52 weeks of lettering

In the beginning of 2016 I set myself a goal to do one lettering artwork every week accompanied with a blog post matching the quote I was going to letter. My goal was to improve my lettering skills primarily and to see if I can commit to a longterm task.

The joy and struggle of a yearlong commitment

At the beginning of this endeavor my motivation was high, naturally. I had most of my quotes for the year collected and prepared a schedule of finishing and posting the work and blog post online (every friday). It’s been wonderful to have a task with a definite deadline every week. It reduced the states of not knowing what to do with the time at hand. I had the pressure to deliver. It was also quite a joy in the beginning to see how I could interpret a quote and to try out different lettering styles. I say in the beginning because eventually my motivation started to dwindle. It became a struggle to come up with something new and not to fall into a certain stylistic routine. Same goes for the topics of my blog posts. It was hard to write about a certain topic from a different angle and not to repeat myself too often. In both areas I more or less succeeded.

And there were also other obligations creeping into my carefully arranged schedule. More often than I would have liked, I had to shift quotes around or look for a shorter one if I wanted to make the deadline in time. It was also a matter of being flexible. Which turns out worked quite well. I always made my deadline, even though the artwork was more simple and not as carefully rendered as others and the writing was shorter. The most important part for me in the end was making the deadline because I publically held myself accountable through social media. If it hasn’t been for that public announcement, I don’t know if I had made it all the way to the end.

Like life in general this yearlong project had it’s Ups and Downs. Despite the struggle at some points, I don’t want to miss this experience.

Here is what I’ve learned throughout the project:

  • It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just ship it at the deadline and see how it’s received.
  • Switching tools and media (analog and digital) keeps your work interesting
  • Setting a definite deadline decreases procrastination. At least most of the time.
  • Constant practice will improve your skills. In this case lettering as well as writing.

I would be lying if I said I was sad that the project ended. I really wasn’t. I was glad when I posted the last piece of artwork and writing for it. Lettering will still be part of my artistic journey but it’s time for new projects that have been waiting on the sidelines for quite a while, in some cases years.

So, onwards and upwards in 2017!

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