National Scrapbooking Day: Versatile Derby Day Birthday Card

Hey y'all! I am SO excited to be celebrating National Scrapbooking Day, which is coming up in a little over a week! In celebration, Tombow sent me a crazy-amazing package full of scrapbooking goodies...I about fell over when I opened the package. Now, even though I love every single item they sent over, I am simply not gifted with the scrapbooker gene, and I decided to go in a unique direction. Instead of a scrapbook page, I'm going to make a versatile Derby Day inspired birthday card. Stick around and read this tutorial if you want to see just what I mean by versatile ;-)

 

This birthday card is unlike any I have ever seen (or created) before. My sister in law, a Louisville-lover and fellow Kentuckian, celebrates her birthday incredibly close to Derby Day. In honor of her, and the famous Kentucky Derby beverage, the Mint Julep, I hand-made this birthday card that also doubles as a recipe card. This card can be displayed on a bar cart, on the refrigerator, or wherever you want to keep it for when you want to make yourself this bluegrass beverage. I had SO much fun creating this, and I already have some more ideas for a birthday card for my husband, who's favorite drink is a Moscow Mule.

The supplies I used:
2 sheets of patterned paper by Samantha Rose 
As many sheets as necessary of ultra smooth, heavyweight cardstock
1 Aquash Brush
Tombow Dual Brush Pens (colors listed below)
Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip
Tombow Mono Drawing Pencil (or any drawing pencil)
Eraser
Scissors (or other paper trimmer)
Tombow Foam Tabs
Tombow Mono Dots Adhesive
Washi Tape
Tombow Blending Palette
Gold Corner Stickers

I decided to begin with my sketch. I wasn't sure what I wanted the message on the front or inside of the card to be, so I jotted down a few things. I also roughly sketched the mint julep drink onto the paper, very lightly, so I can erase it later. Next, I'm going to use the Tombow Dual Brush Pens as watercolor.

I'm using my grays (N60 and N75) to watercolor the mint julep cup. If you want to see a much more detailed demonstration of how to use Tombow Dual Brush Pens as watercolors, take a look at this tutorial.

I chose to use an Aquash pen for this illustration, but you can just as easily use any watercolor or paint brush!

I decided, spur of the moment, to add a shadow to the cup, but I kind of wish I hadn't!!! I hope you're a better illustrator than I am ;-)

Above, I simply repeated the process with my greens.
245, 158, and 312

Next, I pulled out my trusty Fudenosuke Soft Tip to letter some of the sentiments I sketched.

Once I had lettered over my sketches, I erased the pencil marks away, and set this paper aside.

As my cardfront, I chose this grayish-purple wood pattern paper from this DCWV Samantha Rose paper pad. Every single piece of paper in here is absolutely incredible. I've already used it for a background to an Instagram post, and I can't wait to show you some other uses for it in a future blog post!

I folded an 8.5x11 sheet of cardstock in half (hot dog style! ha), and cut the piece of pattern paper down to fit flush on top. I used the Tombow Mono Dots Adhesive to adhere it to the front of the card.

Next, I cut out my mint julep illustration, and set it aside!

Next, I cut down a piece of cardstock to be this smaller strip, and I sketched out the recipe for the mint julep. I lettered over it with my Fudenosuke Soft Tip, and used the adhesive to attach it to the front!

After adhering the recipe, I used these fun gold triangle stickers to add a little something extra to the corners.

I wanted to elevate my illustration to barely stand above the rest of the card, and these large foam tabs were perfect!

I thought the front of the card needed just a little something extra, so I cut out another piece of pattern paper to be this banner shape, and wrapped the top of it around to the inside of the card. I adhered it with the same adhesive I used on the rest of the card, and it works like a charm! I finished the whole thing off by lettering the title of the drink on the banner.

And on the inside, I went with a completely different sentiment that I had intended, but I like it!! 

And that's IT! I am no expert cardmaker, that's for sure, but I got to fulfill a dream today by making this card. I watch so many card makers on YouTube, because the art of card making is just so lovely and fun to watch. I want to give a huge shoutout to Tombow for including me in National Scrapbooking Day so I can live out this little artsy-fartsy dream of mine! I have two other cards in the works, for future blog posts, so get ready!!! I can't wait to show you more in the next few weeks!

What did you think of this card? Have you ever had a Mint Julep? Where would you put this recipe card?

the best paper for lettering + Other Office Supplies I'm Loving Right Now!

This post contains affiliate links*

Hey y'all! I'm here today with a quick blog post about some new things I've been obsessed with in the past few weeks! I've recently had the urge to get out of my comfort zone and get some new items into my studio/office that will both be functional AND inspire me to do some new things!
 


First up: The Most Affordable Lettering Paper EVER!

This may look like any old paper, but I discovered this Georgia-Pacific Cardstock at Wal-Mart when I was in a pinch--completely out of the paper I was using at that moment. It's 110lb quality, which is amazing, and it comes in reams of 100 or 250 for an incredibly affordable price. I couldn't believe it! You can pick some up at your local Wal-Mart, or you can order it here.

It works wonderfully with my brush pens, and I've been using it like crazy with my lettered pieces for Instagram. Literally, if you take a look, every single piece I've done as of late has been on this cardstock. I cannot recommend it enough!

Next Up: The Mono Air 6 Correction Tape

This tape was designed to be written on! And it's much higher quality than any similar tape by other brands, because the maker, Tombow, specializes in designing with delicate brush nibs in mind. What else could you ask for? I don't do much planning in a physical planner anymore now that I'm a converted Trello User, BUT, I can find some other creative uses for this tape...

I made this quick little inspirational piece for my pegboard by applying strips of the correction tape on a scrap piece of scrapbook paper. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it adds something unique to my office, and hey, I like the message I chose, too!

Next up: Erasers I Could Almost Eat!

These UH-DORABLE erasers by Amy Tangerine (fellow lettering artist and design idol of mine) are a new favorite to have on my desk. But, I will say...I don't know if I'll be able to use them! You can pick some up for your desk right here.

Last: Washi Tape

Yeah, I know, I'm super late to the game. I just didn't understand the appeal of washi tape (it's just tape!) until recently. 

Now I want to use it for everything!! Most recently, I am using it to hang up all my random lettering pieces, but I also like to use it in photo props, as well as regular organizational tasks. I may or may not have put some washi tape on a tax document going to the IRS....oops!

That's all for this week, guys! If you want to keep up with blog posts and other news, I encourage you to sign up for my weekly newsletter!

Eraser Roundup: Best Erasers for Lettering

ERASER ROUNDUP: Best Erasers for Lettering - Kiley in Kentucky Blog

Hey y'all!

Today, I have a brief, but information-packed blog post about none other than ERASERS!

Why?

Because erasers are, in my opinion, just as important as brush pens, pencils, pens, brushes, and paper. Erasers are such an important part of the initial sketching process, and one other thing: not all erasers are created equal. There are different kinds of erasers made for different types of erasing. In this post, I'll show you my four favorite erasers, what I use them for, and why you might want to pick them up for yourself!

1. The Mono Sand Eraser

*Placed beside a pencil for scale

*Placed beside a pencil for scale

Ok, so this is my favorite eraser because it is the handiest little guy I've ever used. The sand eraser, as you can see in the photo above (on the pink background), is gritty in texture. That's because it's an eraser equivalent to a sand paper. You might not think you need this eraser, but I assure you, YOU REALLY DO. Because it lightly sands down the paper when you use it, it can get rid of marks made by other substances than just graphite. I use this most on my gold foil prints, for erasing stray bits of gold foil that appear on the paper where they aren't supposed to. It gets those bits off like MAGIC, and it can also remove smudges made by inky fingers, a stray pen mark, dirt, or any other little (reasonable) mark you've accidentally made on your paper.

2. The Mono Eraser (Plastic, Small)

This is your standard plastic eraser; except this one is a higher quality than one you'd find in Wal-Mart or the average craft aisle. These erasers are small, and perfect for carrying in my 'little bag of pens and pencils' that I take with me on road trips. It is a standard eraser, at a STEAL of a price, but it does the job way better than the regular pink erasers I used when I first began lettering.

3. The Mono Eraser (Plastic, Jumbo)

This eraser is a jumbo version of eraser #2! So, it's super high-quality, but it's large and in charge, and I use it on my large-scale lettering pieces. So, need I say more? I think we can all commiserate about how annoying it is to erase huge sketches with a teeny-tiny eraser.

4. The Mono Knock Eraser

Alright, alright, so I know I said the Sand eraser is my favorite, but THIS eraser could easily steal the title! You can use this eraser just like a pen, which is AMAZING! And look at this petite little eraser: 

This eraser is perfection for erasing delicate areas of a sketch or pencil drawing. Need I say more? We all need that?

MY NEW BRAND: ALL ABOUT IT, Y'ALL!

My New Brand: Kiley in Kentucky

After almost two years of the Kiley in Kentucky blog, a handful of logos, and a few poor attempts at branding, I finally decided to treat myself like I would treat an actual client. That means: an inspired branding board, professional brand photos, thoughtful consideration of all design elements, and longer than just a weekend to pull it all together.

In the past, I've been guilty of re-branding my business on a whim, in a matter of a few days (not a good idea!), and I'm left 'bored' with the final result after just a few months, when the 'newness' wears off and I discover how unlike ME my branding is. But, recently, my mindset has shifted, and I truly understand that it's now or never for my business. Risks are scary, but taking them is the only way I'm going to move forward and grow.

My first order of business in forward motion and growth: a refreshed brand that speaks to my personal tastes, my personality, and my actual day-to-day surroundings.

First came the logo.

Although both designs are my hand-lettering, the new logo feels a lot more fun and creative and 'me' than my previous one. The one thing I will miss about my previous logo is the brush pen graphic, which speaks to what I do right off the bat. However, the brush pen graphic was somewhat limiting, and I was frustrated by the fact that I had to use two separate versions of the logo (one with the pen, one without), because it wasn't clearly visible unless the logo was quite large. Though my new logo doesn't clue you in to my specific interests right away, it is more eye-catching, inviting, and easier to read. 

Next came the branding photos.

Y'all know by now, cause I've said it 600 times, but my mom is my photographer. I am SO lucky to have a professional photographer 'on retainer,' and one that I can be completely honest and nit-picky-beyond-belief with--cause you know, I'm a big-time people pleaser--and say 'yes I like that,' 'no I hate that,' 'can we re-do that whole session one more time?' 

I did something differently this time than ever before: I had my brand photos made before I settled on my brand colors, or designed my website. I don't know, maybe lots of people have done this before, but I wanted my brand to reflect ME, therefore I didn't put much planning into my photo session, and I simply let it happen. I wouldn't suggest this for everyone; maybe only if you are BFF's with your photog, LOL.

Let me further explain why this was such a perfect move for me.

I knew, no matter what, that my photos were going to be taken in my office--in my element, where I already have a pretty obvious color scheme going on--and the setting of the photos was going to have a huge bearing on the overall feel of my website, because I wanted to include photos everywhere. 

I wore a top that I love and feel comfortable in, and that complemented my surroundings, instead of going out on the hunt for the perfect top in a pre-decided color.

I didn't really plan poses or moments I wanted captured. I simply pulled out all the tools I use on a daily basis, and I used those products in my photos; nothing more, nothing less.

If you're sitting here thinking: Dang it, Kiley, I don't have a photographer, I don't have an office, but I need some brand photos, subscribe to my weekly newsletter below...Next week, I'm sharing how to DIY brand photos for C-H-E-A-P and with a smart phone camera!

Ok, back to it! Once I had my logo and brand photos, I was able to go in and pick out a color palette from my set of photos, and find the perfect palette that complemented my logo. From there, I put together a branding board that reflects all the elements of my website and my brand.
 
Here is my final branding board: 

So, this branding board is super simple in comparison to a lot of branding boards I've seen from other designers. But, my website is about as simple as it gets. And, also, that's just the beauty of being my own designer; I can always go back and add graphic elements, tweak my fonts, etc, as ideas come to me. For now, I'm super happy with the simplicity and the ease of my branding. The colors are so accessible to me in my every day life, as I'm surrounded by them in my office! The stripes and dots as graphic elements are easy-as-pie to whip up and put together in Illustrator, and my secondary logo will be easy-to-read and easy-to-add to any graphics and images I'll need it for. 

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with this brand 'refresh' and I can't wait to move forward with this new color palette, logo, and my wonderful new brand photos. 

If you are in Central Kentucky and would like a brand photographer, I highly recommend my mom, January June Photography. She is an incredible natural-light photographer, who is easy to work with (not just saying that), and, obviously, takes great photos! And of course, if you'd like to discuss having a logo made, any branding assistance, or further advice, shoot me an email. I'd love to chat with you!

Ok guys, I'll see you later this week with a new blog post! Check back Friday to see what I'm cooking up!

Until then, check out some of my most popular blog posts below!

Gold Foil Hack - Feat. Tombow Mono Liquid Glue

Hey y'all! So, today I have a fun project for you! As lots of you know, I have an Etsy Shop where I sell hand-foiled gold prints. S O   M A N Y blog readers have asked me to do a tutorial on perfect foiling (I'm thinking of doing an online class on it? Would you like that? Comment below!), but until that time, there is a way you can foil without spending like $300+ in equipment and supplies! Cause yeah, that's {my} reality of perfect foiling. 

What is this magical hack, you ask? 

GLUE.

But not just any glue! The glue I'm using in this tutorial is perfect for applying foil, but not all glues are equal. To my knowledge, you can't ask a cheap Elmer's Glue to do the same thing as you're asking this glue to do. However, I haven't used any other brands, so you'll have to experiment or research what other brands would work with this method.

What is this glue? I've really built it up, so it better deliver, amirite?

It's the Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue (I have mine in the XL Size)

Disclaimer: I'm not sponsored by Tombow USA, but I am a Brand Ambassador, which means I get cool Tombow products in the mail each month to blog about! 

Ok, now that you know about the glue, let's get into the tutorial...because, I actually made something!

Here are the products I used:

FROM L-R:

In this tutorial, I made two 5x7 decorative prints in two different 'styles.' To begin, I anchored down both my kraft paper and watercolor paper with some washi tape that will be easy to remove when I am ready. The reason for doing this is so my paper doesn't warp when I apply water and wet ink to it. 

I'm going to be working on the Kraft Paper print first. I decided to do a floral theme. I chose the colors Green (245), Red (845), and a Golden Yellow (026). I'm scribbling some ink from each of these pens onto my blending palette.

After that step is complete, I'm going to spray the palette with clean water, so I can begin using the ink as watercolor. I didn't get a great photo of it, so that step is not included here, but here is another tutorial where I used this technique.

Now, I'm gonna get to paintin'!

My painting style here was very loose. When painting the flowers, I did some in all red, and some in a mixture of the yellow and red. There is really no formula here, except to paint blobs that kind of resemble flowers. <<< yeah, I know! Easier said than done.

Once that has dried completely, grab your glue! I am using the 'precision' or the 'pen tip' end of this glue so I can draw fine lines of glue where I want my foil to appear. In the second tutorial, we'll explore the other side! 

Draw on your glue wherever your heart tells you to! Now, wait for it to dry. And by dry, I mean, until it's 'clear.'

As you can see here, the glue is slowly turning from white to clear. When all the glue is clear, it will become VERY tacky and that's when you know it's ready for the foil. 

You can also clearly see that I couldn't wait for all my glue to turn clear (which is a mistake). But, anyway, when you're ready, gently lay your foil on top of the glued areas, and press down with your finger, gently but firmly burnishing the foil onto the glue. Once burnished to your liking, gently peel the foil up. 

And this is what I got once I had applied foil to all the glued areas! Yay!

I displayed this little print on top of my shipping supply cabinet. What do you think?
I like it...but not as much as I like this next print!

I began by laying down my colors onto the blending palette. I used, from top to bottom, a Pink (815), an Orange (Number Not Available), and the yellow and red from the first tutorial. I took a large, flat paintbrush, and began brushing the color on in horizontal stripes, as seen below!

I left two spaces where I wanted my gold foil brush strokes to appear.

Next, I grabbed my glue! I'm using the 'broad tip' here because I want to apply quite a bit more glue than in the previous print.  

I applied my glue pretty liberally, then used an old paintbrush (you don't want to ruin a nice brush here!) to flatten out the glue. In hindsight, I should have applied quite a bit more...you'll see why in a bit!

After waiting for my glue to go from white and liquidus to clear and tacky, I applied my foil and burnished it with my fingers. Once I had done that, I pulled the foil up. Now, I wish I had applied more glue because I wanted a more solid appearance of foil. To remedy this, I added just a little bit more on top of the existing foil and tried again. 

This is the finished product! I wish I had gone back and added yet even MORE glue, but I do like the way this turned out!

I hung this print on my newly-painted peg board and I really love the little pop of color it adds! I haven't yet re-stocked my peg board, so it looks a little bare here. If you'd like to see a blog post about the peg boards I use in my studio, let me know! I'd love to show you some organizational tips...especially since peg boards are SUCH an affordable option!

Ok, y'all! That's it for today! Let me know what you thought about this tutorial in the comments below, and OH YEAH!! 

Negative Space Lettering Pt. 2 (Masking + Watercolor)

WOO-HOO we're back again with another Negative Space Lettering tutorial! This one isn't focused so much on lettering, but I think you'll like it just the same! If you missed my first Negative Space Post, you can catch it here. 

Today's blog post uses several techniques I've previously talked about on the blog...so, throughout the post, watch out for links to previous blog posts that will help answer any additional questions you may have about the techniques I'm using today! 

Let's jump in, shall we? 

Here's what I used: 
Mixed Media or Watercolor Paper
1 Sheet of Kraft Paper or scrap paper (optional)
Masking Fluid or Masking Pen
Paint palette or container for Masking Fluid
Blending Palette (I used this one, but a paper baggie or plastic surface works too)
A water sprayer or spritzer
1 Paint Brush You Don't Mind Ruining Forever :-/
1 Paint Brush You Actually Like Using :)
A pencil
A White Gel Pen (Optional)
Tombow Dual Brush Pens in your favorite color family
 

For this technique, I began by lightly sketching out a simple design. In this case, I chose a heart with a scripted 'Love' inside. Feel free to do whatever works best for you, but my intention was to cover every bit of pencil with masking fluid, so I don't have to worry about erasing later. (If that doesn't make sense to you yet, it will as we move through the tutorial!)

Next up is masking fluid! 

Ok, let's talk about this first. Despite having seen masking fluid being used countless times on Instagram or in YouTube art tutorials, I have only used it for the first time this week. There's a few things you should  know before you dive in:

1. Masking fluid ain't necessarily cheap.....at least, this kind isn't. This brand sells for $15 at Hobby Lobby. I'm sure I could have gotten it cheaper on Amazon, but I have no patience. There are also other forms and brands of masking fluid that I'm sure are much more affordable, but once again...I wasn't patient! I wanted it right then and there at the store.

2. It will ruin your brush, so choose one you don't love, and deem that brush your 'masking fluid brush forever and ever amen.'

3. It dries FAST, so go in with a plan and work quickly. 

With all that in mind, I went ahead and applied my masking fluid on top of my pencil sketch. 

While my masking fluid is drying on my paper, I picked the colors I wanted to use for the next step! Since I'll be doing some watercolor with these Tombow Dual Brush Pens, I chose colors in the same family, because we want them to blend well together!

For more tips about watercoloring with Tombows, you can check out these blog posts: 
Unique + Gorgeous Lettered Art

Tombow Techniques: DIY Summertime Watercolor Wall Art

Brush Lettering + Watercolor Floral Art

And UGH, my camera was out of focus for the next step, but take my word for it: I scribbled a bit of each color down onto my blending palette in no particular order or pattern. 

Next, as you can kind of see below (lol), I took a tiny water spritzer and sprayed the palette a couple of times until all the ink had mixed with some water. The Kraft paper below the palette is simply to protect my workspace, and not a necessity at all :)

Once my palette was wet with the water and ink combination, I took a round brush and began picking up the color from the palette, and laying it onto the blank areas of my design. 

This is the fun part about masking fluid! You can be as messy as you want to be, and it doesn't matter: your design will come out (mostly) clean everywhere you put your masking fluid!

Once you've applied all your color, you must wait until your paint or ink is completely dry before you attempt to peel off the masking fluid....I know, the temptation is so real! Trust me! I made the mistake of pulling the fluid up too early and the wet parts of the paper were completely ripped up along with the fluid. Not worth it. 

When my design was ready, I simply used my thumb to rub up a piece of the tacky fluid. From there, I peeled it off slowly, and my gorgeous negative space design was revealed! I finished by cleaning up the design with an eraser, getting rid of the remaining pencil marks that were hidden beneath the masking fluid. 

For my second design, I repeated the same beginning steps:
1. Lightly sketch
2. Cover in masking fluid
3. Wait to dry

For the next step, I wanted to use the leftover ink and water mixture on my palette, and I added to it a bit before spritzing it with water!

Before the next step, I double-checked to make sure my masking fluid had dried completely! When I was sure it had, I quickly flipped over my palette and pressed it down onto the paper. I did sort of a dabbing motion to spread the color around.

For a much more detailed explanation of this technique (except using a plastic baggie), check out this blog post:
The Hefty Hack How To

Oops! More blurry photos! Sorrrryyyyyy :(

When I felt like I couldn't get anymore color from my palette, I grabbed a clean paint brush and laid down the remaining bits of ink on the paper to fill in any blank spots around the masking. I did this until my little design eye was happy! 

Ok... once again, we must wait until our ink or paint has COMPLETELY DRIED!!! Ahhhh, the AGONY! 

But it'll be worth it FOR SURE.

Ok! So my finished design didn't quite come out as clean as I hoped it would...but that's where our handy-dandy gel pen comes in to save the day!

If you want to take the time to clean up your edges with a gel pen, go for it! However, I only needed to cover up a few spots where my masking fluid wasn't completely smooth and even. 

Ta-da! It's done! What do you think?

Ok y'all, that's it for this week's blog post! I had a lot of fun with this one, and as always, I hope you'll explore your own instincts and personal style if yy;'ou decide to give this tutorial a try! Tag me on Instagram and show me your designs if you do :) OR leave me a comment below and tell me which color family you would choose: greens, blues, reds, violets? I love seeing how each artist puts their own spin on things!

Negative Space Lettering feat. Tombow Mono Drawing Pencils Pt. 1

Hey guys! Today, I'm going to show you how to create really unique and fun "negative space" lettering! When I received my set of Tombow Mono Drawing Pencils (linked below in the supply list!), I was inspired to create something more "elaborate" than my normal lettering. And that is when I came up with this fun and easy technique! Once you learn this simple technique, you will want to make hand-drawn thank you notes, framed pieces of art, and personalized gifts for friends....I have no doubt that you will love this! 

Let's begin!

After cracking open my brand new set of pencils (that come with eraser and sharpener...two very important tools), I chose the lead 'weight' I wanted for this project that requires a little bit of drawing!

I chose the 5B weight because it's a softer and thicker lead. I figured the softer lead would be easiest to erase and the thicker pencil strokes would be best for this technique. 

But before I can put my pencil to work, I need to break out my dual brush pen. Any color will work for this next step, but I chose black because it's always closest at hand!

On the tracing paper, I used the thick nib of my brush pen to write a fancy, scripty 'B.' I chose the letter 'B' because it represents my last name. You can choose whatever letter(s) you want! I have also done this technique with the word 'YAY' that I turned into a gold foil print. You can check it out here.

My 'B' wasn't thick enough for my taste, so I 'double-lined' it, which is a fancy way of saying 'I went back over it with my brush pen to thicken the lines!' ha

Now, after your ink has dried to the touch (you don't want to smear black ink everywhere....as I have definitely done in the past), flip your tracing paper over.

Now use your pencil to trace the outline of your fancy letter or word. You can't see my pencil marks very well, but they are there! DON'T be shy with how hard you trace. You want your pencil lead to show up for this next step...

And this is the part where choosing a thick, soft lead really comes in handy...

Next, you want to grab your cardstock (or whatever paper you're using!), and flip your tracing sheet back over to the 'right side.' Position your letter or word over the center of the paper (or where you intend your final result to be.

With quite a bit of pressure, use the edge of your bone folder to transfer the lead on the back of the tracing paper onto your paper. If you don't have a bone folder, any plastic or metal object with a dull edge will work for this. Remember, apply quite a bit of pressure!

This is how your transfer should turn out! You can totally skip this step if you can free hand the outline of a fancy letter or word...I couldn't, and that's why this step was a lifesaver for me!

Next, I re-traced my outline with my pencil. Once again, this step can be skipped if your lead transfer comes out more clearly than mine did.

Now, let's start drawing!

I chose to add floral embellishments because that's what comes most naturally to me. However, you could add all kinds of elements with this technique: geometric, swirly, you name it!

Once my drawing was complete, I picked up my Fudenosuke Soft Nib to outline my floral embellishments. For this technique, you ONLY outline your embellishments. No part of the original 'B' outline should be touched or traced over!

I like using the brush pen for this technique, because I can get thin lines, but can slightly vary how thick the lines are, which adds a little character. For a more 'streamlined' look, you could use a Micron Pen. Now let's erase our lines!

Ok, so it looks pretty good, but my 'B' isn't popping enough for me...I'm going to go back in and add some more details around the edges of my B.

That's better! can you spot the differences? LOL

Alright, so that's IT! All together, this technique took me MAYBE 20 minutes. As soon as you decide on what your motif will be, you will fly right through this!!! Especially after your first couple of designs. 

Let me know what you think of this tutorial by leaving me a comment below! This technique is Pt. 1 of 3 awesome 'negative space' techniques I'll be demonstrating using my new Mono Drawing Pencils! I can't wait to show you what else you can do with these quality tools!

And P.S.: National Handwriting Day is coming this MONDAY, January 23rd! Show some love for your handwriting and rock it on Instagram, using the hashtag #handwrittenwithtombow for a chance to be featured on their Insta feed! You can post your pics starting now, until Monday night!

1 Brush Pen, 3 Lettering Styles: Medium-to-Advanced Brush Lettering Tutorial

Hey y'all! This week, I want to talk a little about digging myself out of a lettering rut. For at least a month now, I've been feeling very unsatisfied and bored with my lettering style! I haven't looked forward to sitting down to letter or create new pieces for my shop, because I am starting to feel like a one-trick pony. I always reach for the same pens, time and time again, and I always go through the same motions in creating my letters. 

Enough! It's time for a change, guys. If I can't update or expand upon my style, I can't really consider myself a lettering artist. Having range is extremely important to me, so range is what you're gonna get in this blog post!

At first, I thought I would get some new, different pens to change things up. But, after a little thought on this topic, I came to the conclusion that I don't want or need to buy new tools to explore different styles. I can create different styles with just ONE pen....the same pen I reach for almost every single day: the Fudenosuke Soft Nib. 

My big epiphany of the week was discovering three varied styles I can create pretty easily with the same pen, simply using a different range of motion for each. These three styles are SUPER simple, and probably very recognizable to you already. But, in case you aren't sure how to change up your lettering, I'll show you some of the tricks I've been using. Let's get started! 

1. Bouncy Script Lettering

For Bouncy Script Lettering, I like to imagine a bouncing ball, upside down!

The best way to think about it is: alternate between big and small letters! 
It's also helpful to draw the bouncing ball pattern beneath your letters as a guideline. This technique definitely requires some practice, as it's not our 'natural' inclination when lettering. I invite you to explore this technique and see how you can put your personal spin on it! 

The possibilities of variation with this technique are endless! Here is my real-life portrayal of the Bouncy Script Lettering Technique!

2. Fancy Script Lettering 

For this technique, I simply elongate the 'connector' of each letter to create a more 'traditionally calligraphic' feel. Here's what I mean in a little photo (because I know that wasn't a very helpful explanation LOL): 

The technique also leaves room for variation, depending on how drastically you elongate your connectors! This technique would be lovely for lettering invitations, adding a little fanciness to an envelope, or lettering a poem. 

3. Tall & Skinny Script Lettering

This third and final technique is the one that comes easiest to me! For this technique, I visualize this: 

Whenever I want to letter in this style, I will sometimes warm-up by making that pointy-squiggly line with my brush pen. Essentially, I want to imitate that kind of movement with my pen as I am lettering. However, if visualizing that kind of motion isn't quite working for you, think about smushing your letters up close together and then stretching them out! When you get the hang of it, this technique is so much fun! And, you can move really fast :) 

Alright! It's as simple as that! 

It's kind of crazy how different shapes and motions can inspire different lettering styles. What are some of your tricks for changing things up when you fall into a lettering rut? Tell me in the comments below!

2016 Shop Small Holiday Gift Guide

With Christmas just a little over three weeks away, we are in the final countdown! If you're like me, you wait until December to start shopping, because getting it together any earlier than that makes too much sense and would make life too easy. I have to make it hard on myself. 

And, if you're like me in more ways than one, you want to support as much local and small business as possible! I have always been aware that I should #shopsmall and #buylocal, but in my first year as an Etsy Seller....I've never been more convicted! When you support an Etsy Seller or an artist at a local boutique or store front in your town, you're helping an actual human being. That's not something you can say about hitting the aisles of Target or browsing Macy's....though I love both of those big box stores, I want to bring attention to some special Etsy Sellers and Artsy Friends I've met through my hand-lettering journey!

Here are a few of the artists I am making a point to support this Christmas! 

For your coloring-obsessed friend...or in my case, grandmother!

Stuff Southern Women Say: A Coloring Book of Southernisms and Southern Charm: Adult Coloring Book

(Ahem...it's only $9.99....you can order one for every Southern lady in your life!)

My Mamaw LOVES to color in adult coloring books, and I know she's not the only one! I have lots of friends who like to Netflix-and-Color (including yours truly, if I have the time), and even more Southern gal pals that would love this book if for nothing more than the sayings inside! 

You may remember that I gave another one of Angie's coloring books away in my 10K Giveaway... well, stay tuned, because I'll be giving a copy of this coloring book away in the new year...

Order your very own coloring book for yourself, or to give as a gift by clicking here!
 

For your state-proud, floral-loving friend...

A State Sign from Lovely Retro Renos

PLEASE NOTE: You MUST order by December 10th if you want to receive your pieces in time for the holidays...but you can get free shipping until then!

Of course, y'all know I love my Kentucky stuff. Kentucky everything all the time. But even I know Kentucky isn't the only state worth celebrating! In addition to the Bluegrass State, I've left pieces of my heart in New York, and now, Illlinois! I want to order signs for those places too and create the most beautiful gallery wall ever!

Photo from Lovely Retro Reno's Etsy Shop

Photo from Lovely Retro Reno's Etsy Shop

I mean, how precious is this Illinois sign? 

Stephanie, owner and maker behind this adorable shop, also creates drink coasters, unique picture frames, and some other wooden goodies! Definitely give her shop a look!

For the friend that likes to sip and/or celebrate in style!

The 'Cup of Cheer' 17 Oz. Stemless Wine Glass by Pretty in Ink Shop

You can ask Andrea, the owner and maker behind this adorable shop...the first time I laid eyes on this "Cup of Cheer" glass, I commented on the photo and said "I think I need this," and had ordered it less than a week later! I just couldn't pass this one up!

Photo from Pretty in Ink Shop

I threw a splash of my husband's Kentucky Bourbon into my cup of cheer, but I've been enjoying it for wine more than anything! However, if you or your friends and family don't enjoy alcohol...no worries! I'm confident ANY drink will be more cheerful in this cup!

Pretty in Ink Shop also have a ton of other adorable drink-ware options that I think you'll just love for the holiday season...here are a few of my favorites: 
This White Camper Mug...
And this 'Elf' inspired coffee or tea mug!

Andrea is the best, and has also shared a coupon code with me to pass on to my readers!
Get 15% off your purchase of $5 or more with code "OHWHATFUN"! Click here to view her shop!

I'll be giving away one of these cheerful glasses in my New Years giveaway as well...it's going to be a good one, guys!

For the friend or loved one missing someone special this Christmas...

This gorgeous sign by CaytiedidDesigns

This time of year can sting for those that have just lost a loved one or are spending their first Christmas without a special friend or relative. I know this pain from personal experience. While no gift could ever replace the empty place in your heart, a thoughtful sentiment like this one is a lovely reminder to celebrate in honor of those you miss so much! I absolutely adore this print by my insta-friend Caytie!

And for the friend with the catchphrase.....

A custom Gold Foil Print by yours truly...

Please note: I'm taking and filling orders until Friday, December 16th, to help increase likelihood all packages arrive in time for Christmas! Any orders placed on or after the 16th will be shipped Monday, the 19th, and I make no promises....read below for a coupon code!

Did you really think I could resist plugging myself? No. But, mostly because this is a brand new listing in my shop! Available in 5x7 or 8x10 sizing, I want to hand-letter your favorite quote, Bible Verse, song lyrics, or catchphrase and immortalize it in sparkly gold foil! But, you don't have to limit yourself to a custom print if it ain't your thang right now....This code is for my readers only: use 'KILEYCHRISTMAS' at checkout for free shipping on any item in my shop, now until December 16th!

I also have these brand new prints available, which are a collaboration with my mom, the talented photographer behind January June Photography! They're not your average print...I highly suggest grabbing one of these for your friend with the cute kitchen or the coziest living room!

Ok guys...that's it! I hope you've marked at least one item off your shopping list from this gift guide! Feel free to comment your favorite Etsy Shop or small online boutique and share the #shopsmall love! Heck, even tag your own Etsy Shop...I did it, and you can too!

Fifty Ways to Drawn An "I" - Brush Lettering Practice + A Free Worksheet

Ok guys, I hope you had an AWESOME Thanksgiving (if you celebrate!). I certainly did....and can you believe Christmas (if you celebrate) is officially just around the corner?

Good thing I have holiday excitement to distract me from the letter 'I.' This was a tough one, guys! I kind of suspected I would have a hard time with this letter, but who knew how boring 'I' really is? Well, now I guess we all do! ha.

I hope you enjoy this week's worksheet! I'll be back next week with the fabulous letter 'J!'

To print your 'I' Worksheet out, simply click here. Right click, save, print, then trace away!

Print the 'A' Worksheet Here
Print the 'B' Worksheet Here
Print the 'C' Worksheet Here
Print the 'D' Worksheet Here
Print the 'E' Worksheet Here
Print the 'F' Worksheet Here
Print the 'G' Worksheet Here
Print the 'H' Worksheet Here

I'm having an awesome Black Friday weekend sale over at my shop! Go check it out if you want some amazing free shipping, and add-ins for certain purchases!

Fifty Ways to Drawn An "H" - Brush Lettering Practice + A Free Worksheet

Hey y'all and Happy THANKSGIVING WEEK! This is one of my favorite times of the year. I'm taking a week off of 'business stuff' to spend time with my family anddddd to get some rest before the holiday madness in my shop (hopefully) begins. But, I didn't forget about y'all! I have the next installment of the 50 Ways Series ready to go for you! Enjoy!

Come back on Friday to see 50 Ways to Letter 'I'!

Note: The worksheet is no longer in PDF Form! A lot of y'all want to use your worksheets in Procreate for iPad lettering practice. Because of this, the worksheets are now JPEGs (photos), which are compatible with uploading into Procreate! They can be downloaded and printed the exact same way :) I promise! 

To print your 'H' Worksheet out, simply click here. Right click, save, print, then trace away!

Print the 'A' Worksheet Here
Print the 'B' Worksheet Here
Print the 'C' Worksheet Here
Print the 'D' Worksheet Here
Print the 'E' Worksheet Here
Print the 'F' Worksheet Here
Print the 'G' Worksheet Here

Sidenote! I'm going to have an awesome Black Friday Weekend sale over at my Etsy Shop! If you're looking for a few unique Christmas gifts, you may want to check it out!
HINT: There will be free shipping on all orders over $15 ... and one more surprise! Check my shop Instagram for details this week!

Fifty Ways to Draw A "G" - Brush Lettering Practice + A Free Worksheet

Hey everyone! I hope you have had a great week! Today, I am back with the next installment of the 50 Ways series!

Turns out that 'G' is a lot of fun!! Here are 50 'G's, straight from my brain! I hope you enjoy tracing them as much as I have. These worksheets have helped me to steady my hand just as much as anything else.

Note: The worksheet is no longer in PDF Form! A lot of y'all want to use your worksheets in Procreate for iPad lettering practice. Because of this, the worksheets are now JPEGs (photos), which are compatible with uploading into Procreate! They can be downloaded and printed the exact same way :) I promise! 

To print your 'G' Worksheet out, simply click here. Right click, save, print, then trace away!

Print the 'A' Worksheet Here
Print the 'B' Worksheet Here
Print the 'C' Worksheet Here
Print the 'D' Worksheet Here
Print the 'E' Worksheet Here
Print the 'F' Worksheet Here

Sidenote! I'm going to have an awesome Black Friday Weekend sale over at my Etsy Shop! If you're looking for a few unique Christmas gifts, you may want to check it out!
HINT: There will be free shipping on all orders over $15 ... and one more surprise! Check my shop Instagram for details next week!

Unique + Gorgeous Lettered Art with the Tombow Advanced Lettering Set

Hey guys! Today, I'm sharing a little motivational print I created for myself using quite a few of the amazing lettering tools found in the Tombow Advanced Lettering Set, as well as some lettering tools I had in my studio. 

This piece of art is totally different than my usual style, but as I've recently discovered how much I love using Kraft Paper in my lettering, I couldn't help myself!

The inspiration for this came from a recent Instagram post I made. I loved the composition of the quote so much, I wanted to recreate it for a 5x7 print to hang in my studio. 

DISCLAIMER: I used my iPhone to photograph today's post (and completed the project on my packaging table) because my big camera battery wasn't charged. Totally my mistake!

Ok, let's dive in!
Here's what you'll need... 

From the Lettering Set: 
3 Colored Dual Brush Pens (in shades 373, 815, and 685)
Mono Pencil for Sketching
Mono Eraser (love that thing)
Mono Twin Permanent Marker
Fudenosuke Hard Nib Brush Pen

(If you don't have the lettering set, all of these items are available for individual sale, and linked above)

From my personal hoard (ahem, collection) of lettering tools: 
White Gel Pen
Kraft Paper, trimmed down to 5x7 size
Water Brush (I use this one)
A blending palette (you can use a plastic sandwich baggie also)

Let's DO IT. 

First, I'll need my blending palette, Dual Brush Pens, and Water Brush. 

I started by simply scribbling some ink onto my blending palette, in three sections, as pictured above. I put my pink shade at the top, furthest away from my teal, because those two colors don't mix too well. Placing the purply-magenta shade in the middle (a shade that mixes well with both colors) is a good "buffer" between the two. 

Next, I squeezed a few water droplets from my water brush onto the ink. No rhyme or reason here! Be wary of adding too much water in the beginning, or your ink will immediately puddle up and turn into a grody purple-brown. You can always add more later!

Here, I'm mixing the top and bottom colors into the middle color with my water brush to create a gorgeous unicorn-esque shade in a league of its own!

After some more mixing (and adding a little more water), I've got a beautiful pinky-purple shade (with a touch of blue) at the top, and a dustier purple-blue shade at the bottom. Now, the magic happens when we apply it to our kraft paper!

I swirled my watercolor mixture onto the Kraft Paper to create an oval shape. I was not careful with it AT ALL. That's the fun of creating a watercolor background. The messier and more 'organic,' the better. 

But what I love about using Kraft Paper for this project is the unique and timeless look it creates. The brown of the kraft paper mutes and dulls the colors in just the perfect amount. It truly transforms how the colors appear on the paper, and I just love the final result. 

Ok, I guess the sun came out at this point because the pictures from here on out are going to be SUPA BRIGHT! Put on your shades. :-D

When I was happy with my watercolor background, I snapped this photo, then blasted my Kraft Paper with a hairdryer so I could move on quickly to the next step. Some minor warping of the paper occurred, so I suggest taping your paper down BEFORE applying the watercolor, and not after....like me ;) 

Here, you can see the finished result once the watercolor has dried. Aren't those colors awesome? I'm ready now to begin sketching my quote.

Be warned: the pencil lead is just BARELY visible on the Kraft Paper. But, then again, that's probably a good thing when it comes time to erase your pencil!

As you can see (or not see), I decided to erase my pencil sketch and freehand my quote with my brush pen. This was an impulse decision on my part, and not something I would recommend. I am not sure why I do the things I do! 

Also, this is me telling you NOT to use your brand new, nice, good, perfect brush pens on rough paper. The reason I'm doing it here is because I've collected about 10 Fude Pens in the past year, and therefore, have a couple of pens that I "reserve" for lettering on surfaces that might damage my delicate brush nibs. However, I've also found that the Fudenosuke Pens are not nearly as delicate as the Dual Brush Pens, so proceed with caution! And don't say I didn't warn you! 

I talk about having some pens 'on reserve' for this type of project a lot, and I highly recommend having a few extra at your disposal. It's worth it to expand your lettering potential and opportunities! 

Here is my finished quote! I could have definitely left it at this, and called it a day, but I wanted to make it pop. Let's add the highlights.

Using a white gel pen, I added highlights to each of my words. I love the effect of this on the Kraft Paper. It totally changes the feel of the piece, and helps the quote to pop off the page!

To finish my piece, I went over any of the 'questionable' areas of my lettering with the larger tip on my permanent marker. I found that it really helped to define the thickness of my downstrokes. The best part is, if I want to correct my thin upstrokes, I could use the fine-tip side of this marker for just that! I love this pen. 

Alright, it's complete! I will so enjoy looking at this little reminder every day when I make a bazillion big and small business decisions (insert forehead sweat emoji).

I'll be back on Friday with the next installment of my 50 Ways to Letter Series! If you've missed A-F, you better catch up! I have some free tracing sheets available, linked at the bottom of my latest post, which you can find here.

Peace out!

50 Ways to Draw An "F" - Brush Lettering Practice + A Free Worksheet

Hey y'all! 

Moving forward with the 50 Ways Series, we have the letter 'F!' 

The Letter 'F' was less of a challenge than 'C,' my toughest one yet, but more of a challenge than 'E' for sure. It's just one of those letters that can easily begin to look weird and unrecognizable if you try to get too fancy with it! I hope I kept all of my 'Fs' recognizable, but I can't promise that they're all 'cute.' LOL there are certainly a few I wouldn't use, myself! 

I have absolutely been blown away by the reception of these worksheets! Since adding in the free worksheet, I've had so many kind comments and e-mails from lettering artists that have really found these helpful! It truly means the world to me to create something that another artist finds useful! If you post a photo or video of yourself using them, please tag me! I love to see the worksheets (and your lettering) in action!

To print your 'F' Worksheet out, simply click here. Right click, save, print, then trace away!

Print the 'A' Worksheet Here
Print the 'B' Worksheet Here
Print the 'C' Worksheet Here
Print the 'D' Worksheet Here
Print the 'E' Worksheet Here

 

 

50 Ways to Draw An '"E" - Brush Lettering Practice + Free Worksheet

Hey y'all! It's Friday! We made it through another week! 

I am still in Lexington, KY for the Peppermints and Pearls Christmas Market, but I didn't forget about my promise to blog twice a week, so I've pre-prepared the next installment of the 50 Ways Series for you all to enjoy.....this week, we conquered the letter 'E!'

Gosh, guys, this one was too easy. I think it's because there is more than one recognizable way to write an uppercase 'E.' For starters, there's the 'print' and 'cursive' versions which are totally different. The cursive 'E' leaves a LOT of room for really creative flourishes and fun stuff. The regular 'E' is pretty cut and dried, but it is fun to add pretty lines, curves, and swirls to make it a little more exciting! Here's what I came up with! 

To print your 'E' Worksheet out, simply click here. Right click, save, print, then trace away!

Print the 'A' Worksheet Here
Print the 'B' Worksheet Here
Print the 'C' Worksheet Here
Print the 'D' Worksheet Here

50 Ways to Draw A "D" - Brush Lettering Practice + Free Worksheet

Hello, and happy Tuesday!

I'm headed back to Kentucky to sell my prints and greeting cards at the Peppermints and Pearls Christmas Market in Lexington! In between making prints and preparing for four days away from my business, I have loved sitting down to relax with my iPad Pro and coming up with the next few installments of the 50 Ways Series! 

The Letter 'D' was an absolutely blast! I found it somewhat easy to create fifty D's, but it wasn't nearly as easy-breezy as creating my 50 E's, which you'll see on Friday! 

As for today, I hope you enjoy this Free Worksheet for you to use in practicing some creative D's of your own with your brush pen! I've also added the links for A, B, and C! 

To print your 'D' worksheet out, simply click here. 
Right click, save, print, then trace away!

Print the 'A' Worksheet Here
Print the 'B' Worksheet Here
Print the 'C' Worksheet Here

50 Ways to Draw A "C" - Brush Lettering Practice + Free Worksheet

Hey everyone! The super quick blog post is going up on a Tuesday (had to) because I couldn't wait to share this with you! 'This' being my third installment of the '50 Ways Series,' presenting the incredibly tough letter 'C.' I had to get seriously creative with some of these!

As you'll know from last Friday's post, I have been addicted to lettering on my iPad Pro! But, as I said, I never want to abandon my brush pens or get too out of practice with my lettering 'in real life.' So, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered this perfect solution. 

Unlike the previous two installments of this series (Check out 'A' here, and 'B' here), I am not sketching my C's out in pencil first. Last night, I sat down for a date with my iPad, and began lettering my C's in Procreate. As I mentioned last week, the iPad gets my creative juices flowing SO quickly. Within about 20 minutes, I had 50 very unique letter C's, in all shapes and sizes. And, thanks to Procreate, my letters were virtually perfect. In an effort not to let my pens get too lonely, I decided to create a worksheet for myself, printed it, and began tracing them with my favorite pen ever. 

I had such success with this method of practice, that I wanted to share my worksheet with you!

To print yours out, simply click here. Right click, save, print, then trace away!

I've also updated the blog posts for letters 'A' and 'B' to include worksheets, but for now, you can download them the same way by clicking here for 'A' and here for 'B.'

Ok! Like I said, this post is super quick! I'll be back on Friday for another tutorial, and next week, I'll have 50 Ways to Letter 'D,' complete with a worksheet! Can't wait :) See you then!

iPad Pro First Impressions: Digitizing, Streamlining, & a Free Printable

iPad Pro First Impressions

Hey y'all! This week, I wanted to talk about a product I'm sure you've seen everywhere by now! Since the iPad Pro was released, and with it, the Procreate app and Apple Pencil, many hand-lettering artists I follow (and admire) have given their brush pens a break, in exchange for this awesome piece of technology. And I've just been drooling over it all.

I've been pining after the iPad Pro for months and months. But, I was super hesitant to make the purchase because money doesn't grow on trees and I've become Frugal Frieda in the last few years. Also, buying the iPad felt like such an indulgent expense, especially with the holidays coming up! However, I knew this purchase could be for the betterment of my business, so I did it. And I've been the proud owner of an iPad Pro for a week. 

Yes, one week. Not nearly long enough to have learned the ins and outs of Procreate, but long enough for me to know that my first impression is: GOOGLY-EYED LOVE.

WHY THE EXCITEMENT?

Digitizing. Digitizing! DIGITIZING! This product has totally streamlined my lettering process. As much as I love hand-lettering with a real brush pen, I was getting very bored and frustrated with the rigorous digitization process. 

For me, digitizing my hand-lettered pieces in Illustrator was not only time consuming, but unrewarding. Though my digitized lettering always looks good, it is nowhere near as clean and crisp as I want it to be. This is a huge deal, considering I make and sell digitized hand-lettered products. I could always spend more time at my computer, obsessing over every corner and curve, working on it until it's absolutely perfect, but there are not enough hours in the day when I am the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of this ship. 

I don't have to give up coffee to save my lettering. Ok, so I'm being a tiny bit dramatic, but if you ever saw me letter in person, you'd know I have a mild case of the caffeine shakes pretty much 24/7. That's actually why I quit recording hand-lettering videos! But, how does using the iPad fix this? The magical 'streamline' feature. I learned about it months ago from watching this Instagram Video:

I mean, her caption says it all! This incredible feature totally evens out every line and curve. There is no need for touching up or correcting. It. Is. AWESOME. 

The possibilities are endless. I've planned to expand the line of products I sell since the beginning. Now, with with this amazing tablet, I have the exact tools I need to begin creating more of the artwork I enjoy... like custom portraits, house illustrations, logos, etc. Yes, I could have (and have) done all of those things the Old-Fashioned way, but it will always go back to streamlining for me. Not to mention, I have saved I-Don't-Know-How-Much paper. 

My creative juices are FA-LOWING. Changing it up was just what I needed to rejuvenate my lettering.  As with anything, doing the same repetitive tasks (aka: digitizing) over again can get stale. This stale feeling has seeped over into all areas of my business, because my business revolves around lettering and digitizing. But, for the last week, I've been on creative FIRE while using my new toy. Printables, greeting cards, custom monograms....it's like I've been touched by the Creativity Angel. 

My favorite aspect of the iPad pro is the ability to work directly on top of images. Previously, I had to hold up some tracing paper to my computer screen and roughly sketch out the area where I wanted my lettering to go. Then, after finishing the lettering on paper, I had to scan it into the computer, then spend at least half an hour digitizing it. Lettering directly on top of images is not a convenience that every hand-letterer needs, but I happen to be collaborating on a line of hand-lettered photographs with January June Photography. The amount of time Procreate has saved me in this respect is already invaluable. The photos above are some I have done just for fun before bed. All together, they may have taken me half an hour! 

Buuuuttttt.....Mixed Feelings.....

As much as I love my new baby, and I do not regret a single penny I spent on it, I still have some mild reservations...mostly, about letting myself get too attached. 

I never want to stop using a real pen! In the past week, I have not picked up my brush pen but once. Before the iPad, I had a few brush pens in every room in our apartment, because I was constantly using them! I can easily see myself slipping into Apple Pencil Dependency and I do not want that to happen. Obviously, that's something I control...not the iPad, but you know! TECHNOLOGY! IT'S SO COOL AND AMAZING AND ADDICTIVE!

I still need to use Illustrator. Though this is technically a 'downfall' of Procreate, I am thankful there are still a few things it can't do for me. For one, the resolution isn't perfect. I have found that I still need to transfer the work I've created in Procreate to Illustrator in order to fix up the resolution. I use the Image Trace (Sketched Art) Feature to digitally trace my piece. But, thanks to Procreate and it's amazing-ness, I don't have to do any smoothing or correcting once the image is traced. It looks almost EXACTLY like what I created in Procreate. 

Now for a FREE Thing I made on the iPad!

Right click and save image or read below for download/printing instructions!

Right click and save image or read below for download/printing instructions!

The leaves are really starting to change here in Southern Illinois, so I wanted to do an Autumn Printable for y'all! This golden color is my absolute favorite for this time of year, and I turned my 'streamline' setting all the way down so it could have a more hand-written feel! Who needs perfect all the time? It's certainly nice, but it isn't realistic. 

I printed mine as a 5x7 and it's sitting right beside me in a sweet little gold frame. If you print yours and hang it anywhere, make sure to tag me @kileyinkentucky AND my new Etsy Shop Account (that hasn't formally been announced yet) @shopkileyinkentucky (both on Instagram). I would love to repost any pictures you all take with this cute print! 

Simply right click and save the photo above, or click here for a hi-res download! Then, print just as you would anything else. I didn't put my watermark on this piece, so please be respectful when sharing, and give credit where it's due!

Ok, if this seemed a bit scattered, that's because it was! Ha! Today has been crazy. Some cyber hackers took Etsy down for a few hours, and I had a mild panic attack, as I was in the middle of confirming some custom designs with 3 different clients. But, all is well now! I will be back next week with another hand-lettering tutorial! I think I'm going to show y'all my semi-solution for when I have those caffeine shakes I was talking about.... 

Let me know what you think in the comments below or hit me with an e-mail! I love to hear from you all every week! Have a fabulous weekend!

Tombow Techniques: Autumn Inspired Lettering

Yay! It's FALL! I couldn't be happier....even if it's still in the 80's four days a week, I've fully committed to Autumn from the way I dress (already broke out the distressed black denim and ankle booties) to the way I LETTER!

I mean, you only get to do Fall-Inspired Lettering once a year...you might as well do it up big. 

In this post, I have 2 variations of lettering techniques that you can use to (pumpkin) spice up your lettering to give it that seasonal feel. 

Let's jump in!

1. Spooky Branch Lettering

Such a great title, right?! 

This technique features the Fudenosuke Twin Tip Brush Pen. This pen has two brush pen tips on either side, one in black, and one in gray! See how perfectly it works for this technique, and just imagine how many other cool effects you could create with the two shades paired together. 

Tree branches happen to be one of my favorite things to doodle. I love the organic shape of them, and how you really can't go wrong. No two tree branches look exactly alike, and they are NEVER 'perfect.' If you're not experienced with tree branches, I suggest your first step of this process to be practicing some tree branches. 

Eek! It's so hard to capture pencil marks in a photo, but here are my practice sketches of tree branches. I start with a long straight line down the center. This line can go vertically or horizontally, depending on which direction your branch is going. It can also curve! There are seriously NO RULES! Next, start drawing a few lines 'branching' out from either side of your original line. Lastly, add lines to THOSE lines. So on and so forth. 

Now, we're ready to outline our branches with the black tip of the Fudenosuke Twin Tip.

Tree branches always have lots of bumps and uneven spots. Change up the amount of pressure you apply on both your downstrokes AND upstrokes to create this uneven look. it really adds to the spooky, realistic feel of these branches.

Next, let's flip our pen to the other side and add shadowing to our branches with the gray side of the Twin Tip.

I always add my shadows to the left side...I don't know why! Feel free to experiment with how you place your shadows. Also, EXTRA POINTS if it's not perfect! Seriously, imperfection just adds to this technique. That's why I love it so much!

Now that we've practiced our branches, let's apply them to some letters. 

I chose to practice with this A. If you follow my 'flow' chart (LOL), you'll see that I have my plain, brush-lettered A first. Next, I add a few curved, uneven lines branching out from the lines in my A. The way I decide where these will go is to follow the natural line of my A, exactly the way I drew it. Lastly, add some extra lines to your branches. The look is complete. Well, almost!

Don't forget to add your shadows with the gray side of the Twin Tip! In my Instagram photo above, you can see that I added some EXTRA branches just using the gray side. This gives it a little extra dimension and interest. I didn't do it here, but it looks amazing! The choice is in your hands! 

Just to show you how it looks with another word, here is 'spooky' using this spooky effect! I love it! What do you think?

2. Blending, Two Ways!

You'll probably already be familiar with these blending techniques because they are widely used amongst us letterers, beginner or advanced. But, I wanted to show them to you again, using fall colors. Because, well, Fall colors just make everything better!

For the first variation on blending, you'll need a blending palette. I'm using this one, but a plastic baggie or another plastic surface works great as well. In this first blending tutorial, I'll only be using the red and yellow shades. In the next one, I'll use all four!

Also, I'm kicking myself, wondering WHY I didn't write down the shades I'm using. These colors are at home...I'm writing this from Panera! I'll update when I get a chance :) 

I began by scribbling my red shade onto the blending palette. 

P.S. Do you know how hard it was for me to get this pic of my hand? LOL real hard.

P.S. Do you know how hard it was for me to get this pic of my hand? LOL real hard.

Then, I take the yellow brush tip to the red ink, and swirl it around, making sure the tip of the yellow marker is somewhat 'stained' with the red color. (Don't worry---it doesn't really stain)

After you've blended those inks, start writing! The red ink mixed with the yellow ink creates a beautiful orange that will fade back to yellow, once the red ink fades. I probably should have gotten a little more red on my marker to make my fade last longer, but oh well!

Ok, so that's great, but it doesn't have a lot of excitement to it, does it? And it certainly doesn't look anything like the lettering in my Instagram photo from above. 

Let's jump into the second variation of blending. 

Directly on top of the blended lettering I just did, I took my orange brush pen, and shaded 3/4 of the way down my letters, as seen above. Then, I took the red marker, and shaded over that, about 1/2 way down my letters, also seen above. Looks a bit like candy corn, right? 

Next, to blend those colors together, I go back over everything with my yellow marker until the colors have all mixed together to create a beautiful fall ombre. 

To add even more interest to this, I took my brown dual brush pen, and made little dots at the top of each letter, then blended them out with the yellow.

I'm sure you'll do a much better job of blending than I did! :-D I think the brown detail really makes it look like Autumn leaves, which I just luuuurrrvvveee.

BONUS POINTS if you add in some shadows with your brush pen! it looks sort of comic-booky! I like it!

Now, put your new tree-branch drawing to the test and apply it as a cool wreath around your quote, like I did for Instagram! That really pulls it all together, and you will majorly impress all your friends. They'll never imagine it's actually pretty simple!

Ok, guys, that's all I've got for this week! I'll be back next with something new! I'm taking suggestions, so if there's something you would like to see me do a tutorial on, just hit me up or leave a comment below!