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, I’m chatting with Jessica about her creative process. You’ve probably seen her on instagram- either from a lettering or a bullet journaling tag or two. (Or three.) I really like how she combines productivity with creativity- check out her IG feed, it’s really inspiring!
If you were on stage right now, how would you introduce yourself? (You can brag!)
“We welcome to the stage Jessica Chung – a hand lettering artist who endeavors to use lettering to infuse more empowerment, inspiration, humor, and intention into the world. She is the Creative Owner of Pretty Prints & Paper and is honestly struggling to brag about herself right now!”
When did you first really get interested in lettering and calligraphy?
When I was in fourth grade, my mother taught me and my brother how to do Italic calligraphy with those pens with the Italic nibs. I remember really liking it, and wanting to get good at it (my brother decided to stop and played Pokemon instead). I would do it on and off ever since, but really became interested in doodling and bubble letters and cursive with faux-calligraphy. I didn’t seriously dive into formalizing that hobby and doing modern calligraphy until May 2015.
What are your favourite art tools and media you prefer?
This is impossible! I’m such a sampler – of foods, of books, of art supplies. If I had to choose, some of my favorites are my straight holder with colorful india ink, my Pentel Sign brush pens, and watercolors.
Good morning! I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew with so many challenges but I already love this month's #brushletterpracticechallenge – global cities! The list is giving me a few ideas of where I can go… I've never been to Montreal but it seems like a great place to visit.. Someday 😁 ✒ @tombowusa dual brush pen (thanks tombow!) in real time #jchungwrites #calligraphyvideo
When you find yourself in a creative rut, how do you conquer that?
If I’m not feeling inspired scrolling through Instagram, I actually try to shift focus to a different field. Sometimes the downside of social media is that we QUICKLY propagate the same thing – there was a masking fluid phase, right now there’s a Crayola phase, a pencil phase – and it’s harder to explore other things. So I’ll read some Elizabeth Gilbert, watch some Vlogbrothers, peruse other favorite blogs, or go on a walk with a soulmate friend – these things usually kindle a different spark that allows me go to back to my work with new eyes and energy.
What would be the ideal lettering / calligraphy assignment you’d like to work on?
This is tough! Since I have such a short attention span, it would have to be a collection of things. Hmm.I think I’d be very happy curating the hilarious and/or powerful quotes I hear. Maybe it’s a collection of quotes from powerful women, unheard stories, “Things I’ve Overheard in My Office,” “Shit Students Say,” or other people that have meaning in my life.
Any advice you’d like to share on finding your own lettering style?
All my life I’ve been a pretty good voice mimic. It freaks people out sometimes, haha! But my senior year of high school eons ago, I was cast as a lead in a musical. At home, I’d imitate the voices of my favorite singers, and now I was needing to cultivate my own voice. I think of lettering similarly – I start off imitating some of my favorite artists, and slowly cultivated my own style. It’s a daily thing. It’s mimicking, then doing it again without looking and seeing where your letters want to curve, extend, flourish.
But mostly, it’s a lot of freaking work. You can’t skip it. You can’t buy the magic pen that will make your letters flow. You have to put in the time to do your drills, to practice, to do the unsexy work to EARN that flow. I see comments on my work all the time of, “You make it look so easy!” And it makes me laugh, because it has been anything but easy. I don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that it is – because if people think it’s easy, they will give up once it gets hard and wonder if lettering (or anything else) is “for them.” It is! But you have to work at it. And that is the joy!
Jessica shared this video to show us her take on the letter ‘B/b’:
Teacher Takeover! ▶️Today I, Jessica (@prettyprintsandpaper) am showing you how I draw my versions of the letter B for the #simplealphabets challenge with @surelysimpleblog! Turn on the sound if you want to hear some basic instructions from me and let me know if I explain something well or I can be more clear! I want to refine my lettering teaching skills because… Things 😉 I'm using a fun and smelly @sharpie brush pen.🖌🖍 My advice? Play with the pen for a while- they each want to write differently! And break down each letter into different strokes as you draw it. #jchungwrites 📽: @prettyprintsandpaper….. Feeling inspired by Jessica's fun and adaptable style? Join in the fun! Upload a video or image of 🅱 and tag it with ▶️#SimpleAlphabets ▶️#SimpleAlphabets_b If Jessica has inspired you, be sure to leave a comment below so she can see it! ⬇️ Happy lettering! 🖍🖌🖋🖊 #sharpiepen #brushlettering
Be sure to follow the #SimpleAlphabets challenge and join in by lettering an alphabet a day – along with teachers (like Jessica here!) showing you different lettering tools, writing styles and sharing a bit more about themselves and their creative journey!
Find the challenge:: @surelysimplechallenge and @surelysimpleblog– and for a more personal opinion from the teachers here, I shall be publishing exclusive interviews on @opinion9 (www.opinion9.com) too! -Aaria