Create not Control

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Recently I decided to take a look at how I could utilize my blog a bit more. I’ve come to the realization that I am not even close to being alone with my anxiety struggles. I felt a desire to help those who may be struggling with anxiety/depression and I also want to be able to help those who are wanting to learn more skills in the art of hand lettering. 

I started to brainstorm different ideas and I realized that in my life, my skill set grew as my journey developed. I began to hand letter because I was encouraged by the counsellor I was seeing to create art without a plan. I was always doing jobs for clients, which was an extensive process, or creating art that was perfect (draft after draft,etc). I have the tendency to be a perfectionist but my counsellor really pushed me to just create. I had to learn to allow myself to fail, mess up and accept a final product that isn’t perfect. He pushed me really hard to not draft first, I had to put the pen to paper without any preparation. And if it wasn’t prefect I couldn’t go back and fix it. I had to be OK with the outcome. 

This exercise was an incredible learning experience. I have tons and tons of sketch pads that are full of lettering drills with many different pens and some are great and some are rough. I practiced phrases, lower case and upper case letters in different styles and those early days of learning will always be the greatest reminder that doing my best is all that I can control. I’ll always be thankful for this lesson and in moments of chaos I still come back to this. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious I do my best to pull out a sketch pad and just write. It calms my mind and helps to bring perspective to whatever is happening in that moment. 

For this new series I’ll post a new statement each week. I’ll  give some small directions on ways to practice and the supplies I would suggest. Then the rest is up to you to just create and enjoy. Whether you need to just let your mind be or if you’re wanting to grow in your skill set I hope this helpful!

Finally, if you’re struggling with anxiety and/or depression please reach out so I can connect with you and friends if you know of someone who has or is struggling please connect with them. Community is one the most valuable ways to help someone who is struggling. 

- Emily 

Here are a few ways to get comfortable with these strokes:

  1. Print this design out and trace over it with a pencil. Practice applying more pressure to your pen on your downstrokes.
  2. Save the image and use your iPad Pro and the Procreate App. Open the image and apply a new layer. Lower the opacity on the new laser to 50% and practice with whatever pen you prefer. My favourite pack I've purchased is linked here.
  3. Free hand it! Follow the guide and remember to apply more pressure on the downstrokes
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I've linked my preferred supplies below but once you practice with a pencil or pen you could also do this design with a paint brush and the ink listed below. For the white ink, use black card stock paper for best results. It's the same technique as using a brush pen. If you have any questions feel free to email me or comment below. 

I’d love to see what you come up with. Feel free to email me a photo ( or tag your work on instagram using the hashtags #emcuthbertlettering or #artoveranxiety. And if you have any phrases you’d like to see comment below.