hand lettering

A piece of truth for you (and a free printable)

It's been almost a month since I finished school for the summer. Entering the summer has brought forth both excitement and relief to be finished papers, exams, and assignments. But for me this summer has also opened some wounds that feel fresh and raw and achy, which has allowed me to enter a period of healing.

Fear is a constant struggle for me. Even, two years ago, when I started a concept called The Year of No Fear, I still consistently felt afraid. This summer I am focusing on breathing truth into my core, which often circles around to embedding scripture and words Jesus says deep inside of me.

This hunt for truth has revealed to me what the definition of truth really is. St. Augustine said, "All truth is God's truth". If that's the case, I'm starting to recognize just how many things point back to God. 

It has almost become a sort of scavenger hunt. I get into my car in the morning, put my sunglasses on, and search for truth. What will be true today? I think. What truth will I find that will point me back to God? 

When I search for truth, I end up finding it. Sometimes I find it in people and places I never even thought to look. 

"The truth will set you free," Jesus said. And of course he's right. But I'm learning it can hurt to get there.

Today, on Mother's Day, we gave each woman in my church this print I painted. I wanted to also share it with you. I wonder how you are today. I wonder how you are this summer. I wonder how, even when the flowers are blooming and the birds are chirping and the sun is beating down on your shoulder blades, if maybe you feel some sadness entangled within all of that too. 

But no need to fear.

Here you go. 

We can breathe in truth together. 

5 hand lettering tips and tricks

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset

1. Never underestimate the power of the basics.

I'm talking the basics of the basicsIf hand lettering tools were people, your pencil is your favourite sister and your sharpie is your boyfriend (and he is fiiiiine). What I'm saying is, there's no need getting caught up in buying fancy markers or pens when the basics are what you'll always come back to.

2. Be a cheater.

I know there are a lot of hand letterers out there who don't sketch out their phrase in pencil first -- they've trained themselves to form their letters freehand, not needing a sketch. That's great for them! But most of the time I'm a cheater and I'm not ashamed to admit it. You shouldn't be ashamed either, particularly if you're just starting, and even more so if this is just supposed to be a fun release of your creativity.

So cheat. Sketch your phrase out in pencil first. And then dive in with that fine-sharpie-boyfriend of yours.

3. Down strokes thick, up strokes thin.

This is key to making your letters look rich and full. It'll take a little bit of time to get used to, but slowly start to draw out a letter and visualize: which part of your letter does your pencil stroke down? which part of your letter does your pencil stroke up? On those "down" strokes, fill it in with a little more thickness. Your letter will have so much more dimension!

If you look at this picture of how I lettered hosanna, you can see that my "down" strokes are thick, and my "up" strokes are thin.


4. Don't copy -- instead, make it your own.

There's no sense in blatantly copying someone -- where's the art in that? Inspiration is different than copying. I'm inspired by many artists, my most favourites being Ali Makes Things, Lindsay Letters, and Kal Barteski (a good old Canadian girl!). I never copy them, but instead become inspired by their lettering, which allows me to pour more of myself into my own art.

5. Quit worrying and have fun.

Stress isn't fun. Worry isn't fun. Becoming overwhelmed because your letters may not look like someone else's isn't fun.

Art is fun. Tapping into who you are is fun. Hand lettering because you want to try something new and exciting and creative is fun.

So don't get stressed. Just let loose and chill out, and dive into something you may fall completely in love with.