type tuesday: The Sign Painter

Hooray! The Sign Painter project on Kickstarter has reached its goal and still has a few days left. I couldn't resist the $200 pledge level:

Your name, logo or design hand painted AND CUSTOM-DESIGNED BY CHES PERRY on an 18"x24" show-card plus a professional photo and video taken of your sign being lettered for however you wish to use it: website, print or to show your friends how awesome it is that you had your logo or design hand painted by a old time sign artist. Also includes the sign painting instructional DVD to learn how to sign paint, techniques and tricks (fall delivery date on DVD).

type tuesday: Sergey Shapiro

I wish I could do this!

and this:

(The work of Moscow-based designer Sergey Shapiro.)

Love Letters

I had a cold and was feeling run down, so I hadn't been downtown to my studio for a few days. When I opened my mailbox, it was overflowing with an amazing assortment of envelopes and small parcels. I instantly felt better!

Inside this beautifully addressed envelope with Australian postage was an actual love letter from Lee of bluebirdmill.blogspot.com. In addition to a gushing letter, Lee included some ephemera, an old map, and a photo of herself. I'm blushing!

Laura Schwammann decorated her envelope which contained a Valentine (which made me think of issue 11 with its themes of linocut/sharp and labour-intensive art-making and owl motif).

Christina Crook, one of our writers (most recently she wrote the feature about Angela Ritchie Ace Camps and Creative Retreats in the current issue #12) sent one of her simple and lovely greeting cards. Each contains a vintage embroidered patch. (They're available on her Etsy shop here. Please visit her shop to see better quality images—it's a great concept for a unique card.)

Mister Edwards sent a fun bag of candy and stickers. (Check out this Crap Book - that's right, no S on scrap!)

Janae Easton of Platypusfile sent a soft owl paperweight/beanbag and some prints of her artwork. Finley is enjoying playing with the little owl, but our dog Percy is awfully tempted, too!

And that's not all that was in this incredible mailbox haul! There's a new book by Gemma Correll, an activity journal to document What I Wore Today, a postcard from Eight Hour Day, and a letter from Carolee Wheeler with some tiny stamps and beautiful handwriting that needs further investigation. A publication from Grow Books entitled Pushie, Jr. And a postcard from Stephanie Levy.

Really, you've all spoiled me. I don't remember a February 14th when I had better Valentines than these. Thank you!!!

type tuesday: like, like, love by Iskra Johnson

click the image to go to the download pageThank you, Iskra, for sharing this fun (limited-time) download with us! You might remember Iskra Johnson's beautiful lettering as featured in issue #4. (Oh, to have handwriting moods and styles like hers!!!)

(Sorry, issue #4 is sold out.)

Musée des possibles

photos by Melissa Mongiat"A giant aquarium were you could swim and also see the swimmers from outside.""A forest of multicoloured balloons all year round, winter and summer."

Montréal, 30 May 2010: On a Sunday morning, the Museum of Possibilities (Musée des possibles) was created as an invitation for the public to take ownership of a new public space in the city’s Quartier des spectacles. People were asked to share what they would like to see, do, or who they would like to meet in this space—and together explore all possibilities. 

Read more incredibly interesting projects by the project conceptualizers and collaborators "Living in Our Time" here.

{discovered via Happiness Is...} (thanks, Erin, for the link that got me there)

type tuesday: inflated/deflated

I'm looking forward to featuring this project in more detail in issue #13!

type tuesday: handwritten by proxy

image by Paperfinger

If you're looking for a grand gesture on paper, this is it! Calligrapher extraordinaire Brynn Chernoff will transcribe your letter onto elegant Italian paper with a deckled edge.

alt: handwritten by you

The party table runner graphics were made by some of the bloggers that I know who attended the conference. Squarespace had provided their handwritten slogan as a starting point, so the intent of asking more people was to have more a diversity of voices represented. Thank you:

Eva Jorgensen / Sycamore Street Press

Lisa Congdon / A Collection a Day / Today is Going to be Awesome

Erin Loechner / Design for Mankind

Alyssa Yuhas  / We like We Love

Jessie Senese / Shop Sweet Lulu

Brooke Reynolds / Inchmark 

I asked them to just scribble the theme "handmade by you" on a piece of paper and make whatever doodles came to mind. Had I had more budget for digital printouts, I would have liked to use more of the graphics, but I settled on the various interpretations of the words, making a wallpaper design out of it.

alt: pen cast #3


Kickstarting Your Next Project


alt: pen cast #2


From Blog to Book


alt: pen cast #1

(evidence of my serious lack of penmanship!)

Are you at the Alt Summit and want to share your notes with UPPERCASE readers? Tweet a photo of your pages to @uppercasemag or email me a camera pic of your pages and I'll post them up!

Type Tuesday: James T. Edmondson

Type Tuesday: handwriting your email

Type Tuesday: Luca Barcellona

From Luca Barcellona's Flickr

Milan-based calligrapher Luca Barcellona.

Mary Kate McDevitt

Mary Kate McDevittI always love what Mary Kate McDevitt is up to. (Find out more about her in Work/Life 2).

Guest Post: The Right Pen

Pens to Improve Your Handwriting
by Lily Kim, JetPens 

Hasn’t it been everyone’s dream at some point to have beautiful handwriting, to have the gorgeous cursive font or print worthy enough to adorn the most elegant of correspondences or perhaps even wedding invitations?

Interestingly enough, the structure and form of your handwriting has a lot to do with the writing instrument you use. You may think that you are a lost cause for good penmanship, but the reality could just be that you haven’t found the right pen.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that handwriting can differ significantly depending on the type of pen used. Slippery ballpoint pens tend to exacerbate my messy handwriting, fine point gel pens lend a little more traction, slows down my writing and gives it better readability. Whether you’re a young child just embarking into the world of handwriting or a seasoned professional who has given up on a signature style, these "tips" could be just right for you.

First, what type of pen leads to what type of writing? If your font is very readable but you’d like to give it more form, I would recommend bold, inky pens. Such pens have broad tips that make lines smoother. The broad lines help cover subtle imperfections and give your handwriting more of a flow and room for flair.

My recommendations for a bold pen are anything above 0.7 mm. Some top picks are:

Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel Ink PensPilot Envelope Address Writing Gel Ink Pens

If, on the other hand, your writing weakness is legibility (i.e. readers confuse your writing w/ a doctor’s medical prescription), then what you need is a pen that gives you cleaner and more defined lines. Rather than bold pens, you probably should go for a finer point that helps make your letters more distinct (is that an “a” or a “d”?).

My recommendations for a fine point pen are anything below a 0.7 mm tip. Top picks are:

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Ink PensZebra Sarasa Gel Ink PensStaedtler Triplus Fineliner Marker Pens

Lastly, if you are fairly satisfied with your penmanship but desire a few additional trimmings to your writing flair, I recommend giving italic or calligraphy pens a try.

My my top picks for “finishing stroke” pens, with calligraphy courtesy Josh Scruggs, are:

Pilot Plumix Fountain PensSailor DE Brush Stroke Style Calligraphy Fountain Pens Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pens

Overall, a nice pen can be great motivation for improving penmanship. With a suitable pen in hand, you may find yourself always ready and eager to write down notes, giving yourself more opportunities to improve your writing ability. We at JetPens.com hope it will be “love... at first write”. 

Addressed, Beautifully

I received many nice greeting cards from UPPERCASE readers — thank you! Some were hand-painted, silkscreened, letterpressed, collaged... thank you for taking the time to send a card. I hope you'll forgive me for not sending a card, but in a few weeks you'll receive a brand new issue of UPPERCASE so you can see where my time was spent!

An absolute show-stopper of an envelope arrived. My photo can't do it justice (it's silver metallic paper with black ink calligraphy.)

Wow! Thank you, Micheline Courtemanche of Betty and Bing Letterpress Print Shop. I was so excited about the envelope that I photographed it first (and then forgot to take a picture of the card!) Michelle has some teaser images on her blog:

365 Days of Hand Lettering by Lisa Congdon

Day 1 of Lisa's new project

I really admire people who can dedicate themselves to a 365 (or 366 this year!) project. Lisa Congdon's 2010 A Collection a Day was certainly a wonderful example of how fulfilling and inspiring such an endeavour can be. I'm so proud of our book and will forever be grateful that Lisa allowed UPPERCASE to publish the project.

Lisa has just launched a new project: 365 Days of Hand Lettering:

Each day for 365 days for the year 2012 I will post an image of something I have hand-lettered: a letter of the alphabet, a word, a phrase, a quote, a name. Some of the lettering will be based on traditional forms of calligraphy or vintage lettering and some will be of my own design. I am taking a calligraphy class right now and will certainly incorporate much of what I learn and practice there. I will be mostly working with ink, nibs and brushes, but will occasionally use pens. Some of the designs will be quite simple and some more elaborate.

I'm sure Lisa's blog posts will be added inspiration to all of us working on improving our handwriting this year. 

A Collection a Day is available in the online shop. And it's on sale this week, you can save $10!

The Clean Slate

As the year starts to wind down, I start dreaming about all the things that I'd like to do in the following year. At that point, the new year exists in the future as an ideal, a fantasy... In my mind, I say, "In the new year, I'll have more time to do X, Y and Z. In the new year, I'll have systems A, B and C in place to ease my workload." It's a soothing thought to think that the new year will bring a fresh start, a clean slate. Especially at such a busy time for my business—with managing the surge in Christmas orders and subscriptions, there's also a magazine to edit and design and get to the printer before the holidays. 

This November, I thought I was on my way to getting the X, Y and Z and the A, B and C set up. After considerable thought, planning and diligence, I hired a full time employee. Despite best efforts by all concerned, the person just wasn't working out and I had to let them go (a few weeks before Christmas! I felt like such a Grinch!!) So rather than ending 2011 with some help and light at the end of the work tunnel, I was going solo once again: editing, designing, shipping, database entry, subscription management... The equivalent of at least two full time jobs in a part-time schedule (I stay at home with my toddler in the mornings). 

And so here is the first of January. (So soon! How did that happen?) The season of resolutions and best intentions. And now begins the really hard work: figuring out how to achieve the ideal. I suspect it is going to take the rest of 2012 to get there.

*   *   *


• improve my handwriting! I have so limited time that when I write anything by hand, my thoughts rush faster than I can write (emailing and typing on the keyboard are the culprits) and my scrawl is just awful. I resolve to make time to slow down, breathe, write and appreciate pen on paper. I will be posting handwritten blog posts as often as I can muster. I suspect that there are many of you who share my desire to improve your handwriting. I invite you to join me in pen posting! Leave a comment if you'd like to join me on this quest.

• more online content. I have no shortage of content to share, but the blog has necessarily had to be ignored at times. I'd like to get back into regular posting as well as sharing more behind the scenes of the magazine process and supplemental content to each new issue. (The bigger project here is a complete revamp of all of my online assets.)

...and of course, more great content for the magazine and future book projects to be announced! 

Happy new year to one and all.