#LearningViaCalligraphy with Calligraphy by KG
An interview with the very talented Kathleen Good. We're bringing you stories from our workshop attendees to see how they took what they learned to forge their own path to success.
I was seeing brush lettering pop up everywhere: coffee shop menus, wedding signs, Instagram... I’ve always had an interest in anything to do with art, either DIY crafts, sketching, colouring (the colouring books that became popular a few years ago were my jam!), and painting. Basically anything I could do with my hands that was detail oriented. I had taken a traditional calligraphy class when I was a kid and was pretty decent at it, but brush lettering really drew me in because it was a cool modern take on the traditional. So I started looking into workshops and beginner courses to try it out. I wanted a new hobby I could really get into and the Beginner Calligraphy Workshop was totally up my alley.
I had absolutely no idea where or how to start! After taking the intro course, I spent hours in front of the TV practicing my letters and writing words over and over to try and get really comfortable with the pens. I eventually moved on to practicing by addressing cards, writing out menus, lettering signs for my own wedding, and so on. The more I practiced, the more I got comfortable and started to develop my own style. It’s still very much in the works, but it seems to be taking form the more I play with it.
I did my first two ‘real’ projects for some of my friends. I did all of the wedding signs, invitation addressing, and place cards for a good friend's wedding, as well as all of the signage for another good friend's baby shower. These were great learning experiences for me. I wasn’t sure how to start them, but did a bunch of trial and error and worked my way through them.
The very first project I did for a client was a flower shop that was down the street from my office. They had a chalkboard sign outside the store that needed a little love, so one day I just walked in and asked if I could do their sign for them. I was really nervous because I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, but I arranged to take the board home one night and brought it back the next day and they were thrilled! And just like that I had my first client. All I had to do was ask!
Other than that small project, most of what I do right now is for friends. I think it’s a great place to start and get comfortable with your skills.
My favourite projects are signs on chalk boards and glass/acrylic surfaces. The way markers glide on those surfaces gives me that ‘gahhhh yes!!’ feeling, like when you catch the sweet spot in your scissors and slide through wrapping paper. They’re also very forgiving, which is a huge bonus as a beginner.
My advice for those that are just getting started is to find yourself a good TV series (with a lot of seasons!), throw on a pair of sweats, and plunk yourself in front of the TV and just practice, practice, practice. Send someone a birthday card, or a thank you note. Have people over for dinner and make place settings. Find excuses to use your lettering.
Also, try and connect with others in the community. One of the hardest things I found when starting (and still find difficult) is knowing what materials to use on what substrates, little tips and tricks for different types of projects, and where to find special pens, paper, inks, and tools. Having people to ask and bounce ideas off of is hella helpful.
Lastly, I’d recommend starting an Instagram page. It’s a great place to show your work, get inspiration, and connect with other brush lettering enthusiasts.
You can find Kathleen on Instagram @calligraphybykg. Interested in trying your hand at modern calligraphy? Check in on upcoming workshops with Via Calligraphy on the workshops page, dates are always being added!