Hand Lettering: In Books

On one of my past blog post Quotes, I talked about how much I love lettering quotes that I find.  I came up with an idea on how to do something a little different with lettering.  When I am reading through a book and I find a quote that I love I start creating Ideas for a lettering piece.  When I figure out the final piece I want to make, I create it on tracing paper because it’s transparent and easy to tape into a book. I know if you are a book lover you probably are cringing right now because I used the word tape and book together.  I used washi tape and it’s not sticky enough to damage the book in anyway, even if the pages are very thin like in my example piece, it still didn’t damage the book.

This is really fun to do because when you go back and re-read the book you have art that you have created that has been inspired by what you read in the book. It also gives you a deeper connection with what you have read.  You could do an art piece without words to change it up a bit too.  I think there are so many fun ways you could take this and it would turn out amazing.

Tip: Make sure to tape as close to the middle as you can so you can still read what is behind your art when its flipped over.

I used this method on my journaling Bible that I just purchased, because I had the issue of the actual area they give you for journaling is quite small.  If I were to do lettering or art in that area, like I wanted to, it wouldn’t be big enough.  So, I will be using those areas for what it was intended for, notes and such, and then using the transparent paper for my art.  Its really nice to use tracing paper because it is so smooth, thin and light it’s not going to damage the book in any way and you can flip through easily without it all falling apart on you.  Also you can take it out later if you don’t like it, and re-make another piece. You could use any type of paper whatever you are comfortable with, just make sure to use tape that will not damage your book. I like how smooth markers go on the tracing paper, and I can use my original sketch underneath to make sure my final piece is exactly how I want it to be. 

Tip: Use markers on the tracing paper to get best results!

Lettering on Tracing paper

This could be done on any book and if you are a student in school it could be a way of helping you remember the story if you are doing a book report or just studying a textbook.

In school I loved taking notes and making pictures to help me remember.  A lot of people connect through their eyes and creating things, so I think this is another way to eternalize something in our minds.  I wish I would have done this in school I think it would have helped me a lot with staying focused and remembering things and would have kept my notes more organized.

If you are a creative person you should try this out and see how it works for you.  I also think this would be a great project for students or kids.  Let me know what you think about this method and if you try it out please share your experience with it.  Enjoy!

DIY Pom Pom Art

Have you seen the hand woven wall hangings all over Pinterest and Etsy?

These beautiful pieces are HARD to make, well at least for me, I tried and failed.  

So I thought I would try something way more simple!

Okay, remember making mini pom poms out of yarn by wrapping around a fork when you were little?  Well, I made a bunch of pom poms in all different colors and sizes and used them as a unique piece of art in our guest bedroom.  

diy pom pom art


Its really simple after creating the pom poms I just hot glued them onto whatever shape foam core board  I wanted, in my case I used a circle.   It would be really cool to do a triangle or other shapes too!

How To:

  1. Cut out your foam core board shape, draw on it what colors you may want to use so you get an idea of layout and color pallet.
  2. Start making those pom poms! You can do any size and I think it looks best with different sizes.  Just wrap your yarn around a fork about 40 times and then tie it off really tight and cut the ends, make sure to trim your pom poms so they look even.  I definitely should have done better at making them even and fuller, next time I make one I will be making sure that happens. 
  3. Hot glue the pom poms in the spots you want, make sure to fill the space as tight as you can.
  4. Hang it up! I put mine on our shelf but you can hang it just as easily.  Would be really cool hanging within a bunch of photos or art.  


Tip: Make sure you make really full Pom Poms, and cut them down so they are even.  It will make your art look more full.


DIY pom pom Art

I am definitely going to try this again, I used yarn I had around the house, but I think I will go out and get colors that will match better the next time I make it.  
This is definitely something kids could do, you could use different glue that wasn’t hot if that is a concern.  Great for snow days!  I hope you enjoy this fun little DIY!


Hand Lettering


I love hand lettering quotes, I have a whole Pinterest board of quotes that I use to practice with.  Today I wanted to share with you a piece I made for our guest bedroom.  I plan on changing out the art as I progress.  I am going to keep the old pieces in the frame too, so when I go to switch them out I will be able to compare to my older work.  It will, hopefully, be encouraging.  

The quote I used was:

“Creativity takes Courage”

– Henri Matisse

“Creativity takes Courage” -Henri Matisse

As I was lettering it I was thinking about the quote and what he meant and what it means to me.

Henri was an artist, and this quote I think resonates with everyone.  Anyone who is trying to put something out in the world that they created, knows it takes courage.  Because of this a lot of people don’t put out work. Even the best artist have done this.   I do this all of the time, because I am too consumed with what others may think.  Ironically what makes me want to be an artist the most is because they have enough courage to go out there and do what they want to do.

Now, I think you do have to be careful, I am not talking about doing illegal things(and I hope what I am saying here is not misinterpreted or taken out of context), I am talking about pushing to put out beautiful things that you have created and sharing them with the world.  Even if your world is just a few people who read your blog.  

I have been mulling over this for awhile (all my life).  I’m sharing the following with you in hopes that it will encourage you, I am not looking for sympathy in any way.  I have recently been going through my thought process and have noticed this to be a big issue for me.  I am writing on this blog to share my experiences and my thoughts as I go through my hand lettering adventures and it’s keeping me accountable and pushing me to be better.

I have always been “shy” or whatever people wanted to label me as.  To be completely honest, the problem I have is, I care too much about what others think.  In school I wouldn’t give into peer pressure or anything like that, so I never thought I had this problem.  I didn’t care if people in high school or college liked me or not. I did care, however, if my family liked me or if my employers liked me, and that is why I followed the rules.  I followed the rules of the people I respected.  I honestly think that’s a good thing, except for when it gets to the point where I am crippled by the idea of doing anything because I am afraid to mess up or do something wrong.  It also leaves you with zero confidence.

I know lots of people who have to deal with this,  I hope (if you struggle with this) you are able to push through the issue.  I am not blaming anyone for this other than myself, and being human.  I think this is an easy thing for anyone to fall into.  Don’t be paralyzed by things like this, and if you are you should be seriously evaluating the way you are thinking, or be talking it through with someone else that can help.

If you need someone to talk to about this leave a comment and I will contact you.  I really would like to encourage all of the artist out there to keep practicing and pushing through even if you are not in love with the work you’re putting out, practice makes progress.


Inspiration: Antiques

Inspiration can come from anywhere, and I wanted to share with you how I stumbled upon some great inspiration for my lettering over the holiday.  On a trip back to Michigan my family and I visited an antique store.  While I was there I found a huge amount of lettering inspiration that I wanted to share with you.   Usually I will just search “Old tins” or “Old toy packaging” on pinterest and find my inspiration there.  This time I got to see it first hand.  Sometimes as a creative person, going out and gathering inspiration like that is one of the best things you can do in order to create something awesome.


One of the places I love to look at letters and designs is on antiques.  Mostly because depending on when they were made they were hand lettered or hand made.  You just don’t find things like that anymore.  Also the design decisions that were chosen back then are very different to how we do it now.  That is because they had more limits.  We can do most things fairly quickly now with a computer and a tablet so that allows us more freedom in creating things.  


I grew up around antiques, my parents loved going into antique shops, auctions and yard sales, and all of us kids got to tag along for the ride.  Antiques have a special spot in my heart because it reminds me of my childhood.  The cool part of antiques is that they were so limited when creating it that it’s often very simple.  And a simple well designed piece is, in my opinion an awesome piece of art.  Most of it might seem very easy to create now, it may be easy to recreate on a computer, but it is much harder to design something simple that is effective.  If you look at any of the top brands their logos will be very simple, but at the same time giving you all the information you need to know.

Simple + Effective = Winning

Below are some of the photos I collected while at the antique shop, hope you enjoy and I will have a download link if you would like to use these pictures to create a mood board for your art.  Where do you find inspiration?


10 Steps for Working with an Illustrator

Maybe your story is like mine. You’ve submitted a children’s book to several publishers without pictures and have had no response. Lets be real can a picture book really make an impact without pictures? Maybe… Maybe not… So after reading through the Children’s Writers Market I’ve decided to try again, except with the pictures included. One problem, beyond pictionary level, I can’t draw.

To get past this I’ve enlisted the help of an illustrator. Here are a few places you can find someone in your area:

1. Local art school. Students need to create portfolio level work. Sometimes you can ask them to do it on that merit alone, as homework subject matter, or for a reduced price. Just make sure when you publish it you give them credit as the illustrator. Sometimes that is all you will need.

2. Art teachers at college or at community centers. Some of them are looking for new projects for the classroom or would be willing to exchange work.

3. Social Media. Many previous art students are now at a full time jobs but want to get back into art.

Writers aren’t the only ones who give up on the dream because of reality. By offering this opportunity you are giving an artist another shot. Maybe you both will hit it big.

Here is the process I went through collaborating without a publisher or agent:

1. Decide on your terms. I traded a website design, something I can do, for the artwork, which I cannot do. Get it in writing, an email will work.

2. Create a packet. Standard picture book length is 32 pages. Create a packet by taking 8 pieces of printer paper and fold them in half. Now stack them together and staple the seam. This is your book packet.

3. Make Your Demo. Take your book packet and a box a crayons, colored pencils, whatever you are comfortable with and sketch out your thoughts. Add the words on each page and try to put down what’s in your head. At the very least write a description of what you are looking for.

KEY: DO NOT hand them your words and say ‘draw it.’ If someone handed you a painting and said ‘write it’ all of us would have a different story and none of them would be the one in the painters mind. TELL THEM WHAT YOU ARE THINKING! Otherwise you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

4. Have examples of other books you like. I’m talking style, colors, etc. Curious George books have a different style than Dr. Seuss. Know the market, what you like and what you don’t like.

5. Look at examples of the illustrators work already done. Illustrators are trying to create a cohesive body of work and don’t necessarily want to go out of the perimeters they have created. Some will try new things but, just like writing, it’s hard to go out of your comfort zone and then share it. Remember your first attempt at Flash Fiction or 1st Person Point of View? Would you have shown it to anyone? Not me.

6. Set up a time frame. Set realistic expectations and goals for both sides.

7. Ask for proofs. This step is vital. My illustrator sketched out what they were going to paint first. Then asked me to approve them. It lets you check out the flow of the book, where the words will go, and how it reads.

TIP: Respect the illustrator and what they know about art. If they say they can’t do something or it won’t look good, accept it and ask for suggestions.

8. Get high resolution scans of the artwork, put it into the computer, and add your words. Don’t have them paint in the words, no spell check and the painting could easily be ruined. If the work was created digitally even better you get to skip half a step.

9. Printing. Most publishers won’t take work digitally, but agents will. Take your new book and get it ready for sending. It’s important to follow the submission guidelines set up by the publisher or agent individually. There is no standard here, do it however the website says.

10. Waiting game. Either you are waiting months to hear from a publisher or weeks from an agent. Regardless, the experience is good and you are getting yourself out there into the market. If all else fails you can self publish.

So how about it? Do you think you could work with an illustrator? Illustrators any additional tips I missed? Feel free to post if you are looking for writer/illustrators.

Illustrators and writers are the same on so many levels the main difference is the medium in which we share our creations. So be friendly and reach out.

I hope to share results past the initial stages but want to see if a publisher/agent picks this up first. Lets see if adding pictures helped my prospects in the un-agented picture market… I’ll keep you posted!

Hand Lettering Heroes

Today I wanted to share with you some of the people I look up to most in the Hand Lettering World.  There are lots of different kinds of Hand lettering out there, from sign painters to calligraphers and everything in between.  This is my list of my top 5 Hand Lettering Heroes.  I have been studying all of their work and just cant get enough of their lettering and illustrations!

  1. Sean McCabe – He has to be my number one because I have taken his hand lettering Master Class and his work is awesome!  He offers classes, videos, podcast and a lot more.  If you are looking into lettering I would highly recommend looking at his work and trying out his classes!  His podcasts are good for artist, writers or anyone who is creating things, do yourself a favor and listen here.  He also has an online store that has awesome products with his designs.  Check him out at his website here6a01543325a25d970c0192ac0e2b13970d
  2. Mary Kate McDevitt- Mary Kate is one of my all time favorites because she mixes her illustrations with her lettering so well and it all comes together as one beautifully cohesive piece.  She also has online classes available, on Skillshare if you are interested in learning her process.   I have taken her classes and they are all great I would highly recommend to anyone getting into lettering.  You can view her work here.


3. Molly Jacques – Molly is my favorite modern calligrapher! Her work is stunning and she also offers workshops in a couple different states.  She also sells her own fonts that she created on her website.  Check out her work here. About-Molly-Jacques

4. Fran Meneses – Fran is an illustrator, but I cant help but look at her work for lettering inspiration too.  The way she uses lines and color is just amazing. Fran has an Etsy shop with some of her work for sale, and also a blog that I could spend days on just staring at her beautiful artwork! Check her out hereheaderenglish

5. Sean Tulgetske –  Sean is one of my favorites because he uses nature as inspiration for his work.  I love being outside and, as an artist, I feel most creative when I am outdoors.  Check out his website and enjoy some of his free phone wallpapers! 


I hope you enjoyed my list and that you find these artist as inspiring as I do!  Who are your favorite letterers and why?

Hand Lettering Tool Guide


For all my lettering friends out there, I made a list of  tools I use for hand lettering.  I called it a guide because I think there are a lot of good products out there and a lot of different brands that work great.  These tools are not “magic” and will not make your lettering look great automatically.  They do however have what you need to make a great lettering piece.

“These tools are not “magic” and will not make your lettering look great automatically.”

I broke the guide into two sections, sketch and final.  The sketch section shows what I typically use to get my initial idea down on paper, and then what I use to refine it and get it ready to be the final piece. The Final section is items that I only use to make the final product.  I am going to go through the list one by one and tell you how I use each item.

  1. Ruler, I hate measuring, but you have to measure to make your lettering good.  Everything has to be spaced correctly, and its really hard to do that without a ruler. I also use this as a straight edge.
  2. This is a lead holder with lead and a sharpener.  I like using this because you can keep a really sharp point on it, and its really good for refining as well as initial sketching. You can use a normal pencil  as well, you really just need something to sketch with that can erase well later.
  3. Paper, I usually use a couple sheets because if I’m lettering a quote I like to sketch out as many different layout ideas first.  When I pick one I like I will  use another piece of paper. I use just regular copy paper for this, its cheap and I go through it really quickly.  There really isn’t a reason to use more expensive paper on this unless you want that as part of your final look. It can give your lines a different effect because the paper will not be as smooth or will be really smooth, depending on the type of paper.
  4. I like using a brush pen to just write out my quotes to figure out the layout.  You can also use brush pens in your final if you are going for that style.
  5. I use an eraser guard when I am refining my work and trying to get the sketch perfect and ready to do the final lettering.
  6. You need a good eraser, I use a white eraser because it doesn’t leave any marks on my paper.  You could also use a kneaded eraser, which would work really well with the eraser guard.
  7. Music is a must when you start your final, I generally will do the outlines first of all the letters and then I just fill everything in. Good music will make the filling in step more enjoyable.
  8. I generally always use micron pens to do my final, they work really well and are precise and do not bleed.
  9. If you want to add color to your lettering I would suggest Copic markers because they are blendable and they work really well with the micron pens.
  10. Another fun way to add something unique to your piece is by using a metallic pen to give a different effect.


I hope this list helps you with your lettering and if you have anything not on the list that you think should be added let me know! I would love to hear what you use!