#SurelySimple Inspiration: Letterer Missy Briggs

Hello folks. You’ll be meeting different lettering / calligraphy artists as a part of the ‘meet the teachers’ series on @surelysimplechallenge. You can find their ‘main’ interviews on surelysimple.com, however the ones posted here are more personal and you might enjoy reading both, so please enjoy a glimpse into the creative folks featured here!

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

I’m Missy Briggs of M2B Studio. My work is primarily wedding and event calligraphy and signage. My personal life is that of a stay-at-home mom to two amazing kiddos, wife to one incredible husband, and dog-mom to two geriatric shih-tzu. If you’ve seen me on Instagram, you know that I’m the left-handed calligrapher that letters backwards. I love to share my art and inspiration on Instagram, and special tips and tricks for those just starting their lettering journey on missybriggs.com.

What is this sorcery? 😳 @m2bstudio Missy is one of the teachers in the #SimpleAlphabets challenge- and she's representing all us lefties out there! I have no idea how she can write so well backwards though in drill formation- and I'm a lefty too. Amazing, Missy! 🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸 🔸🔸🔸 To find out what she's going to teach, be sure to stay in the loop here : by following @surelysimplechallenge and @surelysimpleblog ▶️The Simplealphabets challenge- which starts on June, will have us lettering an alphabet a day and also will be showcasing some teachers who will be sharing a bit about themselves and tips to help you get started too. And of course your work has a chance to get featured – so keep lettering! 🎉 Check out the prompts page on @surelysimpleblog and tell us if you're joining! #surelysimplelettering #handlettered #brushpen #leftycalligraphy

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How would you describe your lettering/ calligraphy style?

First of all, it’s not backwards! When I’m working in my studio on a commission, I do not write backwards. I post videos where I do this little party trick and people assume that’s the way I work, every day. All day! I began writing backwards while practicing my lettering as a way to better understand letterforms and evaluate spacing. I continue to do it in videos because (1) it’s fun and quirky and (2) I’m a lefty. Lettering backwards means you can see what I’m writing in a video. Otherwise I have to use an odd side camera angle. When you look at typography or lettering, you assign a feeling to that type style. If it’s swirly, and dots are replaced with hearts, you would say it’s lighthearted and happy. If it’s full of grand flourishes and swashes, you would call the style romantic. When I WRITE, I keep the project at hand in mind, and work accordingly. If it’s fun and romantic, I make the letters dance above and below the baseline or spread out the spacing to add interest. If it’s more formal, I’ll adopt a slant. My typical hand lettering is not slanted, it’s fairly fun and lighthearted, and it has a little bit of an edge.

What makes you motivated enough to keep on keeping on with your work?

I spent many years in a typical 9 to 5 job, and during that time I created very little. I wasn’t sure of my style and I no longer identified with being an artist. When I became a stay-at-home mom, I began my journey back into my art by… introducing myself as an artist! The simple action of defining myself by my aspirations became a way to change my overall mindset. Soon I went from planning to making! I’m at a point where I’m grateful to say that I have no lack of inspiration. I keep an album in my iPhone of inspiration and I keep a notebook full of verses and motivational quotes to get me started every morning. Would you rather go the freelance way or do you prefer a more regulated and secure way of work?

Freelance. I’m very blessed to be able to spend as much time volunteering and doing my own freelance work. I wouldn’t trade my current jobs for anything. What makes you the happiest when it comes to looking at your progress? I see work that I did several years ago and can appreciate exactly where I was. I can honestly say, “That was terrible,” and not feel the need to destroy it. That’s huge for me. I don’t keep a lot of work. I take photos, scan it, and/or give it away. I don’t feel the need to keep so much around. Half glass full or half glass empty? What’s your attitude in life in general?

Full. For sure. Life’s too short to dwell on the empty half. Who do you look up to in your field? Or in life as a whole?

I am fortunate to have found many mentors along the way. And many amazing #calligrafriends. If you look at my Instagram feed, I follow people whose work I truly admire, and who inspire me. They are sharing their truth, their work, and they’re not overly promotional with their message. They’re just putting it out there. I email and text, and talk to many people I’ve met since I began sharing my lettering on Instagram.

How many hours do you put in for your work everyday?

I work as many hours as I can squeeze into the day. I would put a bed in my studio for naps if I could. Some days, it’s an hour. It really varies.

What book/ podcast are you currently reading/listening to?

This is embarrassing. I’m usually in the middle of a non-fiction book. Biographies are my jam! It’s summer, so I’m going to be honest and say I’m reading a beach-worthy, coming-of-age novel. It’s called “Sweetbitter” by Stephanie Danler. I just started it, so don’t tell me the ending! How do you think you have evolved in your art- has it changed you?

I would say that when I was just out of college, my focus was on finding a career that would allow me to modestly create on the side. My focus now is on sharing my journey, apologetically. Take me as I am! What’s next in your artistic journey?

The next logical step for me is to continue to inspire others. My own journey has gone in circles enough to be able to help others jump over that hurdle and move on to realizing their own success. I don’t know if that means teaching or mentoring, but I’d love to help others find their path. My blog, with lettering tips for beginners and special “lefty love” lettering tips for my left-handed peeps, is a start on that next chapter.

Connect with Missy: Website: www.missybriggs.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m2bstudio/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/M2Bstudio/  

 PS- Read Missy’s interview at surely simple here.

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#SurelySimple Inspiration: Kiley in Kentucky

Hello folks. You’ll be meeting different lettering / calligraphy artists as a part of the ‘meet the teachers’ series on @surelysimplechallenge. You can find their ‘main’ interviews on surelysimple.com, however the ones posted here are more personal and you might enjoy reading both, so please enjoy a glimpse into the creative folks featured here!

Meet Kiley! (check her previous feature on Opinion9 here as well!)

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

I am a twenty-something lettering artist going through a major life change! I just recently moved back to Kentucky from New York City, got married, moving out of state again, and launching my own business. Aside from all the craziness, I would describe myself as a happy medium between introvert and extrovert, a coffee and cat lover, and a woman who loves her friends and family more than anything.

How would you describe your lettering/ calligraphy style?
The words that immediately pop into my head are: loose yet feminine. I often think my letters look more like doodles than letters. There’s always a very round, ornate, girly shape to them. That’s the style that just comes most naturally to me!

What makes you motivated enough to keep on keeping on with your work?
Right now, it’s the simple fact that I truly enjoy lettering. The process is fun, therapeutic, and rewarding at the same time. I know in the future, the “fun” factor might die down, but I also love creating my own hours and being my own boss too much to ever stop lettering and go back to the 9-5 world.

Would you rather go the freelance way or do you prefer a more regulated and secure way of work?
At this point, I have forgotten what secure looks like! For the past few months, I’ve been living off of commissions and freelance work. Even though I started my Etsy Store, there’s no real guarantee I’ll ever receive another order—so, I rely on freelance to keep me going. I wouldn’t say I love this kind of lifestyle. For now, it’s fine because I planned for this, financially…but before I can start a family or begin saving for retirement, I want to have a “steady” gig.

What makes you the happiest when it comes to looking at your progress?
My favorite moments happen when I complete some sort of project, or use a technique, and I think “hey, I just did that with ease. That used to be so hard for me.” That’s when I know I’m headed in the right direction: forward.

Half glass full or half glass empty? What’s your attitude in life in general?
I’m really working on becoming a glass-half-full kind of girl! In the past, negativity or stress often got the best of me, but I’m actively focusing on the positive every day now. Honestly, quitting my 9-5 job and moving out of New York City has done wonders for my outlook on life. I have more energy, I feel healthier, I feel happier, and I’m so much more excited about life now that I’m away from the hustle and bustle.

Who do you look up to in your field? Or in life as a whole?
In my field, I really admire Kelly Klapstein (she taught the letter “A”). She’s a fellow Tombow Brand Ambassador, and even though I’ve never met her—she seems like one of the happiest, sweetest people! I don’t know much about her career as a lettering artist, but I really admire her work, her dedication, and the way she presents herself in such a positive, fun light. She’s awesome!

How many hours do you put in for your work everyday?
A solid 6 hours, at least. Some days it may be more or less, but I am generally working off and on from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, 7 days a week. That is the beauty and curse of being self-employed. Work is always with you in some way!

What book/ podcast are you currently reading/listening to?
I don’t have just one! I love all things NPR, and I love listening to ‘Fresh Air’ or ‘This American Life’ while exercising–it’s about the only way I can motivate myself to work out.


How do you think you have evolved in your art- has it changed you?
I’ve really let go of my perfectionist tendencies. A year ago, I would NEVER take on a commission because I could never come up with a final piece I thought was deserving of the client. Now, even though I am a entirely different (better) artist, I look at my art and I see the imperfections as the “fingerprint” of each piece. On the other hand, I’ve become SO organized with the start of my business (and wedding planning), that I feel like I’m on a roll every day!

What’s next in your artistic journey?
When my husband and I get settled in our next location, I want to start traveling to festivals and selling my work! I recently participated in a small festival in Central Kentucky and I loved every bit of the experience. I would also like to work with local boutiques, gift shops, and other small businesses to get my work out there, and make my prints more accessible!
My social media links are:
BLOG: www.kileyinkentucky.com
INSTA: www.instagram.com/kileyinkentucky
ETSY: www.etsy.com/shop/kileyinkentucky

Read Kiley’s interview at surely simple here.

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#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel’s Lettering

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviewsSimple Alphabets challenge- teacher exclusives!

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Hazel and I have the most amazing, supportive husband and two beautiful girls at home who sure keeps me busy.  My lettering hobby turned into addiction this past March shortly after I signed up for an online course. The course helped boost my confidence and decided to start my own lettering account in IG.  I’m not saying that everyone should take a course.  I know some, if not most, are self taught.  I’m just speaking for me 🙂

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews
How would you describe your lettering/ calligraphy style?

My lettering style I would say is simple, modern and I like to incorporate different font styles(lower case and upper case) in one word or through out a piece I am working on.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews
What makes you motivated enough to keep on keeping on with your work?

What keeps me motivated is definitely the whole #calligrafriends and IG’s lettering community who have been so encouraging in my lettering journey so far and also seeing that my work is being liked makes me feel good.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

Would you rather go the freelance way or do you prefer a more regulated and secure way of work?

If you had asked me this 10 years ago I would say freelance way but now that I have children, I do want more of a secured type of work with my own regulations 😉

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

What makes you the happiest when it comes to looking at your progress?

Seeing that the pieces I have done are being admired by many people definitely makes me feel good and also when my girls say “Mom, you’re a good writer!” makes me the happiest even though I’m pretty sure they want ice cream.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews
Half glass full or half glass empty? What’s your attitude in life in general?

To me, it’s all relative.  Having children of my own and seeing how fast they grow in my very own eyes made me realized that I have to enjoy and capture every moment, live in the present,  and most of all, be happy.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

Who do you look up to in your field? Or in life as a whole?

I always look up to my mom because she is the most kind hearted, unselfish, caring, beautiful, and strongest person I know.  I am very fortunate to have her as my mother.

 How many hours do you put in for your work everyday?

I work about 8 hours a day.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

What book/ podcast are you currently reading/listening to?

As of right now, I am reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” to my littles at night.  We shall see how long that will take us to finish.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

How do you think you have evolved in your art- has it changed you?

I have more confidence in finding my own style.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

What’s next in your artistic journey?

I just want to continue to practice daily and to work on my own style.  As a newbie,  I am still learning and trying out new things everyday.

….

Click to find Hazels’ preferred tools:

Tombow Dual Brush Pens

Tombow Fudenosuke Pens

Tombow Mono Erasers

Finetec Metallic Palette

Pentel Aquash Waterbrush Pen

Rhodia Dot Pad

Watercolors from Artist’s Loft

Kuretake Brush Pen

Tombow Mono Pencils

Thanks for sharing, Hazel! Connect with her on her instagram @hazelslettering.

 

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#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

Have you seen @surelysimplechallenge on Instagram? It’s a creative community for sharing art and calligraphy tips and tutorials. (The main hashtag for the challenge is #SimpleAlphabets!) It’s always fascinating to read about a creative mind, and we have Jo of Zuer Designs sharing (a second time here! Her first interview is here, if you’d like to take a look at that too). If you want to read more about her lettering journey, feel free to read her interview at Surely Simple. This one is an additional feature to highlight her creative process!

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

I’m Jo. I’m currently a postgraduate student studying biology, but in my free time I love creating letters and art with my hands. I’m a huge stationery addict as well, evident by my Instagram photos.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

How would you describe your lettering/ calligraphy style?

I feel like my lettering is big, bold, and beautiful. While I love the dainty hairline like calligraphy and lettering styles, I prefer prominent brush strokes and lots of colour.
What makes you motivated enough to keep on keeping on with your work?

Seeing people saying that they enjoy my work is enough to keep me motivated! I love hearing feedback from people.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com
Would you rather go the freelance way or do you prefer a more regulated and secure way of work?

Definitely freelance. I enjoy picking and choosing what works best for me. I don’t want to work on a project that doesn’t suite my style. I wouldn’t be happy with the work I produce otherwise.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com
What makes you the happiest when it comes to looking at your progress?

Seeing how my style has developed while learning. I can definitely see my personal style coming through when I look back at old work.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com
Half glass full or half glass empty? What’s your attitude in life in general?

Honestly, I’m more of a realistic person than an ‘optimist’ or ‘pessimist’. So, my glass would be filled with half water and half air. I say this because I like to look at both the positives and negatives in every situation and prepare myself for both.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com
Who do you look up to in your field? Or in life as a whole?

I don’t know if there is any particular person I look up to, but I admire people’s style. I look up to every creative person, because they are willing to continue creating, and that motivates me heaps!

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com
How many hours do you put in for your work everyday?

The first thing that I tell people who try and learn lettering is that you have to do something everyday related to it in order to see improvements. So at the bare minimum, I’ll create something to post on Instagram everyday which means I spend at least 15 minutes everyday working on my lettering.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com
What book/ podcast are you currently reading/listening to?

As a student currently, I don’t have time to read any fiction books at all. Instead, I’m reading a lot of research papers for my classes.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com
How do you think you have evolved in your art- has it changed you?

I’ve learned to find my own style and do what feels most natural and comfortable. In the beginning I was really into following trends. While I still enjoy it, now days I prefer to put my own style into it.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Jo Cheung via Opinion9.com
What’s next in your artistic journey? 

I don’t know what will happen from now. Ideally, I’ll like to keep learning to paint and eventually combine my painting with my lettering.

SHOP ART SUPPLIES THAT JO USES:







 

Thanks for sharing, Jo! You can find Jo here:

Website: zuerdesigns.com

 

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#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

 #Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz CunninghamSimple Alphabets challenge- teacher exclusives!

Let’s meet Suzanne (Suz) Cunningham!

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

I am a calligrapher from Alabama. I love the Lord and my family and my Golden Retriever, Mabel. I have been interested in calligraphy since I was a child. I have always copied letters trying to make them look exactly like the examples. I started addressing wedding envelopes 23 years ago and used a Pilot Precise V-7 roller ball pen. I discovered the pointed pen about 2 1/2 years ago, and what a game changer!#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

 

How would you describe your lettering/ calligraphy style?

I mainly write in the Copperplate script style and like to add lots of hairline flourishes. I also enjoy a modern and free script for a different and fun look.

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

What makes you motivated enough to keep on keeping on with your work?

Calligraphy is in my blood, that is my motivator. Every time I write, it amazes me as the ink comes out and makes beautiful letters. It never gets old to me and the beauty of that is very motivating.

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

Would you rather go the freelance way or do you prefer a more regulated and secure way of work?

I prefer the more freelance route. That way, I can control how much work I do. I like to go light in the summers so I can spend lots of lake time with my family.

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

What makes you the happiest when it comes to looking at your progress?

I love seeing how much my calligraphy evolves and changes over time. It’s really amazing to see what progress your hand can make and it’s very rewarding.

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

Half glass full or half glass empty? What’s your attitude in life in general?

Definitely glass half full!

 

Who do you look up to in your field? Or in life as a whole?

In life, I look up to my family. They are my rock and super heroes. I wouldn’t be where I am today as a person without them. In my field, there are countless people I look up to. Everyone is so encouraging and positive. But for superb quality in letter forms, I really look up to David Grimes. His are like none I’ve ever seen and he is such a positive calligraphy ambassador and role model. Plus, he is so darn nice!

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

How many hours do you put in for your work everyday?

That’s a tough question to answer, because I either practice or do commissioned work off and on all day and all night. I rarely take a day off unless I’m with my family doing something.

What book/ podcast are you currently reading/listening to?

Unfortunately, reading isn’t my favorite thing to do, so no book is currently in my daily schedule. I should make more time for that!

 

How do you think you have evolved in your art- has it changed you?

I have most definitely evolved in my art. I know how to better critique myself and know the things to look for (even if I can’t make my hand cooperate). It has taught me patience and persistence – two things definitely needed in calligraphy.

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

#Simple Alphabets Calligraphy Inspiration: Suz Cunningham

What’s next in your artistic journey?

More teaching and conducting workshops. I want to spread my love for calligraphy and help keep it alive!

Thanks for sharing, Suz! Read her lettering spotlight here at Surely Simple. Connect with her on instagram @suzcunningham.

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