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Lettering in Art Journals
What to Write and How to Write it in Art Journals
I love lettering. Simple lines expressing thoughts. That is why I add wording to my artwork, as I believe lettering can be as beautiful as the work itself. Now that I'm creating work daily in an art journal, I find that I want to improve my writing skills, both in communication and in the physical form of lettering. I want to be able to express my thoughts in a lettering style that punctuates what I have to say.
If you keep an art journal and want to improve your lettering skills, or you just want to learn some new techniques in lettering, read on...
All photos by Gayle Dowell
First off let's discuss WHAT to write in art journals. The subject matter of journal pages is limitless. Some artists choose to be more fact based in their journaling by writing the events of the day. Others choose to express more feeling bringing out the emotional side of journaling. And still others choose to express opinions on certain subject matter. I personally do all of the above. I have a travel journal that is more fact based. I have one when my daughter was seriously ill where I expressed emotions during that time. I also have one about my belief in God expressing my faith.
There are some artists that journal daily adding art to highlight an event for every day of the year. Some who only journal when inspiration hits, and those who schedule weekly or monthly group journaling sessions. I'm more in the camp of journaling when inspiration hits, but would like to move toward a daily journaling time.
Great How-to is a Must
When you've figured out WHAT to write, it is time to figure out HOW to write it. There are many techniques that can be used for writing in your art journal. I like to add my writing as part of the art itself as in the journal page of the butterfly antennae being made from my journal writing, or following the flow of my work. For example in the stormy seas journal page below, I've written my words to follow the waves of the sea. This gives more meaning to your words and helps to punctuate what it is that you are wanting to say.
In the example below, I added words that blended in with the artwork making the lettering part of the art. This works well if I have a few words that I want to add. Sometimes I don't have a lot to say, so this minimalist approach works well and I can still get my message across.
When I have more that I want to express, I'll add more lettering following the curve of my artwork. When standing back a distance, this lettering looks more like a shadow. Up close, the lettering adds to the message of the artwork. A nice surprise for the viewer who comes up for a closer look.
- How to Make Art Journal Lettering Look Like Art
This technique from Joanne Sharpe uses curved guidelines to create unique art journal lettering using your own writing style.
- Experimental Initials
Great tutorial for creating unique initials and monograms by Lisa Engelbrecht.
- Developing a Passion for Illustrative Lettering
Great article on illustrative lettering.
Lettering Tutorial Videos
Here are a few lettering video sources that are amazing to watch.
A good set of calligraphy pens will go a long way in producing some fantastic lettering. I have several different sets in all colors. I love the Sakura brand calligraphy pens over refillable technical pens. The Sakura are disposable, never clog and give a nice consistent line.