A Little Summer School Never Hurt Anyone

If you haven't noticed, things have been pretty quiet around here. Posts have dwindled to once a week, and soon, that might become once every two weeks. This will be only throughout the summer months, as the outside calls me, my sister in law is getting married, and we have many more guests visiting our little home. I've been doing a lot of thinking, and have decided the slowing things down around here is going to be the best. The best for my sanity, creative juices (which are flowing super slowly right now) and for my overall stress levels. I just need a break. A time to slow down, rest, and get renewed. So that means a few other things are happening around here, besides just less blogging...

Custom Orders

Unless you have some custom orders already booked with me, I will not be accepting any new custom work until the fall (official date to be announced). I touched on the idea of restructuring my custom order workflow in a previous blog post here, and I'm going to continue on that path of being more specific about the kind of work I'm taking on, as well as how much. An online calendar is in the works to launch in the fall for booking orders. 

Time in Books

I have a large LARGE pile of books I'm wanting to read this summer. I'm finishing up The New Bohemians, Wild, and Four right now, and I have The Girl on the Train, To Kill a Mockingbird, Anna Karenina, The Poisonwood Bible, The Power of a Praying Wife, and Reshaping It All in my to-read pile. I haven't read enough these last couple months, and now that's all I want to do. A good book, a cup of tea (sweet southern iced, or Lady Grey are my favourite) and my hammock creates my favourite place. I find that since I haven't been reading as much lately, that I'm feeling a little stuck when it comes to imagination. Watching less TV and reading more books allows my brain to start to thinking harder, creating imagery in my mind, and pushing my imagination a little harder, and little further.


I'm going to be filling the parts of my days where I would otherwise be working on custom work, with education. I've started creating a course load for myself, filled with a couple books and a slew of online classes. Skillshare and Lynda are my go-to for online learning, and I'm starting to learn a whole bunch of new things. Classes at the top of my list are Digitizing Calligraphy: From Sketch to Vector by Molly Suber Thorpe, Photoshop for Lettering Artisits by Foto Rx, and Techniques for Lettering with Illustrator by Spencer Charles, as well as (hopefully) Lauren Hooker's (of Elle & Co.) Illustrator course. Since I've purchased the full Adobe Creative Suite, I really want to get my feet wet in Illustrator. It's pretty intimidating, but so was Photoshop once upon a time, so I'm hoping I can handle it. I'd love to be able to get my designs into vector, which will hopefully open up more opportunities when I'm ready. I think that it's important to never stop learning, and since I haven't been on the learning end of things in a while, I'm spending the next couple months in 'summer school'. I encourage you to take a little class in something that you're interested in, expand your mind, and push yourself a little this summer too. You never know what kind of doors it may open!

A Sibling Collaboration - Surprising my Sister with a Custom Gift

A little while before Christmas, my brother-in-law Nath contacted me to work on a collaborative piece he wanted to make for my sister's gift. I was pumped he asked me to work on something with him, and thought that he had great ideas. Thankfully, Nath is a creative person, excellent photographer, filmmaker and designer, and all around creative person. He's half of my favourite photo team, The Entrance Collective (no bias there!) and makes great videos like THIS one. 

Anyways, his idea was to layer some of my lettering over photos he took on film while vacationing in Hawaii.  He wanted some of the lyrics from the song Coasts by Oceans. The lyrics he chose, "We fell in love right by the ocean, made all our plans down on the sand" fit perfectly with the store of Nath and Ali. They met in Australia, just outside of Sydney, and had many memories made on the beach, right beside the ocean. He also had gathered some inspiration lettering samples that he sent my way. I made a moodboard, and got to work sketching for him!

I used a Pentel Art Brush, as well as Sharpie markers to start laying down ink and playing with the words. I got my Art Brush from JetPens, a great site for finding unique pens! (This is not a sponsored post, just a product I'm happy to support!) Below are the two lettering bits we had settled on, with the second being the final top pick!

Originally Nath had thought about using other lines of the lyrics, but when they got written and layered on a photo, it became too busy. I used this water photo to give us both an idea of what the lettering could look like, since we were still waiting for Nath's Hawaii film to be developed.

Below are some photos that Ali sent me of the final products Nath had printed. I really love how they turned out, and am definitely interested in collaborating with Nath (and Ali) on more projects in the future! Stay tuned for those to come!

Brush Lettering by Daughter Zion Designs X Photo by The Entrance Collective

Brush Lettering by Daughter Zion Designs X Photo by The Entrance Collective

If you are interested in any custom pieces of your own, don't hesitate to contact me! Starting April 25, 2015, I'll be taking on more custom projects! Email me on the CONTACT page, and we can start chatting!

Wedding Vows - Custom Order

Today I want to share a set of wedding vows that I did this month for a custom order. And I have to be frank with you. This piece was HARD. I was working much larger than I ever have before for a calligraphy piece. Including lots and lots of words, plus the lines for their adult witnesses to sign, getting everything lined up nicely was tough. There were many rough drafts, trying to get everything lined up properly, spaced properly, and looking nice. On top of that, I had to make sure to not make any mistakes while inking the final piece. After all was said and done, rather, written and done, I got to the fun part, painting that floral border. The bride, Janelle, had given me a colour palette filled with beautiful purples and blues, and some ideas of the kind of vine and floral border she wanted. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! Whimsical and not too over the top.

Wishing Janelle and Matthew all the best on their wedding this weekend! I hope that the weather is beautiful, and that you have fun with all your family and friends!

Happy Birthday! Three Custom Birthday Cards

I'm a little behind on todays post, due to finishing up the cards above! I wanted to share them with you before I packaged them up and shipped them off to their new (interim) owner! I hope that the people she commissioned these cards for loves them! They were fun to paint, and the client gave me great ideas for what she wanted.  

If you are interested in any custom work, cards or otherwise, send me quick note HERE! I'd love to make something for you!

Open for Change - Customizing Pre-Existing Designs

Recently, I got a little note from a client asking about changing the colours on some of my pre-existing prints that I have listed in my shop. I have had other clients ask about removing a border, or changing the words, but keeping the style and design the same, but this was the first time I had been asked about changing the colours of a specific print. The client loved the design of my Be Still piece, but was wondering if it was possible to make it have the writing in black, and the leaves in yellow. At first I thought to myself, Oh, I'm going to have to repaint this piece exactly like the first one, but with the new colours, thinking about how much time that would have to take, and trying to estimate the pricing for her. But then I had a duh moment, and remembered the beauty of Photoshop. I could keep the costs down for my client, and maintain the exact style of the original piece. Keeping the look of watercolour painting and variation in the leaves was important to me. With a little playing around, I managed to come up with the colours that she loved and was happy with.

This whole process got me thinking though. How many others of you out there have ever thought about asking for a colour change of a print you love? Not even one of my prints, necessarily. I thought it was pretty brave of my client to reach out and ask, as typically that's not something that I would have ever done. I usually look at what a shop has to offer, and think that I'm limited the variations that they list as being available, and believe that's all that I have to choose from. Having the opportunity to ask, especially with the non confrontational ease of email, makes it quick, easy, and harmless. I will have to reconsider doing it more often in the future.

So now you know that all it takes is a little bit of typing, and you can hopefully change a piece to fit you and your style perfectly. Ask away, I won't mind! And if it's possible, I will change a piece to meet your needs!