Whitney Todd

Jitney's Journeys



A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

C L A S S   P R O J E C T

Quote: "A rising tide lifts all boats." - John F. Kennedy

Personal Meaning Behind the Quote: 'Picking the phrase or quote' was definitely the most difficult part of this challenge for me. It was so hard to narrow it down but I wanted to use a phrase that has encouraged me as a creative, in hopes that it will encourage all of you as well! 

I was sharing with my friend, Lauren, the other day about how I quickly plunge from inspired to discouraged when scrolling through my Instagram feed and Pinterest. At first, I feel like, "Yes! I can do this. I can create something wonderful too!" But then the disillusionment of, "No, I can't. Everyone is accomplishing so much more than me," sets in. Lauren quickly diffused this by sharing John F. Kennedy's quote: "A rising tide lifts all boats." Even though Kennedy was referring to the economy in this speech, one of the creatives she follows on IG shared the quote in a post and wrote about how this is the same effect for creatives. When one of us is successful, it's like a rising tide and it lifts us all to succeed as well. Instead of getting discouraged by others' success, we should be excited for them, knowing that it is a sweet tide of success, lifting up the world of creativity, knowing that s/he is making a way for us all, creating opportunity. 

Don't get me wrong, I still get discouraged every now and then, but that perspective changed a lot for me. When I see the teachers and students of Skillshare, I see this quote played into motion. So many have been willing to share skills that we wouldn't be able to have access to otherwise. Because of the variety of classes offered, we're able to create that tide, to build skill on top of skill, and to reach new levels of creativity we've only imagined. I've been deeply inspired by this community coupled with the encouragement and tips we're able to give one another. Thank you all for being that tide that lifts each of us to a new level! And thank you Bryn for being one of the leaders in this movement! 

*Disclaimer: I'm a stickler for consistency so I laid out the steps of this project in a way to stay cohesive with my other Skillshare projects. :) 

Warm Up:


Alphabet & Shapes: I bought a bunch of different nibs but found a sweet love for the Brausse 50. I've heard great things about the Rhodia paper so I bought the graph pad and blank pad when I first got into calligraphy. I've found that the graph Rhodia paper helps with practice. And I'm LOVING the sumi ink!! 


Practice Styles: Before I checked out any other projects, I tried three different basic script styles with the attribution in print. The first style has more of a whimsical flair with extended crossbars. The second style is taller, skinnier and more slanted (I used Hunt 22 for this nib because I love the contrast of thick and thin between the strokes). The third style is just kind of crazy, I guess. The crossbars are more extended and the x-height is taller than the other two styles. Now that I look at it from here, I wish that the spacing between to two lines were a little more spread out. (Part of the project is to incorporate calligraphy vocabulary so I tried with the above statements. Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of the terminology!) 


But then... // Pencil Sketches: After I calligraphed the above quotes, I scrolled through the other class projects and immediately became inspired by the illustrations and watercolor artwork that other students tied into their projects. So I went back to the drawing board and decided to include a fun graphic of a sailboat being lifted by the tide, with a dropcap on the sail, and a banner with 'lifts' in print. 


First Draft: Funny story (but not really)... This is my first version of the calligraphy / illustration. First, I tried to calligraph the waves as pretty embellishment swirls but they didn't turn out so well (time to take the next calligraphy class!). Instead, I decided to continue with the sketching theme and sketch the waves too - but that turned into a disaster. Then I touched the 's' to see if it was dry - bad mistake. Before I knew it, I smudged the 's', fixed it, then smudged 'boats'. Of course, I had no choice but to start over but it made for a nice learning experience. And you gotta love the huge random drop of ink above 'tide'. Whoops.


Steps & Workspace: Complete disclosure here, I have a fantastic little in-home studio with a giant built-in desk that has lots and lots of space to spread out. But my husband and I have been traveling this month so my studio has become mobile and I used the tiny desk in our hotel room for this project. That's the thing about calligraphy though - the supplies are super mobile and you can do it almost anywhere!  

1. The Gillott 303 nib was perfect for creating the thin, sketchy lines on the sailboat, banner and waves. I used a lightbox to trace my final piece onto blank Rhodia paper. Washi tape works wonders for taping the two pieces of paper to the lightbox: gentle enough to not rip the paper when removed but tough enough to secure the papers well. 

2. I used the Brause 50 nib for the calligraphy portion of this print. The upstrokes are thick enough to be visible and the downstrokes have a perfect depth to them. 


Final Draft: Here it is! To carry out the theme of the quote and Skillshare, I decided to tie in skills I've learned from other classes too (I hope that's okay) so I vectorized the quote and created a fun print to hang in my new studio! 




Hope you enjoyed! 


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