Friday, August 12, 2016

Lettering Apprenticeship

People across the Blogosphere are devouring resources related to improving their handwriting and lettering in order to spruce up their art journal pages, planners, and personal correspondence.

As evidenced by over 200 pins on my "Lettering, Handwriting" board on Pinterest, I am one of those people in search of the perfect handwriting that has eluded me since kindergarten!

Recently, I sat down with a whole screen filled with Stephanie Ackerman's doodles, lettering, and artwork, and put myself into the position of apprentice: studying her style, copying her work, looking to internalize her approach.
My effort, emulating Stephanie's artwork; I included only the first part of the verse.
I love Stephanie's quirky, playful, casual style that incorporates cursive and print, capitals and lower case, colors and black & white.  Her work looks so spontaneous, but those arrangements of words and doodles must be well-planned.
I made slight changes to Stephanie's version, mainly because of the size of my sketchbook page.
I also love how Stephanie works with Bible verses, favorite quotations, and inspiring phrases in her artwork.  There are so many possibilities for creating encouraging artwork based on my own favorites!

I made three different drawings in my sketchbook, and then reduced them by 50% on the copier.  (Once I accidentally reduced the 50% drawings by 50%, and got tiny little artworks from them!)  I cut and pasted them onto one page, and then printed it out on sticker paper.
Next, I cut each of the little stickers for use in my planner.
A couple of them made their way into this week's planner spread:
I added some red marker for "pop" on this one.
This was one of the tiny ones, and got some decorative tape and doodling in order to stand out.
At first, I was embarrassed when my 7-year-old asked me, "Mom, why are you just copying from her work?" But I think that copying can be a valid step in the process of developing my artistic style.  Just like the apprentices of the Renaissance era would copy the masters and even add to their works, I see this stage of copying as one step towards developing content, style, and and approach of my own.

In an article I found entitled, "The Making of an Artist," the author writes of Renaissance apprentices:
"Pupils...then learned to draw, first by copying drawings made by their masters or other artists.  Drawing collections served not only as training aids for students but also as references for motifs that could be employed in new works...Young artists also learned from copying celebrated works that could be seen in their own cities--Michelangelo, for example, copied paintings by Giotto in Florence's church of Santa Croce--and they were encouraged to travel if they could, to Rome especially, to continue their visual education."
What do you think?  Shameless copying, or valid step in the learning process?

If Michelangelo himself employed this method for learning, I'm going to take my chances!

2 comments:

daisy said...

Definitely a valid step in learning. That's how your 7-year old learned to write her letters -- by copying what the teacher wrote. And how I learn new zentangle patterns. I'm reading about a shoemaker who copied until she was good enough to come up with her own designs. Viva Michelangelo!!

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