5 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Brush Letterer

Being sick has really given me a lot of time to blog. While Austin is slaving away at school, I get to stay home and relax. Well, not actually relax. More like blow my nose every five seconds and try not to pass out from a coughing fit.

Something that has helped me keep my sanity while being cooped up these past couple of days has been brush calligraphy. As I’ve been practicing and searching Pinterest for inspiration, I realized that calligraphy has taught me some things in the short amount of time that I’ve been doing it.

1. Dedication

My whole life, I have had a hard time dedicating myself to anything. Whether it was sports or music, I could never bring myself to stick with a hobby for longer than a year or two. Once I started to buy supplies for brush lettering, my husband made me promise to stick with it. Luckily, I’ve fallen in love with this craft, so it hasn’t been too hard to keep this promise.

That being said, it is not always easy to find the time or motivation to practice. I’ve really had to push myself and place physical reminders in my phone to make time for crafting. Dedicating yourself to a skill can be difficult, but only through continual practice can you see real improvement.

2. FINISH each project

Someone shared a video on Facebook the other day that really inspired me to finish every project I start and to not do anything with the ideal of perfection in mind. The video is called Finished Not Perfect and it basically sums up all I have to say on this point so go and watch!

 

3. Don’t be afraid to share your work

Oh man. This one still kind of scares me. I’ve kind of had to just dive right in and post pictures of my art on Instagram. So far, the reaction has been great, so I don’t know why I still get so nervous before posting. Sometimes I think about the other artists out there who’s work is lightyears beyond mine and I feel almost embarrassed to post. But I’ve realized how silly that is. Dr. Seuss once said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You” and the same could be said about my artwork. No one’s work will ever be exactly like mine.

4. A skill like this is worth your time

I am the kind of person that always struggled to feel like I had any talents. Long ago, I had decided that the only talents that counted were the ones that made you popular, like athleticism, singing, or acting. My skills as a crafter didn’t “count”. This train of thought led me to believe that my pursuit of brush lettering wasn’t worthwhile since it wouldn’t make me famous or rich.

Honestly, I’m not sure what changed inside of me to feel differently. If I had to attribute it to something, it would be the increase in confidence that I have from continual practice. Seeing noticeable improvements in my work has helped me see my hobbies in a more positive light and has made the struggle to get here worth it. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I am better than where I was a few months ago.

5. Take inspiration from everything around you

In the beginning, when I would sit down to paint, I could never think of a phrase to write out or an object to paint. Pinterest can only give you so many ideas and I didn’t like the thought of just copying another artist’s work. I struggled with drawing a blank for the longest time and would often get frustrated with myself and give up.

One day, I sat across from Austin as he did his homework and I painted. He mumbled something to himself and I felt inspired to paint what he had said. I can’t really remember what it was exactly, but it was such a normal phrase that we both laughed seeing it written so nicely. This small, simple memory comes to mind whenever I feel stuck and I am inspired to listen to the conversations around me to find my next subject. It has been a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

You know that cheesy phrase about life being a journey, not a destination or whatnot? Well, that’s what I tell myself about brush lettering. I’ve learned to love every practice session I can get in and to grow through the frustrating moments (it’s the only way I can keep from pulling my hair out).

Any of my crafty friends out there ever had any experience with these lessons? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo, AH

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