Since last year, thousands have purchased the Learn Lettering class and now it gets even better. Learn Lettering 2.0 launches on July 27th, 2015 with fully reproduced videos and all-new modules!
That’s one month from today. To celebrate, I’ve prepared an epic, 30-day series leading up to the reopening of the class to help you get better at hand lettering.
Here’s a teaser of what you can look forward to in the coming days:
- Where to Get Hand Lettering Ideas
- How to Find Clients for Hand Lettering
- How to Develop Your Own Unique Style
- How to Grow Your Hand Lettering Audience
- Much more
Where Do You Find the Time?
One of the biggest challenges to learning lettering is finding the time. When it comes to developing your skills to the point of being able to actually making money from hand lettering, finding the time to practice is the hardest thing.
Not planning to make a living as a hand lettering artist? Neither was I. Tomorrow, I’ll show you exactly how to realize the selling power of hand lettering. Even if it’s just a hobby for you, the post will give you some great ideas.
You don’t have to be a hand lettering artist vocationally if you don’t want to. But it would be a shame not to be aware of the ways you can make some extra money on the side. Who would turn down an extra $1,000 a month from doing what they love?
I didn’t go to school for design. I don’t have an art degree. As a kid, I felt weird because all my artistic friends were painting still life or drawing and there I was drawing letters.
I would spend more time obsessing over drawing the letters in the title, “Lesson 32” than I would doing my actual homework!
I was consumed by letters. I was fascinated with them. I didn’t know why.
I also thought I was super strange because as a kid in the 90s, I didn’t have my own computer or phone to access the internet. I’d never even heard of things like “typography” or “lettering” back then. I just loved drawing letters and thought I was weird for doing so.
High school came around and I got into sports. I pretty much left art behind. Right out of high school, I started my first business: computer repair. Shortly after I got married, I ended up stepping down from the band I’d been in for a few years to focus on my business.
What I didn’t anticipate was the creative void that would be left. Computer repair was fine, it paid the bills, but I wasn’t super passionate about it.
I had a lot of clients asking me if I also designed websites. I didn’t, but I decided to teach myself design. Quickly, this design business grew and eventually became my full time job! I hired out a contractor for my computer repair business and ultimately sold that company.
A First Time for Everything
It was at this time that a designer and hand letterer I looked up to inspired me. He was in town and reached out to me to see if I’d like to grab a cup of coffee.
He was a letterer. I loved what he did. There was something so inviting about his work. Hand lettering felt very warm and authentic. I hadn’t drawn letters since I was a kid, but he encouraged me to just start lettering if I enjoyed it so much. Just do it because I loved it.
It was such a novel idea to me at the time. Now, we hear the “do what you love” phrase so often, it can seem a bit trite, but remember that there’s always a first time for someone to hear things.
For me, this was that first time.
Wow. You mean, it’s possible to just do something I enjoy and not every job or pursuit has to be this thing that is supposed to be a “real” job that makes money?
It opened my eyes and I began practicing.
I spent over 8,000 hours practicing lettering in the span of a few years. At the height of my practice years ago, I was spending between 6 and 8 hours a night, every single night after I was done with my day job!
That’s insane, right? Now I look back at my younger self and wonder where I was able to find so much time. Of course, I didn’t have kids, I wasn’t going out and partying, I didn’t watch tv or play games and I generally spent all of my waking hours practicing lettering.
But what about someone who doesn’t have a huge amount of free time? Do you really have to spend 8,000 hours before your work is good enough to attract clients?
The good news is: no. You don’t have to spend that long.
After going about it the long and hard way and figuring things out on my own, I ultimately discovered that I’d been practicing the slow way.
What’s the slow way?
Hand lettering wasn’t very big back then and there wasn’t much in the way of resources. I basically spent a lot of time copying examples and styles of other work I saw. Sure, it looked okay, but it didn’t look great.
You know how frustrating it is to spend a lot of time practicing but not see any real improvements? That’s what I’m talking about.
I spent 8,000 hours, but I could have gotten to my current level of skill a lot faster if I understood the fact that there are different kinds of practice.
How much time it takes to get really good depends on the kind of practice you do.
There’s practice and then there’s deliberate practice. With practicing, you will improve. But with Deliberate Practice, you will improve faster and on purpose.
So What is Deliberate Practice?
Well first, you need to understand what practice is. Practice is when you copy the fancy hand lettering pieces that catch your eye. You find a design you like, you mimic it, and you come up with something similar (though usually it looks a little off and you can’t quite put a finger on why).
With this kind of practice, you really only learn to imitate what someone else has already made. It doesn’t help you learn to create something unique that is your own. Yes, you’ll get better, but you’ll only get better slowly.
Deliberate Practice is methodical. It’s the faster way to improve. You start by studying and imitating the fundamentals rather than the completed works. You practice the underlying techniques and building blocks that allow you to create your own composition from scratch.
If you ever played piano, it’s the difference between hearing a song on the radio and immediately trying to play the full thing all at once vs. doing what your teacher always insisted on: starting with scales and chord structure and understanding the fundamentals.
It’s the difference between playing 1-on-1 basketball with your friend and shooting 100 free throws. Sure, you’ll get better by playing 1-on-1, but only haphazardly.
What you really need is to repeatedly practice shots until you can make them with your eyes closed. Repeatedly practice shots until you can sink the game winning shot under pressure because it’s second nature to you.
That’s how it is with lettering.
Ever notice that the pros have impeccably clean work with something about it that just looks flawless and effortless? They make it look ridiculously easy, but when you go to try your hand at it for the first time you realize how deceptively simple they made it look?
Even when you meticulously copy a piece, the letters just don’t quite look right. How wide should this letter really be? Where should the heavier stroke fall? You refer back to the piece you’re copying, but then you start to question if even they had it right.
What you need is to store up a mental bank of typographic references. In Learn Lettering, I show you how to Deliberately Practice hand lettering and build up a mental bank of referential material that you can pull out on a whim.
You’ll learn how to memorize letterforms of various styles and how to pair them together to create a piece that finally looks like it actually goes together with a level of polish you’ve been craving.