Developing a Talent: There is Beauty in the Process
A few months ago, I set out on learning how to paint on canvas in the beautiful thick-and-thin stroke writing. I had NO IDEA what a process it was, I also had no idea how fun it was. I didn’t realize that my hand needed the training to know when to push harder on the brush to make the gorgeous thick downstrokes or that my hand would shake so badly when trying to make coveted thin upstroke. And who in their right mind would think it would be so difficult to make an oval? I learned all these things and more. Though I am far from being the ultimate source of lettering, I have come far in the process. There are many methods, and they are not all called calligraphy. The definitions are interwoven and not clear – this could be called faux calligraphy or even modern calligraphy. I will certainly try to bring a better definition next time.
Whenever you are starting a journey of developing a talent any sort – there will be pain, frustration, and tears. Time will pass and seem like there is no improvement. But then all at once, you begin to see progress and know that all of your perseverance has been worth it. There is beauty in the process. Sometimes you cannot see the beauty when you are in the middle, but once you can step back and see your progress, the journey can be more stunning than even the end result.
There is beauty in the process. Sometimes you cannot see the beauty when you are in the middle, but once you can step back and see your progress, the journey can be more stunning than even the end result.
Things I never expected to happen during this process:
- The muscles in my hand are stronger, I’ve developed muscle memory so the movement is nearly automatic.
- I want to practice every day, especially since I got past the initial development part of practicing. It’s now actually fun to practice.
- I have heard that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. I do plan on mastering hand lettering. Every day I practice is another step closer to my 10,000 hours logged. But 10,000 hours is a long time.
- I’ve gained a love for the process. I wanted to just jump from beginner to incredible, but that is not a realistic expectation. If you are in the middle of a talent acquisition of your own, gain an appreciation for where I am now regardless of how close I am to what I consider ‘the end’.
- my handwriting has improved – overall. Even on my notes at work, I see little extra flourishes and sometimes a ‘bounce’ in my letters. Some days I stop for a moment and smile inwardly at this sub-conscious result of practicing my lettering for months.
- There is beauty in the process – not just the end result.
I discovered that there are lots of different ways to letter a word. Here is one method to start learning where the thick and thin strokes would go.
Downstrokes are thick
When you start the letter at the top and come down, those lines will be thick.
Upstrokes are thin
Anytime your pen/pencil starts going upward, use the lightest pressure and those strokes stay thin.
This does method does not need a brush pen or anything fancy. I used a PaperMate Flair pen in this case, but you could use anything.
- I started with writing out the word but left extra spacing between the letters.
- Then on either side of any downstroke, I added extra width to the line as you can see in the ‘b’ and the ‘e’
- Fill in the extra lines
- Keep going until your downstrokes are completely filled
Once you have the basic shapes completed and the down strokes are as thick as you want, you can keep it as-is or you can start embellishing. Add white strokes to the thick parts. Then add highlights to one side of the letters and a slight shadow to the other side. (I always think about where the light is coming from so I don’t get my highlights and shadows mixed up). Then if you want, add more strokes around the edges. Remember that there is beauty in the process – not just in the end result.
In my December 2017 Welcome page, I talk about another method to add fonts to your journaling or pages. Read the post here!
I’d love to put together some other tips and tricks – let me know if you found this helpful and what else you’d like to see.
Remember to plan your life so you live beautifully.
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