How I Started Working with Lettering and Learnt to Embrace Imperfections
Lettering always fascinated me but I never got into it for the fear that it wouldn’t be a perfect work of art. I always doodled letters and drew some layouts and styles, but they never became full-fledged pieces, or they became works I wasn’t really proud of. And then came my first set of brush pens. Things just started happening when I was gifted my first set of brush pens
I started looking up videos, blogs, and tutorials all over the internet and started working on getting control of the pens. I worked on n number of drills, letters, critiqued my own work and wasted lot of paper. A lot of frustration happened. There were days I would stop lettering just because I got discouraged. There were days I spent looking at lettering videos and admiring lettering on Instagram. After all this and a little bit of beating myself up, I picked up the pen again and went aggressive with practice. I made sure I practised every day even if it was just for a short duration. Slowly, I gathered the confidence to work with letters and experiment with styles.
The Experiments with Mediums
Along with the brush pen, I even discovered lettering with watercolours. The fluidity and flow of colours and the little imperfections that came with it; I loved them. And then I started sharing my work a lot more on Instagram and received lovely feedback on my trials. I didn’t mind the imperfections, the mistakes, the ink spills and the errs (sometimes!) in colour choices. Embrace the mistakes, became my mantra.
As I kept working on different styles, I discovered a variety of pens to work with. I found local brush pens like Camlin and Add Gel which was perfect for quick experiments. I invested in Sakura, Faber Castell, and Tombow brush pens. Each pen came with its own pros and cons (Tombows are expensive; don’t really invest in it if you’re just beginning your journey into lettering. Start out with cheap ones, they are perfect for practice). One of my major goals for the year is to keep practicing and expanding my lettering skill set.
A few months ago, a friend on Instagram pointed me out to a lettering challenge where I was supposed to letter one word a day. I thought about it and decided to go ahead with the challenge deciding that I would somehow balance my professional job and work on this challenge. I lettered every day; working on different styles, adding flourishes, designs, coming up with different ways to represent the words. I enjoyed working on the lettering; it challenged me to think and come up with different types of lettering.
Few of the lettering pieces I worked on
Fear of Getting Started?
I was in the same phase. Getting started is always intimidating. But getting started is important. Start something simple. Just play with your pen, draw nonsense, write anything. This will get you warmed up with your pen and then you can start practising drills, letters, strokes, and more. You need to have plenty of patience and the will to keep doing it. Make it a habit to keep working on lettering, even if it’s just for 10-15 mins a day. You will fail a hundred times, waste sheet after sheet of paper. But just keep going. And check yourself out a few months later. Even a year later. You will be surprised at the progress you make. And nothing beats the happiness you get from seeing that progress.
Until the next blog post,