Creative Conversations – Teresa Watts

Creative conversations: Teresa Watts

It’s always very interesting to sit back and watch the artistic growth of someone. That sounds a little creepy but I promise it’s not. Today’s CC guest, Teresa Watts, is a fellow Perthite who I’ve been following on social media for ages. She’s an accomplished graphic and digital designer but she recently turned her hand to calligraphy, brush lettering and hand lettering. And WOW what talent she has!

Here’s what Teresa has to say about incorporating hand lettering into designs. “Hand-drawn elements and typography give a tactile element to an otherwise clean and simple design, grounding it in the real world where ink splatters sometimes happen and not every ‘e’ looks the exactly same,” she says. “The attention to detail and organic feel can be completely tailored to speak to your target audience, imbuing your brand message with visual interest and authenticity.”

Read on to learn more about Teresa’s creative process.

What’s on your desk at the moment?
A million pieces of paper with ink and painted lettering on them. Ink splatters. A collection of pens and brushes. My desk is always a bit of a mess, except when I have to clear a space to take photos and pretend I’m less messy than I am.

Do you have peers who inspire you? Who are they and how do they inspire you?
I’m really inspired by printmaking artists, especially the team at Beau Est Mien and Ann from the Whitman Park Print Shop. Traditional printmaking techniques are so fun, tactile and messy, and always add unique texture to type and lettering. I like seeing how creative they get with it, and their efforts to share their knowledge with the community.

What project/design/book/etc that you created are you most proud of?
I recently made a zine for learning brush pen calligraphy, which I use in my lettering workshops. Everything is hand written/drawn, including a special font I made for this project. It’s the result of a lot of feedback from previous students and has all my best tips, so I’m really proud of it! You can see it here.

When did you first realise that you wanted to pursue a creative career?
I always dabbled in art but never seriously considered pursuing a creative career until in university, when I found out that design was a career option. In retrospect, my habits of rearranging things in colour order an doodling in textbooks should have been a clue.

What is the hardest part about being a designer/artist?
The hardest thing is paying just the right amount of attention to social media – not enough to be distracted or emotionally invested in like/follower metrics, but enough to get your stuff out into the world and get noticed.

What do you do if the creativeness isn’t coming?
I like to go for a walk, or at least get up to make a cup of tea when I get stuck – I find the movement and getting away from the screen or blank page helps bring ideas out. My other trick is to just get something on the page, even if it’s scribbly and unusable – one bad idea leads to a slightly less bad idea, and then the good stuff comes after I’ve gotten into the swing of things.

You can follow Teresa on her website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

12 inspirational hand lettering books

At the start of the year I made the declaration that 2017 would be the year I’d finally try hand lettering. When I was a kid I’d drag out the old Letraset book and I would practice tracing the different fonts. The second job I had after leaving school was at a sign shop. As a sign designer I worked with hundreds of fonts and I learned a bunch about formatting and white space and how different fonts communicate messages differently. It was at this job that I developed a huge crush on old vintage signs. I so wanted to be able to do freehand work but I just didn’t have the confidence to try. Until now.

Thankfully we are blessed with an internet full of helpful tutorials and practice sheets to help novice hand letterers like me. I’ve also found inspiration in a couple of books about hand lettering. Want to know my favourites?

1. The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide: A Complete Step-by-Step Creative Workbook to Jump Start Modern Calligraphy Skills – Peggy Dean

2. In Progress: See Inside a Lettering Artist’s Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector – Jessica Hische

3. Creative Lettering and Beyond: Inspiring tips, techniques, and ideas for hand lettering your way to beautiful works of art – Gabri Joy Kirkendall, Laura Lavender, Julie Manwaring, Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn

4. Hand Lettering 101: An Introduction to the Art of Creative Lettering – Chalkfulloflove

5. Hand-Lettering (An Interactive Guide to the Art of Drawing Letters) – Megan Wells

6. Hand-Lettering for Everyone: A Creative Workbook – Cristina Vanko

7. Little Book of Hand Lettering – Emily Gregory

8. The Joy of Lettering: A creative exploration of contemporary hand lettering, typography & illustrated typeface – Gabri Joy Kirkendall, Jaclyn Escalera

9. Adventures in Lettering – Dawn Nicole Warnaar

10. Hand Lettering: Creative Alphabets for Any Occasion – Thy Doan

11. Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design’s Golden Age – Steven Heller, Louise Fili

12. Hand-Lettering Ledger: A Practical Guide to Creating Serif, Script, Illustrated, Ornate, and Other Totally Original Hand-Drawn Styles – Mary Kate McDevitt

Instagrammer of the week #018 – Noel Shiveley

When I was in primary school I had ridiculously neat hand writing. I was obsessed with being neat. I borrowed the creatively titled Lettering Book (this is a more modern version) from the library to learn different typefaces and I’d spend ages making sure each letter was spot on. I was at the top of my hand lettering game as I transitioned into high school. Unfortunately I soon learned that bubble writing and swapping full stops for love hearts was frowned upon in high school. It was heartbreaking to realise that legibility was more important than creativity. Five years of scribbling notes killed my creative game and I never hand lettered again. So when I see the work of someone like Noel Shiveley I get super jealous and I ponder what could have been.

Noel is an amazing hand letterer from Colorado Springs who creates pin worthy pieces of art including those that fit into my favourite subgenre – poignant-and-inspirational-phrases-over-grand-landscapes. Follow Noel on Instagram and prepare to be wowed.

(How’s your hand lettering game? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook)

A photo posted by Noel Shiveley (@noeltheartist) on

A photo posted by Noel Shiveley (@noeltheartist) on

Santiago Sunbird

If you caught My Three Favourite Things newsletter a couple of weeks ago you would have seen a beautiful watercolour wedding invitation designed by Santiago Sunbird. I’m in awe of Bree and Sarah Hankinson’s work. It’s beautifully designed and while it is watercolour (and watercolour is so ‘in’ at the moment) it’s also understated and unique, which is everything you want from your wedding stationery, right?

Grandes Rosas




Follow Santiago Sunbird on: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Website

How Joyful – hand lettering awesomeness

Want to see hand lettering done right? You must check out the work of Chilean designer (now living in Southern California) Joy Kelley. Her work is big, bold and beautiful. Today I’m featuring her stamps but believe me there is a lot more for you discover on her blog and store.

Heck yeah, it’s here
Made with love
Please deliver to
Happy Mail
This book belongs to

You can follow Joy on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Words to live by

These prints from Oh My Deer caught my eye today. I’m a sucker for a beautiful, hand lettered poster. If you’ve seen pictures of my office on Instagram (@krissyb) you’ll know what I’m talking about. Nothing looks better than a beautiful, flowing script proclaiming some catchy wisdom about getting up, dusting yourself and giving things another go (check out my Words That Inspire board to see what I am talking about).

I think I have *just* enough space on my wall for these three.