joanne shih

lettering, illustration, design

under construction / i'm alive!

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Hi there, friend!

Whew, it's been a while since I last updated this. I'm planning on doing a fairly thorough update of my site over the next few weeks, but in the meantime just wanted to say a little hello! I'm glad you've found your way to this little corner of the interweb and hope you are enjoying your time here.

Exciting things to come soon, but as always you can talk to me at hello[at]joanneshih.com!

Joanne

day 217: florence

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More paintbrush lettering! I have a long ways to go in terms of mastering the brush and developing a solid style, but it's a lot of fun (and quite therapeutic) to practice. I especially like trying to portray a sense of movement/flow from letter to letter, and I love that the individual brush hairs (depending on how saturated with ink they are) can make the lettering look more or less rough-edged. Above are 3 tries that I did for "Florence" (my favorite attempt is the one in the center).

More paintbrush lettering! I have a long ways to go in terms of mastering the brush and developing a solid style, but it's a lot of fun (and quite therapeutic) to practice. I especially like trying to portray a sense of movement/flow from letter to letter, and I love that the individual brush hairs (depending on how saturated with ink they are) can make the lettering look more or less rough-edged. Above are 3 tries that I did for "Florence" (my favorite attempt is the one in the center).

Our friends who recently went on their honeymoon to Italy had us over for dinner tonight, and we were treated to a most wonderful meal of Italian wine, antipasti, homemade gnocchi (with pesto made from their own basil plant -- which I had the honor of babysitting while they were honeymooning! Yay for keeping plants alive!), and after-dinner limoncello and grappa. We also got to see all their beautiful photos of their trip -- from Florence to Rome to Cinque Terre. Needless to say, Jon and I have bumped up Italy a bit higher on our travel wishlist after this evening...

day 216: la ville-lumière

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Dedicated to my friend who just got engaged in this romantic city! I grabbed drinks with her and a couple other girl friends (we all used to work together but all left the company earlier this year, other than my newly engaged friend who is still there) to hear her wonderful engagement story. (Basically it involved a perfect boat ride with dinner, the Eiffel Tower twinkling behind them, and lots of happy tears.) I love love.

Done with sumi ink and paintbrush (I used a thinner one for the illustration) and then brought into Photoshop to play with the colors! Not super satisfied with the current background so may play around with it more later.

day 215: october! and the city that never sleeps..

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How is it October already? Everyone here in New England seems to love that fall is here and that all the leaves are turning colors (admittedly, it is pretty) -- but I am decidedly not a fan. All this means is that a likely brutal winter is riiiight around the corner, and I'm just not ready to put away my flip flops and shorts yet! But alas, it is inevitable...

Anyways, my new theme for the month is CITIES! I don't quite yet have a vision for how I want the month's letterings to look, but I'm pleased with attempt #1: 

Map image courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Map image courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

I'm sure I'm going to have lots of fun deciding what city to do each day (sarcasm here cannot be overstated), but today I decided fairly quickly to do one of my favorite cities in the world, NYC. Both because it is like a home away from home to me and because it is the city that never sleeps -- and I have apparently become a person that never sleeps (or at least, when she is supposed to be sleeping). Oh yes, I'm still struggling with that! At this point I cannot tell whether I am perhaps just a night owl when it comes to making art, or I'm just in the middle of a terribly vicious cycle where I stay up late to finish stuff --> wake up late --> don't have enough time in the day to finish things --> have to stay up late again... and so on. #help

Anyways, in terms of process for tonight's lettering, I experimented with a new medium! Sumi ink + paintbrush. (Not a brush pen.) 

Whee, experimenting! I ended up liking the bottom right (the last one I did) the best so that's the one I used for the final one. Makes sense... first three were more for practice / experimenting.

Whee, experimenting! I ended up liking the bottom right (the last one I did) the best so that's the one I used for the final one. Makes sense... first three were more for practice / experimenting.

Yes, I've come to the realization that if at the end of this 365 project I still feel like a dabbler in everything hand-lettering related, it's because I had too much fun experimenting with new things. I'm slowly coming to terms with that! Maybe next year's 365 project will be more to figure out my niche after this year of exploration...

One more note before I make myself go to bed -- I discovered that there are maps online that are considered in the public domain and thus can be used freely! How fun! So I chose this vintage map of NYC as my background. We'll see if I end up doing maps for the rest of my cities!

days 202-214: aka, the rest of september

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Alright, I should have known that getting back on the blog wagon wouldn't be so simple after being so lax with it this past month! Another factor was that unlike previous months, I really didn't have much to elaborate on when it came to my daily letterings -- I was pretty much just doodling different ways to letter each character every day, so there wasn't much to talk about in terms of process / inspiration. It was a good low-key project, though, which I really needed!

Instead of posting the rest of the letters here to catch up, just head over to my 365 collections page for September! :)