Hand Lettering: Turning flaws into flourishes

So, do you have any hobbies? I never really have an answer to this question. As a child, I was a bit of a perfectionist. Not to say I’m not still. But in a child, perfectionism can have more negative implications. For example, I now know I’m a perfectionist. I understand and accept that the universe won’t allow me to be perfect at every one thing. And I succumb to that truth, albeit begrudgingly. But children, they don’t own that insight yet. I really did believe that perfectionism existed and that I was capable of it.

You see, I’ve tried everything once. Not “once” for an extended period of time. “Once” as in I took one class, didn’t master the craft immediately, and quit. Karate, dance, piano, tennis, gymnastics. My dad recounts my first tumbling lesson and I can’t imagine a clearer insight into the person I would become.

As the story goes, all the other little girls were doing there tuck-and-roll somersaults. Their tiny bodies effortlessly curling under themselves, gracefully tumbling forward. I, however, kept tumbling sideways. Clumsily, I kept trying and trying, and toppled over to the side every time. After realizing I was the only student left to have not mastered the routine, I stood up and told my parents I was leaving. I was three. You can imagine the staunch conviction I must have had as a child for my parents to just roll their eyes and nod, as if to say “yeah, we saw that one coming”.

I was stubborn then and I am stubborn now. I don’t blame my parents for allowing me to quit. They couldn’t force me to do any of these things. If I made up my mind about something, it rarely changed.This charming personality trait of mine has prevented me from finding a hobby I enjoy. I’m sure it’s prevented me from plenty more than that., but for now I’m focusing of my lack of hobbies.

I enjoy writing. I’ve been complimented it on it, reassured that I am proficient at it, and therefore continue to write. But I’ve been in the market for another outlet. Something that doesn’t involve scouring my memories for insights and then turning them into words. Soon, this “hobby” that should be helping me unwind begins to get me quite wound up. I need a hobby that finds pleasures in the little things.
My favorite kind of spooning.

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Hand Lettering. All I know is that I haven’t stopped since. It came a bit naturally, I must admit, which made me more inclined the pursue it. But what intrigues me most is that the nature of the craft itself allows for flaws. A smudge can be transformed into a flower, an inkblot into a flourish and so on. And the beauty is in the relaxation it brings. The ink flowing out of the pen onto the smooth paper, curling lines into letters and letters into words, until finally a work of art emerges. I’m hardly an artist, of course. But who’s to deny that what I’m creating isn’t art. As Andy Warhol once said, “Art is anything you can get away with”. I’d like to think I’m “getting away with” my Hand Lettering.

One of my favorite artists to follow is Lindsey Bugbee. Her blog thepostmansknock.com serves as great inspiration for this new hobby of mine. Have you tried hand lettering before? Check out her easy to follow tutorial, here, if you want to get started.



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