30 days of lettering + an exciting new project


Happy Monday, friends!

For those of you following me on Instagram, you may have seen that yesterday marked the final day of my 30 days of hand-lettered movie quotes.

On my 25th birthday last month, I had the undeniable feeling that I just wanted to DO more. This dream of making my hand-lettering into a viable side-business had been brewing for a while, but I was frustrated with myself for not making the commitment to actually practice my craft every day. I knew PRACTICE was the only way to get better and to develop my own sense of style, yet I couldn’t seem to find the time to squeeze it in. It occurred to me that that was a bit of a cop out, and I decided to commit to 30 days of practice, sharing each hand-lettered piece on Instagram so that I had something to keep me accountable. I chose movie quotes as my subject because I’m a total movie nerd and I wanted something that I connected with.

In my head this little project was just going to be something that forced me to practice everyday, but along the way it became so much more.

Friends and family started sending me messages of support and telling me that my simple daily posts had inspired them to explore more of their own creativity.

Artists on Instagram – like really, really talented artists – started following along and liking some of my pieces (WHAT?! My posts? Excuse me Instagram friend, are you lost?) You have no idea what that did to my confidence. Sometimes I can be such a perfectionist that I look at a piece and I just want to crumple it up and start over. But, in the interest of staying true to the project, I never did that. And sometimes the pieces I was least happy with were the ones that received the most positive feedback. It reminded me that people resonate with the imperfect. It feels relatable and real.

That fear that I experienced during my first post began to lessen, little by little, with every passing day. I allowed myself to experiment with different styles and compositions. Some days I felt like doing something simple and some days I wanted more embellishment. Sometimes it worked out and sometimes it didn’t.

The point is, I became more courageous with my art.

I also feel like over the course of the 30 days, I somehow discovered my “style” – something I desperately wanted to achieve. I didn’t want my work to by a mimic or shadow of anyone else’s, which can sometimes happen when you follow closely people that inspire you. This quote by a favorite designer and blogger of mine, Promise Tangeman, sums it up perfectly:


The irony here is that this hand-lettering image was created by one of my favorite letterers, Lindsay Letters. I admire her work so, but it is uniquely her. If I tried to make each of my pieces look like hers, a) I would never be able to do it as well as her and b) it wouldn’t be from my heart or my unique point of view. These 30 days have been the “create more” directive that I really needed.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, this project has given me momentum. What I mean by that is when you commit to doing something every day for a substantial period of time, it becomes a part of your routine. I have managed to work daily creating into my life now. And every time I pick up my pen and finish a small exercise, that simple act of “doing” builds on itself and makes me itch to do it again. And again. And again. It creates a sense of forward momentum in me that wants to reach for more and to do more.

In short (er… not so short) this little project has created such a positive change in my life, and I only want more for myself and even better, more FOR YOU.

Which leads me to a little announcement….

I’ll be launching a new project, probably early next week, based around this idea of 30-day projects. For those of you who have written to me that you have been inspired, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. YOU have inspired me to forge ahead, keep creating, and pursue each of my ideas with diligence and excitement. Here’s a little sneak peek:


I can’t wait to share with you what’s ahead, and I can’t wait to see more DOING being done.


On a side note, I’ve made the decision to make my hand-lettered movie quotes available for sale as 8.5″ x 11″ prints, as well as my typography map that has gotten some great feedback. Check out the gallery below or on Facebook, and if you’d like to purchase one, please email carolinekelsodesign[at]gmail[dot]com with which print(s) you’d like to buy, your mailing address and I’ll reply with the payment details. (Note: There is no Day 22: Father of the Bride because it was created for my Dad’s birthday and the original was a special gift. Sorry!)

If you’d like to check out all the original pieces, search the hashtag #ckelso30 on Instagram or check out my account, @ckelso.

Thanks again for all the support, my wonderful friends!



1braveheart 2LionKing 3DirtyDancing 4LoveActually 5HarryPotter 6meetparents 7Shawshank 8Sandlot 9Emperors 10ToyStory 11DumbDumber 12Doubtfire 13d2Ducks 14HomeAlone 15JerryMaguire 16Hook 17Aladdin 18billymadison 19silverlinings 20almostfamous 21forrestgump 23fightclub 24anchorman 25americanpresident 26lincoln 27titanic 28inception 29meangirls 30findingnemo map