A Hand Lettering ‘Disaster’ – Don’t be Afraid…

So I’m still fairly new to the world of design and to be totally honest I’ve been desperately trying to avoid putting words into anything. Then came a Spoonflower contest for creating a 2018 Calendar Tea Towel and I had a choice… 1) AVOID THE CONTEST – my writing isn’t tidy or artistic and it will end in a total tea towel disaster, or 2) Suck it up and figure out how to write a few words in a way that doesn’t end in a total Tea Towel disaster.

The option I actually took was a mixture of the two (gave it go, ended in disaster). I bravely took hold of my £3 touch screen pen (worth every penny) and started writing my favourite kitchen related pun ‘Don’t be Afraid to Take Whisks’ on my iPad.

Here it is by the way, in case you don’t believe me when I say it was awful. I chose a grey background which I roughed up using a textured eraser (I like that effect and recommend trying it out) and a black calligraphy brush which I didn’t really change from the original settings. This was probably my tenth attempt.

I used a swirly curly kind of writing which I’ve seen on every type of word/pages software because it felt easier than trying to do something blocky and straight. I drew a couple of whisks and put them in some sort of order which I thought was thoughtful but wasn’t really. The calendar text was provided by Spoonflower so that helped a lot. Here’s the link if you’re after a PSD of a 2018 Calendar (ignore the missing days on mine – I accidentally scribbled over them and then erased them out of frustration – they are on the PSD).

Now I’m being completely honest and self aware when I say I jump into things with far more enthusiasm that skill. This is a perfect example of that. Aware that I have produced something from a tea towel designers worst nightmare, I changed the style to a blackboard style and tweaked the layout. I also tried several variations on Whisk related puns, like ‘whisky business’ and ‘whisk taker’.

Please note that at this point I had still done absolutely no research into lettering or composition. I hadn’t so much as looked on google at Calendar tea towels. ‘Clueless’ would be a nice way to put my level of brainpower.

I even gave up on kitchen utensils entirely at one point.

But then I watched en episode of The Great British Bake Off and went ‘back to the bake’. Temporarily forgetting that I’m doing this for a tea towel calendar contest.

I finally settled on the original ‘Don’t be Afraid to Take Whisks’ pun and submitted the one in the bottom image into the Spoonflower contest. I was well aware that I did not do the pun or the tea towel justice and made a promise to myself to do better next time…

And finally…

The Outcome

Even though it’s obviously not very good, the voters on the Spoonflower contest appreciated the pun. I had 5 comments complimenting it, 39 people had added it as their favourite, 107 votes and placed 110 out of 289 entries. I also discovered that I actually enjoyed putting words on to design and I have decided that I’m going to take it a bit more seriously and learn how to do hand lettering properly.

Next up: The next Tea Towel and hand lettering attempt – Baileys Hot Chocolate Recipe Tea Towel and a little tutorial on how to draw whipped cream. (Which is an essential thing to learn, really).

16 thoughts on “A Hand Lettering ‘Disaster’ – Don’t be Afraid…

    1. Thank you! I massively appreciate that, it was much harder than I expected… Yes it’s on my iPad again, on Paintstorm 🙂 Someone has recommended I try an app called Procreate so might give that a go!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I think it is fun… but hard, because while I am not an artist, would love to learn, I know from creating newsletters that it takes a lot of time with “deciding” on design, formatting, etc. Creating advertisements is hard work too – a lot of going back and forth with the client. Similar to your designs, giving the client “options” on what they might like. Being creative is fun! Thanks for the tips on the different programs you are using. I enjoy learning from your adventure! :).

        Liked by 1 person

  1. with far more enthusiasm that skill–we are soul sisters here! I love what you did here. My question is why do just draw you own letters. I love taking whisks and make a mess make it magnificent. Oh have you been on skillshare. There are tons of awesome classes where you can paint desserts and learn hand lettering. I also teach a few. Here’s the link to my page and projects. names are yasmina creates, james victore, jon contitno and so many more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was one of my first lettering attempts so I had noooo idea whatsoever. I can’t wait to learn some more things and then do this one again, to have a ‘before and after’ thing. Ooh yes I haven’t been on Skillshare yet but I’ve heard good things so will definitely check it out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi again Myra! I’m signing up for Skillshare but on on your comment you wrote “here’s the link” but there’s no link (doh!) – please could you reply with your link to your classes? I’d love to check them out! 😁😁

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! You know I’ve just discovered procreate – it’s awesome, I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet but I have high hopes 😍


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