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Posts from the ‘calligraphy’ Category

Free brush lettering guide.

Hi friends,

It’s been almost four years since my last brush lettering workshop, and while the oral instruction (which makes up so much of the workshop) is not available with this pdf packet, I still wanted to make this available for anyone who wanted a basic skeleton guide in learning watercolor brush lettering.

It’s been a long time since I’ve regularly done calligraphy, but this COVID-19 pandemic has motivated me to bring my old brushes and paints back out. I have no plans to resume workshops at this point, but I hope this free guide is a blessing to you as many of us are spending more time alone at home.

Click here for the guide TJK Watercolor Brush Lettering
It should take you to a new page with all the material for printing.

For supplies, I usually get mine from Amazon or Blick. (I don’t benefit at all from your clicks here.) Using tracing paper is one of the easiest ways to learn, but you can always get mixed media or watercolor paper and do your best to follow along without tracing.

If you have specific questions, you can send them to me via my Contact page, and I’ll try to answer the most frequently asked questions on Instagram in the coming weeks. ♥

Love in Christ,

Watercolor Brush Lettering Workshop: San Carlos

San Carlos has always been a special place for me.  It was in San Carlos that JE first told me that he wanted to marry me.  It wasn’t the official proposal, but it was a significant conversation that followed months of uncertainty.  And right in front of Cowabunga Creamery — cowabunga! 😉

Fast forward to a couple months ago, when Mints and Honey contacted me to collaborate with them and host a workshop in their adorable space!  San Carlos, Mints and Honey?  Yes!

So together with Mints and Honey, Nathalie Cheng Photography, Bloomwell and Co, and Sakura of America, we hosted a bright workshop with a touch of winter forest.


Really, we didn’t have to do much.  Mints and Honey is already full of natural light, white + cheery colors, and adorable props.  It’s my favorite workshop venue to date, eight workshops later!  Dot and Canna are wonderful to work with.


And with all the natural light, I’m so glad Nathalie chose to use film photography.  Film + her photography eye gave a mix of soft, natural, and dreamy.  (Quite like her personality.)  I’ve worked with a number of vendors this past year, and she is one of the kindest women you can meet in the wedding and event industry.  Her love for Christ brims over into her photography business and her warmth toward people.

I didn’t even notice she took this photo of me setting up.  Here, I’m laying out the water brushes that were so generously donated to my students by Sakura of America.

Sakura also gave us some really fun door prizes.  The winners were the students who could give me an accurate definition of certain calligraphy terms without looking at the page in my instruction guide.

I think counter and miniscule were a couple of the words I had them define?  They did a great job!

Allie from Bloomwell and Co also worked her magic on these hanging wreaths.  It gave just the right touch of winter forest, balancing above the long tables where my students worked.  She took my general vision and “elevated it,” as Gordon Ramsey of MasterChef fame might say. 🙂


She made a wall of various winter greens, too.  I loved the little berry bunches in there!  Reminded me of the berry bushes in my neighborhood.  They bear “fruit” only in the winter (this could be the beginnings of a beautiful analogy).


A student from my San Jose workshop even signed up again for this workshop!  She wanted another three hours of brush-up (no pun intended, hehe) and practice.  I was so happy to see how much she had progressed!  Plus it was like seeing an old friend again.

I’ll be taking a little break from workshops for the next couple months, as we pack, move to southern California, and look for a permanent home there.  But I’m looking forward to teaching more workshops in 2017.

In and of itself, lettering isn’t anything that carries eternal significance, but the people who come to them come with immortal souls.  That’s something I hope to never take lightly.

Autumn dinner editorial.

Fall has always been my favorite season.  I love the paradox of colder weather and trees aflame with crimson and rust.  I loved walking to school in the fall, crunching leaves with my best friend and sucking in the cool, crisp air as we ran.

So I’m excited to be featured on Green Wedding Shoes today for a fall tablescape styled by Beijos Events in collaboration with Pottery Barn.


We decided to use pops of black leather for the escort ribbons and menu along with the bright + moody fall colors plucked, scattered, and draped on the table.

The beautiful photos were taken by Yasmin Sarai, and the florals were the magical touch of Petite Petal Co.

Before styled shoots, I often doodle names and words in a scratch notebook, trying to come up with names and words.  This time as I doodled names, searching for the right ones for the place cards, I wrote names of women in history that I would’ve loved to invite to dinner at my home.

Sarah, Lilias, Amy, and Mary — for Sarah Edwards (Jonathan Edwards’ wife and mother to a lineage of amazing men and women), Lilias Trotter (an artist and missionary to Algeria), Amy Carmichael (a writer and founder of an orphanage and mission in India), and Mary of Bethany (Martha’s younger sister in the gospels).

Just a bit of meaningful touch for me — and some silliness. 🙂


Such a cheerful table to welcome any friends!


And those touches of yellow roses.  Little pockets of sunshine on a crisp, fall evening.

Grateful to have collaborated with such talented artists and designers.

Styling: Beijos Events @beijosevents | Floral Design: Petite Petal Co. @petitepetalco | Photography: Yasmin Sarai @yasminsarai | Leather Signage and Leather Names: Tia Joy Kim @tiajoykim | All Table Decor: Pottery Barn @potterybarn

Sacred work.

“Write upon the doors of thy shop and chamber, … This is the time on which my endless life dependeth.”

Richard Baxton

Reminded today about how the Puritans approached work.  Any work.

To them, the only work worth doing wasn’t obviously “sacred” work.  Secular work, too, could be sacred when consecrated to God and done for His glory and gospel.

They believed that it isn’t so much the work at hand but the heart doing the work that makes the difference.  So whether I’m changing diapers, cleaning, doing calligraphy, or anything, I can still have “heavenly affections” in “earthly employments” (Thomas Gouge).

I’m still wrestling with this in real life though.

I still wonder if what I’m doing now is as significant as what I originally wanted to do with this season of my life (Bible translation).

But what can I say?  His hand has surely led me in this way.  And maybe it was done so that I wouldn’t glory so much in my vocation as in my God.

So whether it be through learning a new language and preaching the gospel that way … or learning calligraphy and preaching the gospel that way … or learning to care better for my family and preaching the gospel that way … in all ways, let me be completely given to “testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

If I don’t find eternity so obviously in my work, let me bring eternity to my work … through my worship, trusting in God’s redeeming power.

Watercolor Brush Lettering Workshop: Alameda

On a rainy day last month, 12 students and I gathered in a cozy room at Julie’s Tea and Coffee Garden in Alameda, CA, to brush letter.

We left the windows open as it pattered outside, drank tea with milk and sugar (heaps), and painted the afternoon away.

I’m grateful to Jessica of Blushing Joy Events who planned and designed the workshop.  She curated a talented group of vendors.


Olivia Richards photographed the workshop in such a friendly, natural way, that even the most camera-shy among us (hello, waving my hand — hehe) felt comfortable behind her lens.

Nari Lee provided soft touches of pink and periwinkle florals and greens.  They looked as if they’d been watercolored.

Aren’t these little mason jars from Natty Cakes adorable?  They had delicious strawberry shortcake inside.


And to top it all (literally), Jones and Posy created a beautiful paper flower halo to float over our heads as we worked.


We alternated between chatter, laughter, and focused silence.  I joked that it felt like a bridal shower, between the beautiful decorations and fun.  (We even had a bride-to-be or two among us!)  I enjoyed my first full length workshop so much.

After it was over, my home team shouted at my arrival (my boys), fed me (my husband), and gave me hugs and kisses (all three).

Can’t wait for my two workshops in Anaheim at the end of August.  (Sign-ups open tomorrow evening!)

My core identity: “His.”

Calligraphy and design have been a surprising detour for me.  At heart, I still identify as a writer.  But the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether that’s accurate, because at different stages of my life, God has always provided different creative outlets for me to worship Him, express myself, and point to Him.

During high school, it was piano and song; during college and my single years, it was writing; and during this season, it’s still writing but mostly calligraphy.

But calligraphy, and all the aesthetics that come with it, is new to me.  I’ve only been into it for a year and a half (off and on in the beginning), so being known as “the calligrapher” still makes me feel uncomfortable.  It doesn’t feel completely like my own skin yet.

In the beginning, I struggled with this.  I wondered if I should drop calligraphy.  I wondered if it was changing me.  I wondered if I was becoming too much about aesthetics and see-able beauty than inward, lasting beauty.

JE never got that sense.  He laughed a little at my wrestlings.  To him, it was just another hat I was wearing.  At one point, he told me, “Don’t let your pursuits define you.  You define your pursuits.”

He’s right.  I didn’t need to be defined by the calligraphy world and its values. But I forgot I could redeem this pursuit, shape this pursuit, for His purposes in and through me.

Looking back and inward a bit, I realize my struggle was one of identity.  I kept allowing these hats and temporary roles define me to the core.

Rather than seeing myself as a bondservant who took on piano, writing, calligraphy, motherhood, etc., as my Master gave them to me as gifts for a season, I saw myself as pianist, writer, calligrapher, mother in a core sense.

The only role I am to the core is that of His daughter and bondservant.  Everything else is a garment that I put on and take off, according to my Master’s calling.  I’m not of this world so as to take on the world’s labels to my inmost person.

This is good, because if my hands fall off and I can never touch a pencil, paintbrush, pen, or piano again, my identity suffers no loss.  I am still His.  My identity is secure, because it relies on my immutable God, not on these earthly garments which will pass away.

But while I’m still here, in everything, I’m called to be a conduit of His grace and goodness (a la Tim Challies) and His ambassador to this foreign world — whatever the role, whatever the means, whatever the season.

I am not my “hat,” but I wear my hat to His glory until He tells me to get another one or do away with these hats all together.

Dusty blue + copper editorial.

An unexpected joy in calligraphy work has been the opportunity to meet talented and passionate creatives in the wedding and event industry.  What started out as a hobby — really, postpartum art therapy — turned into a means of collaborating with different designers and vendors right from my little kitchen table.

Mint & Lovely first contacted me about contributing an invitation suite and handlettered figs to their Copper + Tuscan Inspired Garden Wedding editorial shoot right after Pup was born.  I was in the thick of postpartum blues and still recovering, and JE thought it would be a good outlet for me even though my daily reality was around-the-clock feeding and transitioning Cub to life with a little brother.

It was a whirlwind up to the deadline — designing by night, mixing and preserving gouache, discovering the uses of a light pad, waiting ’til the figs in my friend Allie’s backyard were the perfect blend of purple and green, learning to write on ripe figs (we ate the mess-ups), overnighting the figs in a bullet-proof box that JE made (it involved an egg carton and lots of bubble wrap), making sure everything was cleaned up and safe from curious hands by the time the boys were awake.  I enjoyed it and learned so much in the process.

Here are some of my personal favorites from the shoot, featured in Bridal Musings earlier this month —

“Each detail was chosen intentionally to highlight the glimpses of beauty that can be found by simply walking a winding gravel path through the rose garden or peering just beyond the tall boxed hedges.” (Emilee and Haley, Mint and Lovely)

Design & Vision: Mint & Lovely Studios | Photography: Britt Taylor | Dress: Maggie Sottero via White Dress | Suit: NL Suits | Invitation Suite: Tia Joy Kim | Ribbon: Syrendell | Vintage Stamps: Edelweiss Post | Floral: Wood Violet | Napkins: The Sitting Tree | Linen: Mrs. Freund & Co. | Chairs: Lakes Area Rental | Placesettings: Canopies | Hair: Tailored Salon | Makeup: Tayla | Cheesecake: Yield Bakehouse | Ring: Alyssa & Anna