What to do When You’re in a Lettering Funk

Imagine this: you’ve taken a few lettering classes and have been lettering frequently for a few weeks now. You sat down with your pens and your paper, you’re in your quiet spot, ready to get started. You were more than ready to get away from the hustle of the day and take a few minutes for yourself. As you were getting ready to letter, your mind was buzzing with the thought that you would be able to come up with something new and exciting to letter. Maybe even something you would put to good use now that you’ve had some practice. You pick up your pen, but nothing happens. You write your name out, your kid’s name, your dog’s name, your favorite sports team’s name, but can’t seem to find the motivation to letter any of them.

Sound familiar? You’re in a lettering funk.

I know the feeling too. We’ve all been there. It’s actually a little bit disappointing – you’re so excited to get the creative gears going and nothing happens! But it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re not creative enough or good enough at lettering. Being in a creative funk is all a part of the creative process.

So, what can you do to get out of this funk?

Please don’t put your pen away to collect dust! That’s the worst thing you can do – to stop trying and remain unmotivated. I get a lot of great ideas when I keep working, not when I wait for something to come to me.

1. Try Something New

Yes, our tried and true pens and paper are reliable and work just fine, but sometimes changing something as small as the pen you’re using can change your process. Go browse the pen selections at Michaels, Target, or Hobby Lobby and get whatever catches your eye. It doesn’t have to be a super fancy calligraphic pen. It just has to be different than the one you’ve been using.

2. Try New Colors

This is something that always sparks a new idea for me. Changing the colors can do a lot for you. It can change the tone of your work, the theme, and even the purpose of lettering. Try colors that you normally wouldn’t. You never know what ideas could come of it.

3. Try a New Technique

Incorporate shadowing, flourishing, or outlining. These are some of my favorite lettering techniques and I’ve found that many ideas have come from adding these elements to a simple word.

4. Play Around With the Words

Try filling in different shapes with your words. Instead of placing circles inside letters like A and R, try a triangle. Try different fonts, different widths and heights, curve the ends. Keep trying something until you’re inspired.

5. Think Inside the Box

Yes, you read that right. I said, “Think inside the box.” Sometimes what keeps us from getting an idea is getting too far out there with ideas. Having a limitless list of possibilities is great, but when you’re in a creative funk, it can stress you out and create a lot of noise that just makes it harder to find what you’re really looking for.

6. Search Online for Inspiration

Art inspires art. Seeing what others have done and learning how they accomplished it can do wonders on sparking inspiration. There are many people out there with brilliant ideas. Learning from them will open your mind to an idea you might not have come up with otherwise.

It can be intimidating to know where to even start when you’re in a lettering funk, but just remember to keep going, and keep your mind open to new things. You never know where inspiration will come from. The most important thing in any creative process is to just keep going, keep trying, and keep failing. Not everything is going to be perfect your first try, but if you’re inspired and you’re learning, that’s the best thing you can hope for!