Don’t ever be afraid to reach out to the people you admire, because they might just tell you to give them a call while they’re running errands.
Or at least that’s what happened to me when I reached out to one of my brush lettering idols Sharisse DeLeon of Pieces Calligraphy when I first started out. I totally (totally) didn’t think I would get an answer (um, because she’s THE @piecescalligraphy), so imagine my surprise when Sharisse not only replied, she offered to have an actual chat. On the phone. With little ol’ me.
So now I can be like, “Oh Sharisse, yeah we go way back!” *cool glasses emoji*
Sharisse DeLeon is definitely one of the go-to people when you’re starting out with brush lettering. She offers a number of online courses through her website, has a YouTube channel that she updates weekly and of course, her killer Instagram account. She was introduced to lettering by a friend, fell down the rabbit hole that is Instagram (as we do) and tried out a number of lettering styles and tools before really falling for brush calligraphy (be sure to check out the list of her favourite brush pens below!).
In this live lesson, Sharisse went over the 5 biggest mistakes newbies make when they start off, (and even made us a nifty little download here) shows us the common mistakes AND HOW TO CORRECT THEM! (So watching the video is really helpful!)
5 Most Common Brush Calligraphy Mistakes Beginners Make:
*Side Note: Sharisse honestly did a great job and SHOWING us how to correct mistakes and some of you might do well with seeing the errors and corrections VISUALLY, so if you can, again, watch the video for yourself*
Holding the pen vertically
The pen tip needs room to bend, so if you’re holding the pen straight up (vertically) you are not allowing the tip the space it needs. Holding your pen at 45 degree angle to the page will give it the space needed for optimal flex.
(P.S. This applies to ALL brush pens!)
Holding the pen in the wrong direction
Your thick strokes need to be parallel to the slant line. So if it’s not, you need to point THE POINT to the right direction! The tip should be perpendicular to the slant line at about 90 degrees.
(P.S. If you’re having trouble working at this angle, you can rotate the page instead of moving your hand/wrist.)
Applying too much pressure
Practice, practice, practice. Practice applying less pressure and then more and more and create a scale of pressure. You want variation! You are working on muscle memory and it’s better to learn it properly from the start than it is to correct bad habits.
Not lifting after every stroke
Calligraphy is not cursive. Let’s say that again. Calligraphy is not cursive. When you learn the *clears throat* Basic Stokes you learn how each letter is made up of individual strokes and pieced together to make letters. SOOOO, each strokes needs to be completed BEFORE you move onto the next, or else things get a little wonky.
(P.S. The video is super helpful for this tip, and Sharisse really shows us how *NOT* lifting between strokes can alter the overall look of your lettering.)
Not using guidelines
Having an X-height (the height that each letter will use up) ensures that every letter is the same size. And if every letter is the same size you get CONSISTENCY! I
You can make your own guidelines, use graph paper (or dotted/lined) or printed guide sheets. (Scroll on down to the Free Downloads section!)
“Be mindful and intentional.” – Sharisse DeLeon
Sharisse’s Favourite Brush Pens & Tools:
Sharisse also covered a few questions that were asked by the viewers during the live interview and made a great point when it comes to practice that I think you should tune in for. She really is a wonderful teacher and explains her steps and process in a way that makes it so easy to understand.
I really hope you enjoyed this interview! Make sure you’re subscribed to The Happy Ever Crafter TV to catch the rest in the series! And one last HUGE thank you to Sharisse!
Interested in more of these interviews? You can also join the Facebook group, where these Q&A’s are hosted LIVE, and submit your own questions for future guests.