Writing on Weird Stuff: Hand-Lettering on Various Surfaces | Ashley Buzzy | Skillshare

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Writing on Weird Stuff: Hand-Lettering on Various Surfaces

teacher avatar Ashley Buzzy, calligrapher, printmaker, writer. basically, words

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

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    • 7.

      Now Go Explore!


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About This Class

Have you ever found yourself skimming through inspiration images, wondering how artists get their hand-lettering from paper to crazier things like wood signs, fabric banners and more!? In this class, you’ll learn how to use custom hand-lettering to write all over your world. You will learn how to use various writing materials to make effective and clear marks on lots of different surfaces like wood, stone, glass, fabric and even food!

The best part is that nothing fancy is required! Just your hands, a few writing materials and lots of things you may already have in your home or yard. Whether you are making objects to fill your home, give as gifts or sell as a business, the process is the same.

Students who practice hand-lettering will apply their skills and lettering  styles to non-paper objects that will be used for signage, place-settings and party favors. You don’t have to be a lettering pro to have fun with this - you will be learning to apply your own, unique lettering or illustration to different objects in order to beautify your homes, gifts and parties!

Meet Your Teacher

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Ashley Buzzy

calligrapher, printmaker, writer. basically, words


Ashley Buzzy McHugh is a calligrapher, printmaker and graphic designer based out of Atlanta, Georgia - but expect to find her elsewhere quite frequently. Known to most people as simply "Buzzy," she was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Atlanta. She completed her BFA at the University of Georgia in Graphic Design, with a unique emphasis on Fabric and Textiles. After college she married Collin McHugh, a professional baseball player, and they have spent the years since visiting the famous (and not so famous) baseball cities of America. She now splits time between her home and studio in Atlanta and Collin's baseball career with the Houston Astros.

Ashley is passionate about the entire process of design: from the first spark of an idea to the intricate process of making it come t... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi. My name is Ashley Buzzy McCue And I'm a calligrapher and printmaker based in Atlanta, Georgia. Today we're in my studio and you can see the letter presses behind me, but we're actually going to be talking about hand lettering. This class is for people who have started practicing he and laddering but don't really know how to take the step. Moving from sketches two pieces that you hand letter on, things that aren't made of paper. I know. Working in the wedding industry, I get requests to do hand lettering on things that are not made of paper all the time. My main goal for this class is to help you take some things that are probably already lying around your house and some basic art supplies that you probably already have and show you how to get started writing on things that are not made of paper. I'm gonna show you what I pulled from around my house is video. I've got an old picture frame. I've got a stone from my yard. I grab some food from the kitchen. I've got lemons and a banana. Have this old planter that I put herbs in that I just emptied out. I've got this scrap of fabric from a project, and I've got this piece of tile from a renovation, just a bunch of leftover stuff. This is all free, which means that there's no pressure to make it perfect. If I mess up on this piece of rock, I could just throw it back outside and grab another one. So that's what I want you to collect for this class. Just crab stuff that's lying around your health. It's not precious, and then you don't have to worry about making it perfect. As far as things that I've grabbed from my art supply kit, I've got paint pens, a couple of brushes, some paint the paint that I grabbed his wash. It's kind of like water color, but more opaque, and I have a lot of wash because that's what I use for calligraphy. So that's what I used as faras things that I'm gonna have that aren't art supplies, but they're just useful tohave. I would suggest getting a cup of water, a pencil. I haven't Exacto knife, any racer. Some Scotch tape will be really helpful. I also grabbed a pad of layout bond layout bond is a kind of paper that you can get the art supply store. It's a little thinner than regular paper, but it's thicker than tracing paper and a semi transparent. That's just what I love to sketch on. You probably already have something you've been working on calligraphy and hand lettering, and the last thing that's gonna be super helpful is some paper towels. So I'm going to show you how to write on five different types of materials wood, glass, stone, fabric and food. Let's get started. 2. Wood: first, we're going to start writing on wood. This is the planter that I had some herbs growing in, and I've decided that I want to go ahead and grow some new orbs. I think I want to plant mint in here. But before I do that, I'd love to write on this box and just write. The word meant just was acute decoration. So I could do this with just chalk. But I would like for it to be more permanent, so I'm going to do it with paint First, I'm going to start by drawing out a sketch of what I want my box to say. So I'm just gonna trace this box. So I know what size just a rough trays it's not, doesn't have to be perfect. And then I'm just gonna write The word meant the way that I wanted to show up on my box. Now I'm going, Teoh, take this sheet, rip it off, and I'm gonna take this piece of chalk and just lightly go over the back side of my sheet with the talk, blow away the Xs and then I'm gonna take my ruler and tear away and edge just so I know where to line it up with my box. Now we'll grab that can all line it up on the side and I'm just gonna quickly and lightly take my pencil and trace back over the lettering. And now I've got a faint chalk outline of the lettering that I wanted to use on my box. This technique is called a graphite transfer. Obviously, you can do it with graphite pencil, but because I was working on this kind of medium toned would I decided that I wanted to use chalk so that it would be easier to see if I used pencil would probably be the exact same color is the wood. So now that I've got my lettering on my box, I'll just grab my paintbrush and my white wash and trace over a couple things to keep in mind with this. Always go for a lighter touch first and a little bit of paint because you can always go back and sicking it up. But you can't really go backwards. So if you accidentally put a ton of paint on your paintbrush and glob this huge, um, huddle on your would, then obviously you're have a hard time getting rid of that. So I'm just gonna go through this and paint over the guideline that I gave myself. And as I get my original lines down, I'll just come back and thicken them to kind of mimic the fix and thins of calligraphy. Also, you'll see that because of the texture of the wood and getting some of that grain showing through my paint actually really like that. I feel like it looks more rustic. It looks good, but obviously you could fix that by finishing your lettering, letting it dry and then coming back over and giving it a second coat. Also, you don't have to do a transfer if you just want to go ahead and freehand it, go for it. You can freehand with a chalk pencil to put some lines down. Or you could just go right for the brush paint on the wood. Although you would be very brave, much braver than me. But this chalk transfer is so easy that I don't see any reason to not go ahead and take that step and just make sure that you know where you're going. I'm gonna finish that up, but we're gonna move on to the next material 3. Glass: the next material. We're gonna work on his glass. I've got this old picture frame, and I'm just gonna go ahead and set this aside while I sketch out what I wanted to say. I think I'm just going to put, um, like, a fun watercolor wash that I'm gonna make inside this frame. So I just wanted to say something fun. It's gonna be like an art piece. So I think I'm just here. I will trace the dimension of my friend. And I'm just going Teoh, like, roughly guess, helping the glasses inside there. Obviously, um, this doesn't have to be perfect. And I like a little bit of white space, so I know that I'm just gonna have my lettering take up that middle space, which is definitely gonna fit in there. So what I want this to say is rest. So I'm gonna go ahead and write that word the way I want it to appear and my friend and I think I'll make like, a watercolor that reminds me of the ocean or something. And that way it will make sense Why it says rest. So it's just a rough sketch. I'm gonna go ahead and take this sheet out and open up, my friend. The best thing about writing on glass is that it's clear. So instead of having to do any sort of fancy transfer, you just lay your piece of glass over your sketch and trace from that. If you wanted to, you could put a little bit of tape down to secure it, especially if this was more elaborate. Um, if I felt like it was really important that it not move or jiggle, I would do that. But this is a pretty short word, because last time we used the paint brush and wash. This time I'm just gonna use a paint pen. Obviously, they're interchangeable. I could use the paint brush and wash on this as well. But I just wanted to show you another material. I'm gonna use my paper tell to wipe this down just in case it's got going It and I'm just going to go over my sketch and trace it and what I like to do, especially when I'm writing in white and I've got white paper underneath. It's to just go ahead and put down my bass lines and then remove that sheet of paper and then work on a darker surface. So now I can just go over and refine, similar to how I did with the paintbrush. I could go back and create vixen thins to kind of mimic. Um, clicker fee could go for just a completely different style together. I mean, obviously, this doesn't have to be clear if you could do this in black letters, or you could print out a typeface from your computer and just go ahead and trace that which is a great thing to do if you don't feel like you love your calligraphy or your hand lettering yet just go ahead and use a font. One of the tips for these paint pens is that it's easier to go back when the first layer that she put down is dry, so the paint will stay kind of tacky on the surface of the glass for a minute or two. And then when you go back over, you'll get this kind of streaky appearance. You see how I'm doing there, but this part of the tea is completely dry, so I can go back over and add a second coat of paint with my pay pen. That's a little easier. So I'm gonna go ahead, let this dry, finish my second coat, and then we're gonna move on to the next material. 4. Stone: our next material that we're gonna use a stone. I have the stone that was left over from landscaping in our yard, and so I just grabbed one. Obviously, if I mess up on the stone, there are probably, like, 50 more back in my yard. And so I could just toss this one back out there and pick up another one. I'm going to go back to the brush and paint just because we just use the paint pen. But obviously you could use a paint pen on this too. I think people prefer paint, pens or brush kind of based on how their lettering looks and how they feel. I think that that's a preference thing. Not necessarily one is better than the other. So I'm just gonna switch it up for this instead of doing any sort of transferring. Just gonna take my pencil and sketch directly on the stone. Um and I think I'm just gonna put this on my porch like next Teoh a potted plant. So I just wanted to say hello kind of welcome guests to my house. So I'm going to sketch that word on this stone and then kind of prop it up. And now that I've put down my letter in, I'm just gonna grab my paintbrush, then start to paint on this stone. Same thing applies that applied on the would. You obviously want to start with less and then build up your line, obviously, because it's hard to go backwards. But like I said in the introduction, these air all basically free things that I found around my house and in my yard. So nothing is super precious. And when you take this class and want to do some examples of your own, be sure to pick things at the beginning that you really don't care if you mess up and then you can have all kinds of fun experimenting and seeing what you like doing actually save the cross for a minute. So I'll just keep painting on this stone to make it say hello, and we'll move on to the next material 5. Fabric: in this chapter, we're going to talk about writing on fabric. I've gotta scrap piece of fabric here from an old project. It's a pretty high quality linen, so it's got a really nice we That's a good quality. The first thing that I'm going to do is take a little scrap piece of this fabric and test my paint on it. This is really important because you just don't know how your pain is going to react to the fabric that you're using the specific fabric. And so you want to take a little piece and just see if you experience a lot of bleeding. If you've got a lot of pain coming through the back side, if it's got an open we've, you might want to put something down underneath your fabric to protect your work surface. This looks pretty good. It's nice and solid. So now I'm going to cut out a piece of my fabric, and the first thing I'm gonna do is tape it down to my work. Surface. Fabric is really soft and kind of flimsy, and so I don't want it to move around while I'm working on it, a huge reason why I used this linen or something. I get asked to do a lot of two Dio place cards, and so I'm going to take this linen down and write a name on it. And then when I'm done and it's dry, I'll cut around it. Um, I know that I want my final piece to be about business card size, and so I'm gonna mentally kind of figure out how big my lettering should be. And then I'll take my pencil on, kind of go around the outside of where I would like to cut, just to make sure that I don't go out of bounds. This is a little bit bigger than I want it to be, but I just want a guide, just like I did with the other materials. I'm gonna go ahead and take my brush, and I'll start writing going thin and soft at first, and then I can come back after I got my first lines down and thicken up a couple times. I've written on this linen to make Putin ear tags, Um, which is not a thing that's useful, but it looks really good in pictures. So when you're getting married, Deacon hidden this little piece of linen to the groom's boot near take a picture of it. I've got this nice steel blue paint that I'm using. A great thing about working with quash is that you could mix it to literally any color you want. So one thing to keep in mind when you're gonna be writing on weird materials. If you feel more comfortable using a paint pen, that's totally fine. But you will have to keep in mind that you'll be restricted to the colors that you can buy a paint pen in. That's something I have gotten myself into a pickle about before because I decided I wanted to do something and maybe this color blue and I really wanted to use a paint 10. But then I went to the art supply store and realized, Oh, they will make paint cans in that color so I had to go and do it with a brush. We just totally fine. But just depending on the project, it can get pretty tedious to use a brush like if you're gonna be writing on something really huge, it could be nice to use those big fat chalk markers to cover more ground. I'll just go ahead and finish up this and then I'll cut it out of the fabric and we'll start working on our last material, which is food. 6. Food: the last thing will be writing on Tadeusz food. I grab this lemon from my kitchen, but she could write on an apple. A pear. I've even written on eggs before. Just make sure that you hard boil and cool them first. The thing that we're gonna do is basically the same as what we've been doing on all the other surfaces there just a few things to keep in mind. The first is that most food skins are Rhines are going to be water resistant. So the paint that I've been using wash I've been mixing with water to dilute it a little bit. That is not gonna work here because the surface of these fruits is water resistant. It's going to resist the water in that gua sha little bubble up and not soak in. So when you're writing on food, probably the better thing to do is to use one of the oil based paint pens, or in this case, I'm just going to use a Sharpie. The second thing to keep in mind is that this fruit is gonna roll around while I try to write on it. So a simple solution is to just grab a roll of washi tape and go ahead and set your fruit on the washing tape, and that will stabilize it. Usually when I'm writing on food, it's because, um, I got an order for a dinner party or wedding reception where they want to use the fruit instead of place cards for people's place settings. So I'm going to write a name on this. One thing to keep in mind when you're writing on the fruit is obviously it's round, and so it's a little bit harder to get your bearings. So one thing I like to think about is to just take it one letter at a time. I try not to think about writing the whole word. I just want to get through each letter individually. Another thing that can be really, really helpful is to have something to prop up your hand. You know, since your arms flat on the table and you're writing on something that's so much higher, it gets so much easier to write. If you lean your hand on something else to kind of bring it up to the same level for this, I'm going to go ahead and grab that stone I wrote on earlier, and I'm gonna rest my palm on the stone, which is gonna give me a lot more leverage when I'm writing on something tall like this. So now that I've got my basic shape down, I'll go back and refine and thicken up my lines. The same thing applies here. Um, it's much easier to thicken your lines and right over top of them if you let the first ones dry. Um, it's also great to have a scratch sheet of paper nearby to just scribble get the ink to flow. A lot of times that's fruit, especially the lemon is gonna have oil on its skin. That's gonna stop up the flow of your ink. And so I like to have a scratch sheet close by to just rub. That will often restart, so I'll finish writing on this and then next we're just going to take a look at everything in its finished state. We're going to talk about what else you can do with these techniques 7. Now Go Explore!: Now we've gone through all the chapters writing on these different materials, and I know that we left things kind of halfway for the sake of time. So I wanted to go ahead and show you how everything turned out. Here we have everything I started you could see I finished the stone. Here's the lemon that we worked on. But I also wrote on this banana if you were gonna have a fun luau party, tropical party, the watercolor wash in my frame so that she could really see the lettering that I did on that glass. And I also grabbed a cocktail glass and wrote on it with a black paint pen. Just those cheers as faras permanence. Whenever you're writing on glasses like this, or a lot of times you right on ceramic mugs, there are ways that you conceal, it said. It's more permanent, but you really don't ever want to put it in the dishwasher. Your artwork really will come off for these, especially for like, mugs and cups like to just go ahead and write on ones that I'm getting that using for decoration. Like if I was gonna make one of them a pen cup in my office or I was gonna put bar tools on it for my bar card. That's probably how I would use this. I went ahead and finished the lettering on my planter, and that will be super permanent. I could go ahead and put this outside. I could water my plan. It could rain. And this isn't going anywhere as far as the food. Um, the lettering on the food is also as permanent as the food is. So once this food starts to get funky, you should probably just start away. I also as Faras would got a little cheese board and on one side of the board, I took gold paint and I wrote the word gather That'll be cute just to hang up in my kitchen . Of course, if I wanted to actually put cheese on this cheese board, I would probably flip it over and use the other side. And then whenever I'm washing this, I want to go ahead and wash hand wash on one side so that I don't wash off my paint. This is my gold watch, so it probably shouldn't be going anywhere if it gets wet. But I probably don't want to eat off of it. I'm and then we've got our little linen tag here with our blue lettering that we did with the brush. Beyond that, I just want to see what you guys are working on. Don't hesitate to grab something that Langer in your house may be in the trash pile or the goodwill pile and see if you can give it a new life with your lettering. And above all, just share with us what you're working on. Make sure to tag me and so on. Social media at the handle at a are busy. I would love to see what you're working on And be sure to share some of your projects here with your class. Thanks so much.