My Favorite Packaging & Shipping Sources

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I've switched my shipping suppliers this year due to some very disturbing news that came to public light about my original supplier, and I wanted to share my new favorite places to get supplies so that you could also make the switch. Sourcing requires a huge amount of time and resources to research and try out different products (in corporations, it's someone's entire job!), so I don't often share my suppliers but I wanted to make it easier in this special case to support and build better businesses and in turn, a better world. It's important to vote with your dollars, especially when you're running a business and you get to make these decisions. Resistance and change starts with small steps, even these.

Here are my favorite packaging & shipping suppliers:

• PaperMart - I get my flat shippers for prints and boxes for pins and larger items from here.

• ClearBags - all my sleeves and backing boards come from here, they also have eco-friendly packaging too that I'll be checking out with my next order!

• Amazon - when I need things in a pinch (Prime shipping!), more hit or miss so read the reviews!

EcoEnclose - this one was recommended to me on IG so I haven't tried them out yet, but I'm switching to more eco-friendly packaging as I move forward with my business in 2018 because I think it's important to be conscientious of the trash we're creating in this world. It's gonna be a major issue if we don't!

RoyalMailers - recommended by my friend Robin of Scotch & Cream

GT Bag - recommended by my friend Liz of Lionheart Prints

Kelly Paper - recommended by my friend Jian of Bearo, I also have gone to Kelly Paper before to pick up plastic sleeves. It's best to go in store, so they're good if you're in a pinch!

Please let me know if you have any favorite shipping/packaging supply places in the comments! 

How To: Hand Lettering

I get asked often for advice about hand-lettering, so I thought I would share some of my answers here in case it could help anyone else. Lately I've been in a weird phase (maybe my return of Saturn?) of trying to figure out what I want to do with my life now that I'm in the field I want to be in. Of course, there will always be new things to learn, new positions to grow into, and new clients to work with – but I've been thinking a lot about what greater impact of my life & work. A big part of what I want to do is share and teach what I've experienced. Because I've always found nothing more reassuring than someone else saying "me too".

I've digressed greatly. Here's the how-to start on hand lettering.

If you're interested in hand lettering, it's crucial to have some type knowledge first. It's important to know about things like kerning, leading, sans serifs, serifs, ascenders, descenders, etc. You can google any of those terms and find a good webpage that gives you the basics on that (here, like this one). Here are some good books about type as well:

Books on Typography
1. Stop Stealing Sheep
2. Thinking With Type
3. Elements of Typographic Style

To get started, I would practice copying lettering pieces that you like. Analyze & try to identify the common thread between the pieces, if any. Copying them in your own hand will help you start seeing what your style looks like – and what you need to improve on. Do this just in your sketchbook, don't share it with anyone. It's okay to copy privately for practice, it's not okay to pass it off online as your own work.

Then practice lettering a new piece of your own in the style of a typeface you like. You can either find reference in books of vintage type (see below), or font websites like MyFonts. I created an account on MyFonts, which I used to create libraries of different families of fonts (serifs, san serifs, scripts) that I liked, so that I could reference it for projects. 

Typography Specimen & Reference Books
1. Custom Lettering of the 40s & 50s
2. Custom Lettering of the 60s & 70s
3. Scripts

Here are a few key things to note:
– When lettering, it should feel like you're drawing and not like you're writing.
– Go slowly and really look at the piece as a drawing and not as words.
– Take a calligraphy class if you can.
 Modern lettering is rooted in calligraphy, and learning the rules of where thicks and thins need to be will help you a lot. Email me if you're in the LA area and would like the name of the calligraphy teacher I took classes with.

Finally, don't give up after a few tries. Like everything new, it will feel uncomfortable and awkward at first. You will want to give up, but that's the process of learning something new. You have to just keep practicing. Practice makes perfect.

Think of one of my favorite quotes by Jon Acuff, from his book Quitter :
"Hustle isn't just doing the things you love all the time. Hustle is doing the things you don't enjoy sometimes to earn the right to do the things you love."

Of course, all this advice is based on what I've done and what's worked for me. There are many ways to hand letter, so if you have tips or resources to share, please do so in the comments! Also, if you have any further questions on the topic – or about illustration in general, please feel free to ask.