Getting into type by hand

I spent a few hours this afternoon practicing hand-lettering with a brush pen by writing letters to people. What led me to this therapeutic Sunday activity? It wasn’t just that writing letters to people is a lovely thing to do with an afternoon but also because a few weekends ago I attended a Type by Hand workshop with the Australian Type Foundry. Writing letters seemed a nice way to practice.

I’ve been following the Australian Type Foundry on Twitter and Facebook for a while now. Wayne Thompson has a fantastic body of work and I thought going along to one of his workshops would be a great compliment to my developing sketching skills.

The sold-out workshop was on Saturday January 31 at the CATC Design School in the city. Special mention to The School of Life where I managed to find a fabulous coffee near by which is a tad deserted of a Saturday morning. I came prepared with a pile of Copic Markers, paper as well as an apron and aluminium can (for making a ruling pen). Wayne was supported on the day by Bobby Haiqalsyah who is an amazing local lettering artist.

The beginning of the session was a bit of type theory. I would have loved to have done some more theory, but for a one day workshop we moved quickly onto the practical activities in order to get the most of the day.

Broad stroke practice

It was surprisingly exhausting, much of the day spent practicing letter forms with either the wedge tip marker or brush tip pen. Practice makes perfect though (hence my activity today) and over the day my letters and that of those around me improved by working on the technique which Wayne introduced.

Broad Stroke Lettering

Towards the end of the session Wayne showed us how to make a Ruling Pen with an aluminium can, masking tape and a pop stick. The results are a bit unpredictable and produce a scratchy splatter effect which was fun to play with.

Hand made Ruling Pen and my first attempt lettering with it
Hand made Ruling Pen and my first attempt with it

I came away from the workshop inspired and wanting to learn and practice much more. I headed off to Daiso that weekend to buy some brush pens, which were hard to find among the stationery but very good and super cheap. I have a growing wish list of other fancy type stationery (going to get some Pilot Parallels and some TomBows soon for sure) and am looking for more excuses to practice my newly learned (and very novice) hand typing skills.

Daiso Brush Pen – pretty and a bargain

If you are interested in attending one of Wayne’s workshops he tends to travel around to most states throughout this year.

There are some workshops coming soon and if there isn’t one near you his mailing list can keep you updated. They tend to sell out. He also runs other workshops if you are into digitising your typography.

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