Hey everyone. As part of the #SimpleAlphabets series starting in June over on instagram, we will be lettering an alphabet a day.
The challenge bonus is that you won’t be alone in practicing the alphabet. I’ve asked some amazingly talented letterers to share their knowledge with you! You shall also be getting to know a bit more about them and their creative journey.
Today, we have the very first letterer talking about her handlettering journey! Brittany Luiz is what I’d call ‘a happy creative’ and I adore her lettering skills! On to what she has to say!
If you were on stage right now, how would you introduce yourself?
Hi y’all! I’m Brittany Luiz. I’m a handlettering artist as well as the Social Media & Content Manager for Tombow USA. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my job so much – not only do I get to “play” on social media all day, but also I get to literally play with the most amazing products while I’m doing it. When I’m not scrolling through newsfeeds or filling up sketchbooks with letters, I am hanging out with my husband and 8-month-old son, who is quite possibly the cutest child on earth.
When did you first really get interested in lettering and calligraphy?
I’ve always kind of had a thing for handwriting, but I never felt like mine was really all that great. Honestly, even now my normal handwriting isn’t anything to write home about. But about two years ago, I decided that I was going to get better at my script writing by taking up hand lettering. I took an online class (shoutout to Tosha Seeholzer and Atly!) and was hooked. But of course, at first I was horrific. Don’t be discouraged if what you produce when you’re getting started isn’t what you want it to look like. Practice a little bit every day and you’ll get there! What I love about lettering is that it’s really more about drawing your letters than it is writing. So you don’t even have to have great penmanship to be a great letterer.
What are your favourite art tools and media you prefer?
Hands down, I prefer Tombow products. And that’s not just because I work there! I really love the Tombow Fudenosuke Hard Tip and it’s what I most recommend for beginners. The barrel is small and so is the pen tip/nib, which makes it easy to control. The hard tip version is great for someone who is heavy handed (like I am), because it really forces you to learn how to apply proper pressure to get thick and thin lnies. I also love the Dual Brush Pens because they come in so many different colors and are so versatile. I’ve been really into blending them for my lettering lately.
When you find yourself in a creative rut, how do you conquer that?
I have hard time coming up with words/phrases to letter, so for a long time I would just fall back to the same few words (mostly hello and love). But I noticed that after I would letter those a few times I would get bored and stop practicing. Now I try to keep an ongoing note in my phone with phrases that I’d like to letter. These sometimes come from books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, songs I love or funny things I hear/think. It has really helped me to bust through that “what should I even letter?” mentality that I sometimes get stuck in when I want to practice. As far as style goes, I follow a lot of different letterers with different styles so I try to take note of different techniques I like and figure out how to incorporate them into my own style without copying what they have already done.
What would be the ideal lettering / calligraphy assignment you’d like to work on?
I would LOVE to handletter artwork for a book cover. When I started college I had big ideas that I’d be working at Random House one day as a book editor, so it would be really cool to come full-circle on that dream and do something relating to books. Plus, I love to read.
Any advice you’d like to share on finding your own lettering style?
My advice for finding your own lettering style is to just keep practicing. It’s natural to want to copy someone’s style that you love, especially when you’re just getting starting. And to a certain extent, you do need to look to people you aspire to be like to get the ball rolling. But when you do this you need to cast a wide net – don’t just pick one person and say “I want to letter like so-and-so,” because you’re going to end up copying them and copying isn’t cool.
Follow as many letterers as you can with varying styles and watch what they do. Then put your phone down, shut the laptop and practice. You’re so much less likely to blatantly copy someone if you aren’t staring at their Instagram feed while you practice that elusive capital K. And if you’ve seen 50 different people write that letter in 50 different ways, chances are you’re going to find a way that is unique to you that doesn’t look like any of theirs. I know that it can be so discouraging when you’re starting to feel like you don’t have a distinct style, but if you continue to practice every day you will develop a style that is your own.
I still feel like I am finding my style, but something that has helped me was to take a look at the lettering that appeals to me most and honestly compare that to my skill level and what I feel like I can actually achieve. I have the patience of a small child, so I know that I will never put in the amount of time it takes for my letters to be exactly perfect, so I decided that I wasn’t going to go for perfect. I’d describe my style as “imperfect with personality” It doesn’t really bother me if my letters aren’t completely straight or I have gaps in my layout or maybe my flourish is a little wonky, because to me that’s what makes my lettering unique while reflecting my own personality.
Thanks for sharing, Brittany! Find Brittany and her lettering on her instagram (@brittanyluiz).