52 Hand Lettered Project : a wrap-up
A little over a year ago I had this idea to take on a project. I had been hand lettering fairly seriously for about a year at this point and had opened up shop. But I wanted to take my lettering practice further and push myself a little.
One night the idea popped into my head. It was super simple: one lettering piece a week for a year. Prompts included. This would give my lettering practice some structure and would solve the whole “I don’t know what to write” issue.
And here we are… a year on and the project complete! Fifty-two lettering pieces done. It’s kind of a funny feeling. Prompts and weekly pieces and sharing on Instagram became a huge part of my year last year. And I’m oh so grateful. I’m grateful to have been able to keep up my practice even through the process of moving house and having a baby. I’m grateful to those who followed along. And I’m incredibly grateful to those who joined in! The community that came out of the project was something I never expected and I really came to love checking out your pieces of work every week.
So I feel like you can’t do a weekly project for a year and come out of it having learnt nothing. Right? For those of you who are just starting out on your lettering journey or who may be considering taking up the project, here are three tips I came away with after completing my 52 Hand Lettered Project…
1. | Focus on frequency
This is huge and I feel like I could write an entire blog post on this alone. When you’re working on your craft or developing a new skill, forget about striving for masterpieces. Instead, focus on frequency. I noticed that when I fell behind with my lettering practice after Charlie was born, I felt rusty. Really rusty. And awkward. And clumsy. How do I even hold this brush again? And sitting at my desk trying to create work after having a break from it had me feeling nervous. I’d worry about whether what I was about to create would be any good. But seriously, forget about that. Do your thing. Do it often. Keep practicing. And you’ll come to see progress much quicker.
2. | Set up your space
When you don’t have endless amounts of time to work on your art… whether that’s because you’re studying, you’re working on your side hustle after hours or because you’re busy being mama bear, it’s so important to maximise your time when you sit down to work. Set up your space so it’s ready to go. I used to love having my desk all pretty and decorated but these days I keep it minimal. Writing tools to my right and paper to my left. That’s it. So when I sit down to work, I’m ready to go and there’s nothing to distract me. Oh - and here's another tip! Capture and collect words, phrases and quotes that inspire in a notebook or on your phone so that when you sit down to work on your lettering, you don't have to waste time coming up with ideas. This is also where the weekly prompts come in handy!
3. | Loosey goosey baby
Ok so this tip is more about the physical act of lettering. Sit comfortably, relax your shoulders and - my goodness - breathe. It’s hard to get out organic letter formations or beautifully spontaneous script when you’re all tense. You’re working hard to improve your lettering but try to enjoy the process. Soften your arm, loosen your grip and let your brush dance a little. You'd be surprised at what amazing shapes emerge when let go and have some fun with it.
I hope these 3 tips help with your lettering. Let me know what other tips you might have that relate to your own practice. And in the meantime, keep at it. I’m sure you're doing great.