Hello and welcome to Week 10 of #HOMwork!
This week, we have a special guest assignment from the lovely Alyssa Robinson. Alyssa is hand letterer and illustrator based in Tucson, Arizona. She's best known for her colorful watercolor creations, fun lettering layouts, and perpetually dirty mouth (they've earned her an impressive 53K followers on Instagram). You can see more of her work here and shop her delightful paper goods here.
Your word choice can range from straight-up cursing to the more innocuously gross gems like butts, moist, fart, and so on. If you need inspiration just Google “most hated words” and the internet will give you plenty of suggestions. (And if you’re looking for some real eyebrow-raisers I recommend you visit this Buzzfeed compilation of British swear words.) But just to reiterate, you don’t have to letter a curse word if you’re uncomfortable with that!
For my piece, I chose to letter the word “balls” because it’s probably my favorite inappropriate non-curse word. I laugh every time I see or hear it, which is just a testament to how mature I am. The brush script style lettering, flourishing, and loose florals are a classy disguise for this dirty word. For a behind-the-scenes look at how I created this piece, watch the video below:
Lauren has reminded us many times that lettering unexpected and fun phrases will help set your work apart from a sea of the usual. I first read that advice on her blog last year, and I found it both helpful and incredibly freeing.
Sharing your work on social media can pressure you to curate your image and filter yourself based on what you think people want to see. But I’ve found that the more authentic I am through my art, the more people respond to it.
And who is the most authentic version of Alyssa Robinson? The version that tends to swear almost excessively regardless of my mood. Whether I’m ecstatic, furious, or confused, the occasion usually calls for an f-bomb (or four). I know swearing isn't everyone's cup of tea, but my point is: don't be afraid to let your true self shine through your artwork. It sounds like a no-brainer, but a reminder never hurts!
I also think juxtaposing ugly words and beautiful, dainty art is hilarious, so work like this exhibits my own sense of humor. Being uncensored allows me to share stand-up comics, music, movies, etc. while connecting and laughing with my like-minded followers.
It also made practicing lettering so much more fun when I was first starting out, and because I was enjoying myself, I wanted to practice constantly. Drill sheets were never effective for me, but jokes and lyrics by comedic musician Bo Burnham were. His words made up the majority of my first-ever lettering pieces, and despite my shaky upstrokes I was excited to share my content with the world - because I was excited about the content itself.
The main message here is that you don't have to take your art so seriously. I know, easier said than done. I’m still working on it myself! But too often we get bogged down and mentally blocked because we think our art always has to mean something or galvanize the masses. And it doesn’t! You’ll go insane if you only create when you feel like it’s your job to inspire. Your art doesn’t always have to contain something deep or profound; if it at least makes you smile or laugh, it’s still worth doing.
What I hope you’ll get out of this assignment:
Creative ways to approach the “elegant” aesthetic (whether that’s through illustration or exploring a new lettering style) and an appreciation for contrasting the pretty with the ugly.
A laugh! It’s okay to let loose and make irreverent art. Sure, not everyone will like it or think it’s as funny as you do, but that’s not the priority here.
Being authentic with your Instagram audience yields a powerful response and gives your work more individuality.
Snap a photo of your final piece and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #HOMwork. In the caption, tell us about your choice of dirty word. Make sure to tag both me @lyssletters and Lauren @homsweethom in your post, too. We’ll both be featuring our favorite pieces in our Story all week, so make sure to post yours before the next challenge goes out on Friday, 3/23.
Can't wait to see how everyone gets deceptively dirty this week!
Alyssa and Lauren
PS Want to build a bit of creative karma? Share a few of your favorite #HOMwork posts from other artists in your Story this week too! It's incredible how motivating and validating a shout out from a fellow creative can be.