My learning project: Final thoughts

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One of the assignments for the course EC&I 831 (Social Media & Open Education) was a Major Digital Project. Students had two options for this assignment: a) integrate social media into one’s teaching practice, or b) learn something and share the progress in an open online space. My first thought was to put an old idea into practice (option a): create a YouTube Channel, in Portuguese, to share effective strategies for academic success. Ten days later, I had a better idea of how my semester would look with a job, two graduate courses, and a leadership program; I was already feeling overwhelmed with the number of weekly tasks on my to-do list. Even though option “a” was very exciting, I decided to wisely use the time I would have to invest in this assignment (approximately 50 hours) by doing something to free my busy mind and relax: learn the art of hand lettering.

I knew I would have to find inspiration and surround myself with good hand lettering artists. Instagram is an amazing place for this, so I created an account specifically for this learning project, started following beautiful feeds, and contacted some of the artists for guidance on how to start on this adventure.

For my before assessment, I wrote the course acronym “EC&I 831” using my husband’s brush pens on printing paper. Even though I kinda liked the colourful result, I immediately realized that I would have to learn the basics of hand lettering. I found lots of videos and blog posts on hand lettering and all of them said the same thing: you must master thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes. Again, using pens and papers I had at home, I practised these strokes. It was too hard, and I lost some of the excitement for this project.

I usually do not give up unless I have explored many possibilities to convince myself something is not worth pursuing anymore. So, I kept reading and watching videos on the topic. I came to know that hand lettering requires specific brush pens and marker papers. I tested many pens and a few papers. I found my favourites. I practised more. The frustration continued… I followed some expert advice, traced some papers and even created my own practice guides. I bought some supplies. I watched many SkillShare classes on hand lettering. Only when I took the courage to break the hand lettering rules did my heart explode with joy.

I believe all the trials and errors were necessary to prepare me for the best part of all: playing with watercolours.

This sends me back to my childhood when I absolutely loved painting with gouache but was too afraid of accidentally spilling paint on my school uniform.

artonthefridge and Watercolor Misfit are teaching me that it is through experimentation that I will find my preferred watercolour techniques. For now, drawing watercolour lines on the paper is my most favourite thing to do at any time of the day. Painting block letters with watercolour is also interesting because I enjoy the challenge of respecting the boundaries of each letter without allowing the water to bleed between the empty spaces.

I don’t know what is next on this beautiful adventure, but I know for sure that I want to self-study colour theory and permeate my busy life with tube watercolour paints and water (mixed with a good brush, please).

Just in case you want to feel a little bit of the calmness that watercolour painting brings me, I am going to share again the video in which I am painting curvy lines onto the paper:

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