Betty Etiquette is known for beautiful hand lettering and design
Join Rebecca from Betty Etiquette to try your hand at Brush Lettering with Tombow ABT Brush Pens on 25 May 2023.
During this hands-on workshop, Rebecca will guide you through the basic strokes, techniques and letterforms to help you get to grips with this beautiful lettering style. Experiment with these versatile pens and work towards a mini project to take away with you.
To give you a better idea of what to expect, we sat down with Rebecca to ask her some questions about her approach to teaching brush lettering, her inspiration, and what attendees can look forward to during the event. Keep reading for more details.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey in brush lettering? What led you to discover this art form, and how did you develop your skills over time?
Hi I’m Rebecca Cahill Roots aka Betty Etiquette, a lettering artist and illustrator living in South East London. I worked behind the scenes in theatre for years but began to miss illustration and design so took the leap and went part-time to launch my creative business which is now my full time job.
I have always loved creating decorative lettering. As soon as I realised you could turn your lettering into little works of art and not just informative words, I was hooked. In Primary school I used to be the one everyone would ask to write their name on their workbooks and I often got told off for making the titles look nice but not concentrating on the actual essay or research. Over the years I have studied several different calligraphy techniques and built-up sketchbook after sketchbook full of practice lettering. There are so many different styles and forms that it still continues to excite me and make me want to learn more.
I have been lucky enough to teach workshops all over the UK in amazing venues including the V&A, Liberty and Selfridges and written two books on lettering published by Batsford.
What inspired you to start teaching brush lettering workshops?
There is something really magical about a group of people coming together to learn a new skill and I really wanted to get a piece of that action. Creativity has been such an important part of my life and I thought running workshops to share my love of lettering and illustration would be a challenge but a real joy.
After coaxing many friends and family to try a workshop with the promise of cake, I trialed my formats many times before launching them in 2016. Since then, I have taught thousands of people, some in auditoriums with hundreds of others and some just one-to-one. During the pandemic I taught online workshops, sand it was an important reminder of how sharing this kind of experience with others can be so good for your mental health.
How do you approach designing a workshop, and what elements do you focus on?
Each of my workshops is created to try and give the participant the chance to fall back in love with the feeling of creating and trying something new. Depending on the amount of time I have with them, even a short drop-in workshop, I try to find a way someone can see that, with a bit of practice, they can crack it and make it their own. Lots of the participants I meet have been told by teachers, friends or relatives that they’re not very good at art or have terrible handwriting. I am a 100% believer that all of us have creativity in us and with a bit of time and support everyone can find confidence and joy in the process, so all my workshops are based around that fundamental idea.
How does it feel to see your attendees master a technique or create a beautiful lettering piece for the first time?
It is one of my favourite things about my job. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to spend time with people who have busy lives and see them take time out to learn something new. My participants have gone on to create their own calligraphy products, design their own wedding stationery, use it to teach others and share their skills with friends and family. I love seeing it firsthand in the workshops and I often get updates from people on social media months later when they’re still going strong.
For someone who is interested in trying brush lettering but doesn't know where to start, what advice would you give them? Are there any resources or tools you recommend for beginners?
The biggest thing I have learnt from teaching workshops is that beginners find brush lettering hard because we can already write. It feels as though you should be able to just pick up the pen and go for it. But as with any new skill, we need to give ourselves time to get used to the new materials and techniques. Patience and practice are the biggest skills you need for any lettering technique. It’s like learning an instrument, you need to keep repeating the basics until the strokes come without you having to think about it anymore.
Invest in a small range of brush pens to begin with. A Tombow ABT Brush Pen and Fudenosuke hard tip pen will be great to get you going. Pick dark coloured pens as you’re starting out so you can see mistakes easily, but then add a few colours to your collection so it doesn’t feel too much like you’re writing an exam paper. Then you need some smooth paper like a layout paper, marker paper or Rhodia pad to work on. You can find a free set of guidelines to print on my website.
I have also written two books on lettering that are a great beginners guide to starting with brush lettering or picking up modern calligraphy using nib and ink if you can’t make an in-person workshop.
What can attendees expect from the Papersmiths x Betty Etiquette Brush Lettering Workshop?
I’m really excited to be teaching a workshop for Papersmiths! Having spent many an hour drooling over the beautiful stationery in store it’s going to be really fun to be in the Wolf & Badger venue and meet the participants.
In this one and a half hour workshop I will help participants learn the basic strokes to get started, build these into letter forms before working on connecting the letters. You’ll learn how to hold your pen correctly, I’ll share my materials hot list, we’ll look at colour blending and composition, before working on your own greeting cards. There’s no bad mark you can make at one of my workshops. I celebrate mistakes and will be your biggest cheerleader to help you get where you want to be by the end of the session.
What materials will participants need for the workshop, and how can they best prepare?
You don’t need to bring anything with you, all your materials will be provided. We’ll be working with Tombow ABT Brush Pens, a favourite of mine in my studio. They are fantastic pens for brush lettering, and I will have lashings of paper ready for participants to get going on. We will work towards using your new skills to create greeting cards that you can take home with you.
The workshop is perfect for beginners or those wanting to brush up on their techniques. Left and right-handed people are all very welcome and you don’t have to have nice handwriting to be good at this, it’s a whole different set of skills.
Finally, what exciting projects does Betty Etiquette have planned for the future? Are there any upcoming workshops, collaborations, or product releases you're particularly excited about?
Behind the scenes I’m working on a new range of original artwork and prints based on the seasons in British nature that will launch later this summer and some exciting commissions that I have to keep quiet about for now.
And of course, I’m super excited to be back at Papersmiths Kings Cross on 1st July to teach an Intro to Floral Illustration workshop with Tombow Pens!
For more information about the event and to book your ticket, click here.