Thursday, August 07, 2014

for the love of lettering

Hello my dear blog friend!

How are you? It's almost 2 am as I write this and I have so much to tell you - I don't know where to start! Get comfy 'cause this might take a while. First things first, so we know we have our priorities in order....let me tell you about my new favorite snack in all of LIFE.

First you take a bowl of these....
Then you get a jar of this (which is way chocolatey-er than Nutella)....
Then you go like this and the ANGELS SING! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! (My podcast listeners will know how that sounds.)
It's miraculous!

Now, I'm so excited to tell you about my new obsession - hand lettering! Yes, this is a strange obsession for a girl who has never written on or in a scrapbook. But a little known fact about me is that I have always been obsessed with handwriting.

I remember sitting in fifth grade, in "the Pod" (an area of my elementary school that was strangely named), in Mrs. Shedden's Math class, watching my friend, Vanessa, write her schoolwork. I was obsessed with her handwriting. Mine was very classic cursive, like the teacher taught us and hers was very fast and instead of dotting her i's, she made a slash! How fun. That was the beginning of the end for my good handwriting because from then on, I had a handwriting identity crisis. I watched her write until I could write just like her! I can still see myself, in my mind's eye, watching her. I wrote like that for a while until I found someone else who had handwriting I liked more and then I would copy theirs.

I could write like my cousin Gina, my sister, my mom, my dad and all my friends! In fact, when I think of each of those people, I can see their handwriting in my head now. Here's an example of all the ways I frequently write, even now....
You would think this would lead me to be some kind of handwriting guru, like Heidi Swapp (after all, I was the Rich Little of handwriting), but the opposite happened! I started to feel like I didn't know how to write like myself! The carefully controlled cursive of my younger years seemed too starched and fussy but the loopy carefree style of my friends did not come naturally so I avoided writing at all although I could still write perfectly when I wanted to. In sixth grade, I won a trophy for perfect penmanship and my perfectionist nature reveled in my ability to write perfectly at will.

All through school I wavered between writing styles until I arrived at a handwriting so ridiculous my boss once told me I had better learn to write better or else! My wedding gift list is written in this writing so bizarre, I can't even share it here. Through the years, I wrote more legibly but when I write quickly, I find it very hard to be consistent. That inconsistency is what kept me from writing on my layouts.

A couple of years ago, I discovered an artist named Lori Vliegen and her blog/work. I'm trying to put into words how it made me feel but there are almost no words. I love and adore her writing and her drawing and painting. Here's a favorite piece from one of her many art journals...
It just makes me so happy! She has a class called "Letter Lab" so I immediately was interested in taking it but I just never got around to it.

I also love Susan Branch and Mary Englebreit who both incorporate their handwriting into their artwork. I have collected their work for years and been inspired by it but I could never draw so it felt out of my reach.

In the past few years, I've often sat at my desk and with different markers tried out a variety of handwriting styles. One of my favorite phrases to practice is "warm winter wishes." One time Caroline came up to me and said, "Did you write that? I didn't know you could do that!" I would just would doodle and play but nothing came of it.

Inspired by the fact that this week, Tiffany and I are taping a show about Art Journaling, I decided to see if I could figure out Lori's style of hand lettering on my own and make my art journaling something like hers. (I still intend to take her class.) I own lots of markers so first, I tried a brush marker and I like it but not as much as Lori's. I've seen Kristina Werner use a brush marker and it is wonderful but I can't get control of the pressure like she does. Still, I have experimented adding detail with the finer tip and kind of like it...
this is a messy practice sheet - I like the kindness except for that e

Then I tried writing in pencil, tracing with a pen like she does and then filling in the space like she came out very similar to a word of hers I was copying. Here's the word "mom" and at the top, I copied her style of writing the word and then filling in parts....
Then something amazing happened! I started going through all my markers and found these "Scroll and Brush" tipped Zig markers I didn't even know I had. I had always wondered what you did with the scroll so I tried it out. I had an a-ha (angels singing) moment and realized that I could write with this marker and then fill in the spaces and make it look very much like I wanted!
Bottom right "mom" is written with a scroll marker and then filled in with a fine tip Zig marker. I love it!! It's not perfect and I'm still working on it but I am loving the experience! I just sit and practice all day, writing every word I can think of and deciding the best way to write it so I can fill it in.
Everywhere I go, I look at the world for hand written lettering. I wasn't aware of it before like I am now! I see logos, signs, words everywhere that look handwritten. I think to myself, "If I can master this...the possibilities are endless for what I can create." I plan to incorporate one large word into every page of my art journal.

I am truly more excited about this than anything I have tried in a long time. I'm still not thrilled with my regular writing but I have been practicing my perfect cursive and it seems to be making my everyday writing better too!
I've made two spreads for my art journaling and I'm so excited about art journaling and hand lettering right now that I am giddy! I go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it! My art journal is going to be nothing like other art journals I see and I'm happy about that! It's going to be filled with actual journaling and I'm hoping that it will fill the void that the lack of handwriting in my scrapbooking has left. I have a long list of ideas for the pages I'm going to do and I think of new ones all the time! Can you tell I'm excited?? I can't wait for you to hear our show we're taping this week and I'm hoping you'll catch my enthusiasm.

Let's see, I still want to tell you about my creative field trip to Hobby Lobby, my themed embellishments a-ha moment and something else but it will all have to wait. This has taxed my brain overmuch and I just finished working 13 hours at the office!

Be back Friday with more exciting news so see ya then my friend! Stay cool!


Michelle said...

I don't know why you don't like your writing. You have nice writing. It is nice and neat. You should really write some of your journaling.

angie said...

I love doodling and writing too - I totally understand your enthusiasm! can't wait to hear the podcast!

Teddi said...

tracie do you think your new love for creative lettering will translate into you handwriting some of the journaling on your scrapbook pages? or does that idea terrify you??? ;)

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