Last month I was contacted by Skillshare to ask if I would consider being part of their ambassador program. So I want to be transparent - As you know I don't run paid advertising on this site and only profile people, projects and initiatives I think are cool...

I have promoted Skillshare classes by letterers before (like Luke Lucas awesome ribbon type class and Matt Vergotis hand lettering course). And I have done a bunch of the design (and small business) classes myself personally so know they have great content on the platform... Prompted by the invitation I thought I would check out what new classes were on offer.

I logged in and was surprised by how many new type and lettering related classes were on offer since the last time I checked in - I was time poor so couldn't binge on them all and instead watched the promo video for three classes from big names in the type community (there are a lot of amazing teachers offering classes). I selected Erik Marinovich's lettering envelope class because I often address TYPOgraphJournal orders by hand.

In his examples Erik uses paint pens and bubble kraft mailers, I had neither in the studio so I set to work with A4 white paper envelopes, (I did one on a plastic satchel which was a bit of a disaster!) using Lammy pencil, Artline, Letraset promarkers and a sharpie Pen.

I apprecaited that Erik took the time to explain how he finds inspiration and then reference those styles while developing the forms into a lettering style that is his own - and modifiying the proportions of his forms to suit the composition. He takes you through each step drawing examples throughout making this class excellent for beginners.

This class specifically focuses on pairing sans serif and casual script styles - but there are killer examples in the project imagery of blackletters, and serifs being used to excellent effect. I decided to address my envelope to friend and collaborator Amalie Wright AKA Landscapology. So I got to work  roughing out my composition in pencil.

 I always start with the archetype - just the skeleton from which I can flesh out my forms. Starting to give the letters mass.

I always start with the archetype - just the skeleton from which I can flesh out my forms. Starting to give the letters mass.

 

I liked where it was heading but did feel it was a little lack lustre so tested out some illustrative texture and also dimension. (Erik recommends using drop shadows and explains some of the basic sign painting approaches the shadows in the video tutorials...

I decided while I did like the ornamental letters the legibility was compromised in that version. So I would follow Erik's guide and do a basic drop shadow and add a little more personality to the script forms.

Envelopes2.jpg
 

After a bunch of iterations (and smudges on postage satchels) I settled on the below options as my final composition. It is not perfect but it is much better than I could have achieved before investing 3 hours into this lettering tutorial.

It could still use some polish in certain areas - but Erik strongly encouraged participants to embrace the imperfection of something truly handmade. Which made me feel better about drawing a line under the piece!

Envelopes3.jpg
 

Erik's teaching style was excellent - he was encouraging but also realistic about what people could achieve. He spoke of the importance of continued learning, practice and lots and lots of drills making shapes to build muscle memory to really elevate your lettering skills.

Skillshare has literally thousands of Lettering, illustration and design related courses. Whether you’re already a lettering pro or are just getting started, you can up skill and build your creative confidence video by video - it is an excellent platform.

Full Disclosure - As an ambassador, I am not being paid to try the courses, - but if you sign up using my link you will get 2 months of premium access for free - and I get a referral fee ($10).

I don't want to promote a class I haven't tried, learnt from and enjoyed - hence you seeing my journey with the content here.

If you do want to give Skillshare a go (be it Erik's envelope lettering class or any of the others on offer) use this link https://skl.sh/typographher to get 2 months of premium access for free (and to buy me a drink!) if you do decide to give Skillshare a go I would love to see what you create.