Confession: we may be slightly obsessed with Elf in this house. It’s a tradition to watch it every Christmas while eating the gingerbread houses we eat earlier in the month. And though I do NOT like Christmas music to be playing in any month but December or to see stockings in the store mid-September, my kids can be heard quoting lines like, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” My husband and I often will joke about making _____ your new favorite. Hey, as long as no one busts out with “Jingle Bells,” I’m okay with a little Elf in my life the other eleven months of the year.
All people have favorites (shockingly, work is not most people’s favorites…). As artists, we also have favorites – favorite colors, favorite media, favorite brushes, favorite styles. We also end up with “new favorites” as we learn, grow, and stretch ourselves creatively.
Hand Lettering is my new favorite.
For as long as I can remember writing, I can remember changing up my handwriting. All caps, small caps, fancy a’s, t’s & i’s with tails, I was into trying out all kinds of letter styles. Once computers became part of everyday life (I’m part of the micro generation known as The Oregon Trail Generation – yep, that’s a thing), I discovered fonts. The ability to vary the type on the screen blew.my.mind. I loved using all sorts of fonts, including ones that make me cringe now.
I now know about hand lettering (which is different from hand drawn fonts), and it’s as much the rage with me artistically as it is on Pinterest. If you’re not familiar with it, hand lettering is drawing letters for a specific situation. You should not scan a hand lettered piece in and rearrange the letters to say something else the way you would a font. That would look terrible. You could, however, scan in a hand-lettered piece, clean it up, and use it for a pattern collection logo. Like I did. Duh.
Variations on Emma
Since the idea of my Emma Woodhouse collection is feminine and fun yet sophisticated, I wanted the lettering to reflect that feel. I sketched several ideas, got distracted, and ignored the project for days. In fact, I almost forgot about it and initially used a free font instead. That font wasn’t *just right* though, so I dug up my sketches, inked a few and digitized them.
Here you can see all the unadorned ordinariness of my sketches. In the pursuit of being completely real, I left the awful ones instead of editing them out. I even forgot to erase the pencil marks before I scanned – oops!
After thinking on it, I decided to only work with four of the five I inked. While the Emma with a heart is cute, I felt like it was too long and wouldn’t fit nicely in a square. Everything has to be a square these days for social media, right?
The super curly E in this Emma fit my theme, but making it work with the other letters seemed like too much work. Plus the “a” was too wide. I likely would have to start over, so I passed on this one.
The two finalists looked very different, and I was torn on which to use. The initials felt very regal, but they wouldn’t work to announce the name of the collection. They’re pretty fun, though, so if your initials happen to be EW, and you’d like this for your personal use, email me and I’ll send you the file for free.
And, now we come to the winner. This Emma is pretty but not fussy, script but still easy enough to read. For the Woodhouse bit, I knew I wanted a contrasting font to pair with the hand-drawn Emma. I previously had picked out Pharmacy for its playfulness. Pairing the two together? Love at first sight.
Are you into hand lettering? Leave a link to a current project in the comments – I’d love to see it! And if you’re a little Elf obsessed like I am, give a little shout out below :).