You're reading an interview with an alumni from the Better Lettering Course. I'm sharing several of these stories on the blog to encourage and inspire anyone who has a desire to learn hand-lettering but who might be intimidated or fearful of diving in. Click here to read them all or, if you're a BLC alumn, submit your story here to be featured!
What made you want to start hand-lettering?
I was always fascinated with letters when I was younger. I found myself drawn to some famous logotypes of different brands. You'll find me sketching these logos at the back of my notebook when I have nothing to do in class. When I was introduced to basketball, I was always excited to look at how their uniforms are designed. I specially love the different styles of the letters on their team logos. There was also a time where I would do lettering of my friends' names which are based on their personalities. Then we also had some basic lettering classes and it was one of my favorite subjects back then.
I studied electronics engineering in college because that's one of the "popular" courses when I graduated high school. I didn't consider taking a graphic design course since I didn't know that something like that existed. Unlike now, not everyone in the Philippines can afford to have Internet access back then. When I was already working I started to notice I was always drawn to great typography. I started researching online and then I found out about Graphika Manila. It is the biggest design conference here in the Philippines. I decided to attend as I got curious and I just wanted to learn more. One of the speakers was Jessica Hische. That was the first time I heard the term Letterer as a type of career. I was blown away because I found out that what she's doing was the thing that I was into when I was a kid.
I was hooked with lettering after that. I started researching and got to know more about typography and also calligraphy. It's like a whole new world was introduced to me. The conference was in 2014. A year later I didn't manage to do anything and procrastinated on without the actual doing. At around that time I was already following Jason Zook back then and then I naturally got to know Caroline. As she was also a creative, I started relating to her and then found out about the Better Lettering Course. So in February 2015, I joined the course and then participated in the 28-day challenge. There's a prize raffled after the challenge. To be eligible for it, we had to post a lettering piece on Instagram for the whole month. Which means we needed to create 28 lettering posts. I finished the challenge but I didn't win the raffle. But I'm thankful because it ignited my passion with lettering.
What were some of you thoughts as you started out?
When I was doing the challenge I was not that confident. It had been years since I did lettering and I felt like my work suck. To be honest it did suck. I told myself everyone started out as a beginner. So when I post my early lettering work I could use this to inspire myself when I eventually get better. I allowed myself to put out imperfect work. Now when I look back I can now see how much I improved. For me, it's important to share when you are starting out. I can also show this to the other aspiring letterers that I also sucked when I started and it is normal to be that way. It takes time and hard work to get better.
How did the Better Lettering Course help you grow in your hand-lettering skills?
Since this was the first lettering course that I had taken, all the basic terms that you need to know, I learned from BLC. I also got some great tips from Caroline about digitizing your work. What helped me was the monthly challenges I participated. The first challenge was special because that kickstarted everything. Some of my favorite work right now came from doing the monthly challenges.
What surprised you most as you learned and practiced hand-lettering skills?
I'm surprised at how much you will improve when you spend a lot of time doing it. I also tried a bit of calligraphy but I find that I have more freedom to play with my letter forms with hand-lettering. I do love using brush pens and have been practicing with it for a while now. Another thing that surprised me was the fact that it was possible to have a career as a lettering artist. I'm not there yet but my dream is to eventually introduce myself like this: "Hi! I am Regie and I draw letters for a living." :)
The top piece was done when I was still taking the Better Lettering Course and completed the lettering challenge for the month. The after version was done a exactly a year later.