In a month packed with some extraordinary surprises, we have yet another for you - Molly Suber Thorpe has launched her latest pack, The Ultimate Lettering and Calligraphy Procreate Kit, in collaboration with us at Design Cuts! As one of our favorite product creators and teachers in the design world, we had the pleasure of learning about her design process and how her new pack came to fruition.
Q: For those who may not know, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
M: I’m a full-time lettering artist and calligrapher. I design custom lettering for brands and individuals around the world and products (like Procreate brushes!) for other artists. In addition to design work, I love to teach. This has led me to publish lots of educational resources over the past ten years, from online and in-person classes to three books about calligraphy and art freelancing.
Today, my real passion is helping lettering artists hone their skills – through tutorials, products, and books – to open doors to new creative opportunities and careers.
Q: When did you go from designer to designer and product creator?
M: My background is in graphic design, but back in 2010 I transitioned to calligraphy for the majority of my time. I worked as an ink-on-paper calligrapher for many years, but often merged it with graphic design, doing projects like designing hand-drawn logos and typefaces.
When the iPad and Procreate were released, I latched onto these new tools immediately. Designing on a tablet brilliantly streamlined my art-making process and allowed me to meld my passions for calligraphy and digital design seamlessly. In the past two years, I’ve started producing Procreate brush packs and practice sheets to help other lettering artists, too.
Q: What do you love about calligraphy?
M: Calligraphy is the perfect combination of fine art and graphic design. When it’s art, it’s a cathartic outlet for my creativity and I can make it as personal or abstract as I like. When it’s design, it solves a problem or answers a question, the way great graphic design should. Oftentimes, it’s both, and those projects are always the most fulfilling for me.
Q: What prompted you to create this pack?
M: Whenever I create any product, I start by asking myself what tools I would love to have, or that I needed when I was getting started. I wrote my first book, Modern Calligraphy, to answer all the questions I had when I picked up a calligraphy pen for the first time. I struggled to find resources for modern styles, so after years of trial and error and discovering techniques on my own, I created the resource I always wished I’d had.
This is no different when it comes to my Procreate brushes. Don’t get me wrong – there are some amazing lettering brushes out there already, but every artist has their own style and methods, and none of the calligraphy brushes on the market fit my needs. I found myself designing custom brushes for all my own work, to get the exact pressure sensitivity and strokes I wanted. After a couple of years of that, I packaged up the brushes I’d made for my own work and shared them with others.
The Ultimate Lettering and Calligraphy Procreate Kit is a compilation of 150+ brand new brushes that I refined over the past year, plus lots of practice sheets for my favorite lettering styles. Every single brush is one that I have used in my own work, from pointed calligraphy pens to inky gestural brushes.
Q: What was different in your process with this product than others you’ve created?
M: What made the design process of this pack different from my previous packs is that I made it in collaboration with the team at Design Cuts! I created the brushes and practice files, and Design Cuts helped me test and refine them along the way. I also shared the tools with other professional lettering artists of different backgrounds, whose feedback helped me immensely. It was a really rewarding process, and made for my strongest brush pack yet!
Q: Did the final product differ much from your original idea?
M: Yes! I did not initially anticipate this pack would be so big! I envisioned creating a few brush sets for calligraphy and brush lettering, but as I got to work, I found that I just couldn’t stop! I made brand new watercolor pens, chalk writers, letter guides, backgrounds, and more. I quickly realized this pack was going to be massive, and I didn’t limit its scope. That is a large part of what made the project so rewarding.
Q: Who in particular will your product suit?
M: My new kit is for beginner and professional lettering artists alike. There is truly something for everyone in this pack. If you’re already a lettering pro, you’ll find that you can dive in and use the brushes right away. If you come from an analog lettering background, you will also find that the brushes emulate not only the look but also the feel of analog tools.
However, if you’re new to hand lettering and calligraphy, I’ve provided 10 practice sheets, 3 quick guide files, and an in-depth video demonstration to teach you how to use all the tools in the pack. With these resources, you will be able to practice pressure control, learn three very different script alphabets, understand streamline settings for smooth strokes – and lots, lots more!
Q: What’s your favorite part of the product or feature that most excites you?
M: I think the last question actually answers this perfectly. The fact that this pack is so multi-faceted that it can be used by amateur and professional lettering artists alike, is really the feature that excites me most. I know this will be an educational tool for beginner artists and a professional-grade tool for established ones.
Q: Now this product is launched, what’s next for you?
M: I plan to continue teaching online courses and designing more brushes and typefaces. I’m really passionate about creating these resources, and already have lots of ideas that I want to bring to fruition!