Attempts at Hand Lettering # 1

A lovely friend of mine is getting married this year and she kindly allowed me to work on the wedding invitations for her big day. The design has already been approved and I’m just waiting for the printer’s quotation before we proceed.

Yesterday was her bridal shower. For her gift, I created some stamps out of the monogram she and her fiancé chose for their invitation. The irony is that I couldn’t find appropriate stamp pads! I wanted a gold metallic one since we’re using gold foil on the wedding invitation. There’s no shortage of office stamp pads, but it’s really hard to find the kind for crafting*. The local bookstore used to sell those wonderful ones from ColorBox and Ancient Page. Now, all that’s left are locally made stamp pads, which is great, but there was no gold—not even a lovely black. There used to be some craft shops but they’re all gone or dying (the only one I know of that still exists doesn’t even have any stamp pads—what kind of craft store is that?).

Anyway, I wrapped the items in a handmade drawstring bag (I used this very easy to follow tutorial and plan to make more). Stupid me, I forgot to take a photo! I’m really not in the habit of taking photos of craftsy things I’ve made. I need to fix that.

I did, however, take a picture of the tag that went with it (apologies for the picture quality; my phone camera-shooting skills are terrible).

I’ve always been fascinated with hand lettering and would really love to learn how it’s done. Alas, there are no classes on this (as far as I know) in the city—not even on basic calligraphy! I just settle for studying other peoples’ work and doodling in my sketchbook when I have the time.

It all started with a quick, tiny doodle of my friend’s initial:

Which became this:

I’m kind of a slob at inking/outlining stuff with pens, so it’s not very neat. You can see I also deviated quite a bit from the original sketch (which I still like a lot). Somehow I felt the original sketch didn’t work as well when I made the capital much wider and taller (the tag is quite large), so I embellished it further.

When I was done inking, I decided that some gold would work really well with the black ink and that perhaps I could use some of the gold leaf sheets I’ve hoarded over the years. Unfortunately, I had no gold leaf size. Oops. I must have thrown it out when I moved house a couple of years ago. I think it was already dried up so there really was no point in keeping it.

Thank goodness for gel medium, though! Since I was too chicken to use that as my gold leaf size, I decided to just mix it with some gold powder paint (proving to myself that it’s not a bad idea to hold onto some of my old art supplies). Note to self: I really should get some cheapo tiny brushes for this purpose.

So it’s not very neat, but I thought it wasn’t too terrible.

And then I had to ruin it by writing on the tag (at the back). There was some show through, and I also wasn’t happy with what I wrote (I am not the type who writes drafts on a piece of scrap paper). Thankfully I wrote in one small portion of the tag and I wisely didn’t write behind the letter T. I ended up writing a much longer note in a proper notecard, then cut out the letter from the tag and glued it to the accompanying envelope. I think it worked out in the end. ;p

Perhaps one day I’ll create a digital version…

*People must be wondering why I don’t buy online. Thing is, I avoid online shopping whenever possible because I don’t want to be tempted into buying more than what I need (books in particular are a major weakness of mine). I also don’t trust the local postal service and I hate the extra expense of international shipping, customs fees, etc…


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