I’m Dani Kelley,

and I do lots of things.

All you can do is survive

The final product: calligraphy and hand-lettering by me (with help from Showcase Sans for the smaller text). 2016.

It’s been a rough year so far. There’s been a lot of life changes and personal crises and accomplishments. Lots of good, lots of bad, lots of change.

As a creature of habit, change doesn’t usually bode well with me.

I’ve taken time away from 99% of freelancing work, aside from the occasional lettering commission that I take on only because I want to. I’ve cut out every single thing from my life that isn’t necessary for me to survive — because right now, all I can ever guarantee out of any particular day is that I will survive it.

The circumstances of my life aren’t shameful. And if all I can do is survive, I’ve done more than enough.

The idea for this particular piece came about as a result of my insensitivity towards a friend who was in a similarly hard place in their personal life. I asked too much of them at the worst possible moment, and realized that just like I’m doing all I can to survive and sometimes can’t do emotional labor for others, I can’t expect others in complicated life situations to do emotional labor for me.

If all any of us can do right now is survive, it’s enough.

Want a free print-ready poster file?

Support me on Patreon by the end of the week, and I’ll upload Saturday morning!

Below is my process for this particular piece. I do plan on selling it on various products, so please comment below to let me know what you’d like to see it on!

The initial sketch. I wanted to juxtapose my typical brush calligraphy and small Roman caps with a hand-lettered Didot type treatment.

The initial sketch. I wanted to juxtapose my typical brush calligraphy and small Roman caps with a hand-lettered Didot type treatment.

After sketching out my placement of the lettering, I used a Zebra brush-tip pen for the calligraphy, and a 1mm Micron for the Roman caps and Didot type.

After sketching out my placement of the lettering, I used a Zebra brush-tip pen for the calligraphy, and a 1mm Micron for the Roman caps and Didot type.

Once I finished inking, I took a photo and adjusted the lettering and layout in Photoshop. I cleaned up the irregularity of the lines, adjusted some of the type itself, and removed my uneven Roman caps and replaced them with Showcase Sans.

Once I finished inking, I took a photo and adjusted the lettering and layout in Photoshop. I cleaned up the irregularity of the lines, adjusted some of the type itself, and removed my uneven Roman caps and replaced them with Showcase Sans.

Once I was satisfied with the Photoshop clean-up, I went to Illustrator and began vectoring the lettering. Using the method I've described elsewhere of using 90-degree angle handles on anchor points placed at the apex of each curve, I worked to make sure the lettering flowed organically without feeling too stiff.

Once I was satisfied with the Photoshop clean-up, I went to Illustrator and began vectoring the lettering. Using the method I’ve described elsewhere of using 90-degree angle handles on anchor points placed at the apex of each curve, I worked to make sure the lettering flowed organically without feeling too stiff.

When I vector, I don't finalize all the fine details until I have everything laid out. Some of the letter-spacing and leading needed some adjustments here, but I was happy to have the main vectoring complete.

When I vector, I don’t finalize all the fine details until I have everything laid out. Some of the letter-spacing and leading needed some adjustments here, but I was happy to have the main vectoring complete.

The final product: calligraphy and hand-lettering by me (with help from Showcase Sans for the smaller text). 2016.

The final product: calligraphy and hand-lettering by me (with help from Showcase Sans for the smaller text). 2016.

%d bloggers like this: