Earlier this year, I chose “CREATE” as my One Word for 2016. I chose that word for many reasons but mostly to get rid of the limiting notion I had that I don’t have a creative bone in my body. You see, I grew up thinking I was NOT visually creative at all.
But that changed mid-last year when I went back into decorating planners and got to know like-minded individuals not only locally but globally as well. That pretty much encouraged me to start creating my own layouts, inserts, stickers and even my own leather travelers notebooks. So, I thought why not make it a goal to create more this year, right?
Well, one of the things I’ve been wanting to do to improve my planner layouts was to learn calligraphy or lettering. Growing up, people have always complimented my handwriting, saying that it’s neat and beautiful. Well, I thought it was high time I level up a little more on that aspect.
Thankfully, my close friend, May of fullyhousewifed.com, knew about this interest of mine. She herself had taken a brush lettering workshop and had been practicing her craft for the past several months. When she learned that her brush lettering instructor was scheduling another session, she didn’t hesitate to enroll me in the class. It was a gift, she said. It’s so great to have such generous friends, right?
Needless to say, I was super excited to attend the workshop called Inspired Brush Lettering by Artsy Margot (or Margot Caparas Uy). It was held last July 23, 2016, from 1 – 5 pm at the Feed 5000 Kitchen in Ayala Alabang. May promised that it was going to be a blast and that the place and set up will surely be Instagram-worthy. And so it was.
This is what greeted me on my table when I walked in. Heavenly!
I was a few minutes late though. Luckily, Margot had just started introducing herself and how she came to organize such workshops. Apparently, she always loved to draw and make art since she was a kid. She was so good that she was always part of art organizations and the like. She even turned her talent into a business by designing shirts. However, she said that it was only during her adult years, when she was already married, that she heard God’s calling for her to use her talent to inspire others. And that’s where she first got the idea for the Inspired Brush Lettering workshop. Our batch was actually already Batch # 7.
Mind you, if you wish to learn about formal calligraphy, this is not the workshop you need. Margot’s style is freehand and she encourages her students to develop their own handwriting and not just copy what others do. She said we must do art from the heart. That really made me happy because that is how I try to live my life. I don’t want to be someone else’s copycat.
I was also happy that there were only a few of us in the class because I was a beginner. The only way I’ve learned how to do lettering last year was by stalking calligraphers on Instagram and YouTube. Haha! All of us in the workshop were women. There were even two mother-daughter pairs. Margot was able to really go around to check on our work one by one so I really felt like I got the most out of the time we had there.
We started by practicing our basic strokes using drills Margot prepared. We learned how to properly write upward and downward strokes, as well as circular strokes and connecting strokes using a brush pen.
Pretty soon, we were asked to start writing words, including our own name. I really tried my best although I was kind of feeling self-conscious at first about my work. Haha! If you compare how I wrote my name on the sheet down below, they’re nowhere near as nice as how Margot did it on that white doily beside my practice sheet. But I was pretty happy with my output considering this was my first lettering workshop.
Margot also showed us how to make banners, buntings, flourishes, dividers, frames, arrows, leaves, ferns and florals that we can use to prettify our lettering. After practicing with a brush pen, Margot then showed us how to use watercolor to make backgrounds and to do some lettering as well.
In between lectures, we got to partake on some delicious snacks from Feed 5000 Kitchen. There were actually more snacks served than the ones you see on the photos below. However, I was unable to take photos of the rest because I was so busy practicing my lettering. I assure you though that I had a great time eating there as well. Haha!
Anyway, after the lessons, we were asked to make two postcards (or just write on our sketchpads) using the tricks that we learned in class. On one post card we had to write our name. On the second one, we had to write a quote. Here’s what I was able to come up with.
I wasn’t content with what I made so I decided to make another one. Haha!
Not bad, right? Of course, what matters most is how we will be able to take into practice what we have learned in the real world, in our every day lives. What I really like about Margot is that she doesn’t stop teaching once the workshops end. She forms Facebook chat groups for each batch and sends weekly prompts so that we will be encouraged to practice our craft and share it to our group. Like she always likes to say, “PRACTICE MAKES PRETTY!”.
It has only been under two weeks since our workshop but I’ve already shared some of my creations to our group and on my IG. Here are some of them.
Some of my strokes are still shaky and need improvement but I’ve already improved a lot so far, if I do say so myself. Haha! There’s actually one person already who asked me to do a post card for him with his name on it. Crazy but flattering at the same time. It’s very encouraging though whenever I share my work on Instagram and Facebook and I get likes and compliments on them.
Brush lettering has already taught me so many things, and I don’t only mean how to write pretty. I’ve learned patience because you really need it to get the strokes right. I’ve learned to slow down and not hurry. I’ve learned that it’s okay to take some time off for myself, to do what I love, even for just a few minutes a day. I’ve learned to let go and not focus too much on my mistakes and just enjoy the process of creating. I’ve learned to share and be proud of my creations even if they’re far from perfect. I’ve learned that I, too, can CREATE.
Thank you so much, Margot, for inspiring me and teaching me all these things. Thank you too, May, for being such a generous and supportive friend.
If you want to join me on my brush lettering journey, do follow me on my planner/crafting account on IG, @planningforpleasure. And if you want to join Margot’s other lettering workshops, you can follow her on IG as well at @artsymargot for updates. I assure you, you’ll love experiencing her workshops, including the part where you get to take home brush lettering goodies! 🙂 Happy creating!