Sunday, April 20, 2014

Reflections for Easter

A friend once told me that to truly meditate on a scripture you read it, say it, write it, sing it, and pray it. Lately, hand-lettering and calligraphy have become my way of meditating on scripture and having quiet time. It forces me to stop and focus on just one scripture (or just a small piece of one scripture) and to really meditate on it as I write it out.

I saw this scripture the week before Easter, and got to spend some time dwelling on the beauty and significance of Jesus. More than I'd like to admit, it's all too easy to become numb to the story of the cross. This easter may we find ourselves overcome by a new wave of the mystery and wonder of Jesus' death and resurrection. May we be fascinated again and again by the man who traded His name for ours--who swallowed up death forever.
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
- Isaiah 25:8-9

Friday, April 4, 2014

Molly Jacques Nashville Workshop

At the beginning of this year I was writing out a list of goals and dreams, and I just jotted down "learn calligraphy for real." I didn't have any plan or idea of how that would happen, but after dabbling in it for some time and following a lot of calligraphers and letterers, it's been a dream to really do it.

I sort of wrote it down as a fleeting dream, but through a crazy little string of events God totally opened a door (and literally a space) for me to go to Molly Jacques workshop here in Nashville. Molly is an incredible letterer, illustrator, and calligrapher based out of Detroit, Michigan. Not only is she an unbelievable designer, but she has a true gift for teaching and her passion is contagious.

My workstation: alphabet, copperplate grid, and a beautiful thank you.
Even though I have a background in typography and graphic design, I can't stress how much I learned. Day 1 was an intensive 6 hours of calligraphy--learning the tools, the copperplate alphabet, and different ways you can define your own voice. Calligraphy is all about mastering the tools, consistency in your letters, refining details, and practice, practice, practice.

Molly would come around to each of our tables and write out her alphabet. We would then trace over her sequence of letters, then freehand it ourselves. I love this method. In several of my English classes we were assigned to do an "imitatio"--taking the form and cadence of an author's particular piece and writing our own piece in that same style. It's amazing what you learn by imitating a master--the nuances, pace, and little details.

Higgins ink & lots of exciting nibs and an oblique pen
Molly writing out letter sequences for us to trace over 
Day 2 was all about handlettering. While calligraphy is really about mastering the tools, hand lettering is more about illustrating letters. The freedom of hand lettering surprisingly intimidated me since I don't have a strong background in illustration or drawing. Talking to Molly about her process for handlettering, everything starts with pencil. First a pencil gesture drawing, next refining that gesture and adding intentional elements, building up line weights, and, finally, finalizing the drawing in ink. Whether it's a brush pen or something else, the pencil drawing has to be perfect before any ink even touches the page.

One of my favorite things we did for handlettering was following this process for building script alphabets. We did several gesture drawings to experiment with and capture the movement of the letters. Then we chose the best pieces from those gesture drawings, combined, and refined them to build script alphabets. From there, we started writing words. I was really happy with how mine turned out--very lose and organic with long connecting strokes and a moving baseline, yet still feels consistent I think because of the angle.

Building my script alphabet
Practicing with the brush pen
The best encouragement I took away was: you don't have to have good handwriting to be a good calligrapher or letterer. Both calligraphy and lettering are more about drawing letterforms than anything else. And, of course, lot's of practice.

I can't say it enough: take Molly's workshop! It connected the little pieces I was missing to be able to really refine my hand lettering and calligraphy, and gave me the literal and figurative tools I needed to pursue it. I was amazed at how much I already knew, how much I didn't know, and how much a little two day workshop kickstarted my creativity and my craft.

You can check out some of the pictures from our workshop on Molly's blog and check out her upcoming workshops here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jessica Sloane Logo (2014)

After doing Jessica's logo in 2012, I was thrilled when she asked me to do a new logo for her as a part of her re-branding. I love the simplicity and elegance of the handlettering and the sophistication of gold foil. Not to mention it was like a dream coming to life designing her business card--the unique square shape, thick paper, letterpress, and gold foil heaven. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Screen Printed Wedding Invitations

I designed and screen printed these wedding invitations for my wedding in June 2012. One might say I was giddy just using Jessica Hische's lovely font Buttermilk. The most special part about these was getting to screen print them with my wonderful friend Jess Nelson (p.s. she's a great graphic designer here in Nashville).

Photography by Austin Gros
Styled by Jessica Sloane

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jessica Sloane Logo (2012)

I made this logo and header in 2012 for Jessica Sloane. She's one of the top wedding planners in Nashville, and it was so meaningful to do this logo for her in the same season that she was working on our wedding. The logo and social media buttons were some of my first attempts at lettering and vectoring.