DIY





Learning Calligraphy: The Value of Hand Lettering

If you have steady hands, a good eye for proportion, and an appreciation for visual aesthetics, learning calligraphy or hand lettering could be personally rewarding and possibly even financially rewarding.

| November/December 1973

Hand-lettering is easy to learn, worth money ...and takes us back a little way toward the days when folks took pride in the graphic arts. Not that modern printing doesn't have its place, mind you (I'd hate to copy whole books by hand as the medieval monks did), but there's something cold about a graduation certificate with your name done in sloppy typing or stark computer printout. Look at your own collection of honors and you'll see what I mean.

You're not the only one who finds mechanized testimonials unsatisfying, either. Schools, honorary and social fraternities and sororities, church groups, social or civic clubs—anyone who hands out elaborate certificates—wants to make them as impressive as possible...and that's where you come in.

All you need to become a hand-lettering specialist sought after by organizations and printers alike is a steady hand, a slight inclination to the artistic, and some routine self-discipline. If you fit that description, you can earn hundreds of spare dollars pleasantly, at home, in your own time.

I got my own start in the business as an art student at West Virginia University, when a friend rushed up to me in a frenzy. "Know anybody who can do Old English lettering?" he panted. "We've got to have 70 names put on certificates by next week and the printer can't make the deadline."



"Yes," I said, "me! I'll do it for a quarter a name." Much relieved, my friend agreed to the rate (about half the printer's fee) and handed me 75 forms. (I thought I'd need a few extra, since—to tell the truth—I had only a general idea of what Old English Gothic looked like and had never lettered at all except back in high school, when I was the only girl in my favorite course...mechanical drawing.)

The following week was a hard one, but the concentrated work paid off. Over the next few years countless organizations—on and off campus—approached me with lettering jobs, and I was launched in a fascinating and profitable sideline.

peeplesshannon
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peeplesshannon
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