DIY Guide to Lettering

Who doesn’t like beautiful handwritten notes? I started writing calligraphy when my ex got me a calligraphy set. And then I got too lazy with the dipping and the cleaning, that’s when I moved onto lettering – more on the drawing and less on the writing with simpler, cheaper tools.

Lettering costs you almost nothing. All you need is a marker and paper – I’m sure you can find both in the abyss of your backpack/handbag. If you decided to get serious, you can buy brush pens in rainbow colours from art supplies stores (I ❤ Hobbycraft) or on Amazon. Here are some of the commonly used pens for lettering:

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My favourite is pentel touch. The softness of the tip is just right which makes it easier to control the thickness of your strokes. If you’re getting sharpies, make sure they are BRUSH TIP.

Inspiration is everywhere! If you pay attention, you can see them in the shops or on chalkboards and cards. The easiest way is to google “hand lettering inspiration” and you’ll get over a million results. If you use Instagram, check out letteringleague / paigefirnbergdesign / lissletters / typexsundry / bydawnnicole.

Now you’ve got your tools ready and your head full of ideas, it’s time to get started. Here’s a short and simple How-to video that you can begin with. There are so many free resources online that I wouldn’t recommend anyone to pay for an online course or a workshop. Here are two free stencils, UPPERCASE and lower case, for you to practise on.

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Lettering calms and clears my mind because I am so engrossed with what I am doing that I just forget everything.

There are so many ways to show off your skills – on notebook covers and envelopes, in cards or your lecture notes (maybe not the whole of it, just the title I mean; it’ll make revision a tiny bit more enjoyable). I like motivational quotes, so what I do very often is that I’d write them down on post-its and put them up. You can also do it on coffee cups but it’s a bit tricky because the surface is curved. My teaching friend once commissioned me to do personalized notebooks for her class. So it is possible to turn your hobby into a business!

Lettering is a lot like drawing. Keep practicing and you’ll be well on your way to creating unique and stunning text for any occasion 😉

Originally written for The Cambridge Student newspaper

Maybe I should… Yes, you absolutely should!

Have you ever had these random ideas that came out of nowhere, but then you pushed it aside and never actually get to do them? “Maybe I should take up dancing”, “Maybe I should volunteer” or “Maybe I should get a pixie cut” – ok, you really got to be extremely brave to do that!

One of the many ideas that popped up in my mind (mostly while I was in the shower) was “Maybe I should start a blog”. Well, you see, I manage two Facebook accounts, one’s private and the other’s for students and parents to keep in touch with me. In the latter, I’d share with them what life in Cambridge is like, in hopes of inspiring the kids to study harder (Aww I miss them).

Recently, I’ve created accounts on LinkedIn and Twitter and subscribed to various books/publishing related websites to network and keep an eye out for opportunities. Not to mention Lent Term just started and am now volunteering as a writer and sub-editor with The Cambridge Student newspaper, I have more than enough on my plate. After attending the publishing panel discussion last night and sleeping on the idea, I decided to start. a. blog . And now you’re reading it!

So you might (or might not) be curious about what made me do it. And here are my rationale: I thought I’d move what life in Cambridge is like here and this platform could also be my writing samples for future employers. I love watching movies, cooking and travelling, so I might share book and movie reviews/recommendations, recipes (I made tiramisu from scratch last Sunday and it was benissimo!) and travel journals/recommendations on this blog. My goal is to post at least once a week. (That reminds me of my goal of working out at least twice a week. I mean cycling counts, doesn’t it? It’s cardio!)

My point is, if you have similar “Maybe I should…” thoughts, don’t push it aside – DO IT! Follow your instinct. You’d rather look back and think “What was I thinking!?” or “I’m so glad I did this!” than “I wish I had done that”. Leave a comment below of your “Maybe I should…” – by doing that, you’re doubling the chances of making it happen!

Ciao. x

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