Sarah Van Der Linden


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 learning hand-lettering?

Two years ago, my partner and I decided to leave the city for a house in the countryside of France. Being close to nature awakes a lot of new feelings, I was amazed by all the beauty around me, all the little details I had forgotten about. It triggered something in me, it gets me interested in being more creative in my daily life. I wanted to express what I was seeing, the splendor of the natural world and the joy of the simple things. At that time, I didn't know how or where to start.

My first passion is photography, but, in that case, I felt that taking pictures was not enough and too restrictive. I wanted to use colors and words in order to convey some thoughts and findings, and more important, to share some magic. I found that hand-lettering was for me the best way to combine all those ingredients, and to have some fun in the process.

Lettering by Sarah Van Der Linden on Hand Lettering for Beginners

Lettering by Sarah Van Der Linden on Hand Lettering for Beginners

Lettering by Sarah Van Der Linden on Hand Lettering for Beginners

Lettering by Sarah Van Der Linden on Hand Lettering for Beginners

What were some of your thoughts as you started out?

I started the Better Lettering Course on the first day of January of 2016, to initiate the year with a goal and a fresh start. At the beginning, hand lettering seems to be really hard because there are so many questions : what am I going to write? How do I draw letters? Shall I use colors? Sometimes, I have a tendency to overthink and it prevents me from doing and trying things.

But, I realized that I progressed quickly. I didn't like my first attempts, however I always had fun doing them. It's very important to play, experiment and learn. I used all the tools provided by the course, participated to the monthly challenges and got inspired by the other students. Moreover, my partner helped me by offering me advices, he is really talented with letters. All that helped me push boundaries and develop my creativity. Gradually, ideas replaced questions, and I was eager to try new shapes and styles.


How did the Better Lettering Course help you grow in your hand-lettering skills?

For me, this course is the perfect starting point, it is just what I was looking for. It provides all that a beginner needs to know, and answers a lot of questions. It's impossible to remain stuck because it's an endless source of inspiration and information.

Moreover, it helps me to understand that no fancy tools are required and that the goal to aim is experimentation, not perfection. This course is an invitation to play with letters and to have fun. A hand-lettering class does not have to be strict, the important is to open your mind to the beauty of drawing letters, to the art of playing with words, styles and shapes. Then, when you know what you like and dislike, you will be able to focus on specific features. I find what suits me more (for know!) and enjoy it without constraints. Practice is the only way to learn and evolve.

On top of that, Caroline conveys enthusiasm and motivation, making the whole process entertaining and playful.

Lettering by Sarah Van Der Linden on Hand Lettering for Beginners

Lettering by Sarah Van Der Linden on Hand Lettering for Beginners

Lettering by Sarah Van Der Linden on Hand Lettering for Beginners

Lettering by Sarah Van Der Linden on Hand Lettering for Beginners

What surprised you most as you learned and practiced hand-lettering skills?

More than a year has passed since my first piece and I love hand-lettering more than ever. I can see I have made a lot of progress and that I'm able to use my skills to express myself. Caroline always says that "practice makes it perfect" and that's really something worth remembering. I noticed improvement quickly by doing a piece each day for a few months. I tried various styles with different mediums to see what suits me most and which tools I preferred. There are infinite possibilities.

Not only have I learnt hand-lettering but I noticed that I need creativity in my life. This course has opened a lot of doors. Since then, I started painting again, I discovered watercolor, tried block-printing and started a botanical sketchbook. I was surprised that one little decision can have so much repercussions.

Now, I always carry a sketchbook and some pens with me when I go outdoors, whether it be a small walk or a few days hike. I like to sit outside and enjoy the moment. I listen to the world around me, open my eyes and observe. I always find so much inspiration there and I usually draw a feeling, an atmosphere or a landscape. Hand-lettering is really a practice that can be done everywhere and that's why I like it so much. A ballpoint pen and a paper are enough to create something magical.


I'm Sarah, a photographer, painter, hand-letterer and a lover of nature. I live in Seine et Marne, France, in a small house in front of a wood. I'm most myself and happier when I'm surrounded by nature, in a forest or in the middle of nowhere. I marvel at a bird singing or a beautiful sunlight shining through the leaves. I believe that all these little moments are precious. I love the color green and collecting beautiful natural finds. You can find me on Instagram @mirglis.