The last year has been horrendous but there have been highlights among the chaos. The online lettering community has been vibrant with fun and inspiring examples to keep us all going. A true highlight for me was coming across the Covid Calligraphy of our interviewee today, Katie from @LettersFromLangers. Packed full of wit and dripping with sarcasm, her lettering showcases a great sense of humour and some wonderful composition skills. So let's find out a little more.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Katie Langley aka Langers - it's a nickname that has stuck, hence my Instagram handle, @LettersFromLangers. I live along the south coast of England in Havant.
My love of pens and lettering comes from my dad. He started his professional career as a printer's apprentice back when they used type block (he has a fab collection of these!) and carried on in the world of advertising. My dad's always been into fonts and their structure and that rubbed off on me. My grandparents had a neighbour who was an artist and my mum also loves to sketch, so I've always been encouraged by them to try and I spent a lot of my childhood doodling my heart out.
How did you begin your lettering journey?
My step brother bought me a calligraphy fountain pen for my birthday a few years back. I wasn't really sure how to use it, so it sat quietly unloved for a while. Then a couple of years ago I got an Amy Latta hand-lettering book and my dad also booked me onto a Kirsten Burke workshop. I was hooked! It really helped me, as I was struggling with anxiety and my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and lettering has been a creative release ever since.
There's such a great sense of humour that comes through in your lettering. How does lettering help you deal with life?
Thanks! I have quite a dry sense of humour, leaning towards sarcastic, which I admit can get you in trouble! Lettering is a release and a way for me to express myself. In the past year, especially with my Covid Calligraphy, it's been a way of dealing with frustration and lightening the mood.
What advice would you give to beginners just starting in lettering?
Keep at it. Even now I get days when I feel I can't do it. Try not to compare yourselves to others (I know it's hard!). If you can, try to do a workshop, follow some tutorials online or just reach out to the calligraphy community on Insta - everyone's really friendly that I have come across.
Yes, quite often your normal handwriting will be a mess but your calligraphy beautiful. Oh and don't do what I did and buy all the pens! To start off, get yourself a nice pencil, rubber, Pentel Sign Brush pen (your choice of colour), a fine-liner and a beginner's pointed pen set, which usually has a small bottle of ink, a dip pen holder and a couple of nibs. I got carried away and now my other half sighs at all the pens everywhere!
Can you tell us a little about some of your favourite projects?
I love my Covid Calligraphy series - some look great, some look rushed (because they probably were) but they tell a story of what's been doing on in this crazy world and the annoyance of shopping in the supermarket.
Next up would be the first big lettering piece I did. I hand-lettered the lyrics to Toothpaste Kisses by The Maccaabees for my fiancé - it was meant to be the first dance song at our wedding but... Covid. We generally love the band though, and it just reminds us both of going to see them live.
Finally, the biggest piece I have done which is a bit of a mish mash is a blackboard for a former colleagues god daughter's christening. It was a real challenge plotting it out, making sure the spacing worked. Getting different styles of lettering in and making sure it was special for the recipient - my back was killing me by the time I'd finished it! It was definitely a labour of love.