Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a question to my previous post. I enjoyed reading through them! We took your questions and consolidated them into a set of questions that I hope will answer everything. Also, I loved reading your picks for favorite flowers. I hope you enjoy this quick crest of a selection of them together.
What materials do you use and like to use? (nibs, paper, tools for addressing, doing big lettering projects, etc.)
Anyone who takes my class receives my suggestions for materials (basically a starter kit of supplies!). My new instructional booklet will be available for purchase soon and we've included a supply list for students to reference. A couple people asked how I write on non-paper material. If I'm working on wood or acrylic, I’ll use a chalk pen or paint.
What advice do you have for digitizing your artwork? Do you have to think about how you’re painting will translate digitally?
My first piece of advice would be to get a good scanner. I use an Epson V550. You really just have to play around with it and the scan settings. Talk with your printer to find out their resolution preference. Watercolor is very difficult to scan and get accurate digitally. I try to paint crisper and cleaner lines. That way when I scan the work in, there isn't too much to clean up. It's probably obvious, but use Adobe programs. Play around in Photoshop with watercolor, and any black and white stuff like calligraphy, in Illustrator.
How can people who took your workshops in the past continue to improve their skills?
Practice, practice, practice! You can take another class from me. Also, stay tuned for online classes to come...very soon! But nothing beats digging deep and putting in multiple hours of practice in on your own. That's where you really start to develop your own style.
What advice or reassurance would you give your younger self?
Ha! Well, it really depends on which younger self I'm talking to, so I broke it down for you:
8 years old: Listen kid, moving to San Clemente is going to be great!
High schooler: Don’t dwell on your learning insecurities, or feeling behind; just keep doodling!
18 years old: Ugh! Don’t date that boy! Don’t wear that!
19 years old: Go to class!
20 years old: Keep dating this boy, this is the boy you’ll marry... and still, please don’t wear that.
23/24 years old: (just starting my business) Embrace your mistakes as learning experiences and opportunities for growth instead of letting them eat you alive. Have fun with it!
How did you become interested in calligraphy, and how long did it take for you to feel successful at it?
It's a process! I first learned calligraphy in junior high school, but that was not the right time for it to stick with me as I was too young to think about it that way. In high school and college, I would always write notes in cursive, or not be taking notes and just doodling in cursive. Five years ago in August, John and I got married. I did the artwork for our invites and that jump-started me back into journaling my artwork. I slowly began to share some artwork with friends and on social media and from there jobs just kind of happened! Friends started asking for things and I started to work on it outside of my day job as an administrative assistant. I don't know if there is a point at which you feel successful at something. I think the achievements just keep getting bigger and building on themselves. For example, the first real exciting achievement was having someone ask me to do their suite; then being able to purchase Adobe programs and gradually learning how to work with them and then my work getting recognized on blogs and in publications. I don't know if success is a point you reach, you just keep striving for the next step and eventually you look back and see how far you've come.
How did you find your niche?
It wasn't planned, and I certainly didn't foresee myself getting into the wedding industry. It just sort of happened that way! I started with my own wedding invitations and it just organically happened from there. I began taking on small jobs for friends and family (escort cards, addressing, etc.) and outside of my day job. At some point the demand for my time to do that outside of my day job took over and it became clear that I could switch over to doing what I loved spending my time doing full time.
What is your favorite subject to paint?
People might be surprised to know that the answer to this question isn't flowers, but human features. In particular, I love eyeballs and lips! I've always enjoyed drawing the texture and personality that come with these features, and it's fun to keep adding details to them. I was constantly drawing eyeballs and lips to pass the time in school, so they're fun for me!
What, other than your style, sets you apart from other calligraphers?
When I think about this question, I also think about architects or interior designers: there are so many of the same people in the same career, but there will always be a job for everyone as long as you’re current and relevant. I think that’s more important than being so different and standing out so far from the crowd because it's what will provide you with a lasting career. Honestly, there isn't too much of a difference between calligraphers and their styles. Some have more distinct styles and are softer or sharper, or have wider spacing between letters for example. But it's more than your style or little quirks in your work that sets you apart. You're not only providing a service and a product, but an overall brand experience. That means you have to provide the best of you possible — whether in emails, comments on Instagram, what you’re positing to social media, artwork you’re providing. It's also about not settling on an OK pass at calligraphy, you have to make sure it works with everything and is a positive experience for the client.
Where can I find prints of your work?
You can find (limited) prints for sale In my shop! We're hoping to expand the shop in the near future, too. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see for sale, please leave your suggestions in the comments. I'm also available for commissions as my schedule allows. If you're looking to get a tattoo, have a custom print or piece of artwork made, contact me!
Thank you to everyone who participated! I'll definitely do another round of this in the future.