May Prompts

May

The best way to get better at something is through consistent practice.
Grab a brush pen and get ready to practice at least once per week!

Use whatever pens you have on hand, create something beautiful, snap a picture, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #lettermore2018!

In my experience, it can be intimidating to think of what to write with your new, fun pens. It’s also a lot of fun to find other people who are learning alongside you. There is only one prompt per week because life can be busy sometimes.
You can do all of the prompts or just the ones that you have the time for –
it’s totally up to you!

MAY PROMPTS

WEEK ONE: YOU ARE ENOUGH

Whether you believe it to be true or not – you are enough. Who you are is enough! Don’t compare yourself to strangers on the internet. This is a message that we need to spread. Remind those that you know and love that who they are is enough! Feel free to tag some special people in your life who have helped you to realize this on your own.

WEEK TWO: PICK A LETTER AND CREATE IT 8 (OR MORE) DIFFERENT WAYS

When you are first starting to learn calligraphy it can be difficult to determine your own style. One of the best ways to move through this is to attempt each letter many different ways. In this exercise, you will create the same letter over and over. You can use different pens, colors, or simply just different styles of each letter. 

WEEK THREE: USE THE WORD BLOOM SOMEHOW

Choose a phrase that has the word bloom in it. I recently came across the phrase “There is nothing in nature that blooms all year, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.” You can always search for phrases on PinterestYou get to be creative with this one!

WEEK FOUR: CHOOSE ANY WORD – USE A DIFFERENT COLOR FOR EACH LETTER TO SHOWCASE LETTER CONNECTIONS

One way to really slow yourself down and practice letter connections is to alternate between pens. Here is an example to help give you an idea of what to do! 

Be sure to post your work to Instagram, use the hashtag #lettermore2018, and tag me (@lysstyler.letters) in your post as well!
I can’t wait to see what you create!

Are you joining in?!
Come tell us on Instagram & see who else is joining, too!

How To Address Envelopes Faster & Better

I recently purchased a new gadget for lettering and it is something that you should really consider grabbing for yourself!

In the grand scheme of lettering (and in life) I tend to avoid buying any extra gadgets or items that I will have to find a place for. I tend to make do with what I have. But, I had an Amazon gift card and decided to try out the Slider Writer.

I was thrilled to find that it absolutely lives up to all of the hype. I have always been the type of calligrapher who tries to avoid any pencil markings on my work. I dislike having to erase pencil marks as I feel that they still show no matter how lightly you drew them on. The Slider Writer allows you to create perfectly straight lines without marking your paper at all.

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Here’s how it works:

Grab your Slider Writer & some paper.
Line up your paper with various methods:
A) Clip it from the top of the slider writer
B) Use the provided rubber bands to hold your paper into place (especially if it is a smaller paper or envelope)
Slide the laser to the spot where you’d like to begin writing & turn it on.
Use the laser as a guide to write across the length of the paper.
Adjust the laser with each line.

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This is great for addressing envelopes, creating pieces that have various lines of words, or simply for practicing your calligraphy. I would recommend the Slider Writer for all calligraphers- beginners and advanced writers alike!

How does this make your envelope addressing faster & better?
You are able to create straight lines without pulling out a ruler, drawing on straight pencil lines, waiting for the ink to dry, & erasing off the pencil lines.
Instead of all of that – you can place the paper on the exact same guidelines each time & quickly calligraph your way through the whole stack of envelopes. The Slider Writer allows you to be more efficient and spend your time calligraphing rather than prepping and erasing.

Is there a calligraphy tool that you’ve found you just cannot live without? Leave a comment below to tell us about it so that we can grab our own!


Calligraphy Materials Pictured:

Higgins Eternal Black Ink
Nikko G Nib
Speedball Oblique Pen Holder
Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip Brush Pen
Rhodia Blank Notepad
Slider Writer

This page contains affiliate links.

Step Four: Get Started Working on Letter Connections

LetterConnections

Did you miss the last post? Click here to go back!

Get Started Working on Letter Connections

In the last post, we talked about using the basic strokes to begin forming letters. Practicing your basic strokes and letters is about the best thing that you can do to improve your lettering and get more comfortable with it.

Lately, I have a lot of people who ask me how to connect letters together and make words have good spacing or look consistent together!

One of the important things to realize and remember about lettering is that it is not the same as cursive.When we write in cursive, we write quickly & do not lift our pen from the paper unless we are starting a new word. When we do calligraphy, we lift the pen between each and every stroke- even multiple times within the same letter. Calligraphy is not as quick as cursive by any means!

The picture below should give a visual representation of each time your pen should lift while you are writing the word “hello” – the little x’s divide up each individual stroke. You may also notice that across the word the little x marks almost line up into a line because you want your exit strokes for each letter to be at about the mid-line level. This will help you to connect the letters a little bit better & more consistently throughout your words.

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The x marks show where I lift the pen between & during each individual letter.

The letters shown above & below are more spaced out than they would normally be to emphasize the different places to pick up the pen. I think that it helps to see the different connection points – while you are practicing this I would challenge you to actually space out your letters like this prior to writing the word as you would like to. This will help your brain to get in the habit of picking up the pen between strokes/letters. It’s a foreign concept, especially if you are a frequent user of cursive!

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The x’s within the word “hello” seem to all be about on the same line- but in the word “welcome” it is not quite linear!

I hope that this has been a helpful post in helping you to start figuring out how to connect your letters together- a bit part of it is learning how to lift your pen between strokes and where to lift the pen at! As your exit strokes become more consistent & meet in the middle of the word- you will start to see your letter connections improve!

Materials:

Crayola Markers*

 *Affiliate links are used in this post.

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The TWO things you need to start lettering!

TwoThingsToStart

When you first start lettering it can seem overwhelming to see all the different kinds of brush pens & supplies that are circulating out there.
What do I actually need to get started?

When I first started lettering I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on supplies, but I wanted to try different pens. The brush pens that I was able to find were not very cheap and I had a really hard time using them. A lot of the pens available at local stores were very difficult to manage and I thought that I would not be able to do brush lettering at all.

Now that I have been lettering for over a year, I feel like I’m able to give beginners a pretty good idea of the supplies that they will need to get started with!

ONE. A brush pen or two.
I think the temptation is to purchase multiple brush pens of all different kinds because you are excited about getting started. I can’t blame you for that because I definitely did the same thing. The downside to this is that you are more likely to ruin your brush pens because you haven’t quite learned how to hold them or use them yet. I recommend buying one or two brush pens to get started with and/or even beginning with a Crayola marker!
Click on the photo below to find what I think are the three best pens for beginners:

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TWO. Soft paper!
Once you have some brush pens, it is important to take great care of them! The Tombow Dual Brush Pens* are often some of the most popular pens around, but they are easily frayed and can be ruined just by writing on one wrong sheet of paper. The best paper that I can recommend to you are the Rhodia Notepads*. The paper is quite possibly the smoothest you’ll ever feel and comes in many different sizes. These are available in blank, dot grid, and grid styles!

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Once you have started to learn how to hold the pen, practice basic strokes, and begin to feel comfortable when building your letters THEN you should move toward buying some more brush pens. There are a lot of things out there on the market that it may feel like you NEED, but if you are looking to try a new hobby and spend the smallest amount of cash possible- I recommend buying a brush pen and a dot pad to get yourself ready!

Beyond those items, you may want to purchase an online class or a lettering guide to help you learn the basics. You can also look for calligraphy workshops within your local area!

*This post includes affiliate links.

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Brush Pen Spotlight: Zig Clean Color

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In my last post I listed what I think are three of the best brush pens for beginning letterers. Click here to check that out if you want to see!

I thought I would highlight some of my favorite things about each of these pens by doing brush pen spotlights!

First up is the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen (longest name ever, I know).

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The tip of this pen is made with actual bristles – so you are able to get a very brush-like look without having to dip your “brush” into ink over and over. How you use the pen controls the amount of white space is included in your lettering.

Something that I LOVE about this pen is the fact that you can create so many different styles with this one pen. Your lines can be thick or thin, fully pigmented or given a brushed texture, and there are plenty of colors to choose from!

Here are some examples of the various types of lettering that can be achieved using the same pen (simply in different colors):

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The whole reason letterers tend to buy a lot of different kinds of brush pens is to get a new look in their lettering. That’s what makes this pen so amazing! In one single pen, there are so many different styles of letters possible!

The way to create such different letters?
– Vary in the amount of pressure used on your down strokes.
– Use a greater/lesser area of the (side of the) brush tip when creating strokes
– Leave more space between your letters
– Write slowly so that the pigment flows evenly throughout your letters (for more of a pen look)
– Write quickly, not waiting for the ink to catch up to get more of a brush look to the lettering (see red letters above writing “brush” for an example of this)

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Now, these pens are called Zig Clean Colors- so I know you’d expect there to be a lot of different colors. These colors are vibrant and very fun, as well!

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You can purchase a set of 12 pens like the one that I have for the variety shown above – minus the black pen, which is also included!

Like I said in the previous post, this pen was a unanimous favorite among my friends who were beginners interested in trying out different brush pens. It’s size is a big reason why it’s so easy to learn with. This pen is quite small in comparison to other brush pens and the tip is short. The shorter the tip of a pen, the easier it is for beginners to manage (for the most part). It will help you to master the muscle memory of lettering. These pens aren’t only for beginners, though. As you begin to increase in your lettering knowledge, it becomes more fun to play with them and see what different styles you are able to create!

What do you think of the Zig Clean Color’s? Have you tried them already? Or do you think there is a better beginner pen out there? Let me know!

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The THREE best brush pens for beginners.

The Best Brush Pens For Beginners

The question I get asked most frequently is, “What are the best brush pens for beginners?”
You’ve asked and you shall receive! Here are three brush pens that I will always recommend for beginners. These are tried and true – I’ve given these to workshop students and friends who wanted to learn and all of them have received great reviews!
Don’t forget, you can also start with Crayola markers.

The Best Brush Pens for Beginners

Pentel Fude Touch
The Best Brush Pens for Beginners
This pen is always my first recommendation for beginners. The Pentel Fude Touch is the size of a regular pen, it has a short & flexible tip, and it comes in many different colors. A small pen is ideal for those who are just getting started because it is easiest to manage. I love that I can write more words in a smaller area while I’m using this brush pen. The tip is firm enough that it’s great for beginners, but still has a brush pen’s flexibility. This is the pen that will come along with your Brush Calligraphy Guide when you purchase one!

Zig Clean Color
IMG_9020Here we have another great brush pen for beginners, the Zig Clean Color. This is also a small pen, but instead of a felt tip (one solid tip), this pen has bristles. That makes this pen more like a paint brush than the other two pens I’m featuring here. This pen is also available in many different colors – more than the Pentel Fude Touch. It is small enough that it is easy to manage, but has a very flexible tip, which gives your thicker and fuller letters. The bristles help to create a more brush-like feel to your letters. I highly recommend you try this one out!

Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip
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Last but not least, we have the Tombow Fude, Soft Tip. This pen is almost indistinguishable from the Pentel Fude Touch, but it only comes in one color. There are two variations of this pen: soft and hard tip. Both of them are great options for beginners! The tip of this pen is slightly longer than that of the Pentel Fude Touch, which makes some newbies choose it as their favorite! Once again, this pen is small and easier to manage than other brush pens might be. This is another pen that often comes with my Brush Calligraphy Guide.

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I would love your input!
Have you tried any of these brush pens before? Did you love ’em or hate ’em?

Every artist is different and you may think that bigger pens are better for beginners! I am not about putting brush calligraphers into a small box, only looking for ways to help other people as they get started. I started with larger pens and struggled for a long time to gain control over my brush pens. These are three of my favorite brush pens for beginners (that I still use regularly), but that doesn’t mean this is an exhaustive list!

 

Looking for more tips and brush pens to try? Come follow along on Instagram where I post most regularly!

PS. Grab a FREE alphabet practice sheet here!

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