You might have never heard of hand lettering or perhaps think that it is just a fancier version of handwriting – but that is not quite right.
Hand lettering is a creative skill that uses letters to create unique, beautiful designs and Leicester-based artist Lorna Dunn has spent six years practising and perfecting her craft.
The 30-year-old knows all there is about this unique art form and has shared some of her knowledge to help the next generation of hand letterers.
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I’ve been working on this tropical mural for @wistowcafebistro and it’s been sooo nice to paint big, free, organic shapes and layer stuff up. I’ve been doing signs here for 8 years it’s so nice to build up friendships with customers too <3 • • • #mural #tropicalleaves #handpainted #alwayshandpaint #wallpainting #illustration #montsera #swisscheeseplant #botanicals #linedrawing #fern #palmleaves #interiordesign #wistowruralcentre #leafy #renovation #palm #bananaleaves #tropicalprint
After spending time hand lettering in-between other jobs for six years Lorna was finally able to full-time and carry out her love on a day to day basis.
“When I started off it was hard but over time it has grown and grown. I had to do a lot of stuff I didn’t enjoy before getting to where I am now.” says Lorna.
This attitude will serve you well in what can be a competitive occupation. While success is not guaranteed, Lorna says you can give yourself the best chance by working hard and giving your all in every piece of work you do.
2. Social-media savvy
“Social media is everything to me,” says Lorna.
The artist credits some of her growth as a hand letterer down to her social media presence. Boasting almost 6,000 followers on her Instagram account, lesser_than_three, she regularly posts her work to gain attention from both customers and potential employers.
With the increased emphasis on businesses to have a strong social media presence, Lorna believes this is vital to achieving success as a hand letterer.
3. Surround yourself with art
What better way to inspire yourself than by surrounding yourself with other forms of artwork? Checking out galleries and exhibitions can be a great way to develop new ideas and a different perspective on your work.
“Me and my friends are always going to art galleries in and around the Midlands. We’re all art-lovers and you see some amazing work on show,” says Lorna.
Lorna and her friends are particular fans of New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in her home city. Located in Leicester city centre, it opened in 1849 and contains displays of science, history and art, both international and local.
“The fear of an office job made sure that I kept chipping away at my dream to make it,” says Lorna.
For some, the daily 9-5 grind is not a bad thing and can be enjoyable if you are in an occupation that you love.
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🤓 The light was nice so we did a pic. It’s really cool working through the skate deck commissions, love everyone’s individual colour combinations and phrases. I might do another set at some point, watch this space! ✨ • • • #workspace #studio #skatedeck #signpainter #handlettering #signpainting
But Lorna knew from day one that she didn’t want to be restricted to one office and enjoyed making different locations her workplace. This flexibility drove her to achieve her goal of becoming a professional hand letterer.
While you do not need to dislike a regimented routine to succeed in the industry, having something to spur you on such as the flexibility or creativity of the job will only help you to achieve more success in the future.
While this is not as important, it will still aid you in your quest to be a professional hand letterer.
“I worked six part time jobs when I started just to keep myself afloat,” says Lorna. “It wasn’t easy but I had to do it to earn some money when my hand lettering wasn’t that profitable.”
Having some money in the bank will ensure that you have some security when you first start out and are trying to establish and grow a business.
If you would like to see more of Lorna’s work check out her Instagram page here.