Last week I had the pleasure of joining mixed-media artist Joanne Sharpe, featured in two of her upcoming video workshops on lettering techniques. Beyond having a great time with her in between the shoots, I learned an incredible amount of techniques that I’ve already begun adding to my art journal and inspiration journal.
|You can see we had fun on and off camera! In this segment, Joanne (at right) was teaching me how to use tracing paper to build muscle memory when it comes to understanding how to draw unique letters. Even when the cameras weren't rolling, we kept on going!|
What’s the difference between the two? An inspiration journal is a simply a composition notebook that Joanne gave to me for the workshop. She showed me how to glue two pages together at a time and “seal” the edges with washi tape to form a single page that can stand up to my lettering explorations with graphite, markers, and ink. Brilliant! She explained to me–as you’ll see in the video–that this way you can play with new letters all day and not worry about wasting expensive papers that you can save for your art that’s more planned. Here, you can include lettering styles that you love and that you create yourself, plus design ideas, color palettes, and anything else you desire. Joanne has several of these inspiration journals, and they’re loaded with ideas.
|This is a sneak peek at one of Joanne's lettering techniques,
which she showed me right in her inspiration journal.
Another great idea she shared has to do with those markers that you’ll be using in your inspiration journal. Instead of buying a whole set of different brands, Joanne advises that you buy at least a black marker from several manufacturers. Use it, play with it, experiment with the marks you can make with it, and see how you like the results. If you love it, then go and buy some more of the same kind in color; if not, then it’s no big loss and you have an extra black marker on hand. We used about 10 different black markers while filming the lettering workshops, and I quickly found my favorites.
One more cool idea that I’m already working on for my own personal art projects is to create small accordion books by folding strips of cold-pressed watercolor paper, painting each panel with a watercolor wash, and then writing messages throughout. The last step is to glue cardboard to the first and last panel, making the handmade book a little more sturdy. You can paint or draw on the covers; I plan to use some fabric that matches the inside colors.
I’m still bubbling with enthusiasm for everything Joanne taught me. While her video workshops won’t be available until later, you can learn some of her lettering techniques in The Art of Whimsical Lettering, which she refers to in the workshops as well. Lettering is such a great way to add a personal touch to so many things. I hope you’ve learned something new here today, and will put it into practice!