There’s always been a soft spot in my heart for beautiful lettering and type. Long before I had my pen licence*, I would admire the pages of my sisters’ font book and spent way too much time tracing words letter by letter for title pages and headings of my school projects. I remember that font book – it had an orange cover and pages full of the coolest bubble and block writing a primary school kid could ask for.
As a child, I had major penmanship envy whenever I saw my elder sisters’ cursive writing. I would marvel at their calligraphy pens and watch in awe as they’d add a perfectly crafted flourish to any string of letters, adding a touch of magic to the envelope of a simple birthday card.
Fast forward 25 years later and something in me swoons when I see beautiful writing or creatively crafted lettering. I also have a deep respect for typography and the typesetters and designers who appreciate cleverly selected font and perfectly precise kerning.
When Mr Z arrived three months ago and the time I once spent writing was replaced with the ’round-the-clock job of caring for a new human, I started craving desperately for a creative activity I could do in the few minutes between (and something even during!) his feeds. So it’s no surprise that when I saw Liss Letters had a class coming up, I signed up on a whim.
When I’m in a severely sleep-deprived state it’s really hard to put together cohesive, meaningful prose — but I can still practice drills and letter. Writing has always been my default creative outlet, but it’s been really challenging to get into the zone when all I have is brief, sporadic bursts of uninterrupted time. So in the meantime, lettering has become my go-to.
I carry paper and calligraphy pens in my baby bag, and whenever there is a moment to pause, I practice.
And I really need the practice.
While I wish lettering came naturally and is something I could pick up overnight, there’s a whole world of lettering I’m excited to explore and improve over time (my heart skips a beat whenever I find a new Instagram video that makes such dreamy designs, or I walk by Eckersley’s and think of all the different tools and inks I could play with).
I’m finding the practice of lettering quite therapeutic. It gives me a chance to pause during the day and do something recreational – which is often a challenge for any time pressed mother. This is a nice way to sit and reflect on a Bible verse from the day’s readings, an inspirational quote, or a line from a song, and then make something pretty out of it.
So here’s to the start of a new creative journey. The start of a different (but equally fun and creative) type of writing.
*Pen Licence: A primary school milestone that was received when your teacher trusted you enough to write in your exercise books with a pen instead of your typical HB pencil. It pretty much meant you’d spent enough time poring over your Foundation Handwriting book that you could write mistake-free most of the time.