Experiment: Online Course | Creative Lettering

I decided to take an online course this month called Creative Lettering, from the amazing Lori Vliegen of Elvie Studio. It's one of my mini sabbatical experiments. It was a lot of fun, and I came away with a cool technique for making pretty letters that I'm sure I'll use on many projects for years to come.

The format of the class was straightforward. Watch a series of videos, practice what is shown, then optionally post examples of your work to the class forum for others to view and comment.

The first few videos focused on reminding us of our classic cursive letterforms. My 3rd grader is learning cursive now, so the timing was excellent. I loved having her see me practicing my cursive, right alongside her. It was a nice opportunity to remind her that we can all continue to get better with practice, even when we "already know" how to write in cursive.

She then demonstrated how to jazz up the letters so that they have a pleasing pattern of thick and thin weights. (You thicken up all of the downstrokes.) This simple trick of thickening the "downs" really makes a difference, taking ordinary cursive to a whole new level.

She demonstrated a few other fancy tricks involving shadows and filling in the thick portions with patterns or colors, but for me the big takeaway was that one simple technique of adding weight to each downstroke.

 Perhaps the most impressive part of the class was seeing examples of some of her art journals, and watching her create a watercolor art journal page on video. I want more of Lori in my life! There is so much I could learn from her, about lettering, and far beyond. I'm most definitely going to become an avid blog follower of hers after this.

I took the class with my artist friend Kelly, and while we viewed the videos separately on our own time, we enjoyed getting together during our weekly artist date to compare notes, practice together, and admire each other's creations. It's so much more fun learning and doing projects together with a friend.

I've been inspired to try a few more journaling pages in a style similar to the "simple pleasure" example she showed in the video. (My version of "simple pleasure" is shown in the top photo in this post.) I think I need to make about 100 more different versions of these pages. I just love doing it!

I like the format of an online course. This is my second, the first being One Little Word which I took last year and am repeating this year. It's quite nice to be able to do the activities on your own schedule. I'll definitely look for more online courses down the line, and highly recommend them.

Bottom line: A great introduction to a talented artist from whom I expect to gather ongoing creative inspiration, plus a terrific technique for making fabulous lettering that really improves the look of any lettering project. I'm glad I took the course, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Another experiment concludes. I love adding completed experiments to my sabbatical accomplishments list! And this was one of the best kinds... the kind that leaves me curious and inspired and looking for more.


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