Why a Lettering Routine is not Enough

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On my last blog, I talked about why a routine is important. Now, I will share with you why that is also not enough. You may think that I am playing with you, but it is far from that.

A routine is definitely important. However, if you are just doing things blindly, a routine will not make you a better letterer.

Some background...

I am happy with my daily practice. I have been able to letter every day since last year, and to me, that's already a feat. Every night, I would sit down and draw whatever suited my fancy. I do this every single day. Whether it is song lyrics or words that suddenly popped into my head, I would just see where inspiration strike (if it does). I would also not limit myself to any style and theme. It's all good.

...Until I realized I am not growing fast enough. This year, my goal is to produce more and better lettering content.

So what is it that I am missing?

I've been racking my brain for an answer, when one day, I received the book I ordered online - Start with Why. I already read the book from the library last year, and since it resonated with me, I decided to get myself a copy. I didn't realize it at that time but reading it formed an inception in my mind. A few days after I got the package, a bell rang in my head and dang, I suddenly understood what I was missing all along: Purpose.

What do I mean by Purpose?

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Why am I lettering every day?
  • Who am I doing this for?
  • What am I trying to achieve with my daily content?

Routine is important, but it has to be purposeful.

Showing up daily with a goal in mind and a purposeful practice yields better results. My immediate goal is to improve, and eventually to teach. In order to grow, I have to devote deliberate practice daily. It is not enough that I produce something. I also need to spend time honing the basics and to spend ample effort to learn the theories behind the work.

Here are some things on my list:

  • Relearn the shapes of the serifs and sans-serifs
  • Where the light casts a shadow and how to properly recreate them
  • Learn Spencerian and how to write fluidly with flourishing
  • How banners wave with the wind and how to draw them
  • Vintage, illustrative and 3d lettering

To get to a style that I am comfortable with and that identifies with me, it is essential that each daily practice is devoted to one of the items above.

Adding purpose to my routine gave me more confidence, and helped me incorporate new styles in my work. It allowed me to focus on the key ingredients, and understand the intricacies of each element.

Through these thoughtful sessions, I continue to hone my skills and understand that like any art or craft, a lot of effort and thought goes into it. And because of that, I only love lettering more and more.

How are you planning to incorporate purpose into your work?