My journey into Hand Lettering

AKA: An encouraging letter to myself

Around this time last year I found the art of hand lettering and I’m so grateful I did. I studied an art foundation course when I was 18 and then moved on to do a Photography degree for 3 years and until now didn’t really realise how much of the art world I had missed while focusing on photography and a LOT of technology. I used to do the odd doodle here and there and make my sketchbooks look relatively nice but there was no real love going into it so when I found hand lettering I couldn’t believe I found something I’ve been longing to do for so long with so much accessible information.

At the start of 2017 I was going through a pretty tough time after losing my grandmother and I was starting a new internship with a small creative business. I wanted to put my all into it but I wasn’t a whole person at that time. So I started small, I occasionally picked up my water colours and did a bit of painting, which led to some lettering and then I watched Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes quote the late great Carrie Fisher.

“‘Take your broken heart, turn it into art’”

It was my first piece of lettering, and the quote couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

My parents now have this hung proudly on their wall lol

I did so many versions of it, because I started to realise as I was doing it that I could do maybe that word better or that letter should look different. Looking at it now of course there are a lot of things I would change, but it took me on this journey, so its staying as it is!

For once in my life I’ve actually been able to see the idea that practice does make perfect. Don’t get me wrong I’ve got a long way to go to develop these skills I’ve learnt, but if I look back at how far I’ve come in less than a year its pretty crazy.

Some pages from my first sketchbook


Some of my new sketches, around a year later


My issue, and always has been, that when I start getting ‘good’ (whats the scale of good and bad anyway) I tend to become intimidated by those i once admired.

I have the awful habit of comparing my work to others. Which I guess isn’t a really bad thing as you must have some comparison in life so you can work on your strengths and weaknesses. But for me, even with photography I have always been very happy with something I’ve done, looked over and seen someone else’s and instantly felt that pang of ‘why isn’t mine that good.’


Now thankfully I’m finally starting to realise that this attitude is getting me NOWHERE anytime fast and so have started focusing on my work. And I think that’s where hand lettering came in. Now there are thousands of people practising this, all over Instagram you see these perfect videos of their quotes etc but guess what, they had to start somewhere too, and I give huge credit to those who post their progress pictures! But what I’ve learnt is that with lettering, there is no guide to how it should look. The same with photography I guess really. Do what you want, after all its your hand writing. Its your hand holding the pen of course its going to have a spark of you in it!

From when I was at school I always tried to copy my friends who had nicer handwriting than mine, I would spend each lesson curling my a’s to be like there’s or looping my y’s and then realised I had no personal style. So that’s what I’ve learnt on this short journey I’m undertaking. That time is your saving grace, practice DOES actually make perfect, or something pretty close to it and that you can only do or be who you want to be. Stop trying to fit into the perfect moulds we see plastered everywhere and just do it because you love it.

I hope to look back in another years time and see even more progress, and at least hopefully to have listened to myself just little!



Also I CANNOT WAIT to do a workshop with The Lovely Drawer next month so I can learn how to digitise my prints properly and hopefully have them up for sale soon!


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