On the 27th & 28th of October I was on the Better Letters Mike Mayer hand-lettering workshop.
The workshop was over two days, day 1 was spent
• learning how to set-up you easel
• drawing lines using your maulstick
• learning how to draw a basic gothic alphabet (or as I'm used to seeing them, sans-serif) based on Mike's own Mazeppa
• learning how to paint the basic letterforms
• lettering using the maulstick, hand-over-hand and pinkie-down (Mike's preference)
• learning brush care
Coincidently on tuesday evening Second Home were hosting the screening of Man With a Brush a short film about Mike, his life and his work.
On day 2 we focussed on Casual letterforms in the morning and script lettering in the afternoon. In an interesting twist I picked up gothic lettering fairly reasonably, I got on well with Casual lettering (not so with Casual-slant) and absolutely sucked at script. Completely the opposite to what I was expecting, something to work on I guess. The interesting thing about learning in this order is that once you understand the fundamentals of gothic, you know how to go about tweaking it in order to get decent casual and script.
Mike and Sam who ran the course are two of the friendliest and most accommodating guys you could hope to meet and taught the course brilliantly, Mike constantly circled the group, checking on how everybody was picking up the techniques and offering advice from his years of experience.
I booked this course in the spur of the moment and looking back, I'm so glad I did. I won't hesitate to attend their next London event, in-fact I'm pretty tempted by the four days of courses in Mike's own studio in Mazeppa early next year—watch this space for updates. It's given me a pretty decent introduction to the field of lettering and sign-painting and also the confidence to explore in my own time.
As an added bonus, Trackside (where the course is located when in London) is opposite London Fields Brewery where we ended up on both days for some post-lettering libation. Some iphone pictures from the two days are below.