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Editorial blog

Hand Lettering Secrets with Cindy Guentert-Baldo

23 Mar 2020

“I’ve been journalling and paper planning since I was a kid – I learn best by writing things down. I think the growth of the journaling community stems from a few areas – I’ve seen tonnes of scrapbookers migrate to the decorative planning community, while I also think there is a craving for tangible, analogue experiences. Everything is digital now; sometimes having a pen and paper in your hand can feel luxurious!

“Modern calligraphy is a massive trend at the moment. The kind of bouncy brush lettering that you see all over home goods stores and bridesmaid accessories. I keep holding out hope that my favorite lettering style, bubble lettering, is going to ascend – maybe publishing the book will help!

“My new book, Cute Hand Lettering, builds confidence in several ways: first, it starts from the very bottom, assuming the reader has no idea what they are doing. Second, it encourages readers to not only learn lettering, but to learn to love their individual skills and style. Finally, it encourages slow, steady progress with each new skill building on the previous work.

“I’ve always tried to have a balance of my sense of humor and the things I think are pretty on my Instagram account @llamaletters – an example would be a journaling spread that looks super aesthetic, but if you look close you’ll see an eff -bomb in the caption. Some people don’t like that, but those who do tend to be really enthusiastic and loyal. I’ve never been good at strategizing for social media; I’m kind of a fl y by the seat of my pants sort of person. This has resulted in slow but steady growth, the people joining me are really invested in my journey. I’d much rather have it this way than blow up fast but lose all connection with my followers.

“I have, from the beginning, put a tonne of myself into what I do. Sometimes I wonder if it is too much! Whenever I get asked something about the ways that I inject my personality into my brand I always mention that I am terrible at acting. I cannot for the life of me cover up any aspects of my personality, so that’s what people get when they find me. Like I said before this results in slow growth (I’m not for everybody) but those who do find me and stick around tend to not only be really loyal to me, but find new friendships with like minded people in the comments sections. It’s actually one of my favourite parts of doing what I do, seeing the connections that are made adjacent to my content. I hope people find it easy to connect with me, as I absolutely love to connect with them. (My word of the year for 2019 was connection!)

“I loved the idea of posting hand lettering challenges on my social media accounts, but most of the ones I had seen didn’t interest me: the subjects and prompts often were not my style. I wanted a challenge that was both interesting to me and with the possibility of being funny. I love having a prompt each day that makes me smile or giggle. The response has been great – I absolutely love seeing peoples’ progress over the month! This year I’m actually doing some throwback challenges to the previous years, and seeing some people post their improvement from two years ago to now is really magical.

“My go-to stationery is whatever is in front of me! I tend to love to practice in whatever notebook I’m bullet journaling in (currently a Leuchtturm1917) with a 01 tipped Tombow fineliner. I also am a long time fan of just some bristol cardstock and a Sharpie marker. Lately I also have been doing a tonne of lettering on my iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil and Procreate.

“In terms of my future plans, I would love to write another book or three! I found the process to be way more enjoyable than I anticipated (I was really intimidated at first.) Last year I started several new projects: I wrote the book, started teaching on Skillshare and opened a shop on Etsy selling prints of my watercolour flowers (that have naughty words hidden somewhere on them – are you surprised?). This year I plan to really work on all of these things, while also focusing on more in person workshops in the Bay Area of California (my home turf). I’ll also be traveling to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to speak! I’m trying to balance the fun of working (that’s not sarcastic, by the way) with my health struggles – I have polycystic kidney disease and I am approaching the time for dialysis and transplant, so I spend a lot of time at the doctor’s office. On the bright side, my journal is small and fi ts in my purse, so I can get a lot of lettering done in the waiting room!”

About the book

Cute Hand Lettering by Cindy Guentert-Baldo is out now. Published by Search Press, RRP £9.99. To find out more about Cindy’s work go to For trade enquiries go to

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