I get a ton of emails and I do my best to respond to each one but I’m drowning in my inbox lately. So I’ve started this page of FAQs. If I missed something you’d like to know, leave a comment on this page and I’ll add it in! 😉
How did you learn hand lettering?
Like most hand lettering artists, I’m largely self-taught. In design school, one of my typography instructors said I really had a knack for choosing and mixing type, and I just fell in love with typography. So I started buying books and practicing…and practicing a lot. You can find a list of my favorite hand lettering and art books here.
I want to do hand lettering! Where do I start?
- Check out my Hand Lettering 101 page here.
- Join my free Art + Lettering Facebook class here.
- Check out the Best Markers for Hand Lettering here.
- You can also check out my books here.
Must I have nice handwriting to be good at lettering?
No! Mine is actually pretty awful. Lettering is a form of drawing. So, sure you need some natural drawing talent, but if you have the passion and you’re willing to show up each day and practice, you’ll make a ton of progress.
Where did you go to design school and do I really need to go?
A little backstory…I have a BA in English and an MBA in HR Management, and I spent my days as an HR Manager at a pretty Charleston, SC resort before having kids. That changed everything, so I happily did the SAHM thing for a few years and then went back to school in 2013 for a Graphic Design Certificate with a concentration in branding at Sessions College for Professional Design. I have a passion for typography and hand lettering.
Since I already had two degrees this program was perfect for me. I got an Advanced Certificate in Graphic Design with a Branding Concentration. It was a 15-month program and was largely work at your own pace. I finished in just under a year.
I was also 30 with 3 kids under 4 when I decided to go back to school again…so I didn’t have a ton of time or energy for much at that point in life.
The program I did was perfect for learning the Adobe Programs (Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and In Design) plus learning a bunch of important design basics like Color Theory, the History of Typography, and more. I had a really great experience at Sessions.
You’re a lefty! Any tips for fellow lefties?
- Practice. Practice. Practice. We lefties often need to work harder at lettering and calligraphy, but it can be done! The more you practice, the more natural it starts to feel. It gets easier and you work continually improves. I keep all my old sketchbooks so I can look back and see all the progress I’ve made over the years.
- Learn the rules. But it’s ok to break them and do what works for you. This is especially true of how you hold the pencil/marker/paintbrush (with the exception of needing to work from a roughly 45-degree angle for brush calligraphy).
- Use a guard sheet. This is simply placing a scrap paper under your hand to keep from smearing your work.
How did you get your book deals and the chance to work with companies like Krispy Kreme and Hobby Lobby?
Every opportunity I’ve had is a direct result of blogging. I didn’t reach out to any of them. They all contacted me via email having seen my work online somewhere (Etsy, Pinterest, Facebook, etc). It’s really just about putting your work out there. I also think it’s about creating community and inspiring people to be creative! Social media is really important because that’s where people will see your work and what will drive traffic to your website.
What’s really cool about blogging and social media is that it “levels the playing field” so to speak. It gives a “girl next door” like me the chance to do some really awesome things. When I started my blog in 2011, it was just a little hobby. I had no idea it would turn into a full-time business!
So what I’m really saying is, start a blog!
How do I get started? Can you give me blog tips?
I sure can! I keep a whole page of tips here.
How many hours a week do you work?
A LOT. I’m trying to cut back but I often work at least 40 hours a week, especially if I’m writing a book. Blogging is hard work. One post can take 8-10 hours. So you really have to dedicate yourself to treating it as a business and putting the work in. It’s not easy or quick. I’ve been blogging 6 years now (5 with this blog).
What is the best business advice you ever received?
Make generosity part of your growth strategy. -Danielle LaPorte
How do you do it all?
I usually joke and say “with a lot of coffee”, which is true…but the real truth is: I don’t! And trying to left me seriously burned out in 2015. “Less but better” is my mantra for 2016. Read this post I recently wrote all about this topic here.
I also have a wonderful Creative Team that helps me with blog posts. Recently, I also hired a housekeeper to come bi-weekly and clean while I work. She’s awesome and it was awkward it first but the reality is, I can’t do everything and it was the easiest thing on my to-do list to let go of! Baby steps. Letting go of “doing everything” is such a challenge for me! So I started with chores before I hire any major help with the business side.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Summer is a mix of work and play. I work ahead so I can have more time to spend with my kids and for traveling! But during the school year, it’s much more consistent…
- 6am: My alarm goes off and I get my two oldest kids ready and off to school.
- 7:30am – 1pm: Work. Work. Work. I usually eat a quick lunch at my desk (often while taking a 30-minute break to watch an episode of a show on Netflix). Three days a week at 9am, I run my youngest to preschool.
- 1 pm: Pick up my youngest from school and do a one-hour workout while she plays with toys.
- 2pm-3pm: Pick up the house, do laundry, take a shower.
- 3pm: Get my older kids from the bus stop, do homework.
- 3:30pm-5pm: More work until it’s time to make dinner.
The rest of the night is getting kids bathed, lunches and clothes ready for the next day, picking kids up from dance/soccer (depending on the season), etc. By the time we get the kids to bed, we end up collapsing in front of the TV to watch some of our favorite shows. We love TV.
I try not to work at night or on the weekend but on occasion, I need to (or sometimes, I just feel like it…I really do love my work!). My brain doesn’t work that well by night-time, though. I do my best work in the morning.
Do you mentor artists/bloggers?
Not one-on-one because I just don’t have enough hours in a day. But I try to be really open about everything I’ve learned and continue to learn here on the blog and on my social media!
Do You Have a Studio?
Kind of! I have one-half of the third floor of our home, which actually makes a great studio/home office. The other half is my kids’ playroom. Since we moved to Germany my youngest will be home with my full time this year, so it will be ideal working from home. Next year, she’s off to Kindergarten, which is so bittersweet!
What Do You Order at Starbucks?
Just kidding. No one asks that. But I think how you take your coffee is one of those things you should know about your friends. 🙂 Make mine a dark roast with no sugar! So, if I’m at Starbucks and want a hot drink I order a Doppio Espresso or a Grande Latte with Coconut Milk. In the Summer, my go-to is a Grande Cold Brew (black) or an Iced Venti Grande Latte with Coconut Milk and an Extra Shot.
Any other questions? Ask me below!