Written By Hand Challenge

Hi friends! I have been so blown away by the amazing response for my book, Written By Hand. It's already been sent to re-print AND is being translated into four different languages! #whoa

Even more than lettering, I love community and in my own life, I need accountability. So I thought it would be fun to work through the book together, make new friends and do some giveaways along the way. 

Each week, we will work on a specific section of the book (outlined below) and then share on instagram using the hashtag #writtenbyhandchallenge. I encourage you to talk to each other, share tips, show your practice. 


On Tuesdays, we will pick a giveaway winner from the previous week. To be entered, you must be signed up and post at least one photo to instagram using our hashtag. 

At the end of the 9 week challenge, we will do a snail mail exchange with each other! Won't that be fun?! 

So what do you have to do? Sign up with your email below. Once you select "join us," you will receive the link to the Google Doc to be able to put your instagram handle and information so that we can all connect! 

I will be joining you on instagram with extra tips and tricks. Videos and live events. If you want to know my favorite pens you can check out this post

Today we will begin with the introduction section! Head over to instagram and watch the insta stories!! 


"What I Learned About Dating After Getting Sober"

Before we got engaged (holy moly, I'm engaged!!!) Paul and I wrote an article together for the Grotto Network. As we worked on it and went back and forth discussing our relationship, it was the moment I knew for sure that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man. (Don't let him show you the texts I sent him less than one month after our first date when I was writing Mr. and Mrs. Paul Campbell in calligraphy.) 

You can read the article here

photograph by Marylouise McGraw

photograph by Marylouise McGraw

Calligraphy Supplies.

It's been years since I've written a post about my favorite calligraphy supplies and I am always getting questions on what to buy and where to buy it. We sell our calligraphy kits as a starter pack that will get you started right away. BUT if you need to re-stock, here's all that you'll need!!

AND I am currently working on reprinting our calligraphy workbook after selling out over the holidays. For those of you who have it, is there any extra info you would love to be included?! Thanks for your help!!

For practicing and draft work, I only use Marker Paper. It is super smooth, won't bleed and is see through so you can trace things or use lines to write straight. 

For final pieces - custom quotes or place cards - I love Bristol Smooth Surface Paper. Be careful not to get tricked by purchasing vellum. It has a slightly bumpy surface and will make your nib splatter.

I also use watercolor paper if I'm using watercolor paints!

For anything that I digitize, I use black Sumi Ink. It's absolutely amazing - so smooth and dries raised off the paper so when you run your fingers over it, you can feel that it was hand done. If you have our kit and need more ink, I suggest buying the big bottle and refilling your small jar. It will make much less of a mess!

When I need a colored ink, I make it myself with gouache paint. I love WInsor and Newton because the pigment is so rich and beautiful. Buy the paint and then use small jars to mix it with a little bit of water until it is the same consistency as the sumi ink

If I am using a paint brush, I will also often use watercolors. You can get tubes of watercolor and make your own palette OR you can get a set that is already dried

Pens + Brushes
For modern calligraphy, there are two types of pen holders.

Oblique Pen Holder and Straight Pen Holder - I tell all my students to try both and see what you prefer. I really do think it is personal preference and how you learned to write as a child.

I use round brushes for all brush lettering. I am partial to the Winsor and Newton University brush. I suggest any size from 000 to 2 for normal writing (you can go larger for big signs and such). Another option is a brush pen!

I only ever use two kinds of nibs although there are thousands of different kinds depending on what look you are going for!

Zebra G Nib is really great if you have a naturally heavy hand. If you don't, like me, you will get a really delicate, feminine calligraphy. One super tip for this is that if you are struggling using this nib - the ink won't hold in the well or releases large blobs - stick it in a potato over night OR run a q-tip with nail polish remover over the nib. The manufacturer puts a coating on the nib to keep it from rusting, but it also causes some issues when you first start using it!

My all time favorite is the Leonardt Extra Fine Principal Nib, which can only be purchased from a speciality store

I use lots of erasers!

And a lightbox. Instead of having to draw on a paper with a pencil and erase the lines, I will draw on a paper and then place the final piece of paper over the drafted piece on top of the light board. Or if I'm addressing envelopes, I can draw out lines on a paper and place the envelope over the lines so that I can easily write straight. It is my very best investment. 

The FIRST EVER Catholic Journaling Bible.

At the end of August, I woke up to a text from Jenna of Blessed is She asking if I thought it at all possible to design the entire Bible in a month. I remember thinking "I don't know if I can, but I will make it happen."

We got contracts signed and a game plan in place and then I got news that my grandfather was declining quickly and I needed to get home to say my goodbyes. The Bible was going to require some work that I hadn't anticipated (ie adjusting every single footnote and endnote on every single page). 

The rest is quite a blur. My grandfather passed away. I went home twice. I grieved and I drew and I knew this project was the biggest I'd ever been given. 

And the result blows my mind and my heart. How my hands were chosen for this task. How quickly I had to work, which was a blessing so that I couldn't get in my own way. It was all divinely cared for and I was just the vessel. 

You can purchase the Bible on Blessed is She. I've been getting a lot of messages about what pens to use in the Bible. The pages are slightly thinner than we hoped, but luckily they won't bleed. Here are some good options:

My hope is that this is a Bible that can be passed down from generation to generation. Where all your notes and experience can be given to your daughters and your daughters' daughters. 

Christmas Presents.

14 days until Christmas and I am only making a Christmas list tonight. I've been searching on everyone else's gift guides and here is what I've collected for mine:

xo, Erica