Sharing your hand lettering work might be something you’re already doing. It might be something you’re totally scared of doing. Either way whether you’re sharing your work or not, you may be unaware of the benefits.
If you’re regularly sharing your work on something like Instagram or Pinterest even on a blog, over time you’ll be able to look back over your work, and easily reflect upon it. You might start to notice patterns in your style of working, which can help you to progress.
The main thing you should notice though, if you have been practicing often enough, is improvement. When I first got my dog he was a four month old puppy, he’s now two. He doesn’t look like he’s grown a lot to me as he’s always been small. It’s not until I look back at photos of him when he was still a puppy, that I can really appreciate how much he’s grown. As it was such a gradual process, it wasn’t easy to spot the subtle differences from day to day. This applies to your lettering work too, if you don’t have evidence of your earlier work, you might not notice your improvements.
Start sharing your work as early on into your lettering journey as possible, so you can make personal reflection and evaluation.
Sharing your work can get you feedback. Sometimes the feedback might come in the form of a few hearts or likes. It might however come in the form of comments. When people comment on your work, more often than not they will be positive. Occasionally though they might be negative.
Negative comments aren’t bad though. They can allow you to make improvements, and even help you to notice areas of weakness that you weren’t aware of. If somebody just comments ‘This is rubbish’, I’d recommend ignoring it or anything similar to it. Any comment that doesn’t offer a constructive response isn’t worth paying attention to. ‘This is rubbish, your letters look so squashed’, is a different matter. It’s telling you that maybe there is an issue with your letter sizes or spacing. Have a look at your work and think ‘is there anything I can change about my letter sizing or spacing?’ There might be some tweaks you can make, or there may be nothing that needs changing.
Dealing with negative feedback is always difficult as it’s hard to not take things personally. Just do the best you can to grow from it as an artist and as a person.
One thing you might start to notice from sharing your work and getting comments, is that people will also start following you or interacting with you. It’s always nice to build a group of friends within the lettering world. They can become people that share tips with you, opportunities with you, and can give you good honest feedback when you need it. As you grow as a letterer you’ll find that you can give back to others in the same ways too.
Not only can you build relationships through sharing your work, you can sometimes end up making professional connections too. Companies will often look online for artists to work with on projects, they may just come across all your work that you’ve been sharing!
Aside from allowing reflection, gaining feedback and creating relationships, sharing your work can also hold you accountable. Often taking those first brave steps in putting your work out there for the first few times, will be one of the most difficult hurdles you pass. Once you start sharing though, you’ll often find just by starting you’ll want to keep doing it. Sharing can also encourage you to practice more. You’ll want to practice in order to create more work that you can then share on your accounts.
If you do find yourself struggling to create what you feel is enough work to share, there are projects that you can participate in that can help you. There’s #The100DayProject where you choose something to repeat for 100 days. So that could be 100 days of lettering different phrases in different styles. It could be 100 days of lettering the same phrase to show how varied lettering can be. Whatever you choose though it will definitely get you into the habit of sharing! There are also smaller scale challenges around like the #letterit challenge by Jenny Highsmith. Each month she posts a list of phrases that you can letter then share. You could join in for just a month, or many months.
I’m now going to hold myself accountable. I’ve been doing lettering practice but I haven’t been sharing much in the way of my work. I always share new Lettering Tutorial articles when they are available, but haven’t been good at sharing my own work. That’s now going to change. I’ve created a personal Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest account to start sharing my lettering work on. They’re all a bit bare at the moment but follow along to see my lettering work develop.
Twitter – twitter.com/tamlve
Instagram – instagram.com/tamlve
Pinterest – pinterest.com/tamlve
I’ll be adding some of my practice work to the Lettering Tutorial social media accounts too, but my personal accounts are good to follow if you just want to see lettering work! Now you know that these accounts are there it should help encourage me to share more often.
The only reason for not sharing your work, is if your lettering is just for you and very personal. For example, your lettering is the equivalent of keeping a diary. Sometimes you’ll still want to share your work even under these circumstances, but this is the only occasion I can think of where sharing might not be relevant.
If you haven’t already, START SHARING!