Hand-Printed Letterforms

So I’ve told you about the class I took with Alena Hennessy on the first day of Squam, as well as my yummy second day with Hélène Dujardin. To wrap things up for my Squam Art Workshop experience (for this year), I wanted to mention the class I took on the third and final day—Hand-Lettering with Penelope Dullaghan.

In Penelope’s class, we were encouraged to really push the boundaries with letterforms, and to try and come up with as many styles as we possibly could. Since I’ve been home since that last late September afternoon, I have continued to explore hand-lettering styles, but nothing was as extreme as the idea I had a couple days ago and that is what I want to show you.

I created this alphabet on a piece of canvas and what I played with gives hand-printing a whole new meaning. I made each letter by actually printing with my hand. (Well, specifically the sides of my fingers primarily.) I watered down black paint and then dipped assorted portions of my hand into the paint, and then pressed those portions onto the canvas. I did not actually “draw” any lines with my fingers—it was all just press and lift. Sometimes it was a single finger, and other times the shape where my fingers (or thumb) met my hand. This was challenging, but I loved it just for that reason.

When I was finished, since some of the letters required extreme imagination to actually be able to know what they were, I connected the dots, as it were, with pink paint and a liner brush. I was pleased enough with the finished alphabet that I wanted to make something from the canvas, hence, a sleeve for my work laptop was born.


Penelope does some really incredible things with her own hand-lettered creations and if you ever see a hand-lettering class offered by her and you’re anxious to push the envelope with your own letters, I’d say you should definitely go for it. Fun stuff and you never know where it might take you!


* Find great books, DVDs, downloads & more for mixed media artists!
* Sign up for your FREE email newsletter for great tips, projects & more…
* Download free mixed media desktop wallpapers!

You may also like these articles:

This entry was posted in Field Notes: A Mixed Media Blog, Mixed Media Blogs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hand-Printed Letterforms

  1. Seth says:

    This is great Tonia. There is almost a tribal feel to the fabric.

    • Tonia Davenport says:

      Thanks, Seth! I hadn’t thought of it before, but I think you’re right. The forms are definitely on the primitive side!