Living 50 miles away in Lawrence is my excuse for not taking more advantage of events through my AIGA membership. But I’ve vowed to remedy that this year and jumped at the chance to attend a sold-out handlettering workshop in Kansas City last weekend. I happily took my seat among 40 other designers and absorbed a handful of tips from Hallmark lettering artists Jim Fedor and Lisa Rogers.
Jim, who is self-taught, showed us the nuances of the oblique dip pen, which I first used during a workshop with Spencerian master Michael Sull about 10 years ago. It’s a delicate instrument that produces surprising results (my first attempt is above). I still have a rosewood penholder from Michael and have resumed practice again this week. Some people doodle, I draw letters.
Lisa is classically trained, and her instruction with brush lettering was more formal. I’ve long been attracted to brush lettering and its expressive qualities, but mastery has eluded me because I have trouble breaking old habits. She showed us how to better hold the brush (a tripod style balanced on the first knuckle of your pinkie) that opened up a new world to me. That tip, plus visualizing and making the gesture before putting brush to paper, was enough to inform my practice for years to come.