How to start something new

Creatively Confident, Insights

Have you been wanting to start something new? But you’re not good enough, you don’t know enough, you don’t have enough time, you don’t know what people will think about it, etc. We can make all the excuses in the world! But I’m going to share with you five ways you can start something new even when you feel inadequate.

I’m starting something new

I’m starting a new series on my YouTube channel called “Creatively Confident” where I’ll be sharing an uplifting insight as I letter a quote each week. I will also be giving away the finished piece to one lucky subscriber. You just have to be a subscriber and comment something positive on the video. I want to spread positivity and the more we speak positively (even if it’s on the internet), the more we’ll start feeling it.

I will also write something about the quote here each week and share pictures. That way we can spread these pictures on Pinterest and around the internet. Spreading all the positivity right? 🙂 So let’s get right into this week’s topic!

Here’s the video where I talk more about the quote than in this post:

How to start something new (in 5 steps)

1. Just start.

I could end this post with these two words. You’re going to make mistakes and learn along the way. If you’re waiting to be good enough to start, you’ll never start. You won’t get good enough until you’ve been doing it for years. Just start.

I’ve felt so inadequate to start this YouTube series. I’m not an expert in video, I don’t have all the professional equipment, I’m not always positive myself. What do I have? I have a passion to help others be confident and love themselves. Does it scare me? Oh yeah. Am I still working on it myself? Yep. Do I feel purpose in it? Definitely.

2. Don’t look for inspiration from only the same place.

When you start something new, you want to bring your own uniqueness, not just a copy of someone else. If you’re only watching the same five people, you may end up looking exactly like them instead of giving YOURSELF which is what people really want from you. 

When I was deciding how to do “Creatively Confident”, I was feeling stuck. Then I started looking up YouTube videos and people I had never seen before. It was so refreshing and gave me the inspiration I needed to come up with this series. I’m sure it will continue to change as I learn and get feedback.

3. Realize that you can handle whatever comes. 

Yes, there will be people who don’t like what you’re doing. You’ll come across so many things you don’t know how to do. But realize that you can handle it. You are capable. The more things you overcome, the more capable you feel, the more you learn, so just get started knowing that you’ll be able to handle the things you’re afraid of.

4. Make a plan and be consistent with it.

It’s easy to make one post/video and then lose interest. If you stopped after one post because you found a different way to do it, that’s ok. But you have to be consistent even if you don’t see results at first. Just like working out. You’re not going to lose 10 pounds after one 30 minute workout. It could take a month of working out every day and watching your diet to lose 10 pounds.

It’s so easy to get discouraged when we don’t see results right away. Or when we keep making mistakes. Embrace those mistakes, love the process and you just might surprise yourself.

5. Focus on your strengths and the things you know.

When starting something new, there will always be a learning curve. There will always be things you don’t know. But don’t let that stop you. Focus on how your strengths can help you.

With “Creatively Confident” there are a lot of things I don’t know and I have a lot of fears. But do I have a strength for finding the positive? Yes. Do I love connect with people and helping people? Yes. Those strengths are enough to help me as I learn all the things I don’t know.

When we focus on our unique strengths, we will be able to share something that is unique to us. People need your strengths. So get out there and just start!

If you liked this post, please share any of these images on Pinterest! 🙂

Would you add anything else to this list? I’d love to hear it!

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The best frames for a square gallery wall

Insights

I was recently introduced to these frames and I am in love! I wanted to do a square gallery wall with some of my lettering designs and these frames from Tiny Mighty Frames were definitely the best option. Just look at that gorgeous gold!

(This post contains affiliate links. It doesn’t change anything for you, it just helps me make more free things for you!)

I filled my frames with rainbow quotes because rainbow and gold have to go together.They are easy to use and and a square gallery wall is so much easier to hang up than a random gallery wall (I’ve recently done both!). They come with a 4×4 matte. I chose not to use the matte with my current designs, but I may use them in the future.

I also love that you can find these Tiny Mighty Frames on Amazon. Amazon makes things so easy to purchase. I was given a 9-pack of these gold frames to try not knowing if they were going to be good or not. But now I love them and would definitely recommend them.

They come in several different sizes and colors. If you want really small frames for Instagram photos, these are the only frames I’ve seen that specialize in “tiny.”

Check out these frames! And let me know if you have tried them! Do you have a favorite frame?

How to Find Your Lettering Style

Insights, Tutorials

So you want to find your own “lettering style”? You’re in the right place! In this post I will share with you an exercise to hone in on your style as well as show you where to find free practice sheets to help you get started.

You already have a style that is unique to you because of your likes and dislikes, your personality, and your life experiences. At first it can be hard to pinpoint those things and figure out how they all work together to make your style. It takes months and years of practice, but I have just the thing for you to get started.

The best way to start creating your style is to immerse yourself in as many different styles as you can. Try out different things. Experiment. Learn as much as you can. You will discover what feels most natural to you. As you keep practicing and getting better, your style will be changing and getting better with you. You will not only “find” your style, you will “create” it.

You may look at other letters for inspiration at first to get ideas. But once you’ve gotten ideas, if you really want YOUR style, you’ll have to keep your eyes on your own paper and come up with it. No one will be able to tell you what your style is. It has to come from you.

Today I encourage you to be fearless with your lettering. Try something new. Letter something that is beautiful to you even if it’s a little different. You are amazing and have so much to offer that no one else has. And that is what #fearlessfridayletters is all about. Finding and creating your lettering style. This is how it works:

Choose any letter. Write that letter in as many different styles as you can think of. Make it tall and chunky, make it short and skinny, play around with the entrance and exit strokes. Make it loopy or rigid. After having 10-20 different styles, look through them and choose your favorite. What makes it your favorite? Would you be able to replicate those qualities in other letters of the alphabet? Try it!

You can find my 26 Ways to Letter sheets individually in my shop or you can find them in my new book Fearless Lettering. I have a couple of free sheets in the Insider Library to get you started!

When you use these practice sheets, don’t forget to post on Instagram and tag me @ensigninsights and use the hashtag #fearlessfridayletters. 🙂

Happy Lettering!

Never leave home without these 5 lettering tools

Insights, Tutorials

One problem I hear a lot when learning to hand letter is that there isn’t enough time! I can’t give you more time, but by never leaving the house without these 5 lettering tools you will be surprised how much easier it will be to find the time.

never leave home without these 5 lettering tools

Grab a pencil pouch (find my brand new pencil pouches here) and fill it with the following items. Then keep it with you wherever you go. These are the most basic essentials. If you would like my complete list of brush pens to start with, go here.

  1. A pencil. Absolutely essential. If you like mechanical pencils make sure you have plenty of led. If you like regular pencils, make sure you also have a mini sharpener.
  2. An eraser. I always use up the erasers on the end of my pencils so quickly so I just always carry an extra. I like these erasers because they erase with less pressure, they don’t shred the paper, and they don’t leave as many eraser shavings.
  3. Paper. I always have some kind of paper with me, even if it’s just a hotel pad or some scraps of copy paper. I got a small notebook at Walmart that I fill with quotes and ideas. It is my space to start sketching right when an idea comes. It’s nice to have a small notebook that can fit in your pencil pouch. (My pencil pouches are large enough to fit medium sized notebooks.)
  4.  A fine point pen. This is great for tracing over your design or doing some fauxligraphy. My favorite used to be a Pilot G2 pen. Some of my other favorites are Micron, Stabilo, or even the end of a Tombow Dual Brush pen.
  5. A small brush pen. I always have my Tombow Fudenosuke hard or soft nib (normally both). These are nice because since they are small, you can letter designs that fit in a small notebook. Practicing with a brush pen is different than with pencil and you never know when someone will need you to brush letter something for them.

never leave home without these 5 things

Take this pencil pouch with you wherever you go. Including while you’re at home. You may have a few spare minutes while dinner is cooking. You can grab your pencil pouch and letter on the kitchen counter instead of pulling out all of your lettering tools at your desk.

never leave home without these 5 lettering tools

Letter in your car while waiting in traffic or waiting to pick someone up. Letter while you’re waiting for dinner in the oven. Letter while you’re waiting for an appointment. You don’t have to have time blocked out to letter. Just make a habit of doing it in the small moments. You can even letter on everything. As I make lists sometimes I find a fabulous “G” that I love.

When do you find time to letter? Would you add any other tools to this list? Let me know in the comments!

never leave home without these 5 lettering tools

April Challenge: Lettering with Insights

Insights

I started lettering at a time when I needed someone to help remind me how to be happy. I had lower self-esteem than I had ever had in my life. I was struggling with daily tasks because somehow everything seemed so hard. You can read the full story and how hand lettering changed my life here. Or keep reading to download the April Challenge.

I look back at that time and see that most of the things that were causing my pain were out of my control. But there is one thing that I know I could have changed that would have made a huge difference. What is that one thing? My self-talk. It was mostly all negative. If you have ever told yourself something negative, just know you are not alone. But why do we do this to ourselves??? Why is it so much easier to tear ourselves down than to build up? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that if we change it, we can improve our lives.

I am cordially inviting you to join me in the month of April to participate in an insightful lettering challenge. It’s one thing to hear compliments from others, it’s another thing to actually believe them yourself. That’s why the words this month are all about positive self talk. The goal is to feel more confident and positive about life by the end of the month.

Not only are the words positive self talk, there is one for every letter of the alphabet to practice your hand lettering skills. I even created practice sheets for these words in two different styles. You can participate with or without the practice sheets. If you would like to download the basic strokes for free and grab a coupon code for the practice sheets, check out the insider library.

And finally, here is the April Challenge. I’ve teamed up with The Print Mint to bring you this challenge. How do you join? 1- Letter the words each day. 2- When you post to Instagram, tag us @ensigninsights and @theprintmintshop. 3- Use the hashtag #letteringwithinsights and if you are using your Artline stix use the hashtag #artline_printmint. That’s it! I hope this will be an “insightful” month for you as we all work on positive self talk. You can either screen shot the image below or download the challenge.

I’ll see you on Instagram!

 

How “giving up” made my life better

Freebies, Insights

I posted this story on Instagram and I was so grateful for the response! So here is the story again along with the hedgehog as a free download!

 

You may have already seen the story of why I started lettering. If not, you can find my story right here. It’s taken me about a year of healing, but I am in such a happy place right now. I was writing in my journal about an experience I had in November and this phrase jumped on the page, “My happiness is worth fighting for.”

So what happened in November? I’ll try to keep this short… I had accepted a position that put me in similar situations to my previous trauma. I thought I could handle it because I was “stronger” than before. But after even the first day in the position, it threw me right back to the darkness it had taken months for me to climb out of. I knew I couldn’t continue this, but I didn’t think I could get out of it. That would be “giving up” and I’m not a quitter. I continued for a few days, but each day got worse. That’s when heaven-sent messages helped me realize that by NOT “giving up” the position, I was “giving up” my happiness. Sometimes “giving up” is just a means to achieving your true goals. I was able to get out of the position smoothly without even burning any bridges.

This was the first time I had quit something and it has made me so much better and happier. We have more of ourselves to give to others when we’re happy. I know trials will continue to come, but I also know that my happiness is worth fighting for. I’m not giving up on that.

Download and print this free 8×10 print to remind yourself to fight for you happy. Click on the images below to download.

Don’t want to print right now? Pin for later!

If you would like to see the process behind sketching this (with lots of erasing) see this video:

5 things I wish I knew when I started hand-lettering

Insights, Tutorials

 

Hand-lettering has done so much for my life! I seriously love it and want everyone to learn! I know there are so many resources out there to learn, so why would I add to it? Because it makes my heart happy knowing that I get to share something that I love so much! Read to the very end for the freebie! Here we go, 5 things I wish I knew when I started hand-lettering:

1) What pens I should start with! There are so many brush pens out there. It’s good to try a lot to see what you like, but it can be overwhelming if you don’t even know where to start. See my full post for a complete review.

2) What paper I should use! If I had known these tricks, I would have saved a lot of my pens from fraying… See my full post.

3) How to “fake” calligraphy. Fauxligraphy is a real thing, not cheating! I thought I was cheating and had to keep it a secret. But it’s actually real, and if you want to do chalk lettering or sign lettering, you’ll do this all the time! See my full tutorial.

4) How to hold my pen! Everyone holds the pen differently and that’s okay as long as you are comfortable. But there is a trick to the angle of the pen that will make your letters much more consistent. See my full post.

5) Practice different fonts! There isn’t just one way to write a letter. It’s good to look at all types of fonts. Find things you like and don’t like about each font. As you practice different fonts, you will start to find your own style. This is why I have created brush lettering workbooks to help you learn! This is what you will get in each workbook:

::Brush Lettering Guide and 30 days of Lettering with Insights for SMALL and LARGE brush pens COMPLETE BUNDLE – A list of small and large brush pens and paper to start with, 3 pages of basic strokes, 55 pages of guide sheets for each letter of the alphabet in TWO fonts, uppercase and lowercase, 2 pages of blank practice sheets, a list of insightful words to letter each day to practice every letter of the alphabet, 35 pages of guide sheets for each word and an activity for each day, the guide sheets have the words in both font styles for style practice, and access to personalized tips and encouragement from me.

practicesheetscompletebundle

Not sure if you are ready? Grab some sample pages for FREE in my Insider Library! You will get the basic strokes for small and large brush pens- totally free. Plus, you will get a promo code to get a discount on any of my workbooks! (I don’t want to undersell the heart and time I have put into these, but I want to make them accessible).

If you are already an Email Insider, you will be able to enter right away. If not, you can still get these freebies immediately after you become an Email Insider!

Happy lettering!

How Hand Lettering Changed My Life

Insights, Tutorials

I can still remember the dark feeling. It was a little over a year ago. I was curled up on the floor in my bathroom crying. Not just any crying. Really ugly crying. Loud crying. Eyes-puffing-out-for-days crying. I had cried many times before, but this time was different. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t breathe. My breaths were loud, short gasps of air. I started to hyperventilate which made me panic and cry more. I didn’t know what was going on. I was scared.

That was the first time I had ever experienced a panic attack, and it was not the last.

I had just started my first year of teaching at an alternative high school, meaning the kids who have too much going on in their lives to be successful in a comprehensive high school. This was also a rough part of town where scary things happen. So I was dealing with the trauma of the students. Some were kind even through their difficulties. Others were mean and disrespectful because they had never been nurtured before. I had recently moved away from my family, friends, and home of 24 years so my husband could go to school. I was also teaching a different subject than what I had prepared for in college because curriculum differs between states. On top of that, I didn’t get a lot of support from my admin. It was mostly harsh critique.

I’m sure there are many people who could go through this and handle it successfully. For me though, it pushed me over the edge. I dreaded waking up each morning. I was terrified to go to work each day because I didn’t know what I would have to face. Everyday I went and had to pretend that everything was fine. I had to be strong for my kids because they were dealing with so much trauma.

The experience I shared of me crying, became a weekly, if not daily, occurrence. I was so blessed that my husband patiently helped me through each day, reminding me how to breath when I literally couldn’t.

I remember feeling like I wanted to get away from ME. I didn’t like anything about me. I didn’t want to be in my life. It sounds completely irrational now, but at the time it was real.

I tried doing things I used to enjoy, but nothing was working. I didn’t enjoy them anymore because I didn’t enjoy me.

My husband started sending me funny or inspirational memes everyday (he was so clever and patient with me). A few months into this, I started saying to myself, “One day you’ll look back and say, ‘Wow I did that.'” I searched everywhere to find a meme of this so I could save it as a background on my phone but with no success. In March of last year, I came across the Rhonna Designs app where I could design my own quote. It was perfect! I started making a quote everyday and it was so uplifting! Soon, I wanted to start doing more that I couldn’t do on the app. I wanted to learn how to be a designer (something I had no experience in).

IMG_3972

I asked my brother who is a professional designer how to learn specifically typography so I could make more uplifting quotes. He told me 3 things that changed my life. 1- Create something everyday, no matter whether it’s good or not, just create. 2- Learn calligraphy. 3- Look up Jessica Hische.

So I did just that and I fell in love with modern calligraphy and hand lettering. I could feel my pains healing with every insightful word I lettered. It was a therapy for me. I know my healing also came from my Savior, Jesus Christ. I could letter His promises to me and somehow they became more meaningful as I made them beautiful on paper.

calligraphy practice

My earliest calligraphy practice.

As I started this new journey of lettering, I was becoming a better me. I started to love myself again. I started to enjoy my life again.

Not only was lettering itself a therapy, I gained so many #calligrafriends in the Lettering Community that supported me and encouraged me and continue to do so today.

handletteringchangedmylife

If you’re still reading, thank you! I appreciate your support! Because of how lettering has changed my life, I want to share that with others. I want to share that with YOU. Anyone can learn how to letter. Even if you don’t think you have good handwriting or artistic skills. Neither did I. I simply wanted to be happy again, and that is what it did for me. It can do that for you too.

I will be releasing practice sheets at the end of this week to help you get started or continue with brush lettering. To celebrate, I will be posting a tutorial everyday this week with tips and tricks. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: You can now find my practice sheets here. 🙂

The secret to loving your life especially when it’s hard

Freebies, Insights

This week I want to focus on a “super prompting” I had this week. My husband called it a super prompting because it was something that I kept getting hit with over and over again. I am sure you have had your own super promptings as well. I knew it was what I needed to learn because I’m not very good at it. That is to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Because it was a super prompting, and I’m not very good at it, I came up with 5 ways to be better at getting comfortable when life isn’t comfortable. Along with my list, I’m giving you a FREE COLORING PAGE to be a stress reliever and a reminder. Keep scrolling down. 🙂

 

Life can be tough. For me, life is tough when your husband is in grad school so you don’t know where you’re going to be living in the next little bit, what insurance you’ll have, what job you’ll have, and if you’re car is going to survive another day. Adulting. You’ve been there. As I was contemplating all of this, I talked to a lady at church (click here to learn more about what I believe). Her husband just retired and they were looking for a place to settle down. It seemed to me that her stage of life would be so much easier than where I’m at right now. Well I was wrong. She told me about some of the things they were dealing with and listened to me talk about the things I’m dealing with. Then she said to me with the wisdom of her years, “You need to learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable.” I quickly jotted that down because I knew that was an important lesson I needed.

The next day, I was reading my friend’s blog. She just moved across the country all by herself to a state she’s never lived to start her PhD program. She wrote so eloquently about how it’s been tough to have to figure out everything by herself and start an intimidating program. But the lesson she is learning is to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Thank you for the super prompting.

So now the question is, how do we do it? How do we get comfortable when we feel defeated and just want to quit? Here is what I came up with.

5 ways to get comfortable being uncomfortable

1. Love yourself. I could write a whole blog about why this is important and how to do it. To keep it short, Lucille Ball says it all. “You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

lucylips

2. Find your tribe. When we are stressed, it is important to have people around us that we can count on. People who make us laugh, people who have been there and can give advice, people who encourage and strengthen us. Have you heard of the “cuddle hormone” that combats stress? This video explains:

3. Learn from your mistakes. When we are uncomfortable in life, chances are we don’t know what we are doing. When we don’t know what we are doing, chances are we are going to make mistakes. Next time you make a mistake, instead of getting down on yourself, take what you need to learn from it and leave the rest behind. Here is a comedic video that explains this well.

4. Start a gratitude journal. When we start listing things we are grateful for, we can trick our minds to find the good instead of all the “uncomforts” in our life. You might need to start with 1 or 2 per day. Eventually you will find it becomes easier and easier.

gratitude

5. Do what you love. Whether this is your hobby, something spiritual, something active, or something lazy, when you take a break to do something you love, you may realize that life isn’t actually all bad. You may not be able to do this thing all day, everyday, but by making time for it, you are proving to yourself that you matter. That brings me to the free printable I promised! Coloring can be so stress relieving. If this isn’t your stress reliever, skip the download and go do something for you. If coloring is your stress reliever, color away!

getcomfortablecoloringpage

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD: comfortablecoloringpage

Do you agree with my list? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

5 reasons why PENCILS are the BEST

Insights

As a teacher, I know the importance of having pencils around. Everyone always needs a pencil. When I started lettering, my need for pencils grew more than ever. Now I would say I don’t just need pencils, I LOVE pencils. Here are 5 reasons why:IMG_6063-ANIMATION

  1. You can get amazing letters no matter your skill level. You don’t need fancy, expensive pens to learn to letter! Every pen flows a little bit differently. The first time I tried writing with a Tombow Dual Brush, I thought I had suddenly lost all ability to write beautifully. Turns out, it’s just hard to switch from the thick downstroke to the very thin upstroke and takes practice. In the meantime, PENCILS!
    pencil4
  2. You don’t have to worry about those pesky thin upstrokes. A pencil is thin. Thus, you will get thin upstrokes. You can do faux calligraphy by coloring in the downstrokes to get a feel for it. This kind of practice makes it that much easier when you use a brush pen.
    IMG_5251
  3. Pencils make your mistakes look good. We learn by making mistakes. The more mistakes we make, the more we learn. With a pencil, you can erase, rewrite, cross out, or tweak slightly without harm. Somehow mistakes don’t look as drastic with a pencil as they do with a brush pen. Pencils help you feel comfortable in your mistakes. pencil
  4. Save money and time. Pens cost money. I am surprised how soon some pens run out of ink or start to fray. I am sure you can agree, there is nothing more frustrating than to complete a piece and realize it’s not centered or your flourishes didn’t match up right. You have to do the whole piece again. That means more ink and more paper. Starting with pencils gives you the ability to get it perfect before laying it out in ink.IMG_6023
  5. Find your style. No matter what medium you are using, a pencil can look like anything. Maybe you are using a Tombow Dual Brush, maybe you are using water color, or maybe you are using a classic pointed pen. All of them can be sketched with a pencil. You can sketch out different fonts, different compositions, or even try sketching in a giraffe.

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Just like in a classroom, when you hand letter, pencils are a must have. Pencils are the best!

My story: Why I learned hand lettering

Insights

Update: I got even more personal in this recent post you can find here.IMG_3972

In March 2016, I was having a rough time as a first year teacher. I kept saying to myself, “Someday you’ll back and say, ‘Wow, I did that.'” This helped to motivate me. I really wanted to hang up a cute print of it. I couldn’t find anything close to this saying so I knew I had to make it myself. Soon after this, I discovered the RhonnaDesigns app where I was able to create my own quotes! I was so excited! I couldn’t get enough.

rhonna2

Then I realized there were certain things I couldn’t do and I needed to learn calligraphy. My husband and I took a trip to Michaels where we bought my first calligraphy pens. They were just basic felt calligraphy pens, Elegant Writers, and I loved them. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

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Here are some of my very first pieces. I used the RhonnaDesigns app to decorate them.

Ever since then, I have been hooked. I continue to enjoy trying out many different lettering tools and styles. I am excited to see where my lettering journey will take me.