Advice for practicing lettering daily

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Charles Borges de Oliveir
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: Arlington,WA

Advice for practicing lettering daily

Post by Charles Borges de Oliveir » Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:49 pm

What would you say is the best way to learn to hand letter. I know the obvious is practice, practice and more practice. But as for learning new faces does anybody have any advice. Would you spend a month learning a new typestyle and then move on to another and so forth? What would your practice consist of ?

Thanks for any tips!
Charles Borges de Oliveira

Billy Pickett
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:59 am

Post by Billy Pickett » Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:58 am

... As important as knowing a styles unique characteristics, knowing what paint laden hair will do (when stroked) is vital. Various brushes can make specific shapes as required by various letter styles. Many, like scripts. evolved to be the way they are (and look) BECAUSE of the type and shape of the tool used to apply them. The ONLY way to learn the nuances of paint and hair (and how to letter) is to do it ALOT. It took me about SIX years to (begin to) feel competent at it.
...One good way to master hand lettering is instead of using stick-on letters, paint 'em. While a cheap "no parking" sign could be "more easily" done w. stickers, clients will not notice or care if it's been painted.

John Lennig
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 10:53 am
Location: Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

Post by John Lennig » Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:36 pm

Charles, i would say basically the same thing as Billy's about manipulating the hairs/pushing/pulling the paint around.

The occasional times i have given lettering lessons, it's getting to know what the brush can do, oh yeah, you're Supposed to be in charge! :roll:

the particular styles come after the manipulating is under control.

Kirkland... not that far... i'd love to do a brush session with you, are you left handed??

"You spelled it wrong!"

vance galliher
Posts: 307
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 11:38 pm
Location: springfield, or.

brush work

Post by vance galliher » Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:42 pm

.....John, your left-handed question opened a posssibility. What if sometime in the future there was a grathering of northwest left-handers ?....... no right-handers allowed !! ....hahaahaaaaaaaaaa

Charles Borges de Oliveir
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: Arlington,WA

Post by Charles Borges de Oliveir » Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:38 am

Hi John,

No I am a right hander. I am actually in Arlington. Thanks for the advice!
Charles Borges de Oliveira

cam bortz
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 8:54 am

Post by cam bortz » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:38 pm

My mentor back in the '80s had me practice by lettering casual and free-hand script - he said if I could produce a decent one-stroke "plug" and a script, I could letter anything, any style, and by george, he was right. There is no substitute for practice - that's what I've always liked about hand lettering, there is no short-cut, nothing you can buy (other than good quills), no technology that makes it quicker or easier. That's also why I have so much respect for folks who brush letter, and an increasing impatience with signpeople who want to learn all the "tricks" but cannot or will not invest the time to learn this most fundamental skill. And anymore, I have no time for people who tell me they "can't" letter? Why? Are your fingers broken? Lettering is nothing more than a skill, a process of fine motor co-ordination, like handwriting, typing or playing an instrument, and none of those things are a matter of talent or some innate ability, they are skills resulting from practice and repetition.

Sorry to sound pedantic on this subject. But I am dismayed by all the so-called "letterheads" I have met in the last few years who regard hand-lettering as either a quaint and valueless relic, or as some sort of magic trick, or something they expect to learn in a weekend seminar without any effort. P***** me off, in fact. Could you tell?

Doug Bernhardt
Posts: 1025
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:29 am
Location: Ottawa Canada

2 cents worth

Post by Doug Bernhardt » Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:21 pm everything everyone has said up to now with the exception of Cam's last paragraph. I'm thrilled with the number of people who inspite of the odds, not to mention the difficulty, are trying to get a handle on the old crafts. I concider "ourselves" lucky to have come-up at a time when all you needed was dedication, some earnest practice and sooner or later your boss would let you start working with a brush in the real world, as opposed to a worktable in your living room, making up copy and practicing. I also say this with respect for Cam's obvious talent.

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