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Letters for Life - Page 2 of 2 - INK & LISE

Letters for Life

So, how’s your Monday been so far, dear? Up here at We the North it’s been raining and I have been busy all day packing orders and shipping them off to both US and Europe. Its been fun but I’m still a bit tired from the last couple of weeks where I’ve worked more than usual due to the new site, and when I’m tired I get confused, so it’s been a bit chaotic here in my little office. Ever since the burnout four years ago, I handle stress and fatigue differently than I used to. And by differently, I mean worse. My brain sort of get’s into a “holy shit I’m gonna die I’m gonna die I’m GONNA DIE” mode when pushed just a little bit into the pace and intensity that I used to spend all my working days in before the crash, and that makes up for, well, interesting situations. When things get crowded and I want to speed up and go faster, my brain just shuts down. Okay, not a total shut down, of course, but cognitively I feel lik I lose 70% of my capacity just like that. So weird, one moment I’m on top of the world, loving the pace, the energy and the long to do list, and the next one I can hardly figure out 5+6?

So I have learnt am still learning to hit the breaks before my brain does it for me, because funny as it may seem to have a brain that just walks out of the game when there’s just 10 minutes to go, it’s not my favorite part. It just makes me irritated and I blame myself a bit for pushing myself too hard again. I can feel that my brain doesn’t exactly thrive from it, on the contrary, and I don’t want to end up there because I don’t want to get sick again, because that sure sucked. But the thing is, I used to have such a huge capacity, and I miss it. So it’s a bit of a small grief for me, saying goodbye to my old intense self that could tak on anything. But it won’t come back, so there’s that. Also, I guess that my current capacity is pretty okay too, it’s just the comparison that makes it suck.

BUT what I really wanted to write about was that I made a bunch of new affirmation cards today! They are new in my shop, so I guess I have to introduce them a bit: the Ink & Lise badass affirmation cards are 36 different uplifting, handlettererd little coaches to remind you of your own greatness and help you stand steady in this messy world. They are not the romantic carpe diem versions, on the contrary there are swears on almost every one, so perhaps you don’t want to gift them to your grannie, but more to your sister in crime?

Like most of my paper things, I make them myself. When they’re printed and cut, I sort them which was kind of fun with today’s brain  – I stood for minutes searching for a special bunch of cards. They all looked the same to me, even though you can obviously see that they don’t, and so can I. Now, I can.

Then I cut the corners a bit to get away from that sharp and pointy edges with a corner cutter – yes I really have a machine for cutting corners, haha.

I pack them with a waistband and colors the heart pink. And: finished!

You can put them on the mirror, in your wallet, hand it as a note to your bestie or just draw one every morning to set the right calm, strong and steady queen mode!

And with that said, me and my weird brain wishes you a great Monday.


Today I went outside my house into another building that wasn’t a food store or the empty gym, in what feels like the first time in 10 years. I’m sitting in a totally empty café writing this, and although I love being in my own house, this is really like getting a dash of oxygen right into my body. What a luxury this is.

Now that we’ve established where I’m at, I have to get one thing off my chest first of all: I am honestly so thrilled to have a blog again! I have so many words inside of me, all the time, they’re like clogging up my brain but in a good way if you know what I mean? It’s always been like this for me, and having an outlet for them right here feels SO good. Didn’t actually know how much I’ve missed it until I started writing this post.

(I did have a blog that I started almost 8 years or so ago when the kids were little, and for 4 or 5 of the most intense years of my life I documented my struggle not to drown in all of it, it is a pretty unglamorous and totally sarcastic and exhausting journey in Swedish called Kaosyoga for those Swedish readers who might be interested. And yes, it gave me my former IG handle, Kaosyoga Lettering. I quit the blog  just a few months before I got a serious burn out that led to me finding a brush pen in a drawer and six months later quit my job, and well, here we are.)

And second of all: What started out as a joke from my side now is a reality thanks to you guys who commented on my latest instagram post. Idris Elba is now totally a thing in here, he’s even got his own category and all, just like we talked about. And I just decided, like two minutes ago, to post an Idris Elba appreciation post every Friday, so that we can all chit chat about this and that in here and pretend that this shitstorm of a virus isn’t roaming the earth and ruthlessly and violently changing all of our lives. Instead we can just pop a glas of wine wile looking at Idris because we deserve that, we really do.

Okay, now this lady is looking at me, wondering why I’m not working with my new website that’s due to day

And she’s kinda got a point, we’re gonna send it off into cyberspace and the great www this evening, and it’s not quite finished yet so I better get to it. It was nice talking to you, though!

Happy Friday, bitches!

If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I love books. I keep a minor library at home, there are books everywhere and my husband says that we have to live here until we die because there’s no way we can move all of these books. I don’t mind, though, I love our house, so I just keep buying more books to make absolutely sure that we’ll stay put. Also, it’s not hoarding if it’s books, you know that right?

Anyways. Being a book collecting letter nerd, you can imagine how happy I was when I got the possibility to draw a book title for the Swedish Bookmark publisher house. They had a design in mind, but hadn’t quite hit the spot with ordinary typography, so based on that and their brief, I drew the letters by hand.

The letters were straight and robust serifs with a few, quite modest, swooshes. The cover design itself were very intricate (made by my favorite book designer of all times, Sanna Sporrong) and the letters had to stand firmly in the flowers and the butterflies and what not, and still pop, of course. They had to be in the top of the graphic element’s hierarchy.

I made a few sketches where I thickened the lines and removed the initial dash and played around with spacing and kerning to clean it up and obtain a balance. Since I had letters to originate from, the work I did was more on the detailed level. This was NOT going to look hand drawn, so there could be no loose edges, wonky angels or jumping baseline, and creating that with your hand alone is definitely a challenge (a big shout out to the edit shape tool in Procreate, though!).

Work in progress. Drawing straight san serifs by hand is challenging.

I drew it in blue, and I actually liked it when I did the mockup, but Bookmark wanted to go with white to get the contrast and thus enhance the legibility in this kind of crowded layout, which as you can see, is probably the best choice.

Mytomanen, work in progress

The blue color folded in quite nicely in the picture, right?

Beyond this point I dove inte the details – kerning, the angels of the swooshes and the space between the two lines. It was equally frustrating and satisfying at the same time.

Working with new clients is always fun, and my experience of buying designs myself from when I worked in marketing back in the day really comes in handy in these situations. Being a lettering artist is 30% drawing letters and 70% communicating with people and it’s important to understand your client’s situation and what they need from you in order to get their job done. Don’t forget that you’re both heading towards the same goal, so being open about that really helps instead of getting all defensive. Bookmark had a great team (of women, need I say) and it all went smooth and quick.

So, to sum it up: a distinct brief, good communication and kindness in general make up for a good result! And low and behold, here’s the result:

Rumor has it that there’s an dash added to the letters, but other than that, this is what the cover needed up looking like. Pretty cool, huh?

The book will be released on May 25th and Sofie Sarenbrant was appointed Swedish detective novel author of 2019. The title is Swedish for “Mythomaniac”.

I love teaching. I actually worked as a high school teacher one year, and as crazy as that was, I whole heartedly loved the students – most of them anyway. That, and being in the center of attention, haha. No but seriously, connecting with people through a common interest or goal or point of view is magic (not that that was always the case among my dear big school students, but I can’t blame them, I hated high school too) and the last few years I’ve had in person lettering workshops in Germany, Finland, Saudi Arabia, and of course Sweden and I loved it. I was starting to plan a small Denmark and/or Germany tour when Covid 19 hit, but I’m still nurturing that idea, just so you know. I’m biding my time on that one.

If you insist on seeing the glass as half full (you weirdos, we all know it’s almost empty, but ok), you might say that this virus got me around to taking my loose ideas of making my classes an online experience a step closer to reality. It was the kind of a big and kind of intimidating project with no deadline that I didn’t quite know how to start and therefore simply didn’t, if you know what I mean. But now we’re on a roll, baby! A slow and steady roll, but still. A roll.

The way I see it, online classes is also a equality and environmentally issue to me. Not all of you have the possibility and the means to travel to attend workshops, and I can’t and won’t fly around the world the whole time to meet you, amazing as it would be, but our environment would’t exactly dig it. Going online means that many more of you can attend, from where you are and when you find it convenient, and to a lower cost.

I have already gotten a lot of amazing feedback from you via Instagram on what you’d like me to show you, and with those I’m slowly building a plan. I have also put a lot of thought into what platforms to use and what to publish where. New territory, you guys. Totally new. I will of course keep you guys posted on this, and I trust on you to breathe down my neck bit so that I will keep it rolling forward.

Onwards and upwards!