With all of the bad news in the world and much strife to be found online, Hampstead-based creative Amy Latta hopes her Instagram page can be a small respite. Every day, she shares a funny or uplifting quote that she hand-letters in zippy fonts with small drawings.
“It always gets a really great response,” she said. “People like things that are relatable and things that make them laugh.”
Latta, an author, artist and blogger, recently released the third title in her popular series on her craft, “Hand Lettering for Laughter: Gorgeous Art With a Hilarious Twist.” It was officially released April 23 and is available through most major online booksellers.
The uplifiting and comical phrases — such as “I wish my bank account filled as quickly as my laundry basket” and “You have to hand it to short people. If you don't, we can't reach it.” — that fill the book are famous quotes, viral internet jokes and originals from Latta herself.
Skill-wise, this new title focuses on design and helping letterers to put together aesthetically pleasing compositions and combinations of fonts.
“It can stand alone, but it also builds on the skills that I taught in my first book,” Latta said. “I'm hoping that people walk away feeling confident that they can take any quote or phrase that means something to them, and that they can lay it out and design it in a way that they love.”
It makes her day when people share their own hand lettering projects with her on social media.
She recently met a nurse in an intensive care unit who hand letters encouraging phrases for her patients that they can hang up in the ward to make it feel more personal.
“I’m just blown away by that,” Latta said.
Though the book has quotes for all sorts of people, some of Latta’s personal favorites have to do with the struggle of being short and the love of coffee.
The only tussle with her editor came when Latta, a self-proclaimed introvert, found that all of her quotes about a less-social lifestyle were ending up on the cutting room floor.
She pushed back on her editor about how relatable they were to a lot of people.
“And so finally, she was like, ‘Yeah, I guess it's just that I'm an extrovert,’ ” Latta said.
Latta dedicated the book to her mom and dad, who she said are both represented in spirit in its pages. Her mother’s creativity took her all around Carroll County and Maryland to craft shows, and inspired Latta in her own creative pursuits even as a child. Her dad’s sense of humor can make anyone laugh, she said.
“That's what makes me want to give everybody something to smile about,” she said.
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Since the success of her two previous books — “Hand Lettering for Relaxation,” her first book, just passed the threshold of 60,000 copies sold — she has been called on for workshops all over Maryland, plus some larger out-of-state engagements.
In the fall, she will travel to Dallas to present at the Texas Pinners Conference & Expo, for craft users of the website Pinterest. In Missouri, she will present at a conference for owners of DIY pottery studios so they can start to incorporate hand lettering into their clients’ projects.
After appearing to promote her book and then returning for crafting segments, she has found, somewhat unexpectedly, that she likes doing TV.
“What's funny is like, it's not that bad, because it's just you and the anchor and the cameraman. … Workshops are more draining for me, because there's all people to interact with. And I love it. But I'm exhausted when I come home,” she said.
Overall, meeting people in person and sharing her craft is one of her favorite things.
“I just love getting to see people use the book and see that they can discover their own creativity as they try a new skill,” she said.
Fans of Latta’s hand lettering series should keep an eye out in October when her next book is already planned for release. Latta taught a workshop at Michael’s in Westminster last week and she may have other local events in the future. To follow her work and stay informed of upcoming workshops, visit www.amylattacreations.com.