When we were brainstorming ideas for this week and considering artists to interview I knew that I wanted to ask Hope Scott, there’s something very tenacious about her. Hope is amazingly honest about her journey and her advice is so much wiser beyond her years and time lettering. I have watched as her little business has grown and I think it might inspire some of you to take that leap if you were considering it. Hope’s hand feels very fresh and uniquely her own, I think you will find her story and lettering inspiring, she is one to watch as she is going places. Without further ado…
Where are you located?
I’m located just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, born and raised in Northern Kentucky.
How did you get started in lettering?
I started practicing calligraphy during my junior year of college in the tiniest dorm room you can imagine. It’s ironic that I would pick up calligraphy, because in the 3rd grade my teacher used to get so frustrated that I didn’t know how to write in cursive. She sent notes home to my mom, I failed nearly every spelling test because my writing was illegible, and I vividly remember writing a note to my mom telling her I wanted to quit going to school because everyone made fun of me for not being able to write nicely! Like I said, the irony. So that year in college, I began seeing modern calligraphers take over social media and I thought, “I can do that.” I bought a $10 kit from the craft store and each night, I’d turn on the tiny desk lamp in my dorm and spend hours writing anything and everything, and quite horrendously at that. Eventually I found this blog and completely devoured every interview, buying every single nib, holder, paper, and ink that each calligrapher recommended. Buying good tools was the turning point.
What are some of your favorite supplies?
I am glued, absolutely glued to my Zebra G nib with this wood pen holder. I tend to have a pretty heavy hand, and I’ve found this nib feels and works the best for me. I’m also quite fond of the Hiro 41, but I haven’t used it in a while and would definitely not recommend it for beginners as it’s very flexible. I’ve also been practicing more with a Blue Pumpkin but I don’t feel very comfortable with it yet. I’m working on making it a part of my rotation, however. As for ink, this black Sumi is hands down my favorite. The 12 oz bottle has lasted me over a year and with daily use. It’s beautiful, affordable, and lasts forever–can’t beat that! For brush work, I’m addicted to these Akashia Sai Watercolor Brush pens. I use them all the time and have been so happy with the results. Regarding paper, I typically use 100# white cougar cover.
Can you name some of your inspirations?
Early on, I was inspired by those I considered the pioneers of modern calligraphy: Li Ward, Alissa Mazzenga, Mara Zepeda, Meredith Bullock, Chelsea Petaja, and Molly Jacques. Today, I find myself inspired by movies. I love stories. So when I watch movies (which is quite frequently), I love listening for quotes that I can letter later on, and I find that once I write them down, I remember them forever.
Can you go a little into your process of how you work on a project?
These days I’m doing a lot of logo design, which I absolutely love. Once I book a client, they fill out a design questionnaire that we share via Google Drive, and add me to a secret Pinterest board that they’ve created for their brand. I then take a couple days to begin sketching 4-6 concepts in varying styles to send to my client, and from there, we email back and forth; they send suggestions for the next round of revisions, and I upload those revisions and eventually the final files to their client password protected page on my Squarespace site.
Any tips for newbies on how to develop their own style?
Sit down and write. Take note from other calligraphers, of course, but know when to close out of Instagram and Pinterest and just work on your own thing. Once you do develop your own style, have confidence in it.
Any recommendations of books or classes for lettering enthusiasts to further their studies?
I’ve got a couple calligraphy books, but as I’ve never read them (I’m too impatient to read about what to do), I probably shouldn’t recommend them. I do, however, recommend your blog to everyone interested in calligraphy and those looking for new materials to use.
Do you have some favorite projects you would like me to mention?
My favorite most recent project was a little something I created for Vogue. Talk about crazy! There I was sitting on my couch eating snacks and watching TV, when I casually opened my email and saw a message from an editor at the Vogue blog asking if I could call her. They wanted me to re-create some watercolor place cards for a piece on wedding calligraphy, to be featured the next day on the blog. It was an extremely tight deadline (maybe an hour?) to create the cards, let them dry, calligraph them, and then photograph before the light faded, but it was so rewarding and exhilarating.
Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?
If once you’ve developed your own style, you find that it looks a bit different than everyone else’s, avoid the temptation to change your style to fit in. I used to despise the style I wrote in, and wondered why I couldn’t make my work look like so-and-so’s. I felt my work was too much of this and too little of that. But then I got a few emails and comments from people who began to differentiate my work from other calligrapher’s; they would say, “I knew that was your calligraphy, Hope!” and that’s when I decided that I’d rather people say that than blend in with everyone else. It’s okay for your work to look different. It’s a good thing.
Name one random talent you have that people may not know?
I know nearly every line of the Pride and Prejudice movie (the 2005 version). I’ve probably seen it well over 50 times. The music, the landscape, the language, the story. There’s nothing about it I don’t love.