Making Brush Lettering

If it looks easy, it probably isn’t.

If it looks hard, it probably is.

I’ve been making brush lettering a long time. It took me a few years to get good at it. It was all about consistency, rhythm, and flow. If you messed-up a letter or few, they’d stick out like a sore thumb. When I looked at my brush lettering or someone else’s, I’d be looking for inconsistencies. That’s how I judged how good it was. I did that for some time.

 

brush lettering Summer Festival + Westerberg

Perfect lettering – or it will be after a little digital clean-up.

Until….the hand lettering world started to change. “Casual” was the word used to describe the new style of lettering. The date this started is quite subjective, but I’ll say 2000. The new generation of lettering artists did’t bring the traditional calligraphy skills and they knew the computer well. Making “perfect” lettering wasn’t the objective. In fact, it was the reverse. Perfection wasn’t cool. Of course there was still a need for well done (perfect) lettering, but the trend for “imperfect” lettering had taken hold and is still going strong.

This article is concerned with brush lettering, but is should be noted that hand drawn lettering was also a big part of the new Casual lettering style.

I’ve embraced the now-not-so-new Casual lettering. I even have a new name for it; naive. It looks easy and effortless to make. At least that’s what I thought. I created a project for myself to test my assumption. The style I really liked, and was going use as my inspiration, is by Monica Garwood. This is the piece I saw online and was drawn to:

I wanted to see if I could get that same playfulness and variation.

I’ll show you in my next blog how that went.