Fine art of handwriting

Fine art of handwriting

Happy Hands Project

In today's world where everyone is tapping away on a keyboard or a touch screen, Pauline Ibarra still wields a pen or a brush.

The 33-year-old is a graphic designer, lettering artist and calligrapher, and a self-proclaimed typography lover. "I design lettering and calligraphy wall art and provide custom pieces as well," says Ms Ibarra. "Customised calligraphy logos and wedding stationery, such as place cards, table names and other decorations also keep me busy."

She does this through her website, Happy Hands Project, where she has been sharing her craft for nearly two years.

Ms Ibarra has been writing out the alphabet since she was a child. When studying for her art degree, she learnt lettering and typography, and it was also then that she was introduced to the art of dipping pens in ink.

"Fast forward to a few years, I found myself engaged and planning for a wedding. I was re-introduced to calligraphy and lettering then. My husband bought me my first calligraphy kit in years for my birthday in 2012, and last year I started sharing my art in different social media," she says.

Her clients usually get her to write out their wedding invitations and place cards, as well as wall art, which are quotes that Ms Ibarra handwrites.

She describes her style as feminine.

"I like to work with swirls and flourishes, while keeping it simple and easy on the eye. I'm a very feminine person and I am drawn to soft hues and fluid letters, which most likely describe my writing style. When choosing quotes to write, I'm drawn to those I can relate to, and those that give a happy vibe," she explains.

Ms Ibarra does both lettering and calligraphy. The former is "drawing" letters using markers, pencils, pens or paint brushes. Calligraphy is using the pointed flexible nib and holder which she dips in ink.

She uses her own inks and paper or sources for special coloured ones if a client requests it.

"For wedding stationery, the couples provide me with their theme and colour motif, and the kind of look they want. I paint in watercolour and write their names in calligraphy," she says.

"Usually wall art is given as gifts or used as decor for weddings. I am given the quote to write and the colour they want the ink or paper to be."

Ms Ibarra says there is no minimum order, "because I can even do just one quote for a wall art". A piece of wall art costs from S$60.

Handwritten quotes take about a week or two to finish, but wedding stationery takes longer because it is a long process that starts from the "Save the Dates" up to the "Thank You" cards. "It takes a few months to finish everything," she says.

This article was first published on October 4, 2014.
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