Letters for Life

The last few weeks I have mainly worked with the final tamp on a real dream project where I sat the graphic expression of a newly opened wine bar here in Varberg. Lise + wine, I mean, if it’s not a match made in heaven then I don’t know what is! If it hadn’t been for my CFO Krille (to whom I also happen to be married), I would have made a deal where I got the entire payment in wine, haha!

Logo, fonts, illustrations and colors are set and the menu is created. I’ve got to pitch ideas, draw a lot of wine glasses, write funny letters, choose fonts, fine-tune colors, create logo and variations thereof, create some copy and vectorize* a mass. Crazy fun. I really relate to the tone and style of the graphic expression, and not that it’s 100% necessary in order to do a decent job, but it sure makes it all the more fun doing it. I’ll show you more another time, but here’s their main logo





and a variation of it to be used on other products

And a page from their menu

See about the wine glasses? To all my Swedish followers: If ever in Varberg post pandemic, you NEED to go drink wine at Deilig! Besides their amazing graphic identity (cough cough), they also have LOADS of wine, a beautiful bar and restaurant, and the owners are pretty badass themselves too.

I rarely work with local companies but have made some exceptions lately, besides from the restaurant, I also smeared a bunch of Posca pens on storefronts in our little town. Fun and frosty to draw 10 hours in a row, but incredibly nice to get a lot of sweet comments from by passers about the craft being performed. Normally, I sit my butt down on one of my two chairs, the computer chair or the drawing chair as seen below, and have like zero IRL interaction with people. Everything is done via zoom, email or phone. So the out and about lettering this was a lovely departure from my office days.

Where I spend 98% of my working hours. On one chair or the other.


I’ve also been working on a book title, my absolute favorite projects – except for wine this is, but I already told you that. The awesome Sofie Sarenbrant’s new crime novel about Emma Sköld to be drawn. The book is called The Guardian Angel and comes in the spring. However, it is not completely finished yet, but I’ll show you guys later. Assignments take time, especially if there are more actors involved. Writers, publishers, designers, everyone contributes, and the discussions go back and forth, as it does in creative projects. This means that it takes some time, but also that it will be a solid result in the end. And you end up having learned a lot yourself in the end, which is pretty cool. Never stop putting yourself in places where you don’t know it all, that’s my unsolicited advice for the day.

In between, I have worked on the Christmas card booklet that took quite a lot of time to draw, layout, adjust, write and translate as well as add to the shop. About twice as long as I estimated, ugh. But still, I get to draw Christmas trees for work, so I don’t really mind.

Besides these things, there’s the REAL work – the kind of work you never get to see on Instagram. Emails, quotes, invoices, pen orders, etc. All of those things are of course equally important, and I actually enjoy them. Probably because I don’t have to do the taxes (thank you darling husband) science shows I’m not really cut out for that. But sitting by my computer with Christmas music and a cup of coffee while paying invoices really isn’t bad at all. I find it helpful and timesaving to compress the different tasks into one session or so. Most of my admin work is done Monday before lunch, right after I plan the week.

Oh, and the last weeks I have also been preparing a youtube project that you will be hearing more about pretty soon.

So if we boil down the last few weeks you’ll get this broth: admin, book title, menu, storefront, Christmas card drawing and filming. I’ve had time for about 50% of what I had hoped or thought – or nah, just hoped. That’s the way it is – there are so many more ideas and projects in my head than can fit in my working hours. It’s not that I’m overwhelmed by assignments (hello covid!) but more so that I underestimate the time it takes to complete things. In addition, I refuse to work a lot, so it naturally becomes a pretty long list of things that I haven’t had time for yet, and it keeps getting longer. I think that you have to see come to peace with that factor, otherwise you’ll just feel frustrated and stressed all the time – or end up working a TON. I’ve been down all those paths, and I really don’t want to pay them any re-visits. My life’s too damn short. I’d rather walk my dog by the sea.

The main reason I’m my own boss is because I want to control how much I work, and by that I mean to work as little as possible. It’s not that hard, as long as you figure out how to cut back on your expenses. You don’t need all of that shit anyway. I try to figure out how to scramble up just enough to put food on the table, and not to get stressed or feel lousy by the long list of things that haven’t been caught up in this month either. That list still being long is a sign that I actually threw myself on the sofa with a book at 2pm this Tuesday instead of keeping on working. And that, my friend, is a good thing.

Hi you!

How are you? Fine, I hope. Here in Sweden the kids are counting the days until school ends – 12 more days, in case you wondered, until summer break. That 10 weeks summer vacation that they have earned so well, and that I myself both long for and dread, to be honest. It’s amazing to let them into the freedom of sleeping in and do whatever they want, but also goodbye alone time, and hello kids nagging and fighting. All of you guys who have home schooled your kiddos for months, I bow to thee. Really, I do.

Most of my days are about packing orders, making lettering pads, drawing practice sheets, walking the pup and checking the cats for tics, and that’s pretty alright with me. I still have a list of new stuff that I want to bring into the shop, one of them which I released today, but more of that in a minute. I also have all these ideas of new products that I want to produce myself – weekly and monthly planner pads, different affirmation cards set, tape, new kits, new posters, new cards and so on. At the same time, I’m working with my husband to make online classes and developing some sort of a strategy for my digital products presence. Not to mention the fun clients I want to hunt down and force to hire me… The trick as a business owner is to work both long and short term, I think. Not just one, but both. Either you work them both every day, and decide how many hours you want to spend on each, or you work them different days or weeks. As long as you’re not only working short term to get the money in today, but also make sure you pave the road for bigger results in the future, you’re good. It’s so easy getting caught up in the short term, especially in times like this.

Today my darling husband has joined, he’ll be the head of video making and I love him for that, first on that list is a small practice sheet’s video, as you probably can see above. Rule no 2 of today’s rock your business like a pro-list: Thou shalt not do it all thyself. Really, there’s no way  that you could manage that without loosing a: your mind, b: serious sleep, or by c: fill your days with 95% frustration and 5% fun, instead of the other way around.

Now, if you can’t force the people you sleep with to cut in, then you must surely have friends around who can? I’m telling you, if I had be the only one to figure everything out regarding logistics to most parts of the world, customs declarations, packaging, currency switchers, which printer to choose, paper purchase, client’s emails, auction plugins and so on forever and ever, there would be no Ink & Lise, because I’d crash half way through, if I’d even make it that far. My husbands does all the printing, builds the webpage and fixes the plugins, handles the numbers and supports in a million other ways.

I want to do most of the day to day things on my own, besides the printing, because I don’t have the printers in my office. I update the web page, handle the clients, suppliers and invoices, admin, sales and of course the client work. That’s important to me, I want to be able to handle it on my own. But as soon as there’s big decisions to be made, new ideas to try off, weird logistic things or taxes, we’re a team. And by that I mean that he fixes it, hehe. No wonder I sleep with the guy. And you can tell by the pic I just took that he’s as enthusiastic about this arrangement as I am:

Anyway, that was not what I wanted to talk about – I wanted you, my dear blog reader, to know first of all, like always, that I’m dropping new pens in the shop today! (And by drop I don’t mean dismiss, but more like release, get it? Seriously, writing in a language you haven’t been practicing since college a hundred years ago has, shall we say, its challenges.) Just look:

The German pen producer Stabilo, which here in Sweden at least, is mostly known for their fineliners and highlighters have made a brush pen version of their famous pen 68, and I really really like it!

The tip’s a bit bigger than fine tips like the Pentel Sign Brush Pen, but smaller than the Sakura Koi and definitely smaller than Ecoline Brush Pens. That makes it perfect for beginners who want to draw a bit bigger words – cards, quotes or tags, for instance – but who doesn’t want the really big and soft tips that often are a bit harder to control. The come in sets of 10 and 20 colors, which are waterbased and bright af.

And as you can see, you can create quite the line width dynamic with this tip. Love them! Oh, and you can find them here.

Per usual, you get to know before I tell the rest of the world through instagram. I normally keep the first batch quite small to see if it flies or not, that way, if you don’t want to miss that first batch, it’s a good thing to keep an eye out in here. I’ll post them on instagram this Friday.

Okay, I need to go hug my husband now. See you!

Listen, I’m sorry about being all sell’y at the moment (is that even a word, sell’y? No? But do you understand that I meant that I try to sell a lot? Yes? Ok, good), but I have so many new, fun products in the pipes for you, they just queue up in here and on instagram, you know? Please don’t hate me.

There will be plenty of time for me to take up space, discussing important stuff like my four pillars of areas where I want to change the world – feminism, the environment, body acceptance and stopping the glorification of busy – and wine, obviously. I promise you, this blog will not be short of that, and if you have been following me on instagram you can probably testify to that. But right now there’s just so many things happening, and as I may have the most thrilling, fascinating and lovely personality, I still know that you’re primarily here for the letters.

So on that note, I wanted to give you a quick glimpse of what will be released on Friday, and it’s thanks to you, guys. I try to listen to most of your suggestions and wishes, one of them has been a lettering pad with black paper.

Cool, huh? As my favorite paper brand doesn’t come in colors, I have searched all over for a colored paper that’s:

  • Smooth as silk
  • Uncoated
  • In deep and saturated colors
  • Kind to the environment,

… and that was a handful to incorporate in one product, I tell ya. But I didn’t give up and now I’ve found it! It’s the deepest black, and is certificated by FSC®, EU Ecolabel and it’s Nordic Ecolabel Inspected. And more so, it’s a dream to draw on, totally pampering to all kind of  snobbish and delicate brush pen tips!

I have made a first small batch of pads, size A4+ and A5 – same as my other lettering pads, and I was thinking of making kits with pens suited for the deep black paper, like metallic markers and gel pens and stuff. But you will be able to buy the pads only too, of course, just like the others.

You get to know stuff first!

Now why am I telling you this in here and not on Instagram? Well, you see, the blog will serve as a focus group. I’m going to ask you guys for advice in here, and you will, as a thank you, be the first to know about launches and stuff. I mean, you need some kind of compensation for putting up with all of these rambling thoughts, swears and typos in here, right? And in some cases it could really pay off –  like if you’re interested in a black lettering pad with high quality paper, for example. The first test batch I’ve made is rather small as I only ordered a limited amount of paper in order to try it out. And while I’ll probably keep them in stock forever if you’ll like them as much as I do, it will take some time before I can make the next batch due to delivery time, production and so forth.

So that’s why I’m telling you to keep an eye out this Thursday already. I’ll put them up in the shop at approx 3pm CET, but I won’t shout it out on Instagram until Friday, so you kind of get to be the early bird and the black paper will be your worm. Deal?

Oh, and I’m thinking about calling the kits “welcome to the dark side”. Works, right?

Thank you for communicating your thoughts, feedback and ideas to me. It means the world and it shapes my little shop, so that it’s filled with products that suits YOU, which is kinda the whole point of its existence (besides me getting to pack your orders because that’s like the best thing in the world). So if you got something you want to share, you can either write a comment here or send me an email to Instagram DMs are hard for me to keep track of, email’s much better if you want to make sure I read it and respond.

Love ya, and welcome to the dark side!

My husband has this small print shop that comes in incredibly handy to a woman who’s selling cards, pad, posters and so on in her shop. Yes, I’m talking about yours truly. I married well, I must say, but on the other hand, so did he, haha. Anyway, I can print on demand which provides me from keeping too many things in stock and that is fine because I don’t have that much space in my tiny studio. So, whenever I need him to print something, I send him an email with the originals, or put them in a particular dropbox folder – LOVE dropbox, by the way! What would I have done without it? – and if I’m lucky, he remembers to print it and brings it home in the afternoon.

Now, when I launched my new site, I made sure to provide posters in the shop in sizes that would fit both European and American standards, because having a poster that doesn’t fit any frame is just… well it sucks, obviously. So besides for cm-standard sizes I also have a few inches ones – 11 x 17 and 18 x 24. Naturally, I name the originals by the size too to make everything extra clear.

The other day, I asked my husband to print a few versions of the poster seen above, named “Stop doing yes 11 x 17” and he came home with this:

So, should you happen to know a few squirrels, mice or the occasional frog who’s looking for a motivational poster to put up in their home, you know who to recommend.

Warm regards,

a woman married to a metric system man.

So this week went by in a whim, didn’t it? And now it’s Friday, close, so close, to the weekend. And remember – as some sort of compensation for being placed so far up north, Sweden’s got the CET, which means that I can start drinking wine much sooner than you guys who read this in sunny California can. It’s called universal justice, my friends. Universal justice for we the North.

Well, close as it might be, it’s still a few burning hours away, and I’ve got a few more things on my to do to check off before then. Today, I’ve been packing and shipping orders to Germany, the States, Switzerland, South Korea, Denmark, UK and Sweden – how freaking cool is that? I buy pens and paper, produce the prints, lettering pads, note pads, affirmation cards, cards and so on in my small studio here in my home, store it by playing Tetris because I have very limited space in here, receive your orders, pack it up and send it off to you guys around the world to use and enjoy. Pretty amazing, isn’t it, for one tall Swede that used to be burnt out and depressed? And it’s all thanks to you lovelies, so for that I’m eternally grateful, and therefore I will drink to you IN JUST TWO HOURS.

I have also walked the pup and ALMOST rescued him from rolling around in what might have been a very dead seagull on the beach, bless its soul, but also bless me as I had to wash my compadre when we got home when I really had a bunch of other stuff to do.

Besides that I have picked up oil for the patio, worked out (leg day, I hate and love it with great intensity), talked to my very nice DHL pick up-guy (yes, of course he has a name, but I can’t remember it for the life of me, sorry kind and service minded DHL guy), helped a kid make an omelet, drawn a cover for two new pads of black paper that I’ll launch soon, and recorded today’s IG post concerning the very big news that the delightful muted pastel colors of the Sign Brush Pen is back in stock!

You guys obviously loved them as much as I do, because they flew off of my shelves. I’m not even a pastel kind of person, but I adore these colors! Just look! It’s so refreshing seeing other colors besides the usual basic ones.

I mean…

Now I just need to come up with, and draw, this week’s style in the Alphabet Series and make the practice sheet to go with it. Gah. That’s like the biggest task of the whole day, and I saved it for last…? Oh well, I better get to it then.

So, happy Friday my friend! Thank you for keeping me busy sometimes and for sharing parts of your life and letters with me. I appreciate it immensely. As a token of my gratitude, here’s a pic of Idris Elba to go with your Friday wine. Btw, did I mention that it’s wine time here SOON?