Welcome back to Letters by Lydia! Hopefully everyone was able to stay safe and warm in the snow, or maybe even go out and build a snowman 🙂
Today I want to talk about all the times–and trust me, there are many–that lettering ideas and techniques don’t work out. A lot of times in the art community, especially on social media, we only see the work that people are super proud of: work that’s polished, high quality, creative, unique, and so on. Because of this, it can be really easy to fall into the trap of feeling like your work isn’t good enough, or that everyone else is much more talented. That said, I have noticed lately that people on social media seem to be getting a little more vocal about the importance of the process. Bad art is just as important as good art, because it helps you learn and grow as an artist. If your art was perfect all the time, there would be no room for experimentation, doodling, mistakes, and most importantly, fun!
I’m sure none of this is news to most of you, but I wanted to share an example of some lettering I did today that I couldn’t quite figure out. I wanted to try a new lettering style where it looks like letters someone wrote with their finger in the snow, which ended up being much harder than I anticipated.
After consulting an overwhelming number of google images, my first attempt landed me with this:
When I first did this, I wasn’t in love with, but with some distance I can honestly say this might’ve been my best attempt. I chalk it up to beginner’s luck, though, because I could not for the life of me produce this kind of style again. In hindsight, I think the key was only using two colors, because this was the only attempt where I limited my color palette that much.
My next attempt I’m actually super proud of and think looks pretty realistic. The issue? It took forever, so it didn’t feel reasonable to try and do a whole word in this style. My original idea was also to have this as a type of style, not a kind of one-time piece that would be difficult to recreate. In any case, this is what I ended up with here:
After this, I started trying whole words, and played around with using the colors in different ways, different textures, and different thicknesses. I don’t dislike any of these, but I don’t think any of them read quite as I wanted them to–they look like pretty snow-themed pieces, but not necessarily like someone was writing in the snow, unless you’re looking at them with that style in mind.
Of course, in this example of things not working out, I still generally liked the end results, they just weren’t what I had in mind originally. That said, I can’t tell you the number of times I try things that end up looking absolutely terrible, and I can definitely start sharing that stuff too! But I thought it was important to show that there’s also this middle ground where the work you produce is still good, it just doesn’t align with the vision you had, because this also allows for artistic experimentation and learning new styles and techniques.
This is a style I plan to experiment with a bit more and see if it’s something I can refine, but even if it isn’t, I had fun playing around with something new!
I hope you enjoyed reading, and stay safe out there in the snow!