Last weekend we were honoured to welcome legendary showcard and ticket writer Barbara Enright and Melbourne-based graphic designer Carla Hackett to Shillington Sydney! Bringing their famous workshop Learn Brush Lettering on the road, these two lovely ladies introduced our class of beginners to the lost art of brush lettering—from Casual style to Script.
The class was captivated as Barbara shared stories about her first job in a predominately male and right-handed industry—working as the only female and left-hander in visual merchandising departments in the 1960s. We learnt how she overcame gender barriers in the world of showcard and ticket writing to eventually open her own successful sign shop—where she employed and trained apprentices to create beautiful lettering for hundreds of businesses. Fellow “brushies” got to relive the best of these days through Barbara’s photos albums which showcased the last three decades of her work. It was hard not to feel inspired by Barbara’s passion for her craft, as she talked about the recent resurgence in hand-made design and the next generation of letterers.
Starting with the size 5 Sable brush, attendees quickly put paint to paper as they learnt the basic strokes used to create letterforms. Barbara and Carla gave technical guidance as they demonstrated how to achieve different styles from the one brush, by creating a chisel or pointed tip. The words “patience, perseverance, persistence” sank in as attendees slowly learnt how to master the brush with confidence and ease. As the workshop progressed, everyone gained a new appreciation for the small imperfections that make brush lettering unique and simply cannot be replicated by a typeface on a computer.
There were laughs—as we learnt how to deal with the inevitable spelling mistake (it happens to the best of us), and tears as we struggled and overcome the trickiest letter of them all—the letter ‘B’.
By the afternoon of the second day, the class focused on perfecting their chosen word for their masterpiece—with the option to steer away from traditional black paint and experiment with colour and glitter. Popular choices were pet names and words of encouragement and inspiration.
It was fantastic to welcome designers from a wide range of disciplines to Shillington Sydney—as they united to explore their common love of hand-made and left with a new set of flourishes to add to their lettering repertoire.
A warm thanks to Barbara Enright and Carla Hackett for their patience and guidance!
Did you miss out on this workshop in Sydney? Good news! Barbara and Carla offer a 12-day online course for you to learn brush lettering from home—wherever that is in the world. Perfect for our international network of creatives and aspiring hand letterers.
And better yet—if you’re a Shillington student or graduate—they’re offering you a special discount. Get $100 off the course price!