Mary Kate McDevitt

As you probably know from several of my previous posts, I’m a big fan of lettering and illustration, and what I may have not mentioned here is that — I’ve wanted to get better at it for a while. I’ve designed a few things for friends in the past, and have addressed several wedding invitations and baby announcements, but I wanted to dive in–and right at that moment, this class – The First Steps of Lettering – taught by Mary Kate McDevitt – popped up on Skillshare.

If you’re not familiar with Skillshare, it’s a “global community where you can learn real-world skills from incredible teachers.” The teachers are essentially people who are making a living with the particular skills they’re teaching – that seems like an impossibly simple description, but in the two classes I’ve taken so far (some are free! some have a cost – but typically not over $30 and most are way below that) – one was a successful freelance journalist, and the other a successful illustrator/letterer – and in the next class I’m taking, the teacher is Jessica Hische, so I’ve got a lot of sketching in my future.

In this class, the goal was to “Hand letter your favorite quote, title or phrase” and covered the basics — research, concepts and sketching. In short videos, the teacher describes the tools you’ll need, first steps and offers advice on how to achieve what you’re going for. Additionally, there’s a forum where “students” submit projects and offer feedback, which has turned out to be incredibly useful.  I thought I’d share my progress through this course so you can see if it’s something you’d like to try out.

The phrase I chose was something my Great Grandmother used to say, and that I’d love to have around now that she’s passed: “Ain’t an ugly one in the bunch.”  The first step was to gather some references and make a moodboard. I made a couple — as my first couple of sketches weren’t reflecting quite the mood I wanted. See the moodboards below and click “More” to see the first couple of sketches.

Moodboard #1


Moodboard #2


First sketches:

The next step was to try a few explorations using one word of your phrase. I thought “bunch” would be the focal point — so I focused primarily on how I wanted it to look.
Word Exploration #1

As the project continues, I’ll post further explorations.  AND — you can still sign up for her class, so if this is up your alley – sign up HERE.


One thought on “LEARNING TO LETTER

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