When I first started brush-lettering, I was not great. I have always naturally had good penmanship and a knack for creative things, but when I first picked up a brush-pen, it was unlike anything I’ve tried before. My hand felt awkward. What came out on paper was NOT what I pictured in my head. In fact, my regular handwriting was better than my brush-lettering! Fast-forward 9 months, and I am excited to be experiencing a thriving business based on my lettering. But how did I get here? Do I have a 5-step plan for success? Well, my friends, that is exactly what I am here to share. But the great news is – it’s not 5 steps. In fact, I am convinced that the most important element to your success with brush-lettering is as simple as one word: PRACTICE.
If you’ve ever been part of sports, music, theatre, or any other talent-related activity, you’ve probably heard the saying, “practice makes perfect.” I remember hearing this over and over as a child in piano lessons, all the way into my college music training. And while I fully support the intent behind this statement, I’d like to alter it a tiny bit, considering the word “perfect” is defined as “being entirely without fault or defect.” Since nothing in my life falls under that category, I prefer to use the statement, “practice makes progress.”
Looking back at my very first brush-lettered pieces, I am amazed to see the difference from just a matter of months. From the flow of words, to the development of my own style, I have seen a huge amount of progress from where I began. And the only thing I can attribute this change to is practice. From the moment I got back from my first brush-lettering workshop, I could not put my pen and paper down. I spent countless hours writing the alphabet, my name, everyone in my family’s name, and the word “hello” more times than I wish to divulge. I found some of the best modern calligraphers on Instagram, and started following their feeds. I bought [a lot of] brush pens (thank goodness they’re so cheap!) And after I had done all of this, I practiced some more. Even though “me time” was sparse with a little one at home, I took every moment of my few free hours each day and practiced. I quickly realized this was not something I could easily grow tired of… in fact, I was energized by my time spent practicing. And that is when I knew this hobby wouldn’t be going anywhere, anytime soon.
So why have I taken an entire blog post to focus on one word? Because I believe it is the most important word in your creative journey. Whether you’re passionate about brush-lettering, cake decorating, fine art, or doing make-up, do yourself a favor and practice. No one starts out as Vincent van Gogh or Duff Goldman. Though there will always be things some people are more successful with than others, practice will always make us better. We all get the same 24 hours each day to work with, and I firmly believe that we make time for the things that are most important to us in life. So start practicing today for the progress you want to see tomorrow.