At the end of last year, I decided to start a 365-day lettering project for 2018. I wanted to practice and improve my lettering skills, especially in the digital realm, but I also just wanted to practice self-discipline, an area that's never been a strong point for me. I can't count how many design projects I've started and did not finish! I decided to really commit to this one and follow through.
Below are a few of my favorite daily letterings from the year thus far.
Right now, I am 42 days in. It's been tough so far, but also a lot of fun! I thought that I would get burnt out on the actual task of doing it each and every day, but I actually really look forward to it. I also thought I would get frustrated with my lettering skills and stop doing it because my work wasn't to the caliber that I wanted it to be. But I've fended off this problem by keeping the letterings pretty simple; it's a daily project, and therefore shouldn't take up a ton of time each day. I am happy with the progress I've made!
Actually, the biggest hurdle has been figuring out what it is that I want to say! It sounds silly, but as a designer, I'm pretty much always making stuff for other people, products, brands, and businesses. I've gotten really good at adhering to a company's brand standards, mimicking their creative voice, and creating content that works for them, but I realized I haven't spent a lot of time developing my own creative voice. I touched on this subject a little in an earlier blog post where I wrote about lettering other people's quotes. I decided that lettering famous quotes is fine and good and will continue to be a part of my arsenal, but I'd also work on making my own unique content. As I've focused more on this, I realized it's harder than I thought it'd be! Lettering is fun but you're lettering WORDS, and they oughta say something better than just cliché phrases like "live laugh love" (Ugh. Gross).
I think realizing one's creative voice is something that comes really naturally to some artists and illustrators, but it's actually a bit more work for me. I mean, maybe that's a problem as a creative. Shouldn't my work just ooze out of me and scream "I WAS MADE BY THERESA!" ? Mmmm, Maybe. But I'm also a believer that an artist's style, design, voice, and creativity, just like anything else, are muscles that need to be developed. Natural talent and ability is great and all, but hard work and time and devotion are usually what makes a person successful in the end. There's no reason why developing my voice can't be a skill that I work on as much as other more "concrete" skills.
So I'm going to do just that: I'm going to work on my voice and message. I've been doing a lot of soul-searching lately so you can probably expect more posts along the "who am I? where am I going?" narrative, haha. Of course, my voice will change and evolve, but for now, I am happy with the progress!