We are a week into February and things continue to go at a frantic pace, both in the world and in the every day. I declared I would letter my word of the year every month. I decided to take (as usual) the more complicated route and instead of doing analogue lettering I decided I would do vector lettering.
The intention behind this is to teach myself to work and improve something instead of settling for the first version of anything. It is one of my biggest challenges: reworking, rewriting, redrawing. It’s not laziness, but a little bit of desperation to get to the next thing, which does not contribute to good work.
Lettering in vector, requires a lot of fine-tuning and drawing with the pen tool is almost as painstakingly deliberate as embroidery or knitting a motif-heavy sweater. My first exercise was monoline which was a lot easier than drawing shapes. This month I tried to draw fatty letters and they are very imperfect, in fact, I shouldn’t even publish them because they are so full of bumps that type designers might have a stroke by looking at them. I must say that my handles are the way they are supposed to but maybe my anchor points are not well placed.
But it is an exercise in looseness and precision at the same time, working a little bit at a time, from sketch on paper and layering in tracing paper to placing points and fuzzing with the handles.
I have no desire to work as a letterer unlike say, watercolorist or illustrator, this is a pure hobby of mine. I want to keep it this way.
If you started to make art as an accident, or as an outlet and were suddenly trapped into thinking that you’d discovered a goldmine, well, maybe it’s part of the road, but as I looked at what I’ve been doing in the past two years, I realised that I’d made a huge mistake:
“I was expecting my creativity to earn me a living”, something that Elizabeth Gilbert devotes a short chapter on in her book Big Magic, and which I’d forgotten.
It might at some point, but my mistake and the mistake I see people make over and over is to start drawing and immediately expect to set up shop, which isn’t bad per se, it’s just that if you do it too early you will make work for the sake of selling, instead of making work that you need to make in order to find your voice, your path and ultimately your style. It’s my personal take, maybe for some people it simply fuels the drive and focus.
Right now I’m working on a more structured project which I hope to launch in a few months. This time I’m taking stock of my weaknesses and working in a much more structured approach. Hopefully this will work for my bumblebee complex and this strong pull to check out the next new thing!