You open Instagram and, all of a sudden, everybody is lettering the same quote, using the same colors, or following the same theme… How did they agree on it? Well, they all probably joined a lettering challenge!
What’s a lettering challenge?
No more and no less than a series of proposals, made monthly or weekly, by one or several Instagram accounts, in which they invite us to letter a quote or word, use a combination of colors or a specific technique or medium.
Lettering challenges offer us a great opportunity to connect with the virtual lettering community. We can practice and learn from them, watching the different versions that other artists come up with. Also, they are a great source of inspiration, for those moments in which we are experiencing a creative slump, and we cannot figure out what to letter.
How can I join? Is there a prize?
Joining is as easy as posting your piece on the corresponding day, with the challenge hashtag, so the whole community can see it. Each challenge has its own hashtag, which is displayed in the main post. The hashtag may always be the same, or change with the month or the week. In addition, you can also tag the accounts that organize the challenge, to make sure they don’t miss it.
Normally, there is no prize. Except for particular cases, in which the rules and prizes are clearly defined from the beginning, ‘winning’ is not the goal. It is not necessary to participate every day, nor to follow all the accounts involved. I see challenges as a source of ideas to practice, connect and expose my work to a larger audience. And that, as a reward, is pretty good 🙂
Where do I find those challenges?
And which ones should I follow?
Challenges got so famous that there are a lot!
In this account @letteringchallengehq, Aida (@artsycraftsy) gathers a large number of them. It’s a good idea to check it at the beginning of the month, and save those that we like the most. Here you have a small selection of the ones that I like and usually join, but there are many, many more!
Most of the challenge are organized on a monthly basis, they are out at the beginning of the month (or last days of the previous month) and we have to letter a different quote or word every day.
This challenge is a great one to practice new styles. You just have to letter one word per day! So if, let’s say, you are learning how to blend, it may be too difficult to face a whole sentence, but is easier with a word :). People get more and more creative over time, and pieces are shared as a post at @happyletteringchallenge. You can check current month’s prompts in their Stories Highlights.
I’m quite fond of this challenge, because it was the first one featuring my pieces. @megannicolelettering, @thepaperfern and @chickadeedixie are great lettering artists, and always come up with fun puns. They share the posts at @Letteritbetter, and usually have beautiful words for every one who participates. Hashtag changes monthly! So make sure you are using the right one ;).
@melissaleng, @lettersofme and @kaish_calli started this challenge a few months ago, where you have to blend the whole quote or just a word. Whether you join the challenge or not, check the hashtag regularly to discover the most wonderful blends, bleeds and color combos on Instagram. Especially their own! (Those girls are also wonderful letterers, if there was any doubt about it).
Karina, @letteringjournalkrolas, hosts and prepares this challenge every month, with lots of love. It’s a mix of prompts, techniques, decorative elements and many ideas to connect with the Spanish lettering community. There are a lot of great quotes that she gathers from other members, and she even finds the time to letter them herself. I hope this challenge continues next year! I already offered myself to help, if needed :).
This one goes out sometimes monthly, sometimes weekly. @lettersthatblend suggests us different color combos to combine with the blending technique of our choice. You know I love things arranged by colors, so I pay them a visit on a regular basis, and enjoy the views!
#Monthly challenge hosted by @tjt.design, @tiffyinspirations y @chrystalizabeth
This challenge’s hashtag changes every month! Prompts are usually related to the theme of the month (Halloween, summer, Christmas…) It’s been going for a long time and a lot of people participate, so take a look and get inspired by the amazing number of daily contributions!
Here’s a fun challenge, where you may letter or doodle whatever the prompt of the day suggests you. Sometimes, I like to add a cute drawing altogether with the lettering. And by the way, Holly doodles are stinkin cute! So make sure you check her profile too 🙂
These are usually theme challenges, that start on the same day every week. They are open just for a week, so leave a blank day on your schedule to make room for them!
Aida comes up with a four-color palette every Sunday, and paints a rainbow with them every Monday (she has more colors than I am able to recognize, what makes me a bit jealous :p). It’s ok if you don’t own so many colors, you can still participate using 2 or 3 colors in a piece. However, she’ll only feature in her stories those pieces where all 4 colors are used.
A varied challenge where you have to use a certain technique (blending, watercolor, galaxy, pointed pen…), certain elements (wreaths, ornaments…), theme (Halloween, summer, Christmas…) or colors. Their hashtag is always TLT_ plus the theme of the week. It also starts every Sunday, and they feature the most creative pieces on their feed.
Lauren hosts this challenge, which goal is to boost your creativity! A new challenge is sent every Friday, and all you have to do to get it is to subscribe to her newsletter. She always makes her own version of the assignment, and believe me, that’s reason enough to subscribe!
I could not end this post without telling you about this challenge, that @ibelina.pirulina and I started a few weeks ago. Every two weeks, we will sketch a quote and encourage you to finish it in your style, or show us a completely different version. We want all of you to participate, both beginners and pro letterers! We will share the most creative ones in our Insta Stories. Thank you to all who participates!
Yo may write the hashtag in upper or lower case. Some accounts write it with capitals to improve their legibility, but it is ok if you write it all in lower case. Be careful though, and always check how many contributions to the hashtag have already been made. Unless it’s a new challenge, there should be quite a lot. So if there aren’t… check the spelling!
Monthly challenges are usually posted on the last week of the previous month. I normally plan them in advance (you can include them in your bullet journal ;). You wouldn’t believe how many of my posts are made weeks in advance!
Feel free to combine different challenges in one piece. For instance, you can letter one challenge’s quote using the color palette of a different one.
If you want to tag the hosts in your post, remember to do it both on the picture and in the caption. Instagram limits the number of notifications that an account gets to 100, so if the account you are tagging is rather big, there’s a chance that your tag gets lost. However, if you tag the picture, it will always remain in the ‘tagged’ section of the account. But don’t over do it, and do it only if it is said in the challenge. If you start tagging people like crazy in unrelated posts, they may end up blocking you…
And most important, don’t be sad or feel down if your contributions are not featured or shared. Behind every Instagram account there is a person, and we are not perfect! Just keep practicing and engage with those accounts that are at your same level. One day, it will be you the one who inspires the rest!
Which ones are you favorite challenges? Did I miss an important one? Let us know in the comments below 🙂