For many people, the new year is a time for a new start, fresh ideas and a new goal or two.
It’s almost three years since I left the newsroom behind and embarked on a new journey as a self-employed calligrapher.
This year is the year I need to focus, grow and develop.
So, I’ve come up with some goals (not resolutions, no one sticks to them) for the coming year.
When you’re busy with commissions, it can be hard to find time to write for yourself. This year I’m going to make time to practice my lettering, get back to basics and play around with nibs, inks and different styles and techniques to see which ones suit me best. I’m confident with more traditional, broad-edged nib styles, so I need to step out of my comfort zone! With that in mind, I have two things I’d like to master at numbers 2 and 3.
2. Conquer modern calligraphy.
I’ve been saying I’m going to give modern calligraphy a try since meeting up with Artsynibs last summer, but now I’ve made a few tentative steps I’m going to go for it. I love copperplate, so the mechanics of applying pressure to create the thick and thin strokes of the letters is not new to me. I just need to give them some bounce!
3. Get to grips with a brush and ink.
Again, like modern calligraphy, I’ve dabbled in a bit of brush lettering, but I’d like to give it a real shot. I’ve already taken a step towards that by signing up for a workshop with The Crafthood next month! Fancy joining in? Full details are here.
4. Find my own style.
Every calligrapher I have connected with on social media is different. Just like handwriting, calligraphy scripts can vary once you’ve got the basics, or at least they seem to when it comes to using a pointed nib. So I’d like to be able to get to the point where someone sees my calligraphy and knows it’s my writing.
5. Develop a wedding stationery suite.
I usually tell people I don’t do stationery, I just add my calligraphy to it. But since digitising my calligraphy to create some bespoke invitations for a couple last year, the possibility of creating wedding stationery has been at the back of my mind. So, it would be nice to create some stationery, whether it be handwritten in full or in part. Perhaps even hand-illustrated! There are so many printing techniques out there to complement it too, from letterpress to embossing to foil. I just need to master goals 1-4 first!
This part of my business really took off in 2016, mainly thanks to the Cultural Spring, so I’d love to share my skills with others in any venue that will have me! I have a few places in mind, but would welcome suggestions! Or give me a shout if you’d like to get a group of friends together for a one-off class, like this one at Hawthorn Arts last year.
2. Social Media.
Last year I joined Instagram and I love it (find out why here). It has joined Twitter and Facebook as one of my most-used platforms. However, I have neglected Pinterest and LinkedIn and apparently Google+ is where it’s at, so I need to up my game on those – but also not be too afraid to dump them if they’re not working for me! I need to take part in some more Twitter hours too. I love a bit of networking!
I love writing, with a pen and at my laptop! But I’ve been a bit OCD about the need to blog once a week for my SEO and Thursday tends to be my blog upload day. I’m going to try being more relaxed about it, so I’m not constantly thinking ‘must post at the same time each week’! I will still aim for at least one blog post per week, but it might become every few days if I have more to write about.
I’ve worked with some fab wedding suppliers in the last year and would love to link up with more this year and would certainly love to take part in some more styled shoots, like this one last summer, which leads me nicely on to my next goal…
I work from home, on my own, with a quick turnaround on most orders, so I usually take photographs on my smartphone and I’m a #nofilter expert, in that I don’t bother with one most of the time! So, gaining a little photography know-how wouldn’t go amiss this year and I’d love to do a product photography course of some description. Maybe even go back to college?