The Hand-Lettering Challenge: Part 1

On my wishlist for this Christmas was a book about hand-lettering. And there it was, lying under the tree on Christmas day: Creative lettering and beyond – inspiring tips, techniques & ideas for hand-lettering your way to beautiful works of art. Just by flicking through the book, I wanted to get myself a pencil and paper – but first things first: Christmas festivities before pencil and paper. I had to be patient for a little longer. Not my forté. 

Where does my fascination for hand-lettering come from? Well, I do not remember very much about primary school, but one thing I do remember is that, at all times, I have enjoyed writing with the ink-pen. I found evidence for that about a year ago in my parents’ attic. I have always known that my mum had kept loads of stuff from my childhood, but I wasn’t expecting that she literally had kept every drawing and handicraft that I had ever created. And all the handwriting exercise books.

Extract of my handwriting exercise book.

It was lovely to look through all these creative pieces. They brought back so many good memories… and reminded me of the neat handwriting I used to have.

Unfortunately, my handwriting hasn’t stayed as neat to date. You know how it is: With time, at school, you have to write more and more and faster and faster. That definitely showed in the execution of my handwritten letters. The precision has disappeared, but what stayed was the love for beautiful handwriting. That’s why I am so glad that “modern” calligraphy has kind of been rediscovered over the last couple of years and is nowadays omnipresent, especially in graphic design.

When the idea with the hand-drawn houses (by Lucie Conoley, The MIPS) popped up as the main element of the “my blueberry house” logo, I started searching the internet for suitable handwritten fonts. And was instantly overwhelmed by the incredible amount that exist! On one hand that was brilliant. So much inspiration! On the other hand, it meant that finding an appropriate font for the logo got even harder. I soon excluded brush-lettering and calligraphy fonts and narrowed the search down to fine-lined, upright fonts – in  my eyes the only option that looks right with the hand-drawn houses. After a long, but very interesting and entertaining search, I met elegant, classy Angelova (aka Angelova Monoline Script by ianmikraz). And I couldn’t get her out of my mind anymore…

It was exactly that search that brought the handwriting spirit from my first years at school back to life. More and more I felt that I don’t just want to follow the lines of a lovely font with my eyes, but that I want to draw those elegant, curly, varied lines myself. And I did. Or better said, I am doing it. But I also noticed very quickly that the spirit alone is not enough. To get those lines right and make them look special, you need a lot of practice. So I set myself a hand-lettering challenge: One handwritten word or sentence. In different styles. Trying out various techniques. Every day. For a whole year. That’s all;-) And by choosing a word or sentence that reflects in some way that certain day, I will end up with a form of mini-diary. Two jobs done in one fell swoop:-)

Would you like to sneak a peek of how I got on so far? Here’s the first 9 days… 356 more to come.

a happy 2016
Day 1 / brush pen
Day 2 / 30 point fineliner
Happy Birthday Lilly
Day 3 / brush pen: Our little girl turned 5!
back to normal
Day 4 / ordinary pencil: Back to school, back to work, back to the daily routine.
apple crumble
Day 5 / 30 point fineliner: Apple crumble for tea 🙂
3 wise men
Day 6 / 30 point fineliner
Day 7 / proper brush
Day 8 / proper brush: I really struggled with that word – still not happy with the result.
Fun in the snowrain
Day 9 / 30 point fineliner



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