billie claire

hand lettering, photography, & other things

PROCESS:

All of my designs are original, and begin in my sketchbook with a pencil and a LOT of erasing. Once I have tweaked it and messed with it and erased some more, it is time to move to the second scariest part - tracing my design in pen. (Fingers crossed I don't mess this up!) Thanks to my favorite Micron pens (05 and 02), my design turns into a black and white sketchbook masterpiece. I then pull the design into Adobe Illustrator, where I digitize it and move to the biggest most scariest part - adding color. (There are literally MILLIONS of options.) After I've gone through a superfluous number of color schemes, I size the files and send them off to my favorite local printer - Harold at Southside Printing on Manchaca. He even has a 'Claire' setting on his massive printer, with my favorite paper and everything. From there, it's time to package and frame!

As for my magnets and buttons - those too, start in my sketchbook. These are really fun to make, because I can dream something up, sketch it, trace it, digitize it, and bam! I print it at home and stamp them into buttons in seconds with my handy dandy button maker. 

What's next, you ask? Coming soon are handmade notebooks, screen printed prints, and hand lettered wedding envelopes! Woo hoo!

Things that led to me becoming a hand letterer, the long story.

1. My grandfather and father were both traditional calligraphers, so my sister and I were both signed up for traditional calligraphy classes at our local library. I was 7. And I didn't really get it. But I really liked the pens, and the rhythm of copying letters.

2. My friend bought me a vintage 'Hand Lettering the Alphabet' book in college, because I often ditched my friends on the weekends to stay in and craft. This became my new go-to source for lettering on handmade cards and even what to carve into my pumpkin.

3. My mom and dad both have the expectation of receiving handmade cards for every birthday, and... well... my 'roses are red' poems kept looking nicer and nicer.

4. I took a Layout & Design course in college to fulfill my technology credit, and to avoid taking more Digital Audio classes. Turns out, it was the best decision ever, and I got a true introduction to Adobe Illustrator, my new best friend.

5. I took a Handwriting Without Tears workshop as professional development for my teaching career, and they taught us how to teach cursive. I've hated cursive since I was a fifth grader, but all of the sudden, I started practicing during the workshop, and I fell in love. I challenged myself to write all of my notes in cursive.

6. Shortly after, my mom asked me to make her some thank you cards to use for her friends. With my new obsession for cursive, I got to work.

7. My mom bought me a Zentangle book for Christmas, complete with a Micron pen. I haven't gotten into zentangling yet, but damn - that pen is the BEST!

8. I tried a 30-day lettering challenge, with a focus on the names of food. I think I lasted 10 days (I got really hungry), but it forced me to practice practice practice.

9. And then... I made my first Etsy sale, and it was like... alright, well now I have 3 days to figure out how to print, package, and mail these things!

10. My friend Jessie invited me to share a booth with her for an Austin FLEA show. Boy was I nervous. But it was fantastic, and I've been hooked ever since.