Calligraphy Portfolio Challenge

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Week 2: Let's Get Writing!


Welcome to Week 2 of the Calligraphy Portfolio Challenge! This week we're putting our heads down and creating some samples to photograph and share in the coming weeks. Let's get started!

Step 1: Plan your writing.

Did you get everything you ordered from last week? Were you able to find the supplies and surfaces you need to write on?

If you're ready to go, gather your supplies into one place and begin planning out the "words" (or artwork!) that you need to put on them.

Do you have a bunch of blank envelopes? You'll need a guest list and some fake addresses. I created that for you right here - it has a mix of countries and formalities, and is pre-centered, which is a trick from Anne Robin's lesson on envelope layouts in the Modern Calligraphy Summit 1.0. And if you ever need a quick fake name and address in the future, is a great resource!

If you have a wood board or a picture frame or mirror that you've cleaned up or painted with chalk paint, you'll probably need a love quote, poem, or wedding vows to go with it. Check out these heartfelt wedding quotes, or try searching Pinterest for terms like love poemsromantic quotes, and wedding vows. Keep in mind, you don't have to do Pablo Neruda or Corinthians 13:4-8 (though those are great places to start and a lot of people want them as part of their wedding day). Feel free to get creative and find something that calls to you. If you're a huge Jane Austen fan, search for some of her classic love quotes. Or if you're not into "sappy," check out this compilation from Offbeat Bride for something a bit more humorous.

Invitation design is more in-depth, but for those of you ready to tackle it, consider this tip: make sure any sample invitation (or menu, or program) that you create by hand can be easily replicated by a printer. We've discussed this in both the Modern Calligraphy Summit and in the Calligraphy Business Bootcamp -- you don't want to put something in your portfolio that's either impossible or outlandishly expensive to replicate when a potential client inquires about it. An invitation done all in calligraphy? Sure, that can be letterpress or digitally printed. A watercolor + calligraphy invitation? Yep, a digital printer can handle that, too. An invitation featuring hand-torn edges, a hand-embossed monogram, and hand-painted embellishments? That's much more difficult to replicate in any quantity. Create your designs wisely and keep the end goal in mind!

If you're creating artwork or digital designs that will be reproduced as art prints or on products like mugs or tote bags, make sure to check the printer specifications for those products before laying out your artwork. For example, a landscape-oriented hand-lettered quote may not fit well on a coffee mug. Most companies (last week I mentioned Zazzle and Society6) have a page on their site for artwork or printing specifications. For more help on actually designing your layouts (like for a quote or poem), Molly Knabel's lesson in the Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 is a great resource.

Step 2. Start writing!

It's simple - but not always easy! But now that you've got all your supplies in one place, and a plan for what you're going to write, you shouldn't have any excuses. ;-)

Before you start writing on your samples, make sure to warm up and practice. Everyone loves this super smooth HP laser paper for practicing on. And if you already own MCS 1.0 or MCS 2.0, you'll want to review Fozzy's and Younghae's lessons, respectively, for some great drills to do for warming up your hand and arm.

Schedule a few chunks of time over next week to sit down and focus on creating these pieces for your portfolio.

Let's wrap up...

Just like sitting down to address 30 envelopes at once is much more efficient than doing them in 5-envelope-chunks every day for a week, batching your portfolio pieces is much more efficient when you do a lot at once and you can get "in the zone."

Think of this time creating portfolio pieces as an investment in your (future) business. You'll jump-start your portfolio to the point of getting real client projects - and then you'll have the skills to photograph them and expand your portfolio even more!

Looking forward to seeing what you create!



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