If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that we can get a lot further in anything if we rely on the help and experience of others. I joke with my friends and family that I wouldn’t be able to function without them. And I can honestly tell you that my creative endeavors would be nothing but a pipe dream if it weren’t for the professional guidance that I find in books and online.
Lettering is one of many things I’ve improved on in recent months, and it’s mainly because I pay attention to the mixed-media artists featured in this newsletter and our many resources. Today Pam Garrison shares with you her advice for lettering. See her tips in this excerpt from Cloth Paper Scissors, then download Pam’s February Lettering Lesson for more step-by-step instruction on how to make interesting letters for your mixed-media art.
Lettering Tips by Pam Garrison
I have loved letters and their design potential since childhood. I approach lettering as a fun, imperfect art form. This allows me to freely try new ideas and make mistakes without concern.
If you want to stretch your lettering skills, it’s a good idea to try many different mark-makers and use them any way you can to experiment (using just the tip or the side of the nib for example). Another idea is to hold your tools in different ways. Sometimes I hold my pen like I would a pencil; sometimes I hold it further back, like I hold a paintbrush. Alter the speed with which you use the tool: try to go slowly and see how the letters are different from when you work quickly.
One of my go-to methods for lettering, be it script or block, is to simply duplicate strokes or repeat a stroke right next to the original. I think this is a good way to practice penmanship, too: writing out words and then re-writing on top of and just off the original (like a drop shadow). I sometimes do this using the same writing tool for all of the lines, and other times using different pens for the different lines.
The main thing is to experiment. Be open to trying new techniques, and seeing where that might take you!
Pam’s Two Bonus Tips for Using Lettering
in Mixed-Media Art:
1. Pre-selecting your palette and having parameters to work within makes it easier to choose your supplies. Your piece will have a cohesive color element, so you only need to balance the colors. I usually start with a palette of three main analogous colors and some variations. Throwing in a touch of a surprise complementary color, such as neon orange, is a great finishing touch.
2. Pilot Parallel Pens allow you to create unique letters with your own handwriting. I hold the pen in the standard manner, and write letters as I would using a dip or fountain pen, letting the ink flow from the nib and do the work for me.
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