5 Ways to Package and Ship your Handmade Products More Sustainably

(Note: Companies or products listed in this post are not sponsored, and any endorsements are purely out my own personal experience)

 

Sustainable, ethical, eco-friendly. It means a LOT of different things. What are the greenhouse gas emissions? Is it recyclable, biodegradable, reusable? What is it made of? Who made it and where did it come from? Is it toxic? How many times can it be used before it becomes waste? What raw or recycled materials are used to create it? The list goes on. It’s no wonder there’s confusion and frankly, a lack of important knowledge, on the subject. It’s overwhelming. And I’m merely at the tip of the iceberg.

 

But being an owner of a handmade business and being passionate about finding answers to all of these questions I have, I’ve come across a few tips and resources that have helped me begin to sort out the puzzle of trying to run my creative business in a more sustainable way. And the biggest thing for me, is packaging. Most of my sales are made online online including on platforms like Etsy, which means I have to pack and ship items for customers mostly in the US but some internationally as well. Even when I sell in local markets, I still have to package my items somewhat to ensure they make the trip home with the customer in pristine condition.

 

When it comes to a handmade business, packaging tends to be the most wasteful while simultaneously being the most insignificant considering that it is not actually part of the finished creation. Packaging is almost always single-use in nature. It is the padded mailer and tape you ship your art in. It is the hang tag and plastic wrapping for your craft to be sold in stores. It’s insignificant in the long term, so for me, this was one of the first aspects about my business I wanted to change to be less harmful to the environment. Here are 5 changes I made to make my business packaging more sustainable:

 

Buy locally manufactured and sold goods

Product shipping and origin alone is a considerable factor when determining which packaging products to purchase. Why? Because fossil fuels will most likely be transporting your goods from the country the raw materials were produced in, to the country the goods were made, to the reseller company in your country, and then to you. There will most likely be at the very least two “hands” that touch your packaging products before they get to you. Often more. And the more the products travel, the greater the environmental footprint they create along the way.

I can’t speak for other countries, but fortunately in the United States, there are several major packaging supply companies that sell from manufacturers right here in the USA! For example, Uline is a large and probably the most well-known packaging supply company and they offer over 15,600 products made in the USA. But location isn’t everything! Considering where and who you buy from is a complex process, and more than one factor should be considered when selecting where you get your products!

 

Less is more

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “reduce, reuse, recycle” more than a few time sin your life. Well there’s a reason the words appear in that order. Reducing consumption is most effective in reducing waste because the future waste is never bought to begin with. Think about how you can reduce the amount of packaging used in shipping your products. Many products we sell aren’t overly fragile despite what our emotional connection to the item might make us think. If your items are fragile, you know who you are and don’t fret it. We’re all doing the best we can. That being said, I find most sellers tend to overpack perfectly durable items that simply don’t need it. It’s partly due to looks and partly due to fear, but imagine if you cut 20% of your excess packaging for shipped items. Not only would that save you money, but that could be roughly a 20% reduction in the environmental footprint of your shipments.

 

Opt for supplies made of recycled and/or natural materials

Poly, bubble wrap, paper, oh my! There’s an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to materials your shipping products are made of. And not all are created equal. If you can find packing supplies that are made of recycled materials that’s GREAT, because typically sourcing and processing virgin material like paper creates far larger an environmental footprint than recycling already used materials. A second benefit is that these recycled materials are avoiding the landfill and other places trash tends to end up… like the ocean.

Buying supplies that are made of a high percentage of recycled materials is great, and I do it whenever I can. But it’s also just as effective (arguably more effective because there is less processing involved) to recycled packaging supplies yourself. Think of the second and third “R”s of recycling: Reuse and Recycle. Reuse avoids the reprocessing of materials that recycling involves, thus saving that environmental weight. I try to buy locally in business and my personal life, but often getting things shipped to your home is inevitable. And I don’t let that go to waste. I save all boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, even bags that I can possibly reuse for packaging my own products. I can guess what you’re thinking. ‘But it won’t look good.’ Yes and no. There’s a good chance if up to this point you’ve been sourcing brand new shiny materials to package your products, using something that has already been used once might not look as pristine. But I would put in the argument that sustainability is gaining momentum. Buyers are looking for shop owners to care. And find that beautiful and its own way.

On top of buying recycled materials, consider what your materials are made of. My favorite products are biodegradable, because if composted properly, the end of their life is quick…. rather than staying in the ground tens of thousands of years before breaking down, and leaching out chemicals in the process (I’m looking at you, plastic). I prioritize biodegradable and recycled when possible, then recycled plastic as necessary (mostly for protecting art prints).

Product packaged for shipment using biodegradable tape, natural jute twine, a reused bubble mailer, and reused packing paper.

Some of my favorite packing supples: biodegradable tape, natural jute twine, art misprints/sketches, and reused packaging (such as this mailer and packing paper)

 

Consider the end life of your packaging

Again, this is a consideration of what materials your packaging products are made of. Above we considered the beginning of life of your supplies (is it recycled, natural/virgin material, synthetic?) but we must also consider the end of life of your packaging. This goes back to what I said previously about biodegradable supplies. While the start of life of any “new” products almost always has a relatively high environmental impact, the “end of life”, or when these shipping supplies make it to the trash, recycling bin, compost, or elsewhere, varies quite dramatically between materials.

I try to opt for biodegradable materials because not only should these products not leach unsafe chemicals into the ground and water supply, when properly composted, they typically can decompose very quickly. Non biodegradable materials have a couple of options. They can be reused (ideally by the consumer; this is the best first option), they can be recycled (by commercial waste management services; this is the second best option as it still lengthens the functional life of the item), or they can be trashed. Unfortunately we can’t control which of these choices our buyers make, and the progressively more sustainable options tend to also be progressively less used.

 

Optimize your process

As I talked about in my first tip, the more hands almost any product is involved in, the larger environmental impact it is going to have. This also applies to quantity. If you can buy 100 mailers at once instead of 10, that saves 9 trips to your supply store or 9 flights and delivery truck drives to your home or place of business. Not to mention the 9 additional boxes if it is shipped and 9 times excess packaging. Buying in bulk is not always an option, I know. It can be a huge upfront investment sometimes just isn’t practical. But if you can make it work, it’s a great option. You will save some money in the long run and it can help streamline your packing process as well.

My second optimization tip would be to not ship products daily. Select one or two days of the week where you ship all orders that are ready. Save your time which guaranteed can be used better elsewhere and save gas running to and from the Post Office. Even consider offering local pickup if you feel comfortable with doing so and avoid the need for all that extra transportation and packaging.

 


 

What environmentally-friendly packaging tips and resources have you found? I’d love to accumulate an ongoing list of resources for sustainably-minded creatives. By pooling our knowledge together, we can work to become the best environmental stewards we can be while reducing time spent researching, reducing costs, and removing barriers to sustainability. High costs in particular have always been a major barrier environmental movement, which has put an ugly veil of elitism to its name. While some sustainable lifestyle changes don’t cost a thing, many changes do, and that’s not something everything can afford. I hope to be part of the movement that says “that’s okay”. I hope to be part of the movement that looks for solutions that work for everyone, which is why I’ll be continuing a series on sustainability in the coming months. All suggestions here are meant to be just that. Suggestions. Some may work for you and some may not. But I hope it gets you thinking more about your environmental impact, because with more heads together comes more ideas, and with more ideas, more growth.

 

So what’s my go-to packaging supply company?

 

When I’m not using supplies I already have and can reuse/repurpose, EcoEnclose is the best resource I’ve found for myself for sustainable, biodegradable/compostable, recycled, and recyclable shipping materials. They even offer custom branded packaging for large quantity orders and frequently promote the eco-conscious businesses that ship with their products (I’ve found several of my favorite companies through them!) Boxes and cardboard sheets are custom cut to the exact size and quantity you need. Price-wise, many of EcoEnclose’s products are highly competitive with less sustainable alternatives, but inevitably, the care and process put into products that are less damaging to the environment tends to cost more than products where environmental impact was completely overlooked.

 

While EcoEnclose rarely offers sales, there are two ways I’ve found to save money on my packaging supplies. Number one is buy in bulk. The more of one product you need and can buy up front, the greater discount you will receive. Most discounts range from 2-15% depending on quantity purchased. The number two way to save is their refer-a-friend program, which gives an incredible discount of 20% to the referrer and 20% off to the referred friend. If you want to make the switch to more environmentally packaging, you can use my referral code for 20% off your first order at http://ecoenclose.refr.cc/rebeccagrogan

 

Best of luck in your sustainable journey!

 

-B

Opt in to SRC email list and have the option to receive a free original illustration in your mailbox

Creativity in your inbox. Free art in your mailbox.

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to *officially* announce a new way for you to stay in touch with me and my business that doesn’t involve silly algorithms and you hanging out on social media all day. I’ve finally taken the plunge and created an email list for my most dedicated supporters.

So what does that mean? It means special sales just for subscribers during the biggest buying seasons of the year. It means behind-the-scenes looks at my work and my process, including videos and timelapses. It means you get to know as soon as something new goes up in the shop… especially those one of a kind pieces. But if you’re anything like me, I know you’re not interested in getting emails daily that you never even end up opening anyway or emails that don’t relate at all to what you’re interested in. And I wear a lot of different hats at South Ranch Creative. That’s why I’m letting new subscribers choose their interests. Less unnecessary emails. More of what YOU want. If you’re only interested in DIY and craft tutorials, just select that option. If you’re not creative, but have a small business that needs a branding upgrade, select graphic design and custom services. And if you just love my work and watching me make it, choose the home goods and arts option. Don’t worry though, you can select as many as you like!

But there’s one more bonus I am particularly excited about because I’ve never done anything like it before. The first 50 subscribers to my new email list will have the opportunity to receive a FREE original 5×5″ pen and ink illustration from the series I started through Inktober (check it out on my Instagram). I’ll send out an email once the first 50 people subscribe, and you’ll all have the option to opt in and receive your free illustration and maybe a little thank you note from yours truly. I’m so thankful too to those of you who have already joined. I’m BLOWN AWAY by the amount of support I’ve gotten and I’m so happy to be able to offer something to my biggest supporters.

I hope you consider signing up and feel free to email or comment with any questions.

-B


Sign up for the latest updates, sales, and new products in the shop.

SRC for Purpose: Funds Raised June – Sept 2017

Oh my, I am a little embarrassed by how long it’s been. But in my own defense (warranted or not, you decide), I’ve been SO BUSY since May. I moved out of my apartment in Richmond, went on a two week, cross country train trip (and then recovered for another two weeks), moved AGAIN to Philadelphia, PA, celebrated my baby niece turning one year old, got a new part time job with an event planning agency, and somehow kept up and even expanded my own business. Life is weird.

Becca and Winston at Canyonlands National Park in Utah

But I’m finally back and hoping to be a little more consistent with my posts now (haha, yes, I say that every time). I’m even working on a new activist print! I haven’t determined yet if this will be included in my for purpose series, but I am so excited to share it with you all as soon as I get all the supplies in. I wasn’t able to focus as much on selling during this time period (see paragraph 1) and actually had my shop closed the entire month of July while I was travelling. I think my results reflect that a bit. Though I’m always proud of being able to give anything, it does get me motivated to work even harder for next months and the months after.

Part of what I’ve been working on to boost my business I just quietly launched late yesterday evening. I’ve finally taken the dive to start my very own email subscription list. I know that can mean a lot of different things, and don’t worry, if you sign up you won’t be getting 20+ emails a week (maybe in a year), but I did want to offer people a chance to stay connected with me that may not be on social media as much or want a more personal connection. Everyone who subscribes will get the chance to choose where their interests are more focused, that way you won’t be getting emails about web design for small businesses when you really just want coupons for my Etsy shop. I get it! You might see my sign up form poking out around my website here and there (*cough cough* check out the right sidebar) and I hope you’ll consider being one of my first subscribers! There may even be a little special treat for my first 50 subscribers.

If you’re interested in any of these nonprofits, and want to help support them and get a great piece of art at the same time, check out my “nevertheless, she persisted” design in screen printed posters, digital prints, and tshirts, my “wash your spirit clean” design in limited edition screen prints and tshirts, and my compassion honey bee design screen printed posters.

Unfortunately this summer wasn’t all fun and games. We had devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida (I had family in both states in hard hit areas) and Puerto Rico. Even more recently, Las Vegas and the whole country has been devastated by the worst mass shooting in modern history. In August, the world lost an incredible human being and high school friend of mine, Karen Shollenberger, to her sixth battle with leukemia. Life is unexplainable.

I wrote this tribute to Karen in late August while creating a work of art in her memory (accompanied by a picture of the original work):

You’re on the rim of a valley. You’ve come all this way up from the floor looking for something but you know not what, all you know is the feeling you get inside as you soldier on. You can see beauty around you, everywhere. No matter how many times you see the same tree or stream or patch of wildflowers, your heart still swells with the magnitude of it. “Pity the poor beloved needs [sleep], weak, weary, forespent; oh, the pity of it, to sleep in the midst of eternal, beautiful motion instead of gazing forever, like the stars.” You march on, arriving towards the edge of a river as it tumbles off the imposing rock into the green valley below. You know at once, this is what you’d been searching for. But you can’t get close, the rock refuses it. But you know this is what you need. You scan the rock face. You see a ledge of rock not three fingers wide, and no way to arrive at that point. You “therefore concluded not to venture farther, but did nevertheless.” You arrive.

That was Karen. Taking danger and hardship and any obstacles in her way and venturing foreward nonetheless for the beautiful gifts life has to give. Too many people miss these gifts because it is too easy to get distracted, to find a reason not to look. Karen didn’t. I only know a few people who have achieved this so fully, and Karen was by far the youngest. You battled leukemia 6 times over 13 years, but somehow you made that just a side-story to your life. There were bigger, better things to focus on and so many mountains to tackle. But despite your other interests, your schooling, your treatments, you became a guiding light and source of strength for others going through similar things through Cool Kids and Camp Sunrise. I still have so much to learn from you.

I am creating this work of art in honor of someone I never knew as well as I wished, but has taught me and is still teaching me so much about how to truly live. A portion will be donated to Cool Kids Campaign or Camp Sunrise or one of the organizations helping other kids and families battling cancer live life beyond the disease just like you made sure to do. Rest in power, Karen 

Picture of 11x17" Venture Farther poster print with digital tree illustration and John Muir quote

 

The print is now available on my Etsy page, and 25% of all sales will be donated to Johns Hopkins’ Camp Sunrise. Camp Sunrise is a youth overnight camp for kids who are undergoing or have undergone treatments for cancer and is 100% free for campers. Karen knew so well the importance and beauty of finding oneself in nature as often as possible, and I wanted to honor that message through this print and the donation.

 


Funds Raised June–September 2017

350.org

Number of sales: 3

Profit made: $105.00

Amount donated: $15.75

ACLU

Number of sales: 7

Profit made: $170.00

Amount donated: $25.50

Pollinator Partnership

Number of sales: 0

Profit made: $0.00

Amount donated: $0.00

Camp Sunrise

Number of sales: 0

Profit made: $0.00

Amount donated: $0.00

 

Funds Raised To Date

350.org

Amount donated: $59.10

ACLU

Amount donated: $72.45

Pollinator Partnership

Amount donated: $13.50

Camp Sunrise

Amount donated: $13.50

 

 

With Love,
Becca

SRC for Purpose: Funds Raised April + May 2017

Whoah how time flies! From selling at markets to planning a move to dealing with car problems and my own health, this spring has flown by and humbled me beyond words. I am finally finally getting around to my accountability updates, combining that of April and May! To recap, earlier this year, I started a series of “for purpose” works in attempt to create art that does good in addition to looking good. In March, I released my “wash your spirit clean” design in limited edition screen prints and tshirts, benefitting 350.org. I also released for preorder my “nevertheless, she persisted” design in screen printed posters, digital prints, and tshirts, benefitting the ACLU. You can learn more about the original designs and the nonprofits from my original post, here.

"compassion" bee design screen printed on wood plaque

I am also so excited to share with you my newest design, “compassion”. This design is in response to the decline in our honey bee population and concern for what that could mean for nature as well as our own food production. I have created screen printed posters (not in my online shop yet) and wood wall art of this design. 15% of the sales of all of these products are being donated to Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection of all pollinators and their ecosystems. A huge amount of what they do revolves around educating kids and the public on ways to protect and support pollinators such as by planting native plants that provide food and habitats for the different pollinators.

This design reads, “Compassion is our deepest nature. It arises from our interconnection with all things.” The source of this quote is not entirely agreed upon, but is believed by many to be a Buddhist proverb. I thought this quote fitting of the pollinator cause because this is one most people don’t really feel impacted by in their day to day lives. Many people are scared of bees. But they are so important for us. We need to have compassion towards this cause because while we may not feel the effects immediately of fewer pollinators, our ecosystem is so interconnected with theirs. Pulled from the Pollinator Partnership website, here are just a few reasons they matter to the human world:

  • Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.
  • Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include: apples, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, and tequila.
  • In the United States, pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually.

 


Funds Raised April + May 2017

350.org

Number of sales: 4

Profit made: $121.00

Amount donated: $18.15

ACLU

Number of sales: 8

Profit made: $313.00

Amount donated: $46.95

Pollinator Partnership

Number of sales: 3

Profit made: $90.00

Amount donated: $13.50

Funds Raised To Date

350.org

Amount donated: $43.35

ACLU

Amount donated: $46.95

Pollinator Partnership

Amount donated: $13.50

 

 

With love,

-B

SRC for Purpose: Accountability Update, March 2017

Hey everyone! If you’ve been following me on social media or Etsy lately, you’ll know that I’ve started a series of “for purpose” works in attempt to create art that is not only beautiful and looks good, but does good too. During March, I released two designs. The first is my “wash your spirit clean” design, available in limited edition screen prints and tshirts, and the second is my “nevertheless, she persisted” design available in screen printed posters, digital prints, and tshirts available for preorder!

"Wash your spirit clean" design on tshirt

My wash your spirit clean design is a quote from environmentalist, John Muir, and the mountain and campfire design is to serve to remind us that we were born from nature, it is our true home, so we must be considerate and always evaluate our impact on it. For that reason, 15% of the sale price of all items with this design are being donated to 350.org, a global grassroots movement focused on reducing climate change by reducing carbon emissions and creating and implementing sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.

"Nevertheless, she persisted" gold ink screen print

My nevertheless, she persisted design comes from a women’s empowerment motto that developed after the nomination hearing for Jeff Sessions’ as attorney general. While Elizabeth Warren was reading a 1986 letter by civil rights leader, Coretta Scott King, in protest of the nomination, she was interrupted and ultimately silenced by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. His words: “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Because this phrase has feminist, racial, and civil rights implications behind it, I chose to donate 15% of the sale price of all items with this design to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).

Funds Raised March 2017

In the coming months, I will continue to do each of these updates after the month is over and also include in them an amount raised to date.

350.org

Number of sales: 6

Profit made: $168.00

Amount donated: $25.20

ACLU

Number of sales: 0

Profit made: $0.00

Amount donated: $0.00

* I was pretty bummed about this too. The good news is, I’ve gotten 3 orders already at the start of April and it has gotten lots of views on Etsy, so I am still very hopeful!

 


 

If you want to support my work, but can’t make any purchases right now, you can still vote for my shop until April 6th for Etsy’s #DifferenceMakesUs Small Business Contest! All you need to do is enter a valid email address and select whether or not you would like to receive emails from Etsy in the future. Easy as pie. Please consider voting here: http://wshe.es/7YXq6zJs

 

With love,

-B

Wanderlust Framed Painted Leaf

Etsy #DifferenceMakesUs Small Business Contest

I recently entered Etsy’s #DifferenceMakesUs small business contest for a shot at winning $10,000 to put towards advancing South Ranch Creative. It’s a long shot. A very, very long one, and yet one I need to make. I pushed off applying for weeks with the thought in my head that there was no chance, so why waste the time? That my shop wasn’t real enough, big enough, or successful enough to be deserving of a $10,000 prize. But I was wrong. This is the year I want to stop telling myself I’m not ready or not successful enough yet. So here it goes.

The contest required a simple answering of three questions, upon which I would receive a url to share and start gathering votes for my shop. The shops with the 1st and 2nd highest votes at the end of the contest (April 6th, 2017) will win $10,000 and $3,000, respectively to put towards their shop. I wanted to share with you all my extended answers to the questions after realizing that I was only allowed 1000 characters per question on the actual application… I had typed almost triple that for each…

 

Briefly tell us about your business and what makes it different. Details could include how you got started, what makes your business stand out, or how difference has helped your business and others.

I’ve always been a creator. As a toddler, I drew a yellow cat that was actually recognizable as such. It had ears, stick legs, even whiskers. In elementary school, I blew around ink through a straw to create trees. In middle school, I wrote poems and made trompe l’oeil drawings and drew funny dragons. In high school I learned film photography and how to paint in oil. In college I studied graphic design. I learned screen printing, made sculptures, built furniture, laser cut posters, and started growing all the plants I could fit in my temporary home.

I’m not an artist. I’m not a designer. I’m a creator. It’s in my blood to take pieces, to take materials, and to create something new out of it. And until college, my motivating factor beyond personal satisfaction was simply to create what the world deemed “beautiful”. To create awe and wonder. But two moments in college changed me. Though I am a creator, to create is not my purpose. It’s a means to my life purpose, something which I am still in the infancy of learning. And learning that purpose began freshman year when I discovered a nonprofit, Invisible Children, and took an environmental class on climate change. These two events were significant at the time to me no doubt, but I certainly did not realize just how much the course of my life would be changed by these events over the next five years. It perhaps was not seen to the naked eye, but my heart was changing. My mind, once solely focused on the narrow scope of my own existence, was now obsessed with humanity, past and present, and the preservation of future life in a sustainable and peaceful way. Everything was about more than just me. I became an activist. I volunteered. I started making lifestyle changes to be more sustainable and create less waste. I paid attention to the things I bought and what they supported.

At the end of college I knew working for a big agency wasn’t for me, but I realized that if I were to be so critical about the brands I was already purchasing from, I had to make sure that anything I sold didn’t negate my own views on environmentalism, sustainability, and human rights. I started South Ranch Creative in 2015 as a means to sell my creations. My creations varied: paintings, wood burned home goods and art, screen prints, natural wall art, and more. But what brought and continues to bring my work together now is my love of nature and my interest in empowering individuals and advocating for the causes I care about.

I create because I like it. I create because it incites awe in others. I create because I can send a message. But the reason I sell my creations, and hope to turn it into a full time occupation, is because I want to redefine what it means to sell things for a living. After listening, relistening, and listening again to Charlie Kaufman’s Screenwriters Lecture, I’ve found such a powerful truth in these words about what it means to sell things for a living:

“People are starving. They may not know it because they’re being fed mass produced garbage. The packaging is colourful and loud, but it’s produced in the same factories that make Pop Tarts and iPads, by people sitting around thinking, ‘What can we do to get people to buy more of these?’ And they’re very good at their jobs. But that’s what it is you’re getting, because that’s what they’re making. They’re selling you something. And the world is built on this now.”

And it hurt me as a creator to listen to these words but at the same time I recognized just how true they were. And I don’t want to be part of it.

 

How would you use the Etsy Small Business Contest money to scale your business in a big way this year?

I would use the Etsy Small Business Contest money to scale up my ability to do more than just sell my work for a living. My dream for South Ranch Creative is eliminate the stream of waste in packaging, create products that use natural or reclaimed materials whenever possible, and develop a business model focused on creating quality products that last and will be cherished for years to come, thus reducing a consumer need/desire to constantly buy new things. While I am currently working towards some of these goals already such as using biodegradable packaging tape and materials or organic natural fiber clothing, with a limited amount of funds to invest in my business, I am not currently able to go as far as I would like.

This money would help me research the best ways to create art without creating waste, and then implement those findings. Because much of what I sell is online and must be shipped, I am most interested in using a portion of these funds specifically to invest in entirely recyclable and/or biodegradable packaging for my products… both for shipping and any display packaging or labels. Secondly, I would like to invest in my screen printing equipment and supplies to ensure that I won’t be using excess water or energy, creating excess waste, or flushing chemicals down the drain during my process of creating. This includes a filtration system for when washing and cleaning my screens and a chemical recirculation system that would allow me to reuse the same chemicals again and again. It would also include research and application of the most sustainable and eco friendly inks and paints to work with. For screen printing, this means finding the best non-toxic, water-based inks to use on only natural fiber fabrics. For painting in oil, gouache, or acrylic, this means avoiding paints that use highly toxic pigments to create their color and finding safer alternatives.

Creating a business model that isn’t dependent on creating needless waste is by far the biggest and most important thing I can do this year for my business.

 

Describe a truly special moment you’ve had with a buyer. Did they request an extra special item? Inspire a successful new product? We can’t wait to hear!

My most special moment with a buyer was actually with several buyers. My hometown is in rural central Maryland and in late July 2016, a horrible flood ravaged the nearby main street of Historic Ellicott City. Old Ellicott City had always been a favorite place of mine to spend weekends shopping at the local small businesses, go hunting for antiques with my mom, and peruse the various art galleries with pride at knowing some of the great artists within them. Main Street was home and meant so much to me and I know countless others. The destruction of this flood was astonishing and numbing. Two lives were lost. So many shop owners lost everything. They are still rebuilding.

But the aftermath was also one of the most beautiful outpourings of support I have ever witnessed. The community rallied in every way to raise funds to rebuild, help with the cleanup effort, and donate supplies and services. I wanted to do my part and that meant creating. I illustrated what Old Ellicott City meant to me and sold posters and tshirts of my illustration of some of my favorite buildings and landmarks… including the man that blew giant bubbles outside the toy store every weekend since I can remember. I donated 80% of my profits to the Ellicott City Partnership to help rebuild and was able to raise over $2,600 for the cause. While this is a tiny fraction of what was needed to rebuild, I could see just how much this meant to those who were buying my work. I received so many words and messages of thanks and appreciation and nostalgia over some of the landmarks pictured in my illustration. It was so incredibly heartwarming to how I could use my art to truly make a difference not only monetarily for this cause but also emotionally. This event has since inspired me to begin another series of works focused on particular issues I care about that donate a portion of the proceeds towards related nonprofits.

 


 

Thank you so much for all the support over the last year and a half, and I hope you can support me and my dreams for bettering South Ranch Creative! In order to vote, all you need is an email address and you only have to vote once! It ends April 6th, so if you’d like to vote and/or share, it would mean so much to me and you can do so here: http://wshe.es/7YXq6zJs

#DifferenceMakesUs

-B

Your Mission. Your Voice. Take a peek inside my process for creating, lettering, and designing these passion posters for Voice A Story Magazine.

Your mission. Your voice.

On creating visual passion statements for Voice A Story Magazine.

 

Just over a month ago, I had the pleasure of sharing some of my favorite hand lettering work to date with the world through Voice A Story Magazine. If you don’t know, I am lucky to be the Creative Director of this digital magazine, so in addition to creating it’s very first physical product to sell in collaboration with South Ranch Creative, I also design each quarterly issue, create marketing graphics and images, and keep the website looking sleek and up-to-date.

 

WHOAH, you’re thinking. She’s got a LOT of passion for this company. And you’re right. My work as Creative Director for this magazine is currently 100% pro bono because the mission behind this magazine, this movement, is both powerful and necessary. And that’s where this whole idea started. The mission statement of Voice A Story magazine is as follows:

 

We are a magazine devoted to telling worthwhile and relevant stories, conducting thoughtful interviews, and publishing excellent fiction, poetry, and art without the media biased lens of what is or is not "news." We think people should able to define their own news based on things that really matter to them, rather than what the media thinks is sexy, dramatic, or contentious. Our goal is to point people to news and stories that matter. But we want to do more than that. For every issue of our magazine that is purchased, we donate one dollar to a hand picked nonprofit that’s helping give others a voice or bringing a voice to an issue. It is our belief that the best stories are the ones that have not yet been told, and we promise to do our best to provide the most relevant content on things that really matter, whether it is mainstream news or not. - Voice A Story Magazine

 

We are a magazine devoted to telling worthwhile and relevant stories, conducting thoughtful interviews, and publishing excellent fiction, poetry, and art without the media biased lens of what is or is not “news.” We think people should able to define their own news based on things that really matter to them, rather than what the media thinks is sexy, dramatic, or contentious. Our goal is to point people to news and stories that matter. But we want to do more than that.

 

For every issue of our magazine that is purchased, we donate one dollar to a hand picked nonprofit that’s helping give others a voice or bringing a voice to an issue. It is our belief that the best stories are the ones that have not yet been told, and we promise to do our best to provide the most relevant content on things that really matter, whether it is mainstream news or not.

 

The idea.

 

I created this visual mission statement for Voice A Story because I wanted the mission statement to not only tell of our passion and dreams, but show it. A visual portrayal of emphasis, passion, dedication, and most importantly, flaws was built to prove to readers that we mean what we say and we mean. We are here to share stories that matter from people and charities that have something powerful to say.

 

Our mission statement simmered in the back of my mind for weeks, as I continued to feel empowered by its message. I thought to myself, why not bring this same message of empowerment to our readers, our contributors, our supporters? To our adventurers, our storytellers, our activists, and our dreamers? That is the heart and soul of Voice A Story.

 

Process shot of hand lettering Voice A Story Magazine's Mission Statement. I created this visual mission statement for Voice A Story because I wanted the mission statement to not only tell of our passion and dreams, but show it. A visual portrayal of emphasis, passion, dedication, and most importantly, flaws was built to prove to readers that we mean what we say and we mean. We are here to share stories that matter from people and charities that have something powerful to say.

 

Putting our mission into action.

 

I set out excitedly sharing this idea with Voice A Story’s Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Ryan. With the rest of the VAS team, we set out to collaboratively write four passion statements for the adventurer, storyteller, activist, and dreamer. It has a little bit of all of us in it, and we hope it speaks to you too. These missions are both utterly personal and globally understood. We find commonality in our deepest convictions, where we can acknowledge our differences but see the beauty and strength in this thing we both feel.

 

These passion statements were written entirely by hand, with minimal retouching for prints. Because for me, it is important to recognize the inherent power in our very fingertips. That, while they may have flaws or hit a few bumps along the way, have the incredible power to create and feel and build. That we don’t need computer and technology and money to be fulfilled. We need passion and humility and creation.

 

Inspiration is a powerful tool because it allows us to see that we are the masters of our life, and thus we have the ability to shift and shape it into something good, something meaningful, something better than what came before.

 

 

So which are you?

 

You may notice that the four pillars of Voice A Story relate strongly to the core of South Ranch Creative: create. dream. explore. act. So it was incredibly difficult for me to say that I am not every one of these things! Let’s be real, most of us are probably at LEAST two and I know that in my own way I AM all of these things and more!

 

The print that kept me coming back, though, was the activist print. I praise many of the wise words of my friend Sara in this statement, for she (and we) were able to touch on everything I care about in six little sentences. Because activism is about donating or volunteering for nonprofits. It’s about the deeply felt belief that you are an equal being to every other on this planet. It’s about the feeling of obligation to lift up those who are down, in trust that you will be lifted up when you need it. It’s about humility and service and using your voice. Creation, art, crafts, design. Those are all tools for me to act. To be the person I want to be and help others do the same.

 

The print that kept me coming back, though, was the activist print. I praise many of the wise words of my friend Sara in this statement, for she (and we) were able to touch on everything I care about in six little sentences. Because activism is about donating or volunteering for nonprofits. It’s about the deeply felt belief that you are an equal being to every other on this planet. It’s about the feeling of obligation to lift up those who are down, in trust that you will be lifted up when you need it. It’s about humility and service and using your voice. Creation, art, crafts, design. Those are all tools for me to act. To be the person I want to be and help others do the same.

 


Which are you? The activist? The storyteller? The adventurer? The dreamer? Are you all four or something else entirely? I’d love to hear your story and which poster resonates both with you. They are available for purchase here so check them out along with our latest issue of the magazine! For a limited time, you can bundle issue 04 (our most recent issue) with a passion print of your choosing to get the ultimate passion package deal! That deal is available here and you can feel great about your purchase because $1 of every current magazine purchase goes to our featured charity of that issue. Issue 04’s featured charity is Far Away Friends, a brilliant and youthful nonprofit that just put the finishing touches on a school they built from the ground up in Namasale, Uganda.

 

So my adventures, my activists, my storytellers, my dreamers, and my CREATIVES, never stop looking for your passion and working towards the reality of it. You may just surprise yourself when you make it.



Stay creative. Stay you.

-B

 

Your Mission. Your Voice. Take a peek inside my process for creating, lettering, and designing these passion posters for Voice A Story Magazine.
When I first started collecting leaves last fall, they were for props to use for my other listings, ornaments and coasters mainly. But the more I collected, the more I started to appreciate the colors, the shapes, the patterns, and the uniqueness of every individual leaf. It happened by accident, almost. One day I looked down at one of my flattened leaves and thought to myself, this would be a great canvas to paint on. And so I did.

New in the Shop: Framing Nature

When I first started collecting leaves last fall, they were for props to use for my other listings, ornaments and coasters mainly. But the more I collected, the more I started to appreciate the colors, the shapes, the patterns, and the uniqueness of every individual leaf. It happened by accident, almost. One day I looked down at one of my flattened leaves and thought to myself, this would be a great canvas to paint on. And so I did.

 

From there I couldn’t be stopped. It was actually strange to me how much fun I was having doing the same thing I normally do, just on a different surface. It was like nature’s coloring book, and I had to stay within the lines of the leaves. My only regret is not collecting enough leaves to last the year!

 

Though I’ve had a couple of my framed leaves in the shop for a while, I finished four new ones this week and am so thrilled with how they turned out so I wanted to share the whole collection with you, newest first. I was even bold enough to show myself in a few of these pictures. Looks like it’s time to start recruiting friends as models!

 

Wanderlust Framed Painted Leaf Wanderlust Framed Painted Leaf Wanderlust Framed Painted Leaf Explore Framed Painted LeafExplore Framed Painted Leaf Explore Framed Painted Leaf Explore Framed Painted Leaf Small Red Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Small Red Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Small Red Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Explore Broken to Pieces Framed Painted Leaf Explore Broken to Pieces Framed Painted Leaf Explore Broken to Pieces Framed Painted Leaf Large Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Large Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Large Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Multi Pattern Framed Geometric Painted LeafMulti Pattern Framed Geometric Painted Leaf

 

Hope y’all enjoyed! Everything shown above is (while supplies last) available in my Etsy shop that you can find here. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’d like to see painted on leaves next so drop a comment and lets chat.

Till next time,

Live creatively.

-B

 

When I first started collecting leaves last fall, they were for props to use for my other listings, ornaments and coasters mainly. But the more I collected, the more I started to appreciate the colors, the shapes, the patterns, and the uniqueness of every individual leaf. It happened by accident, almost. One day I looked down at one of my flattened leaves and thought to myself, this would be a great canvas to paint on. And so I did.
In this third and final lesson for beginner modern calligraphy, you will learn your uppercase and lowercase alphabet as well as some tips just for fun!

An Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Basics: Let’s Learn our AaBbCc’s

Now that you’re a calligraphy beginner-master at holding your pen and forming the basics strokes of modern calligraphy, we’re ready to dive in to two different capital alphabets, the lowercase alphabet, and some fun little additions just to get your wheels really turning. If you missed out on our first two modern calligraphy lessons, you can find lesson one on the tools here and lesson two on forming basic strokes and letterforms here.

 

Uppercase Alphabet #1

 

I like to call this version my “business uppercase”. They are close to your simply standard print letters, and they are great if you’re going for a look that isn’t overly feminine or is a bit cleaner. Now that you know how to make thick and thin strokes, try practicing these letterforms and see if you can figure out how each stroke is made.

 

Learn uppercase capital letters | Modern Calligraphy Basics

 

Uppercase Alphabet #2

 

Accordingly, I like to call this version my “party uppercase” because they are a little more playful and more closely resemble some sort of script or cursive alphabet. The great part about all these alphabets are that they are completely flexible to what you want to do! If you want to add a bunch of curlicues at the end of every letter to make your writing ultra playful and fanciful, go for it!

 

Learn uppercase capital letters | Modern Calligraphy Basics

 

One of my favorite things to do–you guessed it–is to mix together the use of my business and party capitals. And while mullets may have yet to come back in style, I promise you this looks pretty cool! Be sure that all your capitals and lowercase aren’t too different in style, however, because it won’t give a consistent look across your writing. That’s why in these alphabets you’ll notice a lot of similar beginning or ending strokes coming off the letters. Repetition creates harmony, folks!

Lowercase Alphabet

 

While we saw in my last lesson how to form each letter in the lowercase alphabet, I wanted to show you them all together here. I do this because again you will notice similar styles in how I form the letters. Things like the bowls of my b’s q’s and d’s all have a similar but not perfectly round shape. There are so many different ways to do calligraphy, it’s overwhelming. Seriously, just do a quick Google search for “modern calligraphy” and look at all the different styles, and tools, and applications, oh my! So while it may be easiest to copy what you see in the beginning of your practices, don’t be afraid to get out there and do your own thing!

 

Learn lowercase alphabet | Modern Calligraphy Basics

 

Just check out these three simple ways you can change the look and feel of your calligraphy:

 

Tips and Tricks | Modern Calligraphy Basics

 

The first a is my standard lowercase a. But to give a softer, more traditional feel, you can use a more perfect oval to form the bowl of your a. Do this for any of your lowercase letters that would use that shape and you get an entirely different feel! Another thing you can try is italicizing your calligraphy. Traditional pointed pen scripts like Copperplate or Spencerian are all written on a slant, and it does tend to give a more elegant, traditional appeal. I’m just touching the surface of things you can do in hopes of encouraging you to go beyond your comfort zone and always try to learn new things.

 

Practicing words, flourishes, and other fun calligraphy things

 

What I want you to do now is finally start practicing your words and sentences! This is an important step because while you are just forming together a string of letters to create a word, sometimes that string that connects the words can get a little confusing. Don’t worry, nine out of ten times it’s as easy as one of those angled, upward strokes that happens naturally at the end of your letter. But some can get a bit tricky, and what do you even do about capital letters connecting?

 

For me, I go back and forth connecting my capitals to the following lowercase letter or not. It really just depends on your preference and which letter it is. I find that, for example, a capital C connects really easily to my lowercase letter because the end of the stroke ends a lot like many of the lowercase do. On the other hand, I don’t normally connect my capital Bs because I like the ending stroke to come up a bit higher than where my lowercase letters start. Try doing both for ever capital letter in the alphabet and what you come up with, which you prefer, and which look more natural.

 

Learn lowercase alphabet | Modern Calligraphy Basics

 

As for some of the lowercase letters that don’t always connect nicely, sometimes you can alter the letterforms slightly if you’re finding a really awkward connection. For example, the ending stroke of a lowercase o will typically occur much higher up from the baseline than most lowercase letters. This isn’t usually a problem unless you’re connecting to another odd letter like an r. Because coming from an o, the r wouldn’t start at the baseline, it can get really hard to read the r as an r. To offset this, I will drop down my final loop of the o a little lower, and draw up the first stroke of the r a little higher just to exaggerate the forms enough to make it clearly readable. Even I have trouble with this sometimes still. Just check out my connection of w and x, yuck! I don’t know when you would ever see that combination of letters but it’s good to challenge oneself! Now I don’t know all the awkward combinations off the top of my head, and chances are some will bother you while others you’ll think completely fine. This is a lesson of time and practice. The more words you try out, the better you’ll get at writing and connecting specific letters and the more confident your calligraphy will look overall.

 

I also want to show you a few alternative ways to write some of the lowercase letters. Of course there are more than just these, but these are the ones I switch out most often depending on the circumstances.

 

Alternative lowercase f and r | Modern Calligraphy Basics

 

I tend to prefer the first f pictured here and the second r. But what makes these two letters specifically difficult to use is the fact that their ending stroke does not necessarily connect to the following lowercase letter. It can be done, but it can also end up looking really awkward in the process. For that reason, I tend to only use this r when it occurs as the last letter in a word, so I don’t have to connect it to anything!

 

Now to the Fun Part: Flourishing!

 

How to create flourishes | Modern Calligraphy Basics

 

If you’ve seen calligraphy before and are anything like me, the absolutely most mesmerizing, beautiful, I-want-to-learn-this part is the flourishing. Flourishing is where you the beginning or end strokes in your letters to create decorative lines, or flourishes, that can add a certain personality or mood to your calligraphy. It is also one of the hardest things ever to do, which is why my section on this is short. I’m just a beginner too!

 

Flourishing is typically seen in shorter sentences, phrases, or single words. It would look a little odd to heavily flourish a whole paragraph of writing! It’s less mechanical and functional and more decorative. The most important thing I’ve learned about flourishing is that you need to be consistent with the style of your flourishes across a piece. And this was (and is!) incredibly difficult for me as easy as it sounds. This isn’t to say that all your flourishes should look the exact same… that would be quite boring! But they do need to exhibit some of the same features. If you have several loops on a flourish that gradually get smaller in size as you finish the stroke, be sure to have loops that continue in this manner in your other flourishes. Think about the angle of your loops. The first flourish below has almost no angle at all, while the third flourish has about a 45 degree angle to the horizontal. It won’t always be easy to describe or know why exactly your flourishes don’t seem to fit, but trust me when I say you will definitely know that something is off. Below are a few examples of some styles that I tend to use often in my work. Anything goes here so give it your all!

 

Flourishing examples | Modern Calligraphy Basics Flourishing examples | Modern Calligraphy Basics

 

Well, congratulations friends! You’ve officially completed my introductory course on modern calligraphy and I hope you’ve been inspired to give it a try! I’d love to see what you come up with and hear about any troubles you are having. Don’t worry, this isn’t the end. As I learn, you learn, and I can’t wait to do more tutorials in the future!

Keep practicing,

-B

A lesson for beginners who have never tried calligraphy before on how to hold the pen, the basic strokes that create letterforms, and alphabet I use when doing modern calligraphy.

An Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Basics: Holding the Pen and Basic Strokes

Last week, I posted about the tools I use as a calligrapher and some of the tips and tricks I wish I had known when I was first starting out with modern calligraphy two summers ago. This week, I want to teach beginners who have never tried calligraphy before how to hold the pen, the basic strokes that create letterforms, and alphabet I use when doing modern calligraphy. If you don’t know what supplies you need or where to begin, you can check out part 1 of this introduction here.

 

Step 1: Holding the Pen and Nib Placement

 

Learning how to hold your calligraphy pen is a crucial step to modern calligraphy success that you might be tempted to overlook. Many times when first learning I would be having trouble with uneven strokes or the nib skipping on the paper and thought I was just using the wrong paper or nib or just needed more practice. In fact, it was my nib that wasn’t inserted correctly into my pen holder that was causing a lot of headache and not very pretty writing.

 

Anatomy of your calligraphy tools: Oblique pen holder and flex nib

 

First you will need to know a little bit about the anatomy of your pen. The tool you will be using for pointed pen calligraphy to hold your nib is called an oblique pen holder. The little doohickey coming out to the side at the end of the pen is called a flange, and that is what holds your nib and enables you to write at different angles so that the pressure and direction of your downstrokes are consistent and parallel with the angle of the nib. You may also instead choose to use a straight pen holder depending on your natural hand position when writing or if you are left handed you may find it more comfortable and natural to use to get the correct angle. Disclaimer: I am right handed and although I may point out some tips and tricks I’ve learned for left-handed calligraphers, you may want to seek out more specific lessons for how to hold your pen from a fellow left-handed calligrapher. Youtube is a great resource. You might check out this video here on left handed calligraphy. Once you’ve learned how to hold your pen, the instructions below for forming strokes and letterforms will be the same!

 

Now let’s talk about nibs. The nib is the metal piece that you dip into ink and write with. For pointed pen calligraphy, we will be using a point, or flex nib, which means that the tip of the nib comes apart when you press it to the paper, creating the thick downstrokes in your writing. Those two pieces that form the tip of your nib are called tines. They are tough but can break or come apart over time after lots of use or applying too much pressure on them against the paper. You can find stiffer or more flexible nibs that make it easier or harder to separate the tines to create thicker strokes. I prefer somewhere in the middle. You can check out my most-used nibs and a short description of them here. Now the other most important part of the nib you’ll need to know about is the vent hole or breather hole. That is the hold in the center of your nib at the end of the slit. This hole serves dual purposes. First, it gives your ink a place to collect and feed continuously to the tip of your nib as you’re writing. Without it, the flow of ink would be very inconsistent and it would too quickly come off the pen and dump out into a blob on your paper. The second, and equally important purpose of the vent hole is to reduce the pressure on the tines as they separate on the paper during downstrokes. Without the hole, the tines would be more prone to breaking or splitting.

 

Learning how to hold your oblique pen

 

Now that you know the pieces of the puzzle, we can start putting it together by preparing and holding your pen. First, insert the base of your nib into your pen holder. You want the convex curve of the nib facing up at you, so that the side of the nib with the imprinted nib I.D. is readable. From a point where the nib is parallel to the plane of the flange, you will want to rotate the nib slightly inward, turning to the right (see picture below). This is a crucial step and varies to every calligrapher’s individual hand position as they write. The reason for turning the nib is because when you hold the pen, the plane of the flange will very likely be angled downward horizontally as well as vertically vertically from the base of the pen. The horizontal downward angle of the flange causes us to need to rotate the nib in the opposite direction to offset that angle. That way when you’re writing, the tines will touch the paper at the exact same time to create straight, consistent strokes. You may notice a jagged edge or curve in what is supposed to be your straight downward stroke otherwise. I know this may sound complicated, but trust me, when you get the hang of holding the pen and practicing strokes, you will easily notice when the nib is out of line and be able to correct it accordingly.

 

Anatomy of your calligraphy tools

 

Learning how to hold your oblique pen

 

Step 2: Basic Strokes of Modern Calligraphy

 

Congratulations! It’s finally time to make a mark on paper. We will start by practicing some basic strokes that are used in almost every letterform you will make when writing pointed pen modern calligraphy. It’s important to practice these strokes often, until and even after they become second nature to you. It’s a good warm-up to any calligraphy session.

 

Learning the Strokes

 

I’ve highlighted eight commonly used strokes that I use when creating letterforms in this style of modern calligraphy. I’ve numbered them 1-8 so that later on you can see how I put the individual strokes together to form letters. Remember, the thick strokes are created when you are pulling the pen downward. The thin strokes are created with upward movements.

Learn basic strokes for modern calligraphy

Learn basic strokes for modern calligraphy

Learn basic strokes for modern calligraphy

Learn basic strokes for modern calligraphy

    • Stroke 1: This is your most basic downstroke. Practice making a perfectly vertical stroke that is a consistent thickness the whole way down. This will teach you sensitivity to the pressure you are putting on your nib and help you create consistent strokes throughout your writing.

 

    • Stroke 2: This is stroke, or a variation of it, is of the most commonly used strokes you will make. It is found in several of lowercase letters such as a, i, m, n, and u. Start by making a downstroke, then right as you get towards the bottom, start to release some of the pressure as you begin drawing your pen around and back upwards at an angle.

 

    • Stroke 3: This is the opposite of stroke 2 and also very commonly used. This time, begin with an upstroke, putting very little pressure on the nib so that the tines are still touching each other. Then as you round the top, begin to add pressure and do a downstroke.

 

    • Stroke 4: This is sort of a combination of 2 and 3. Create individual shapes to start, and when you begin to get the hang of it, try creating a continuous wavy line and see how consistent you can get it to look. Try to keep the angled upward strokes all at the same angle and the thick downward slopes all perfectly vertical.

 

    • Stroke 5: Stretch out your stroke 4 to create an approximately 90 degree angle between your upward and downward strokes. Again, try creating a continuous line of this and see how consistent you can get it to be.

 

    • Stroke 6: Stroke 6 is the shape I like to use to create the counter, or enclosed circular shape in a lot of my lowercase letters. Think about the a, b, d, g, p, and q. You can use this shape or stroke 7 to create round enclosed area. I prefer this slightly more funky shape to give my modern calligraphy a little bit of character.

 

    • Stroke 7: In addition to using this stroke in place of stroke 6 for all the uses listed above, it is also necessary for your o and a good way to practice consistent transitioning from upward to downward strokes.

 

    • Stroke 8: The final and most complicated of my basic strokes will help you get the feel for creating the ascenders and descenders of letterforms like b, d, or q. While you’ll never make this stroke exactly, it will help you get in a rhythm and practice your ascenders and descenders at the same time.

 

Applying the Strokes

 

Now that you have a bit of a sense for the pen and the motions your hand will be frequently making, lets combine a few of these basics strokes to make letters! I’ve added directional arrows to each stroke and labeled any strokes that are the basic ones you learned above (1-8) to help memorize the motions. If you only see one form, that means I created the whole letter without picking up my pen. If you get lost, start at the red dot and follow the directional arrows to understand how to create the form.

 

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase a, lowercase b, lowercase c.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase g, lowercase h.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase i, lowercase j, lowercase k.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase l, lowercase m.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase n, lowercase o.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase p, lowercase q, lowercase r.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase s, lowercase t. \How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase u, lowercase v, lowercase w.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase x.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase y, lowercase z.

 

Awesome work friends! Now you know your ABCs of modern calligraphy! I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves, so in part 3 of this lesson, I will show you my whole lowercase alphabet together, and two variations of a capital alphabet. I’ll also go over some variations you can apply to your letters and talk briefly about flourishing! So practice your strokes and your lowercase ABCs once you get comfortable with that. Let me know what questions you have; I’d love to answer them!

 

Practice makes perfect.
Practice makes better.

-B