo booth for Alt Summit this year. After mulling through several ideas, our theme was b&w pre-internet, we settled on some typographic backdrop for the photo booth for Alt Summit (summer 2015). It took until the 11th hour to think of what words to use.

I’m no copy editor. Coming up with copy is difficult for me. I can make it beautiful, but figuring out what to write can be like pulling teeth for me. It took several conversations as a team and an hour long phone call with my mom. I figured it would make the most sense to do onomatopoeias. Since it’s B&W pre-internet (which I thought was kind of vague) I started with the sounds you would hear from pre-internet technology like the “click and clack” from a typewriter. Then it grew from there to include any onomatopoeia that I could think of. I didn’t want to repeat the words too many times.


Initially I had thought about inspirational words or phrases, but we didn’t want readability to be an issue. The short words turned out to be great.


This sign ended up being roughly 9′ wide and 4′ tall. Doing something this large isn’t typical of my day-to-day work. Also, sign painting and lettering isn’t something that I do often. I was more than a bit out of my comfort zone here. Between that and the fact that the only space I could complete the sign was the kitchen area, stress levels were at an all-time high. My stress always sky-rockets around Alt Summit. So Chris knew he needed to steer clear. The kids quickly learned that lesson after an embarrassing amount of yelling, “GET OUT!! I can’t have you touching the paper!!”

I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they live in a mausoleum, but I also can’t have their sticky otter pop hands anywhere close to the paper. My paranoia mounted the further along I got. Stakes were escalating, I couldn’t start over!


In my efforts to keep Pen and Felix out of trouble and my precious paper out of harm’s way, I barricaded the kitchen off with various chairs and a car seat. Chris got a kick out of it. That buffer saved my bacon a couple of times by keeping Felix from barreling through the room on his way outside.

At one point Alix came over to help fill in words with her two littles in tow. 5 kids under the age of 7 made for some interesting work time. Her kids were so good at staying clear of the paper and paint. Mine, not so much.




The event went well, but as we were setting up for the backdrop I noticed that we had an awkward blank space on the top left corner of the backdrop. I made it a point to have my art supplies with me so that I could letter names for people (that was so fun!). So it was no big deal to whip out the white paint and brush and get to work on a couple extra pieces to fill out the negative space.


If you look carefully, you’ll see that the “alt.” logo, arrow and “BAM” are a slightly different white. I had a different white, a teeny brush and I had to do it while the backdrop was hanging so I didn’t have a hard surface to work on. It certainly wasn’t my best work, but I was able to fill in the blank and make it look like it was supposed to be there.

I may be biased, but we rocked the photobooth. I’m glad I said yes to this project and got out of my comfort zone.

Project materials:

The Pressure of Expressing Thanks


Since before the arrival of Miss Juniper, we’ve had so many friends, family members and neighbors lend a helping hand for our little family. It’s been a real blessing to have such great support. A considerable amount of it is from the great support network of my church. It’s incredible. I couldn’t imagine welcoming a new baby without that.


With all of the help, I’ve tried so hard to stay on top of all of the ‘Thank You’s. It’s hard sometimes! Why would a self-proclaimed calligrapher have a hard time doing that? I tell you why –

For some reason, I put pressure on myself that if I don’t bust out the calligraphy pens or if I (heaven forbid) use a thank you that someone else designed the sentiment is cheapened. It’s like I’m cheating or trying passing off someone else’s work as my own if I use a store-bought card. Also if I use the same card twice.


I’m not trying to complain. These thoughts are completely ridiculous, if you ask me. But no less real. Does anyone else suffer from the same psychosis?

I have found a solution to help me send those much-deserved ‘Thank You’s:

  • Always have a variety of colored envelopes and blank flat cards on-hand so I can mix and match as I choose.
  • Always have a stockpile of stamps (which reminds me, I need to order more!)
  • Keep a list of owed ‘Thank You’s at my desk so when I have a spare moment for practice work, I can work through the list.

I didn’t implement these things until about July of this year. And I’m still working out the kinks in the process. If I were smarter, I would have a pile of hand-lettered cards like you see above already completed. All I’d have to do is write a note on the back. Maybe I’ll get on that bandwagon in the next few months. Change happens so slowly around my neck of the woods. :)

So how do you make sure those ‘Thank You’s get out?

Return Address Stamp for Writing Pen Pals


For nearly a year now I’ve meant to make a return address stamp for our address! We’re SO permanent now, so why the delay?


I made the stamp in a mono-line so it would coordinate better with my various styles of addressing. Chris says that it’s girly, but it’s not nearly as girly as most of my lettering styles.

I wish I could show you the whole address, the numbers and letters do fun things together with little flourished details. You’ll just have to give me an excuse to send you something in the mail if you really want to see the whole thing.


I write to 4 pen pals these days. It’s so much fun to get fun mail each week and to get to know someone in a neighboring state or half way around the world. I love writing pen pals!


Pauline is one of my pen pals, isn’t that a fun letter? I was just over the moon to get this in the mail.

I Still Love Calligraphy Feature


I am so proud of what my calligraphy students have been doing since taking my workshop. It just fills me with so much joy to see people get that fire and love for lettering and run with it! Today I thought I’d share with you a few projects from previous students.


Did I tell you how proud of these women I am??


Alice now does custom family plaques for people. You can see them all on her instagram. I love the round shape!


Emily was using her awesome handwriting to address envelopes before. Now she’s adding more panache with the thicks and thins of the pointed pen. See her work here.


Katherine made a logo for her best friend. I love the meandering, organic line.


Lindsay penned her save the date, just 10 days into taking my course!! I’m floored, I love this so.

I’m hoping to make this a semi-regular thing. If you’ve taken my online (or live) course and you’d like to share a project that you’re particularly proud of, email me using the contact form above. I would LOVE to see! If you’re on instagram, be sure to follow/use the hash tag #istilllovecalligraphy.


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