Journaling should be fun. And it should be enjoyable. It's a time when you get to slow down and focus on yourself. Albeit finding that time may seem impossible some days, the payoff is rewarding.
As technology increases, handwriting is something we do less and less. Even if you're the most tech savvy in your circle, there's power in coming back to basics - pen and paper. Calligraphy is exactly that, connecting with paper and requires patience but that's the beauty of it.
We bumped into this pensive calligraphy artist from Los Angeles who is dedicated to her craft and the art of fine lettering. Take a look as we carved some time aside to sit down and meet this creative writer, Mrs. Shelby Huber.
When did you start doodling in calligraphy?
The inspiration to creatively handwrite has been a hobby of mine since childhood, I even remember the little set of calligraphy pens that my parents bought me to use to encourage my love of handwriting! I officially started my calligraphy business in August of 2016 when my younger brother was getting married. My sister-in-law knew I had beautiful writing and asked me to do calligraphy for her wedding! From there it was more of a calling than anything, and today I am still amazed to have calligraphy be a part of my life and am love the adventure.
What does calligraphy mean to you?
Calligraphy, to me, means sharing my love of writing with others! Calligraphy is taking the time to make writing look beautiful and pouring love into whatever it is you are writing. There is always an inspiration behind it, whether it be writing out a quote that is inspiring, or making a beautiful sign for a client’s wedding. All things are related to life and love which makes being a calligrapher so much fun.
What’s the best thing about it?
The best part of calligraphy to me is when someone else appreciates my work! It’s a wonderful exchange when you’ve put your love into something and someone else appreciates it!
What advice do you have for a beginner?
I would just advise someone to give it a try! There are some cool calligraphy classes you can take which are helpful because they give you the tools you need and basic advice. The first time I really tried calligraphy I did it on my own! I bought some tools I found at the craft store, watched a YouTube video or two and just gave it a whirl! That’s when all the magic started; so anyone interested can do it too…just give it a try!
What other canvases do you like to write on?
In my work with wedding calligraphy, I also write on many different surfaces including wood, chalkboards, tiles, coasters, glass, mirrors, and the list goes on! My favorite aside from using my actual calligraphy pen, would be using paint pens to write on wood or using chalk markers to write on chalkboards, this is when my lettering skills come to a larger scale!
What tools/materials do you use?
The tools I use the most would be my calligraphy penholder, lots of nibs (the nib is the tip of the calligraphy pen which gets dipped into ink) and various colors of ink of course! It’s also important for me to have my pen cleaner and a paper towel nearby as well! When it comes to calligraphy penholders, my favorite is the oblique wooden penholder. My favorite nibs (there are so many different types) are the Nikko G and blue Pumpkin nibs. My advice to anyone interested in trying calligraphy is to make sure you have the right penholder and nib. Having the right tools could make all the difference in your calligraphy results! As far as my favorite paper goes, I usually like writing on cardstock and I also love the look of a recycled paper (although that sometimes has its challenges to write on). My most recent favorite discovery is the cream colored, cotton rag paper found in the Observer Rustico journal!
It seems like you enjoy to write quotes. Can you share your intention behind your art?
I do enjoy writing quotes more than anything! I am not sure when it really started, but when I was younger (before I really got into calligraphy I do today) I remember having a little journal that I would put all the quotes I wrote out in. My quote journal became a hobby, and for some reason I guess I really have a fascination with quotes due to my philosophical nature! I just love how quotes can be so inspirational! When I am patiently writing out a quote in calligraphy, I really have to write slowly and it sort of allows me to remember what I’m writing, and to really feel the inspiration and emotion behind the quote! A good quote can inspire and can change your mood, it can give you the clarity you need to understand your life better and to know you’re on the right path!
Your work is heavily displayed at weddings. How did calligraphy open new opportunities for you?
Wedding calligraphy is more popular than ever these days! Ever since Kelsey Rinaldi, my sister-in-law and beloved coordinator at @eventsslrg, asked me to do her wedding calligraphy, I have been able to meet lots of amazing wedding professionals. I've been so fortunate to work with lots of great vendors, friends who are also very talented such as Katie Jackson who took these beautiful photographs of my Rustico journal, and Soltana Mulhearn who is a very talented event planner and whose beautifully decorated space was the perfect location for these shots.
Weddings are a perfect event to have all your details look beautiful and to have custom signage! I think that’s what makes wedding calligraphy so popular. For me I’ve found it to be an amazing community to be a part of, and any time I get to use my calligraphy skills to help create something beautiful for a couples wedding feels like such an honor and an amazing way to make a living.
You mentioned it takes time to craft your writings and you thoroughly enjoy that. Can you elaborate?
Upon finding out that I do calligraphy, people always say to me “You must have a lot of patience”. What they don’t realize is that in fact patience is the key to it all! When I do calligraphy I really have to slow down to write beautifully, and being patient in that way really actually makes me stop and slow down…In a life that is so busy, and in a world that is so fast paced, really taking the time to slow down and be patient is a beautiful thing. In this way, this work can be sort of healing in a sense.
Where does Shelby get her inspiration from?
Inspiration for me comes in so many different ways! I am inspired by lots of things; beautiful writing and uplifting words, nature and animals, music and lyrics, and all things colorful and beautiful inspire me. I like to look for signs in life for inspiration. Every quote I write out is usually inspired by some event. For example, the Michelangelo quote that I wrote in my Rustico journal came to me when my loving mother sent a text image of this quote to my siblings and I from her daily motivational calendar. The inspiration to write out a quote by Aristotle came to me when my friend mentioned the name Aristotle and the thought came to me that he would have a great quote! Inspiration is all around us, and if you’re patient enough, aware enough, and open to it, it will find you!
If you find yourself wanting to start calligraphy but don't know where to begin, we hope this blog can help you make the leap. Like mastering any craft, you'll need practice and calligraphy is no stranger.
Enjoy the journey and have fun!