Welcome!

Welcome to the inaugural post of my newest blog!

Learning to Letter will document my own progress as a hand-letterer from the very beginning. In fact, have you noticed that partial header image? It’s an excerpt of the first project I posted on Instagram. My hand was shaky, my watercolor skills were virtually non-existent, but the piece is mine and it will serve as the perfect touchstone for marking my artistic development, which is why I’m featuring it so prominently here.

Today’s post, however, is all about resources. I’ve crammed quite a bit of education into a short time because I’ve been at home recovering from a significant health crisis since May. Later this month my partner and I are traveling to visit his parents in Johannesburg, and in January I return to work. This post, and others to follow, will prove useful even to me as a quick reminder of the materials and Web sites I value when I don’t have as much time to explore.

Four Web sites and a Funeral Book (damn, I’m amusing)

  1. The first site I saved to my bookmarks was Caroline’s. Her Made Vibrant site features a $20 hand-lettering course (yes, I’ve purchased access to it, and I’ll review it in a future post), a blog, inspirational business advice, and plenty of mostly-free resources, including an awesome collection of Creative Progress Maps, which are pages that you color as you make progress on a goal.
  2. As with any great site, Caroline’s pointed me to other resources that were not her own. The first is a book: The Little Book of Lettering by Emily Gregory. Gregory has curated a selection of digital and hand-lettering artists and their works from around the world and has produced the kind of book I know I’ll refer back to over and over for inspiration. Having said that, many of the artists publish their work on Instagram, so if you don’t want to spend any money you could just borrow the book from your library and use it to start following people. I did just that with Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms by Alex Fowkes, in fact, and I’m glad I did: despite being a well-reviewed book, I find it expensive and too similar in nature to The Little Book of Lettering to be worth buying and keeping on hand.
  3. Judging from the comments, Caroline’s site Made Vibrant is one of those life-changing places on the Internet. For me, however, I have responded most to Sean McCabe. It’s probably not a coincidence that I first learned about Sean from Caroline. His free Learn Lettering Course 2.0 is nothing less than extraordinary. It’s so good, in fact, that I fully expect to pay the many hundreds of dollars for the more advanced classes once I’ve completed the first one. Sean also produces a podcast and daily videos, one of which prompted this post. Sean encourages a daily writing habit and I have come to trust his judgment so well that I have immediately acted on his suggestions.
  4. The Postman’s Knock is a site you’ll visit often if you’re keen on lettering. Unlike many other sites, including the ones I’ve already listed, Lindsey’s is entirely focused on lettering. She has produced a simple brush lettering practice sheet, which I used to get started. Her other resources are inexpensive and affordable, and her blog has innumerable useful and inspiring instructional posts.
  5. Dawn Nicole Designs is the last site I’ll feature today, but it is truly a treasure. Invaluable guidance on lettering, more practice sheets (free download), a monthly Instagram challenge, and perhaps best of all, a link to her Facebook-based Art + Lettering Class. There are printable coloring pages, bookmarks, and calendars, all of which are free downloads. Dawn Nicole’s site is one of those that takes days to really get to know, which is why I’m so excited about the book she’s got coming out in the spring of 2016: Words to Live By: Creative hand-lettering, coloring, and inspirations, pictured with this post. Consider pre-ordering it from Amazon.

Please let me know if any of my links are broken, and don’t hesitate to tell me about your own favorite lettering resources! Send me an email or post a comment.

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