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Go Big! Lettering and Mural Design with Gemma O’Brien

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop called “Go Big! Lettering and Mural Design” taught by Australian designer, Gemma O’Brien. Gemma’s portfolio ranges a wide variety of work, and her distinct style joins type and illustration in a truly unique way. If you’re not familiar with her, I’d say she’s definitely worth a follow on Instagram (@mrseaves101)!

Gemma O'Brien Fear and Love lettering artist

The full-day masterclass, hosted by the Type Director’s Club, taught hand-lettering skills and techniques. The class was split into two parts; the first focused on letter creation, and the second focused on designing murals.

Our first exercise was to draw a three-letter word based on one letter in a font. Later we took those letterforms and incorporated illustration within them. Gemma also taught mini lessons in creating expressive scripts using brush pens, and blackletter calligraphy using balsa, ink and brushes.

Go Big Gemma O'Brien workshop lettering

Gemma O'Brien - Brush lettering mural art workshop

In the second part of the day, we learned how to scale, set up and paint a mural. Gemma discussed the different tools that she likes to use, her overall process, important questions to ask your client before starting and tips and tricks she’s learned along the way. We learned how to set up projectors, create pencil outlines and then start the painting process. It was such valuable insight.

Gemma O'Brien Go Big lettering workshop

Gemma O'Brien mural and lettering artist workshop

The workshop was incredibly inspirational. Gemma’s mastery of her art form allowed her to share her knowledge in a way that was both encouraging and motivating. It was great fun collaborating with and working alongside fourteen other people from similar creative fields and backgrounds. I’m grateful to have been able to participate in such an exciting experience, and to learn the art of lettering and mural design from a creative whom I’d admired for a long while!

Blog written by Sam K.