"What font do you use?" A guest post by Sarah Parrott. June 20, 2014 15:47

The most common question I get asked about my work is, "What font do you use."   Happily, my answer is, "It is not a font, but my writing!"  About three years ago, when I was reevaluating my stationery line and overall work, I decided I wanted to incorporate more of my own lettering.  There are many lovely fonts out there, but when everyone is using the most popular ones, work starts to look the same.  I decided I wanted to make my work unique to me in hopes that someday people would recognize my work and know instantly, "That is Parrott Design Studio!"  

I started to practice....a lot.  I was writing constantly, trying tons of different pens, pencils, markers to get my lettering where I wanted it to be.  I took classes and studied my favorite calligraphers.  


These are my favorite pens that I use daily, each one good for something different.  I have highlighted a few of my favorites with examples below.

Nearly all my designs start with pencil to paper.  I sketch out different ideas, layouts, and try different lettering styles.  From there, I decide what type of pen I want to use to finalize the design.

After I have finished my pencil sketch, I choose my pen and use tracing paper to refine the design.  My go-to pen for line drawings is the Uni-ball for it's clean, smooth lines.  

When I want to have a little more control over thick and think lines for an illustration I use the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  It has a flexible tip that mimics a brush without the bristles so it produces smoother, solid lines.  The harder I press, the thicker the line. 

A fun pen I use is the Pilot Pocket Brush Pen.  It has tip like a paint brush, so you can some great variation in the strokes and ink coverage depending on the pressure you add.  I like it better than an actual brush because the ink is in the pen, giving you more control.

This year I finally made myself start using an actually pen and nib.  As with all the pens, it takes some serious practice and dedication.  I experiment with all softs of nibs, but the Nikko G is my favorite for envelope addressing and general lettering. 

The sheer amount of writing utensils out there can be overwhelming to someone looking to get into lettering and calligraphy, but I have found the simplest tools work when combined with dedication and practice, practice, practice!    

Born and raised in Portland, Maine, Sarah currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband, Rich, and their two pups, Simone and Scooter. She has a background in marketing, art history, and print design. When she is not printing or designing, she can be found baking, antiquing, listening to records, gardening, snowboarding, playing with her pups, and working on their 1930’s bungalow.