Q&A with The Art of Brush Lettering author Kelly Klapstein

Kelly Klapstein is the founder and owner of KellyCreates, an online provider of instruction and inspiration for brush lettering. Her book, The Art of Brush Lettering, takes a meditative approach to creating beautiful letterforms, plus freestyle lettering, faux calligraphy, and special effects. We got a chance to talk with her about how she got started.

Author of The Art of Brush Lettering

When did you begin lettering?

About 2 and half years ago I picked up a brush pen for the first time after watching an Instagram video of someone writing the letter h. I was mesmerized by the pen’s movement on the paper, and immediately pulled out my pack of brush pens, which I hadn’t used before but were sitting in my studio in an unopened box. I spent every morning with a cup of tea, pen and paper practicing the art form of calligraphy and sharing my work online in challenges and lettering communities.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Even though I spend a lot of time sharing my lettering on social media, I avoid looking at a lot of other artists online because I feel that their designs can easily sneak into my creative thoughts when I sit down to write or design. Ironically, I find I am most inspired when I am outdoors walking my dog Finn. I find that when I’m unplugged and surrounded by the beauty of nature, my creativity soars. I also keep a journal and pens beside my computer when I’m working and random creative ideas pop into my head so I sketch them or write them down.

How do you balance your work with the practical side of it?

I will admit I am a minimalist and a bit too practical when it comes to my calligraphy. I prefer to read words and quotes easily rather than try to decipher an elaborate flourished style, so that is basically what you will see in my lettering. I find negative space restful for the eyes, so I gravitate towards a simplistic style. I have had to push myself to learn flourishing and more decorative lettering because lots of people want to learn these elements in workshops.

Do you do any non-lettering types of art? If so, how do they compliment your lettering work? If not, what would you be interested in trying one day?

Aside from lettering and calligraphy, I am actually obsessed with watercolour. I think about painting in watercolour every day and am a big fan of many artists online. I truly love watercolor lettering (maybe even more than the brush pen….gasp!) but I find that right now the brush pen calligraphy is my niche so my focus is there. I also keep my watercolor art quite private, just for me, and I don’t share much. Along the same lines, I love urban sketching and whenever I travel, I take a small watercolor sketch book and portable paint set and brush so I can capture the memory of the places I’ve been.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to start lettering?

First, I highly recommend my book The Art of Brush Lettering. The detailed instructions with step by step photos of letters and techniques is honestly the best way to learn outside of a workshop. Second, I always tell the students to have patience and avoid comparing yourselves to other people’s progress. Even lettering artists or professional calligraphers struggle with confidence because of comparisons and judgment. Calligraphy, like any art form, takes many hours of practice and dedication of time to improve and master. When it does come together, it is an incredible feeling and well worth the effort.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Kelly! Enter to win a copy of her book below!

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The Art of Brush Lettering

  • Patricia Villanueva

    Hi! I would love for a chance to win a book, but I don’t have a Twitter! Is there any way to get an entry without it?