Make No More Excuses in 2015

So it’s a new year, but I decided to wait to do this piece until we were a little bit of the way into it so that it didn’t come of as a New Year’s Resolution. It’s pretty easy to make excuses for why we don’t do things. Sometimes it’s things we might even want to do, but it’s hard to motivate ourselves to do, and instead we end up mindlessly consuming media instead of doing anything productive. It’s what our brains seems to desire, but not what they need. The virtual equivalent of junk food, so to speak.

Make No More Excuses in 2015

So, this year, I’m only going to make one more excuse, and then after that, no more. So what’s my excuse? “Sorry, I have to stick to my plans.”  My excuse is to keep to my commitments. After all, what’s more fulfilling than achieving things?

Incidentally, this piece was also a little experiment for me to see how I have progressed since I started lettering. When I first gave it a go, I did a piece a day for a week. To measure up to what I came up with in that week, I decided to do this piece in a day, too. Starting from scratch with the phrase “No Excuses” I sketched out several designs before I found that I preferred having something a bit longer, and lengthened the phrase. From then, I moved onto sketching the piece out at full size and inked it all today!

It’s Never Too Late to Start

It’s been an interesting week for me. Coming back home from visiting family in another country was going to be fine, but unfortunately the trip back was interrupted by some surprise friends in the form of kidney stones and a cold. In addition to that, my wife suddenly had a new job start, all of which meant that I didn’t get round to doing a piece for this Monday’s blog post. So I could have though it no big deal, and just put it off until next week, but I’ve had a piece that I wanted to do for a while now on the back burner that fit what was going on quite well.

It's Never Too Late to Start

It’s never too late to start. Well, for me, I started pretty late. Past the deadline, in fact. But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t get done. Sometimes it’s too easy to fall into an all-or-nothing mindset where we think that if we slip up or miss something once then there’s no point carrying on. This can often lead to us abandoning the things we had previously told ourselves we would do, whether it be working hard, exercising, or sticking to resolutions. How many people make resolutions each year only to end up not sticking with them? Probably most. And how many of those failed attempts begin to fail right before we give up entirely? I’d say probably most again.

So this piece is me saying that even if I’m late I’m going to keep doing it. I won’t give up just because I hit a bump in the road. Sometimes starting is all you need to do to be able to keep going and get something done. And it’s never too late to start.

Lift Up Your Hearts

Following on from last week, this week has seen a lot of broad nibbed calligraphy practice, which means burning through paper at an alarming rate! The good news is that I bought 20 nice A5 Rhodia notebooks a few weeks ago, half of them with a dot-grid pattern and the other half plain. The dot grid is great for sketching out ideas without having to worry about marking out boundaries and guidelines; unfortunately, the spacing between the dots don’t quite match the width of any of the broad nibbed pens I bought, so it doesn’t help too much with calligraphy practice.

Lift Up Your Hearts

This piece is the first in a two (maybe three) part series that I’m going to do. The plan is to have them structurally as similar as possible. This one is half of a sentence spoken by Winston Churchill on June 12, 1941 in his speech to the Allied Delegates. I first heard it when it gained some popularity due to being auto tuned into a funny little song, but the meaning of the message stuck with me. The full phrase is “Lift up your hearts; all will come right.” It’s then followed with “Out of the depths of sorrow and of sacrifice will be born again the glory of mankind.” It’s stirring to think of the context in which those words were spoken. The Second World War had been going for two years, and would continue for another four. Knowing what we do now lends a feeling of gravity to the words, but I feel it’s a message that holds meaning in many contexts.

Here’s a shot that is a little closer and shows the banner and the Tuscan style lettering of the word “your”.

Lift Up Your Hearts Detail

The piece has quite bold and simple shapes on the top and bottom, so I kept the banner from being too detailed so that it doesn’t distract from other elements, whereas usually I like to include a bit more detail. The main reason I’m keeping it as simple as it is, however, is that for it to work side by side with the next piece in the series, being too detailed could make the composition look too busy. I may make a 3rd piece with the phrase “Out of the depths of sorrow and of sacrifice will be born again again the glory of mankind,” which would be a wider piece to fit beneath the first two above.


Days! Weeks! Days of the week! I started off idly sketching the word Monday and had the idea for the series. Well, 7 weeks later and it’s finished. Here’s the last one:


Over the course of the weeks, (or the week,) we’ve had brush style, Gothic, typography, flourishes, graffiti, stippling, even an ambigram. My challenge was to create 7 pieces that were as different from each other as possible. The goal was to expand my horizons, learn how to do new things, and explore styles that weren’t just replicas of what I had done in the past. It was tough finding a style for each piece that set it apart from the others, especially towards the end. With this piece, I had exhausted the styles that I was used to doing, which eventually gave me the idea to make something that looked more like a poster. The main difference is that this piece has a lot more non-lettering elements to it. I could have had it with the word just as it is, but seeing as so many lettering pieces are simply the words sitting stark and bare, I wanted to embrace the challenge of deviation from things that are too familiar.

One of the results of having such a detailed piece is that I under estimated the amount of time it took to complete it, meaning I’m a little late in posting it, as it’s just past midnight. Next week, I have some client projects to get working on, so I will either upload some progress, or finished shots of them, or I will get back to doing some pieces that aren’t just single words, like this series has been. Come back and check it out!

Just in case you missed any of the other Days of the Week, here are the rest: