Friday, December 23, 2016

Yet another hot mess for Miss Cathy

I have some kind of mental block with Cathy's envelopes. I keep making hot messes and then I owe her a make-up and then I make another hot mess. I wonder if there are any therapists who could analyze and get to the bottom of this. It's stressing me.

The only think I like about this is where I put her last name.

Above written many weeks ago.
Below written yesterday.

Rehj left this comment back on the Dec 19th post. We have a conversation going in the comment section - but I am going to bump it to the daily post because it might help others.

Rehj says: Thank you for the suggestions! My first two letters or so turn out great, then things go downhill from there - I think it is lack of planning on my part or something. I'm so used to slapping it on the computer screen then rearranging and fitting it just right - till it all seems so backwards to me to have to pre-plan! LOL

My suggestion was to turn the paper in different directions which is helpful. I didn't say anything about planning, and I'm glad Rehj already knew that was part of the problem. One of the most frequent questions asked of calligraphers is how we can write out whole pages of text or a poem or just a few lines and not make mistakes. The answer is very easy. Pencil. All you have to do is pencil in the words and then rewrite what is already written. Or, even easier is working on a light table and tracing over a perfectly proofed version of the artwork.

So, yes, Rehj, find yourself a pencil and do a rough sketch of the basic skeleton of what you want to write. Somewhere in the 3,000 posts I think I have a demo on how to fit long names on envelopes. I'll either find it or do it again. But I assure you that when I want something to turn out, I pencil it first. Some names that I have written numerous times are easy and I can just wing it. I often think I can do Phillip or Finnbadger - without penciling. Nope. Those are two names that I always need to pencil.
I guess if it is a very flush left based design and I don't care how much space is on the right, I would not pencil. But to get names of that length balanced on the envelope - it takes some planning.

If you look at the hot-mess-Cathy, I think you can see that the T is too wide on the right and the Y is too narrow. The lack of planning has contributed to the hotness of the mess. And the gold gel pen was acting up, so I had to add dots and for some reason they bother me.

If you have a name with 5 letters, it is fun to write the middle one in the middle and then add the other 2 on each end. I - M and W require some adjusting in spacing. The rest of the letters can be fairly equal in size - if you are doing fun, fast lettering.


  1. Very helpful explanation Jean. Centering an address almost always leads to swearing for me. I've learned to love left margins, a solution that hasn't expanded my centering ability but does reduce profanity.

  2. yup - centering usually frustrates me at that level. but, when i know i want something centered and have an extra 30 seconds to leisurely pencil the address on scratch paper - then i can just use that for a guide line and it comes out beautifully. it's finding those 30 seconds that is the challenge.