If you read the TPK blog with any regularity, then you probably already have a desire to learn hand-lettering and calligraphy. The reasons for that desire may prove difficult to pinpoint, but it’s important to take a step back every so often and evaluate your motivation. Knowing why you are doing something can keep propelling you forward and lead to continuous improvement!
1. Learn Hand-Lettering and Calligraphy for Your Relaxation
In a world where being busy — perhaps too busy — is the celebrated norm, it’s good to give yourself a time out. Lettering provides you with a chance to set aside the smart phone, to ignore the computer, and just create.
As you’re writing, you can relish the creative respite from the world. To complete the retreat, you might consider putting on some music, rounding up some snacks, and, of course, wearing super-comfy clothing! After all, this is your time, and it will help you to refresh and rejuvenate.
If you’re unsure of what to write, there are several hand-lettering and calligraphy-based project prompts here on the TPK blog, including:
- Calligraphy Ampersand Art Tutorial (shown below)
- Artistic Return Address Tutorial
- Calligraphed DIY Menu Cards Tutorial
- Three Fresh Lettering Styles to Try
- Breezy Hand-Lettering Tutorial
Try one of them — you’ll be surprised at how fast the time passes! Finishing a project is such a great feeling: it’s awesome to be able to step back and admire the result of your efforts. Once you finish, you can ease back into reality with a fresh outlook and an improved mood!
2. Learn Hand-Lettering and Calligraphy for Personal Development
It’s human nature to love learning and solving problems. We all have something (or many somethings!) that we are interested in, and it’s mentally stimulating to achieve goals associated with our interests. Lettering and calligraphy present a lot of opportunity to nurture and build new creative skills!
I like to teach people how to letter in a succession: all TPK calligraphy worksheets start with faux calligraphy, then move on to dip pen calligraphy. In my calligraphy workshops, I even touch a little bit on brush pen calligraphy (brush pens can really help to teach you pressure exertion)! Basically, you learn lettering in levels. After you complete one level, you move on to the next.
The nice thing about going from level to level is that you’ll see consistent improvement in your lettering (suggestion: take pictures of your progress along the way, like I did)! That’s really encouraging, and motivates you to continue practicing. The more you practice, the more things you’ll make that you love, like the woodland wreath card pictured below!
No matter how skilled you become, lettering and calligraphy always require some problem-solving. Every project is different; for example, one project may require you to make ombré lettering; while another may demand neat, precise capital letters. No matter what you create, it’s guaranteed to be challenging … you’ll never get bored!
3. Learn Hand-Lettering and Calligraphy to Delight Your Friends and Family
It’s a good feeling to make someone’s day, and everyone appreciates a beautifully lettered paper good! From cards like the one above to mail art to bookmarks, there’s a lot you can create that will pleasantly surprise your recipient.
You’ll be amazed at the people who appreciate your lettering efforts. My brother, for example, isn’t a stereotypically artistic kind of guy. He’d much rather be riding his motorcycle or lifting weights than fiddling with a paintbrush (and he freely admits that his 2 year-old daughter draws better than he does)! And yet, he loves receiving beautifully addressed snail mail and relishes the lettering art I give him on holidays.
It’s the same case with my landlord, who I started sending decorated envelopes to on a lark about three years ago. Every month, I decorate an envelope, slip a check inside, and send it to him. When I first started doing it, I didn’t think anything of this process; it was just an excuse for me to be creative, and he didn’t say anything about it. One day, though, I received an email with a photo: a bulletin board of months’ worth of my mail art! He enjoys every envelope so much that he keeps them on display in his office.
If you can’t think of anyone to write to, try checking out More Love Letters. More Love Letters is essentially a website that connects creative people like you to people who are having a tough time and need a pick-me-up. Definitely take a look; it’s a fantastic way to put your mail art powers to good use!
4. Learn Hand-Lettering and Calligraphy to Make Extra Cash
If you enjoy lettering, then you might consider opening an Etsy shop that advertises your penmanship services. Many people find themselves in need of lovely calligraphy — particularly brides and grooms! There’s a beautiful, unique quality to hand-written addresses that computer printers simply can’t replicate.
If you’re interested in starting an Etsy shop centered around envelope addressing services, I would suggest starting with an Etsy search. Look for “envelope calligraphy” or “custom calligraphy”, and take a look at others’ pricing and processes. From the information you see there, you can come up with your own marketing and logistics strategies! If you’re comfortable with the Adobe Creative Suite, you could offer custom invitation and wedding materials design as well.
You don’t have to quit your day job to offer your services; in fact, you may find that addressing envelopes a few days out of every month is a relaxing after-work activity! You’ll also notice that you have more “fun money” to finally go on that trip you’ve been dreaming about or to buy more calligraphy supplies. 🙂 Don’t be afraid to take the leap: it’s how I got started with TPK!
5. Learn Hand-Lettering and Calligraphy to Add Pizazz to Your Own Events
If you’re a social butterfly who loves to have people over, you can use your lettering skills to enhance the ambiance of your event. Place cards and hand-written menus can add so much to dinner parties! If you’re serving food buffet-style, you can make labels for all the dishes. That contributes to the aesthetics of a spread and fulfills the utilitarian purpose of letting guests know what everything is!
Even if you don’t put on a lot of gatherings, chances are you go to the occasional gathering. In that case, you can bring host or hostess gifts that feature eye-catching gift tags like the one below!
If your event is bigger — perhaps a wedding — you can make the party uniquely yours by using your own lettering. Guests will appreciate your personal time and effort, and you’ll save a significant amount of money on paper goods!
At this point, I’d like to ask you to think about your own motivations to learn hand-lettering and calligraphy. Whenever you start to feel discouraged, consider why you started in the first place, and why you want to continue! Lettering, just like anything, takes a bit of determination. Stick with it, and you’ll experience fantastic results!
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you’re a beginner who is interested in building a strong calligraphy foundation, I’ll be teaching workshops on the West Coast next month and in October. I’d love to see you there — my Berkeley workshops have sold out, but there are still slots in Portland! If you’re in Florida (Tampa) or Colorado (Colorado Springs), hang tight: workshops in both locations are scheduled for later this year as well!
Thanks so much for reading TPK, and have a great weekend!