“You move paint from side to side really accurately! Well done!”
”Man, I love how you apply heat to chicken and splash it with sauce.”
”You slightly adjust words to go with a tune so efficiently, though, man!”
...do you see the trend here?
if not, you are cordially invited to GTFO.
You wouldn’t say any of these things to a painter, or a chef, or a musician. (And if you would, see the above statement, because I literally do not want to know who you are and I do not have time for your shenanigans in my life or anyone else’s, thank you.) So why, PLEASE TELL ME WHY, do you keep saying things like “what font is this?” & “nice writing!” To my fellow letterers and I?!
I mean, I know the answer to this but I’m going to tell you why and make it easy: because no one taught you any different.
But that’s (kind of) okay.
It won’t be okay anymore after you’ve read this post, but right now, I can let it slide.
Sadly, though, it’s true. I’m not going to wax too philosophical about our society and the value it places on the arts because that’s another unfortunate reality, and I could probably write a whole book about it if I wanted to, but like, who really has the time for that anyway? Art, in general, is completely underrated, and lettering as an art is something that more people need to understand and celebrate. Cause...I don’t know if you know this guys, but what we do is HARD AF.
Sure, there are a lot of people who make it look easy.
Take Stefan Kunz, for example. He’s a fucking master, and his art is unbelievable. He makes it look effortless and super easygoing, when in fact, all his work is the end result of the same thing that being good at anything, in any field, requires.
Know what that is?
Hard work, patience, persistence, and a whole lot of fucking practice.
I am SURE that he has put in hours and hours over the years of getting things just right, and as an artist STILL DOES THIS. No matter what level of game you got, practice is still a vital skill and an important part of being good at anything you have passion for. You think Nick Foles sits on his ass and shit like the Philly Special just happens?! Nah, son. (Side note: BDN, the city of Philadelphia loves you, and you’re amazing, and don’t leave us, cause Carson Wentz has made it clear that you’re our blessing kthanksnotbye.)
So since there’s this thing called #NATIONALHANDWRITINGDAY that is fast approaching (rumor has it it’s January 23rd, in case you wanted a random useless little factoid), I thought I would do some edifying for you about a few things. The first, I’ve already kind of explained. And that is that this shit doesn’t just happen. If you’ve read my bio then you know I spent years and years already obsessed with lettering, so I had a basis for it, but you can bet your ass as time has gone on, I’ve gotten better. Like anything, especially in the art field, it has taken time to develop my own individual style, to discover my favorite ways to do things, and, guess what? Here’s the thing no one will tell you (actually, that’s a lie, we are all pretty honest and transparent about this, but it sounds good and official so I’m leaving it in): I AM STILL LEARNING. EVERY DAY.
And that’s true of anything you want to be good at. There’s always something new to learn or experience. Always a new medium to explore, especially in the art world. I learn new tricks digitally every time I buy another damn procreate brush. I learn something new about watercolor almost constantly, because they are all so incredibly different, no matter how incredible or handmade or lovely they are.
But the kicker, guys, is you can take that and apply it to any career field, really. As time marches on, things change and evolve, and you have to change with them. That’s why - great example here cause they are fucking superheroes - nurses are required to take continuing education credits and keep their license current. (My baby sister is a nurse, shout out to her for being one of the realest MVPs on the planet, nurses rock.) Ever had a TERRIBLE professor and realize that they became that way once they got tenure? Picking up what I’m putting down there? You gotta stay fresh. Stay educated. Stay hungry. Otherwise, you get lazy and boring, and someday, you’ll be speaking in a monotone a la Ben Stein, and no one will even want to be friends with you, let alone help you succeed.
So, now that we’ve talked about that, I can mosey on down to my next point.
Which is this: YOU SEE LETTERING LITERALLY EVERYWHERE.
You may or may not have a good grasp on this one,
You know that pretty logo for a store or brand you like? There’s a letterer or graphic designer that studied different styles of it to make that happen. That cute little sign at Hobby Lobby (FEHHHHHH. FYI those mass produced signs are the reasons lots of people don’t wanna pay lettering artists what they’re worth, so shop small, seriously. And if that isn’t in your budget, don’t be a sheep anyway, cause when you say BAAAAA I say HUMBUG.) for your bathroom? Lettering. The graffiti you drive past on the freeway? LETTERING. Even the road signs. Carefully. Chosen. Lettering.
It’s all around you, so you might as well call it what it is.
Now, for the most part, is it written by hand? Yes. So you can say that. But we still prefer to say things are “handlettered”.
Just cause we like pens and shit, and paintbrushes make us giddy, doesn’t mean we cant be bougie AF okurrrrrrr?!
So, the next time you see a lettering video that soothes you, or a piece by an artist you really love, if your reaction is still “omg your handwriting is so pretty!” Or “what font is that?”
Then come re read this shit.
But until then, keep it creepy, y’all.
Rachface, over and out.