Happy New Year! Thought I would start the year off with my first ever blog post for nola-lettering.com. Hopefully it will continue throughout the year (one of my new year's resolution).
I did my first ever big gig on New Year's Eve - what a way to end and start the year! It was during a wedding reception where I lettered guests' new year's resolutions or inspirational quotes on a 4'x6' chalkboard. I really should have stood next to the chalkboard for scale, but I did not have time to pose next to the board at the event. However, here's the next best thing - my assistant (aka the husband) being a huge help and doing most of the coloring. Husband for scale!
Before the wedding, we built the chalkboard using plywood, 4"x8' lumber, and chalkboard paint. It turned out pretty well, but there were lots of lessons learned after making this chalkboard. Mostly if you're after a chalkboard you can reuse many times and want to use liquid chalk markers, do not use wood as the backing for the chalkboard paint. It's porous, so erasing chalk markers is nearly impossible. This was a one-use chalkboard as the couple wanted to preserve this board and hang it in their child's room, so luckily it wasn't a huge issue. But if I were to make it again, I would think about using a different backing material.
Going into the wedding, I knew the biggest challenge wasn't the lettering exactly, as I've been practicing different styles and layouts for quite a while now. Rather, it was getting it all done in time without sacrificing aesthetics. Originally, we had budgeted about 3 hours, but in the end it took 4 hours to complete. Towards the end, especially as midnight approached, I knew I had to sacrifice some of the more detailed work if I wanted to finish before the wedding ended. That was a bummer. Luckily the husband stuck around and helped me color in words and clean my guidelines. Without him there, I'm sure it would have taken much longer.
All in all, I had a blast doing this even though I was super nervous in the beginning. Although I've been lettering for a while now, I've never done it in front of an audience or with a time limit. So, there was some shaky hands in the beginning, but as I got into the swing of things, the nerves disappeared and all that was left was the board and the words. It also didn't hurt when people stopped by to say how cool or great the board looked (woohoo!).
I must also say lettering guests' well-wishes on a chalkboard is a novel idea for a wedding. It provides other entertainment for guests other than the usual drinking an dancing, and it's something the couple can use as decoration and (hopefully) remind them of their wedding. It was also very cool that the couple supported local New Orleans artists during their reception. In addition to me, there was another vendor there who typed up poems for guests on his typewriter.
What a great experience! I hope I'll have more opportunities to do events like this. Here's a great 2019!!