Go Right Ahead

…After my Grandmother Alva passed away, I was given a box and in it was every card I ever sent to her – from the postcards of my travels to the handmade birthday cards. It seemed natural to name my card line after her… Hope you’ll join me at alvamaeevans.com to help me honor not only the women that I came from, but the women you know, women you want to encourage, empower and embrace, with a simple and lovely gesture, a handmade card.

My mother Donna, passed away from Covid. She and I both shared an artistic connection. She was a force in our family. She often said the phrase, “Go Right Ahead” – it was often meant it as a joke or even a threat. It bears more meaning now. I take it as a mantra now, to go, and to go right, and to go ahead. And I moved forward with this stationery line. It’s the drawn line between my mother and I and outwardly, to the world.

Sketched and Brush Illustrations and Brush and Pointed Pen Hand Lettering are done exclusively by myself. Cards are Digitally Printed and lovingly printed in Saugerties, New York by Kate Murray of Quick Brown Letterpress.

Finally, THANK YOU to everyone who helped me launch and sustain tuccicursive. It was an amazing gig to be a part of such an important day for so many strangers.

Who new that you could meet so many good people just by writing fancy.



I am happy to announce the debut of Alva Mae Evans in the reSisters line – a collaboration with Big Wheel Press!



A peek at the reSister/Sister line

Big Wheel Press was founded in 2008 by “two guys with two antique presses, a cabinet full of lead type and a drawer full of hand-carved linoleum blocks in the basement of a retail store”  Today, Big Wheel Press is located in a restored thread factory in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Their studio sits at the base of the waterfall that used to power the machinery of textile production. The water literally runs under the floors they walk on each day!  Their specialty is in collaborating with artists to create greeting cards using old school printing techniques and fine papers.

©2015 Natasha Moustache

William Muller 



I am happy to be in the 2017 collection of Artist Cards which features over 150 new designs.  The team is led by printer and designer William Muller in collaboration with artists Molly Hatch, Susa Talan, Emma McGowan and myself!  Big Wheel features the finest papers from around the United States and around the world in the production of their cards.

It was was William who suggested a “Sister” line.  Originally it was a simple idea to honor his own sisters, but we both quickly realized that the idea was of its time – it would honor generational sisters as well as the Modern ReSister/Sister movement happening in the country today.

I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to introduce my stationery line, Alva Mae Evans, in this very meaningful way.

The cards are available now on the BWP website and we’ll be at the National Stationery Show!



Sisters Before Misters-(my Aunts!) Illustrated, hand lettered & Letterpressed.  Available at BWP!

Paper Passion

My Designer Prints collaboration with Parse and Parcel–THE curatorial resource for beautiful paper and paper inspiration–is available in P&P’s current Winter Subscription.   A series of prints featuring some of my favorite designers, are printed on Mohawk paper and feature Curious Translucent Clear paper slip sheets. They are enclosed in Strathmore Pastelle Felt Cover.

Read more about it!


One of the prints, featuring Louise Fili, produced on 100# Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Cover in Ultrawhite

Introducing Alva Mae Evans

Introducing the Alva Mae Evans Online Shop!

Stationery and Pretty Pretties from tuccicursive.

Now Selling on Big Cartel


My Grandmother Alva, saved every card I ever made or sent her.  She would often buy or give me money to buy something impractical but necessary, she called them a ‘pretty pretty.”   So, I thought it fitting to name my stationery line after her.

My Great Grandmother Peggy, me and my Grandmother Alva

My Great Grandmother Peggy, me and my Grandmother Alva

Though this is not her full ‘real’ name, she often gave “Evans” as her own ‘nom de plume’ to un-welcomed strangers and suitors.  She did this, however, until my future Grandfather, John, introduced himself as “John Evans.”

And just like this unexpected romance despite deliberate plans, I hope you receive a little surprise of your own. And the best way to get those, is to send one yourself.alvamaerubberstamp2

My work is hand-lettered and designed in my studio in Brooklyn.  My inspiration comes from found photos.  Rescuing lost souls is my business, sending them is yours.

More cards and prints are coming, so follow @alvamaeevans on Instagram to find out about the latest products on sale.  My first product is a print, I call “Lady Jane.”

She’s a Limited Edition Fine Art Print on sale now!
A 5 x 7 Original Stipple Illustration inspired by a vintage found photograph.


A Giclée Print on 250 gm Handmade Paper made of 100% Cotton Rag using cotton textile remnants, with natural deckle made by Fabulous Fancy Pants.

Free shipping via USPS in a protective plastic sleeve and rigid mailer with hand-lettered addressing!

Thank you for all the support and encouragement!  Especially Melinda Morris from Lion in the Sun, Raegan Hirvela from Papél New York, Emily Johnson from Hartland Brooklyn, Sarah Schwartz of The Paper Chronicles and Jill DiNicolantonio from Parse and Parcel.



Sometimes you just have to sit still.

Handwriting Just Matters

I became aware of a recent NY Times article about how handwriting ‘just doesn’t matter’ thru Stephanie Fishwick’s Instagram post.  And when I read it, I immediately commented – it’s not something I do a lot, especially for an Opinion Article.   I think the author made some valid points, but I wanted to write my thoughts down on my blog and share them with a bit more detail…

Even while I type this, some of my income is made from putting pen to paper.   I am a modern calligrapher and a lettering artist.  If you want to fast forward into this world, just go to Instagram and use hashtags like #lettering and #calligraphy and a whole Universe will open on your phone.
And this Universe is not just an appreciation society, it’s an active world – the top classes on Skillshare and atly, et al are those of lettering and calligraphy.  My own in person introduction classes are filled and often sold out.  And I’m not even in the top-tier of my field!  If you ask lettering artists like Molly Jacques, Ian Barnard, Jessica Hische and Stephanie Fishwick, et al.,  I’m sure they’d say the same things, mainly because their work comes from their hands.  Now, as a new font designer, I am happy to say that the top-selling fonts are handwritten and this is not just a kind of vinyl desire nostalgia, there is a humanness in all those broken imperfect letters.
I also am a teacher in applied sciences, and I force my students to take notes, and those that do, succeed.  Why?  Because the mere act of writing, signals a group of cells in the reticular activating system of the brain.  When you write, the RAS system filters all the information the brain is processing, and gives more attention to what you are currently doing, which is writing.  In short, it signals the brain to play close attention to what you’re writing – it says “THIS is important.”  In test taking, many of what my students remember – is the visual memory of their own handwriting in the pages of their notebooks.
We all have a personal relationship with our handwriting, and whether we deem it bad or good, it’s ours – much more powerful than a ‘selfie’ because all of who you are is within those letters–your connection, your openness, your mystery and your desire to ascend to higher things.
Handwriting doesn’t only matter, it endures.


So for several months I’ve been up to my ascender in ligatures….What does that mean?

I’ve created the tuccicursive Font Foundry!

I’ve partnered up with Stuart Sandler of Font Diner and we have produced the first of the tuccicursive handwritten Font Foundry.  It’s called Prosciutto!


Prosciutto is a completely hand-drawn typeface, and just like the Italian cured ham itself, it is a buttery mix of salty and sweet forms.  Prosciutto combines some elements of my modern script and some of my primitive printing forms that together make a kind of modern-day folk movement.

This OpenType has many combinations available almost making a completely new style every time you combine the  different families.  There is also a set of extras with swashes that add a touch of organic spontaneous hand drawn flourishing.

The tuccicursive foundry is inspired by my expressive Italian-American Family.   I have always used art and letters to describe my world, and am so happy to bring that work into the digital realm.  Quite frankly, everyone in my family has beautiful, characteristic handwriting–you can always tell who is sending you a letter before opening the envelope.  There’s no “secret” in our Secret Santas.   My prized possessions have always been my families’ notes and letters.  For me, there is a definitive spiritual connection between a person and their handwriting.  It’s almost as moving as a photo of them, possibly, even more so.   Ultimately,  it feels very natural to design hand drawn typeface because I’ve honored it for so long.

Friends and colleagues have always complimented me on my handwriting and through the years I’ve been encouraged to ‘make a font’ out of my everyday handwriting.  In the past, I may have even attempted to make one a few times with ‘over the counter font programs,’ but the technology seemed one step beyond my understanding.  But that font idea had always remained in the back of my head.  Now, working with a real programmer, making a real live font makes that old idea–brand new.

As a letterer and calligrapher, I am so encouraged by the love of ‘slow art’ in this otherwise modern, technological world.  Folks seeking vinyl albums and handmade items makes me feel that the world is still appreciative of soul and value.  InstagramProsFlowersDespite this, I am happy creating work that is meant for the digital world–it brings me joy that folks want everything from posters to invitations to have the feel and look of a human artist, that there is an appreciation and need for things that aren’t so modern after all.

Partnering with Stuart has been such a blessing.  As a writer, I’ve always worked with directors and producers who bring out concepts in my writing I never knew where there.  It’s a bit like unexpected gift giving.  This relationship has the same feel, Stuart makes my letterforms seem new.   He gives me my work back and it has an unexpected, thoroughly gift-wrapped feel to it.   He is also so patient and generous with technical information and is always encouraging.    I am so lucky that I work with someone who is not only a  ‘sculptor’ in his own right, but someone who understands the fragility of every artist’s individual process.

Stuart owns Font Diner.  Ironically, when I was a graphic artist at a post production house many years ago, I bought fonts from him!  You never know who you are going to meet again in this world or spend time making swashes with.  Stuart Sandler launched the Font Diner font foundry in 1996.   Stuart also has a penchant for the past and honors craftsmanship.  He is inspired by American popular culture of the 1930s–1960s and is focused on the preservation and revival of photolettered cold type with his acquisition of the Edwin Krauter Filmotype and Lettering, Inc. typeface libraries.

His reputation precedes him, he has created more than 800 original typefaces.  So, when he tells me one of my lettering pieces is a FONT–I know he’s serious.

Stuart admires and understands the lure of handwritten fonts.  He says, “It’s been wonderful to see the transition in recent years from formal to informal handwriting styles growing in popularity and I believe in part this is due to a return to humanizing design in an increasingly digital world. It gives people comfort and creates a deeper and immediate connectedness with the viewer that only handwriting fonts can offer.”


So keep your eye on tuccicursive Foundry for more handwritten fonts. And thank you for all your encouragement!

Purchase Prosciutto HERE!

Let’s Eat!







Oui Oui

Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series

Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Liz Gutman, Jen King, Joan Baker, The Confectioners

Concluding the series of hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history, I am presenting a group of women that work together.  All of the women I interviewed and drew own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspired you to make a little history of your own!  I’m ending on a sweet note…

Liz Gutman, Jen King, Joan Baker

The Confectioners

Liddabit Sweets


Liz Gutman and Jen King  shared passion for sustainably produced, fresh, superior-quality ingredients and sweets, their talk of starting a business together became a reality in early 2009. After gaining a vendor slot at the famed Brooklyn Flea Market and garnering some early publicity, Liz and Jen are humbled and thrilled to be lucky enough to spend their time sharing their love of sweets with their unbelievably awesome customers.  Liz also spent 2 years writing for the James Beard Award-winning blog Serious Eats; and she and Jen co-authored The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook (Workman, 2012), a 2013 IACP Cookbook Award finalist. Liz and Jen were also co-honorees of ICC’s first-ever Outstanding Alumni Award for Entrepreneurship, and Liz was a Zagat “30 Under 30” honoree for NYC Food & Drink. Both Liz and Jen live in Brooklyn, NY. – See more at Liddabit Sweets.

I interviewed Co Founder, Liz Gutman….

What do you think your greatest mistake was or is? Underestimating myself. I still do it, even after 7 years of growing and building a business from nothing. I often hear, particularly from other women entrepreneurs and investors, that this is heartbreakingly common; and even though I’m cognizant of it, I still have to fight it every day. I hope to be able to inspire other women to march to the beat of their own drummer and take some risks!


What is the worst advice you ever received? This is a really tough question. Maybe I forget all the bad advice I get? …I do think that it’s dangerously simplifying to say things like “all you need is hard work and perseverance, and you’ll succeed.” That’s absolutely untrue. Yes, you need hard work and perseverance, but you need a slew of other things like family and spousal support, money, access to resources, time, planning tools, credit…you get the idea. Work hard and persevere; but know there are a million other factors at play.


What is the best advice you ever received? When I was stressed out not too long after we’d started Liddabit, I asked Rhonda Kave, my former employer and current mentor, if running a business ever got easier. She said: “No. But it becomes your new normal.” It’s certainly the most honest advice I’ve ever gotten!


What is your best source of inspiration? My dumb brain when I’m falling asleep. All my really good ideas come to me when I’m in that liminal wake/sleep mode…and then of course I have to grab my phone and type it all out or I’ll forget it, which wakes me up again.


What do you do when you get discouraged?  I take a deep breath and take a break. And ask for help. That’s incredibly difficult sometimes; we feel like we need to shoulder everything ourselves or we’re not ‘enough’. That’s a fallacy, and it’s crucial to be able to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. Otherwise it’s Burnout City, population You.


What do you do when you doubt yourself?  I look at my list of accomplishments. I keep a running list of stuff I’ve done over the past year to two years. It sounds cheesy, and it’s not always a magic bullet; but it really does help adjust your attitude when you see all the amazing things you’ve achieved written down in black and white. They don’t have to be earth-shaking, either; start small (“brought in my own lunch every day this week”) and work your way up (“cleared a billion dollars in profit yesterday”). 


Finish the sentence, “Being a woman and owning a business is…”An uphill battle. It’s hard enough building and running a business when you’re figuring everything out on the fly; but it can be difficult to get taken seriously in some environments. There’s a lot of pressure to be just right at everything; put together (but not trying too hard), smart (but not a showoff), assertive (but not mouthy or bossy), cool and calm (but not an ice queen). It’s more difficult to have any kind of personality when you’re a woman in business, I think; there’s a tendency to chalk up anything outside of formal businessy-business behavior to “ladies be all [hormonal/crazy/emotional/etc]” type of generalities. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. I think we all just need to keep forging ahead and making that change from the ground up.

Liz, Jen and Joan…

When one or two women are gathered.We work on changing the world.

Working together requires….Patience.

You neverPut each other down.

You always.Remain honest and open.

.You knew we were successful when…We know we ARE successful when we all come into work every single day ready to kick ass and take names 🙂

You can buy their sweets thru their shop and various locations in Brooklyn and New York.  They also work out of Sunset Park’s Industry City, where you can visit them at their Cafe/Store!

Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Rachel Winard, The Chemist

Continuing after Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Rachel Winard

The Chemist

Creator, Owner Soapwalla


One evening, after months of unsuccessfully searching for products that wouldn’t aggravate her sensitive skin issues caused by systemic lupus, a chronic autoimmune condition that almost always affects the skin, Rachel stopped searching and created Soapwalla.

What do you think your greatest mistake was or is?  None. I don’t believe in mistakes. I know that sounds like a platitude, but I really firmly believe that my failures are what push me to realize my successes. 

What is the best advice you ever received?  The best advice I ever received was to listen to my instincts. They’ve never steered me wrong.

What do you do when you get discouraged or when you doubt yourself?   I take a break from whatever I’m doing and move my body. That could be a walk in the park, putzing around my roofdeck, practicing yoga or taking a kickboxing class, or cleaning the apartment.  When I get out of my head and into my body, I usually find a way to solve whatever issue was bringing me down.

Complete the sentence, “Being a woman and owning a business is ” ...hard at times, especially since I’m trying to change the existing beauty paradigm.  But I have an amazing support system of friends and family, and they keep me going when I feel like I’m drowning…When

When did you know when you were successful? …I never feel like I’m successful! I keep my head down and focus on making the best, highest quality products available. I feel like the second I get complacent, it’s game over.

How did you ‘quit’ your day job?  I had to, because of my health. I have systemic lupus (SLE) and my high-stress law firm job was taking a serious toll on my health. I left so that I could take care of myself. A year and a half later, I started Soapwalla.

What do you often tell yourself or remind yourself of?    My favorite quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  (Mary Oliver)

Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Molly Hatch, The Artisan

Continuing after Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!


Molly Hatch

The Artisan


Molly Hatch Studio


Every time I pick up something lovely at Anthropologie, I can be assured without turning it over, it came from Molly Hatch.  Her work is clever and inspiring.

“Born the daughter of a painter and an organic dairy farmer, Molly was raised to be creatively industrious. Using her imagination and love of drawing to make everything from her well known idiosyncratic ceramics to quirky pen-and-ink drawings. Molly’s craft is finely honed, her designs whimsically literal and pop-culturally on-point.

Working from her home studio, Molly began making her living as a full-time studio potter in 2008. Her formal education in ceramics and drawing resulted in the development of her signature style. Making contemporary ceramics inspired by history, Molly’s career as a studio potter quickly garnered a loyal following. Molly’s designs have expanded beyond tableware to a wide range of lifestyle products and Molly is actively growing collections of home goods to bring her modern yet traditional designs to the contemporary home.”

What do you believe is or was your greatest mistake?  Second guessing my instincts. I find that the more I go with my gut, the better off I am in general.

What is the worst advice you ever received?  “Don’t be a studio potter, you will not earn enough money and you will be barefoot and pregnant.”

And the best advice?  Allow yourself to be obsessed with things no matter how silly or embarrassing they are, they are what make you —you and that is what will set you apart from the rest.

What is your best source for inspiration?  History!

What do you do when you get discouraged?  Get grumpy and go for a walk.

What do you do when you doubt yourself?  Try to step back

Finish the sentence, ‘Being a woman and owning a business is…’ Amazing and powerful

Why dishes and ceramics?  Everyone knows how to relate to a cup or a bowl, no matter what is on them!

When did you know you were successful?  I felt confident that no one could take my work away from me.




Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Molly Jacques, The Letter Whisperer

Continuing after Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Molly Jacques
The Letter Whisperer



Molly Jacques was one of the first modern calligraphy classes I took.  I really feel it was Molly that kind of set my work ‘free.’    I have followed her advice and worked hard on my own illustrative ‘voice’.  So it was a thrill to have her participate in this series, and an honor to draw her and letter her words!


Molly’s Bio

Born and raised in a small midwestern town, I grew up alongside parents that fully encouraged my love of art and all things creative. From a young age, my passion for drawing was easily seen pinned up throughout my bedroom and the family refrigerator door. At the age of 18, I packed up all of my belongings to go study illustration at College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. In 2010, I earned my bachelors degree of fine art with a concentration in illustration.

Soon after graduation, I started working part-time for the high end stationery company Sugar Paper. Throughout my time there, I soaked up lots of inspiration and found my true passion: calligraphy and lettering. In 2011, I took the plunge into a full time freelance career and since then, have built my business from the ground up. My work is strongly grounded in word aesthetics, ranging from lettering and calligraphy to typeface design and traditional illustration. As an independent illustrator, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients like The New York Times, Nike, The Wall Street Journal, Google, Disney, Martha Stewart, and Tiffany & Co.


What do you think your greatest mistake was or is? Trying to do everything on my own. While it’s absolutely possible (we’re capable of amazing things), I’ve learned over the years that delegating certain tasks I’m not so great at is such a life saver. I started working with my art rep Joanie in 2012 and it really changed my perspective on freelance illustration. She’s helped me in ways I never would have known to help myself.

What is the worst advice you ever received?  I guess this wouldn’t be direct advice, but I feel like generally it seems like our industry promotes the idea that working all the time will make one successful. I think this is terrible advice. Working hard, diligently, and responsibly will for sure get you far but working ALL the time will just make you stressed out and possibly less productive. I try to set solid office hours and expand past those hours only when it’s necessary, like for a rush job. I try my best to use those office hours wisely and get done what needs to be done. I use my free time to refuel and simply enjoy life.

What is the best advice you ever received?  Don’t dismiss your dreams or assume you can’t do something because of money. My Dad taught me that. Obviously sometimes dreams don’t turn out as planned but they are worth pursuing even if it takes a lot of work or networking. Sometimes ideas fall flat, but it’s better to try than not at all.

What is your best source for inspiration?  My family and nature. My husband and I are into climbing and mountaineering (when we can travel outside of Michigan…). It’s been a big inspiration for me, and a great reflection of how I should approach challenging things in my life.

What do you do when you get discouraged?  Get active. Sweating things out can really help with a lot of emotional distress and aid me in seeing things more clearly.

What do you do when you doubt yourself?  Share my doubts and fears with my husband. He’s such a great companion and motivator. He doesn’t lie to me just to make me feel better but he always points out when I lie to myself.

Why LETTERS?  As I was building my senior portfolio at CCS for Illustration, I focused a lot on gig poster art. Poster art deeply embraces hand drawn text, so letters were kinda a natural transition for me. When I graduated in 2010, I was often hired to illustrate letters and things just sorta fell into place from there.

When did you know you were ‘successful?’ Ha, this is an ongoing question right? My view of success is always changing so this one is hard to answer. But, in general, I was very pleased with myself when I was able to quit my 9-5 job and work as a full time independent illustrator. At this point, I definitely was only making enough money just to scrape by but it didn’t matter – I got to practice what I loved every day.



Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Grace Bonney, The Hunter

Continuing after Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Grace Bonney
The Hunter

Grace Bonney is the founder of Design*Sponge, a daily website dedicated to the creative community. Design*Sponge was founded in 2004 and currently reaches over 1.5 million readers per day. She is passionate about supporting all members of the creative community; she runs an annual scholarship for up-and-coming designers, writes a free business column for creatives, and is the host of a weekly radio show, After the Jump, which reaches over 500,000 listeners per episode. Her first book, Design*Sponge at Home, is a national bestseller. After 12 years in Brooklyn, Bonney now lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her wife and their three pets.

What do you think is your greatest mistake? Any time I avoid something, rather than face it head-on. I’m working on running toward fear (and even conflict), rather than away from it. I don’t always do it well, but I’m trying. 

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received? Any advice based on someone else’s life and not mine. I had a number of fellow bloggers tell me in the early days that I should sell my site, try to raise VC money and hire “someone else” to run things. I have never once regretted not doing any of these things. I’m proud that I’ve been able to slowly and organically grow Design*Sponge over the past 11 years in a way that is honest and meaningful to me.

And the best advice? Trust your gut. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. My gut isn’t perfect, but it’s always steering me in the right direction in the larger sense.  Any time I listen to fear, worry or pride, I lead myself in the wrong direction.

What’s your best source of inspiration? Travel. Even travel around my new home area of the Hudson Valley provides entirely new sources of ideas and inspiration. It’s easy to fall into an internet hole and share the same images and sources over and over–so I try to get outside and see things in person as much as possible.  

What do you do if/when you get discouraged? I work out. Until I was recently diagnosed with Diabetes, I loathed working out. Now I understand and appreciate what it can do for both my mind and my body. I run out any bad feelings and at the end of a good session, I feel like I’ve left it all on the floor (of the treadmill).

What do you do if/when you doubt yourself? I talk to my wife, Julia. She’s always honest with me and I trust her instinct so much. 

Finish the statement, ‘Being a woman and owning a business is…”Absolutely wonderful. We aren’t often encouraged to run, grow and lead projects and I hope to provide one small example of how it can be done. I didn’t know many women running their own businesses growing up, but I hope that the next generation will have so many examples they can’t help but give their hopes and dreams a shot.  

And what advice might you give for someone who wants to start her own business?Find a tangible problem or gap in your community and focus on providing a solution (or alternative). I’ve found that nothing ensures your long-term commitment to a project like being able to provide help where it is needed. That sort of meaningful connection to something will keep you inspired for years to come and will keep your audience coming back for more. Just remember to keep checking in to make sure you adjust your goal and focus as you go along. 


Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Geraldine Abergas, The Warrior

Continuing after Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Geraldine Abergas
The Warrior
Geraldine is a NYS licensed massage therapist and graduate from the Swedish Institute.  Her decade of experiences encompass working in multiple disciplines of the industry and has honed in on her cumulative expertise as a wellness guide, educator and mentor. Her thriving business in NYC is currently expanding to extend wellness outside of her treatment space empowering her clients and being a conduit for their healing, to further eradicate pain, and develop greater self-awareness, living more optimal lives by giving them tools to manage their own needs.Her work has an energetic presence as her intention is to create an efficiency in the way your mind, body and spirit expresses itself through touch, sound and movement.  With her unique approach, she is currently writing her first book Caught In Between Time which is an interlacing of memoirs, accumulated stories and session/treatment findings exhibiting pure alchemy as she and her clients have transformed pain for over 10 years. Geraldine believes that true transformation can only happen when energy or light is altered.



What do you think was your greatest mistake? I consider there to be no mistakes, only lessons. A cliché but SO true. You certainly don’t realize something is a mistake until after you’ve made it. And at that point in time, it has already (hopefully) developed into a lesson.



What’s the worst advice you ever received? Saying yes to new opportunities.   You become concerned about building a sustainable business and because of this, when approached with potential collaborations or ideas, you are inclined to say yes. But if you do so out of fear or worry, then it is based on an invalid truth or limiting belief. Saying YES to any opportunity must also mean saying YES to YOU.


And the best advice?Follow what excites you. I was feeling really overwhelmed with the rapid growth of my business and had so much difficulty in being present in every moment. This practice of being present is what fuels me and my business so when it was lacking, I literally started freaking out. At the same time, I felt responsible in managing my business with the highest integrity which started to then affect my health and my relationships. In reaching out to my eldest brother, he simply said ‘Follow what excites you.’ And with a deep understanding, I got it. Now I use excitement as my navigation system. Excitement to me leads you to higher consciousness and expansion.
Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration in everything. The sky, a puppy, architecture, books, nature, play, food, colors, texture – whatever. I could find inspiration in anything. It’s a cultivated act that I am fortunate to be able to tap into so easily.  I think that exposing yourself to many different things allows you to explore your curiosity. And from here you can develop your inspiration. So walk around a bookstore, go to a museum, see a show you’d never typically go to or even get lost in a new and different neighborhood.  The world is as vast as we allow our experiences to be.


What do you do when you get discouraged?Take long walks, meditate, commune with nature, get creative – paint, draw, write. And a new one for me is knowing when to reach out to others. I’ve always been a loner in many situations but I’ve realized many people support and love me and reaching out for encouragement helps me remember this and also helps me stay engaged with others. This is so valuable for personal growth and development.



What do you do if you begin doubting yourself? Analyze that doubt. There’s a valuable lesson there. Doubt is a self-inflicted emotion isn’t it? When you’re doubting yourself, you really need to find a way to dig deep and bring that innate confidence to the surface and rid yourself of the false belief that made you doubt yourself in the first place. And if the same doubt keeps coming up for you, then that could simply mean the lesson has yet been learned. Appreciate that doubt. It is allowing for greater self-knowledge and wisdom. (But before you can do this, know that first, doubting yourself is OK.)


Complete the sentence, ‘Being a woman and owning a business is…” So much about balance. Women are natural givers and nurturers. We have a tendency to overextend ourselves, placing everything else ahead of our own needs.  Finding that balance and also maintaining a practice of self-care is paramount to owning a business. As in everything in life, in all comes back to Self Care. Another thing I’d like to add about being a woman and owning a business is also about perception. Depending on how you were raised or what your personal story is around the role of a woman in the family or relationships can influence your beliefs. Some cultures or personal stories may not place such value to a woman business owner and this is understandable. But know that this is just a story we have been told and this story is changing. As women, we have an innate ability to adapt, be fluid and empathetic. We are much less linear in our approach and have an ability to see the bigger picture. These are all valuable assets to owning your own business and could be the reason we are seeing more successful women business owners and leaders once we are able to step into our power.



Can you share some thoughts about owning a business that helps people and serves in healing. There’s a different level of self-awareness that involves owning a business that is involved in service rather than products, especially if you are the sole proprietor and the provider of these services. One must maintain a healthy perspective on the balance between serving others and service to self. It is easy to get lost in the service of others and one can even be misguided as to the true driving force behind wanting to serve. I know for me personally, I became consumed with serving others which in turn tipped the scale and deflected me from my priorities and what was important to me, I even began to neglect myself. I found myself at the extreme and developed an illness in complete contradiction to my wellness profession. This experience has become one of my greatest life lessons which I am still going through. My road to recovery finds me on the same path as my clients and has allowed me to better serve others as I learn to better serve myself.

Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Jainé M. Kershner, The View Finder

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Jainé M. Kershner,
The View Finder
Owner, Photographer brklyn view photography
Jainé M. Kershner is a Fine Art Wedding Photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. Specializing in film photography, she has a natural, romantic and timeless approach to weddings. Brklyn View Photography has been featured in several wedding publications including Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty, Brooklyn Bride, The Knot, Ruffled, WellWed, and Brides.  Jainé’s photography can also seen in the bestseller, “Weddings in Color.”  In June, she and husband Newt, welcomed their baby girl, Natalie “Tilly” Hunter into the world.


How has Motherhood affected the way you run your business? Being a mom makes you reprioritize your priorities and focus what is important to you. I decided to photograph a limited number of weddings to focus on my couples while being able to spend quality time with my daughter. I didn’t want to miss too much of her 1st year because there are so many firsts I’ll never get back.

Has it taught you anything?It taught me the power of true unconditional love. I love my daughter more than I could have ever imagined.

What do you think your greatest mistake was?  My greatest mistake was spending money on actions, presets and “things” i just didn’t need to find my style.

What was the worst advice you ever received?  To raise my prices so drastically that i priced myself out of my market.

And the best advice?   To collaborate with vendors I wanted to work with and admired.  I’ve made so many wonderful friends in the wedding industry and it’s all because I took a chance, believed in myself and simply said – ‘hello!’

What inspires you?   Beautiful typography, soft pretty light, old Hollywood glamour, Hitchcock movies, music lyrics, gorgeous photography and of course, being in love.

What do you do when you get discouraged?  I’ll reach out to my peers for a lending ear to ask for advice and another perspective.

Or when you doubt yourself?  When I doubt myself, I will take a break and think about what’s really bothering me– why am I being so hard on myself and figure out how I can make it better.

Finish the sentence,  being a women and owning a business is… wonderful, hard, scary, demanding, exciting, rewarding and above all else, worth every struggle to get where I am today. 

What do you want your daughter to know? I want my daughter to know that she can be anything she wants to be as long as she is willing to put in the work to get there. 


Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Lisa Congdon, The Illuminator

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Lisa Congdon,
The Illuminator
Lisa Congdon, Artist, Illustrator & Author
Fine artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon is best known for her colorful  abstract paintings, intricate line drawings, pattern design & hand lettering. She works for clients around the world including the MoMA, Harvard University, Martha Stewart Living, Chronicle Books, The Land of Nod, Simon & Schuster, and Cloud9 Fabrics, among many others. She exhibits her work around the country, including in shows at the Contemporary Jewish Museum and Bedford Gallery.  A selection of her abstract works are currently available through New York’s Uprise Gallery. Lisa writes a popular daily blog about her work, life and inspiration called Today is Going to be Awesome. She is the author of five books, including the starving-artist-myth-smashing Art Inc: The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist, and illustrated books The Joy of Swimming, Fortune Favors the Brave, Whatever You Are, Be a Good One, Twenty Ways to Draw a Tulip and A Collection a Day. She was named one of 40 Women Over 40 to Watch in 2015. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.


What is your greatest mistake? My greatest mistake was assuming someday I’d arrive at perfection if I just worked hard enough.

What is the best advice you ever received? The best advice I ever received was from my mom as a kid: stay focused on your own path.

What is the best source of inspiration? Travel and adventure.

What do you do when you get discouraged?  I remember that struggle is actually my friend.

What do you do when you doubt yourself? I eat lots of chocolate.



Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Tina Libby, The Botanist

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Tina Libby,
The Botanist

 Tina Libby is the creator and owner of Dear Paperie of Philadelphia.   Tina says as long as she can remember, she has loved two things dearly: color and texture. She says, they are “forever my inspiration, and I chase them still, using paper and flowers.”  Hand dyed and custom made, her paper flowers last forever!



Why paper flowers?  I have always been an incredibly tactile person, in love with texture and color. Flowers are the perfect combination of the two, plus they add a structural element that excites me as an artist. The truth is that I have no sense of smell, so I started making paper flowers that were photorealistic, really focusing on the color and texture of each petal. Paper flowers and plants are ideal for the artists I collaborate with, like ceramicists, who use my work to stage or display theirs–because they require no maintenance, will last forever, and can be customized completely.



What is your advice for anyone wanting to start their own business? Dig your heels into the dirt–not everyone will support what you’re doing. They don’t matter. Stay working and allow your biz to have a life of its own–give yourself and your work the opportunity to grow. And ALWAYS chase your opportunities. 


What do you think your greatest mistake was or is? My greatest mistake was/is denying my gut instinct–it makes me dishonest with myself. It starts with the little things!


What’s the worst advice you ever received? “You need to get a ‘real’ job.”


And the best?  The best advice I ever received “never let them see you sweat.” and through her infamous mtv moment, Fiona Apple really rocked my teenage brains: she introduced me to Maya Angelou and her advice, “we, as human beings, at our best, can only create opportunities.” to which Fiona added, “go with yourself.” I have tried to honor both pieces of advice ever since.


What do you believe is your best source of inspiration? The best source of inspiration for me is collaboration with other creatives, botanical art books, and fresh florists like Kate Farley, Kelly Perry, Brittany Asch, and Madison Hartley.


What do you do when you get discouraged? I try to remember that the feeling always passes.


And when you doubt yourself?  I try to recognize it as self-sabotage, but it’s a constant struggle. we are our own worst critics.


Finish the sentence, being a woman and owning a business is … is doing everything a businessman does, but in a dress and with more grit, by order of magnitude.

Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Caroline Weaver, The Pencil Pusher

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Caroline Weaver,
The Pencil Pusher
Caroline Weaver is the owner of the one year old wildly successful CW Pencil Enterprise, a Manhattan shop dedicated to celebrating the histories and utilities of wood-cased pencils.  Caroline considers herself a life-long aficionado of pencils and analog tools, she spends her days at her Lower East Side shop telling stories an recommending pencils for everyone and every purpose.  I personally first met Caroline when I sought out her store for my favorite sometimes hard to find  Blackwing pencils!

Read more about her and her shop in this New York Times article and listen to Caroline on this Freakonomics Radio Podcast.

What was the worst advice you ever received?  It was to never open a pencil shop.


And the best advice?  To take risks while you’re young. 


What is your best source of inspiration?    New York City.  


What do you do when you get discouraged?  I take a deep breath, drink a cup of tea and get out a pencil and paper to make a plan.


When do you doubt yourself?   When I’m treated differently because I’m a young woman running a shop devoted to such an old-fashioned object.  


Why PENCILS? They’re wonderful and tactile and full of history.


Complete the sentence, You NEVER…  skip breakfast.


And you ALWAYSread at least an hour a day to maintain my sanity.


When did you know you were successful?  When I started getting letters from strangers in the mail. 


And do you have advice for anyone wanting to open up their own ‘proverbial pencil shop?’ Don’t think about what other people are doing–create a space that you’d feel compelled to spend hours in and other people will want to do just that. Passion is infectious and story-telling is a powerful tool for charming visitors. Don’t underestimate the value of above-and-beyond customer service, that’s the best thing you can do. It’s tremendously hard work to run a shop but it’s worth every all-nighter to hear that the end result is loved and appreciated. And hire a bookkeeper–it’s worth every penny to not have to slave over bank statements on top of all your other duties. 

Check out CW’s Pencil of the Month Club!

Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Jenn Zeller, The Rebel

To kick off Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Jenn Zeller
The Rebel


Jenn is an aspiring horseman, cowgirl, barrel racer, rancher, and an internationally published photographer.  She calls herself a social media junkie, and Instagram Fiend. She has been featured by Instagram in their #MyStory Exhibit, as well as in the Huffington Post, In O Magazine, and in several local publications as well as books.

Jenn says the only time you’ll see her without a phone or camera in my hand is when she needs them both!   And sometimes she does –  like when she’s playing the piano or guitar, riding (sometimes) driving the tractor (sometimes) and unwrapping bales (always!)

As Jenn says, “Instagram is an outlet for me to share my charmed life with the world and maybe start a conversation about where your food comes from. And of course give you plenty of photographic evidence for why you should come visit.”

Read more about her and how she quit her job as an Assistant Investment Advisor to follow her true passion at The South Dakota Girl.  

What was your greatest mistake?  Not believing my ability to do whatever I want.

What was the worst advice you ever received?  It doesn’t matter if the man you’re dating has the same interests as you — if he loves you he’ll decide to support your interests regardless. I’m not entirely sure this is true — at least it wasn’t in my case.

And the best advice?   If we wake up breathing and alive, we should make the best of each day. Too many good days can be wasted complaining, worrying or being upset.

What is your best source of inspiration?    A sunny day the wide open prairies of South Dakota where I live.

What do you do when you get discouraged?  When I get discouraged, I saddle a horse and go for a ride.

And if/when you doubt yourself?   I don’t doubt myself often anymore. But when I do, I go to my awesome girl friends and get a little pep talk.

Finish the statement:  Being a woman and owning a business is: ...time consuming. Not only do I own a photography business, I am a freelance writer, help to run the family ranch, and ride some colts for the public.

“Horses and life, they’re all the same to me” ~ Buck Brannaman – this has become my mantra. 


Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Melissa Esplin, The Ascender

To kick off Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Melissa Esplin
The Ascender
Melissa does all sorts of creative things like sewing, cooking, painting and crafting. She freaking loves letters and teaches calligraphy online at calligraphy.org. When she’s not glued to a screen or writing fancy-pants calligraphy, she’s partying with her 3 kids and her awesome husband. 
What was your greatest mistake? I’m sure my biggest one is yet to come, but I think one of my biggest general mistakes was not trusting my expertise. It’s easy to feel inadequate, but what I bring to the table is different than what some one else brings to the table. And that’s enough.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?  Do the hard things first (from my husband.)
What’s the best source of inspiration for you?  While it’s important to try to learn all you can about one particular subject, learning across a few disciplines can take your work to a completely new level. Instagram can be great for that. Books are always a good idea. 
What do you do when you get discouraged?  I disconnect. It’s easy (for me) to feel overwhelmed on social media. I find when I disconnect from the online world and stay present in the real world, my world re-balances.
What do you do when you doubt yourself?   I try to learn more. I try to work harder. I talk to my husband. He’s my best friend and he’s always there to listen and help me feel better. I’m grateful to have him by my side.
Finish the sentence, “Being a woman and owning a business is: not easy. Balancing kids, my own personal expectations and running a business can get overwhelming. I’ve had to learn to let things go. I’ve learned to become a fighter and defend my time and personal life. But never has there been a better time than now to own a creative business.

Custom Table Cards? Fugetaboutit!

My clients wanted to make their Wedding more personal and original.  They wanted to name their tables after Brooklyn neighborhoods and commissioned me to make table cards with those names.  I took it a step further and added illustrations of some iconic landmarks of those hoods!



Frankie’s in Carroll Gardens was the couple’s first date!



The famous mural ‘Lost Time’ -the “Mona Lisa” of Williamsburg, Dumbo’s Washington’s Street view of the Manhattan Bridge and The Stella Maris Bait Shop of Sheepshead Bay made the cut…


Add a touch of whimsy and meaning to your wedding by including places that mean something to you!


Gather Ye Rosebuds – It’s Wreath Time!

For Calligraphers, Designers and Illustrators, this is the time that we are all ‘gathering rosebuds’ – creating wreaths, laurels and monogram motifs for our clients.



Wreaths and bouquets are largely symbolic.  According to Bride and Groom, both the Bride and the Groom wore wreaths and garlands – this was considered a symbol of happiness.  Many cultures filled these bouquets with what they defined as magical.  “Ancient uses included herbs, not flowers, in bouquets because they felt herbs — especially garlic — had the power to cast off evil spirits (can you imagine walking up the aisle holding a clump of garlic!?).


If a bride carried sage (the herb of wisdom) she became wise; if she carried dill (the herb of lust) she became lusty. Flower girls carried sheaves of wheat, a symbol of growth, fertility, and renewal. Later, flowers replaced herbs and took on meanings all their own. Orange blossoms, for example, mean happiness and fertility. Ivy means fidelity; lilies mean purity.”


The Circle itself is a symbol of unity and infinity.  Read more about its symbolism as well as the Symbol of different types of wreaths, here.


You won’t just want them on your invite!  Here are some of The Knot’s and Martha Stewart’s unique wreath ideas.


Aside from these illustrated wreaths for couples’ invitations, here’s some inspiration for wearing them from Wedding Illustrated.


So, what’s your wreath look like?


Season’s Greetings

Typing is not writing.

I literally make part of my living writing strangers’ names and addresses, but it is a decidedly different ‘gig’ when you write the names and addresses of those you love & miss. It brings that person right in the room. There is an instant connection between the letters of their name and their face, their touch, a moment you shared… Writing and memory has something to do with the reticular activating system of the temporal lobe of our brains, making our brains sit up and pay attention. Writing, says to the brain, ‘this is important.’ Digital likes and thumbs up are nice, but this type of connection is tenuous and after a while leaves you empty. Take some time to write to someone, even in what you might deem as your crazy handwriting. You won’t regret it. 

Tools and materials:  Jam Paper A7 ‘Paper Bag Envelopes’, Handmade liner on Xerox paper – my calligraphy of the words ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ I used Peter Loves Jane’s A7 Liner Template.   Moon Palace Sumi Ink  and Hunt 22 Nib & Tachikawa G Nib .  USPS Vintage Rose Forever Stamps. Illustration with Pigma Micron Pens, reference from found photo, although I have a lot of sources for photos, this year, I found some great photos at Robert Skingle Antiques.  Quote by Dostoevsky from The Brothers Karamazov.  I used Shulman Papers for the A7 Card printing.  And Martha Stewart’s Scoring Board.

Some thoughts on writing.

“Please never stop writing me letters—they always manage to make me feel like my higher self.” – Elizabeth Bishop





Words to Love By

For the month of December, I am illustrating and lettering Snippet and Ink’s Words to Love By Series!

Snippet and Ink is an online resource with curated content for meaningful Wedding inspiration.

Words to Love By No. 60

Love doesn’t sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all of the time, made new. – Ursula K. LeGuin


Minty Fresh

My entry in the Minted Wedding Invitation Design Challenge, “Winter Wedding Wonderland.”

Voting begins after November 17th. Artists, friends, and fans will vote to help determine the top winners. Minted’s team will also select their own additional Editors’ Pick winners.

I illustrated this scene with a Pigma Micron pen from a found vintage photo and used Three Islands Press’s American Scribe Font for Minted customers’ customization.



FaLLing In Love

Recently, a friend and I traveled up into the Hudson Valley.  These leaves were collected in the towns of High Falls and Rosendale.   I wrote on them with Chalk Ink Markers.

It’s hard not to fall in love with all the little towns of the Hudson Valley.  I loved our lunch at the High Falls Food Co Op and our coffee at Kingston’s The Outdated Cafe, which also serves as a unique antique shop.  Our journey ended in Rhinebeck, where we had an incredible dinner at Market Street.  Can’t wait to explore some more!IMG_0152

Fairy Tale Wedding

Totes Magotes!

Win my “Let’s Strand Together” Tote!
1. Follow @tuccicursive on Instagram
2. Repost/Regram this photo with hashtag #tuccicursivetote
Illustrated, hand lettered & silkscreened (by RayGun Printing) exclusively for The Strand Bookstore to promote their recent “Color My Tote” Contest.
Design is printed on opposite side of Strand Logo on official Studio Strand cotton tote.
Winner will be chose at Random.
Ends on Friday, August 28th at 12PM EST & Winner will be announced on Saturday, August 29th.
This giveaway is not affiliated or sponsored by @instagram or @strandbookstore but we like ’em just the same

Hanging Around

My work is hanging around town this month…

First, in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, at Papel, New York, my contribution to Boundless Brooklyn Billboard Kit – to inspire your DIY Spirit or as David and Terence, the Boundless Brooklyn Kit Makers like to call it your “Boundless” spirit!  All the kits from Brooklyn Water and Beach Towers to Billboards and signs are made in NYC from recycled material and come complete with everything you need.  Check out their photo Gallery.


Outside of Papel, is my  contribution to their chalkboard…A modern paperie, Papel prides themselves on catering to the urban chic family in search of what is not easily found.  They have an  intimate selection of eco-friendly social stationery, greeting cards, and customizable invitations, & announcements.


In Park Slope, I followed the open call for Ground Floor’s Gallery “You’ve Got Mail” Summer Mail Art Show.  All the 5 x 7 mailable pieces are available for purchase.  Proceeds go to local artists and also benefit Arts Gowanus.



Finally, in Manhattan – though my book may not be in the stacks, my bag is in the window of The Strand Bookstore!  A few artists were invited to design a bag to help inspire folks to design and color their own Strand Tote!  You can participate by stopping by the Strand or visiting their website.  My illustration was silk screened by Williamsburg’s own Raygun Printing!



Celebrate FREEdom!

Tuccicursive and The Sunday Sketch Series

I’m interviewed and my work is featured on the Paper and Ink Arts Blog!

With shout outs to my heroes Molly Jacques, Molly Sue Thorpe, Kathy Millici, Mary Zepeda, Joi of Bein Fait Calligraphy and Janis Anzalone

Paper and Ink Arts Blog


Instagram allows a wide variety of lettering artists to showcase their work, and we often enjoy perusing the images. Liz Bartucci’s Sunday Sketch Series that combines photo recreations with modern calligraphy caught our eye due to its originality. We enjoy seeing what she produces and thought our blog readers would as well, so we approached Liz about being featured. She graciously agreed and took time to share with us how she became interested in calligraphy, what products she can’t live without, and how the idea for the Sunday Sketch Series was born.

How did you get started in calligraphy?

templeinstaWhen I was in high school a friend of mine told me I was going to make money with my handwriting.  And she was right.  I always had nice penmanship; I went to Catholic School where penmanship was taught and graded.  I also emulated and copied my mom’s handwriting,but when I began to…

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Easy, Like Sunday Morning

My friends Jenn and Tim own and run Sunday Morning Films, where they produce wedding films – (making your wedding a ‘little more reel.’) The results often look and sound like unique mini romantic docs. They are now producing short films for small businesses – (another kind of romance – between doing what you love and commerce.) Check them out at  sundaymorningfilms.com

Pigma Micron / Pen & Ink from photo by Brian Hatton Photography, LLC

smf art large

Pencil It In!

Happy Easter!

Listen While You Work! Recommended Podcasts & Music for Creatives


©tuccicursive 2015 Pigma Micron/Pen&Ink from Life Magazine photo

One of the perks of being a paid artist, who works at their ‘desk,’ is the ability to listen to whatever you want. I’ve had a penchant for actually listening to movies and television shows – as a writer it has really helped me understand the craft of storytelling – but I really do enjoy the unique podcasts and music programs listed below for keeping me in creative company.

It’s been said that listening to music helps promote your creativity. In fact, according to a Fast Company article, ‘moderate noise level is the sweet spot for creativity’ it promotes ‘abstract processing’ which leads to higher creativity.

Dr. Amit Sood, an Integrative medicine physician with the Mayo Clinic also noted the power of music. In a New York Times Article, Dr. Sood says that people’s minds tend to wander and that a wandering mind is an ‘unhappy’ – focusing on the imperfections of life. (And perhaps the imperfections of one’s work) It is music that can bring us back to the present moment.

I’ve always said that folks who work in cafes’ are not only there for the company of others around them, but for the ambient sound. The café working experience is both a communal and private one that helps people concentrate.  If you can’t get to the cafe, there are actually a few services that can give you at least the ambient sound like Coffivity and SoundDrown. The coffee you’ll have to serve yourself.

For music I recommend LA’s KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. It was part of my morning ritual when I lived in Los Angeles, and it is still part of my morning ritual back on the East Coast, though occasionally the SIG alerts give me anxiety.  KCRW DJ’s, according to its site, are given one directive –  “play what you love,” and it’s evident. The DJ’s curate the latest and newest music I would never find anywhere else. I also love Anne Litt’s program.

World Cafe hosted by David Dye is also an eclectic mix of music, small concerts and interviews that actually discuss the process of making music.

If I’m not listening to music, I am listening to one of the many podcasts below – Discussions, storytelling and amazing narratives.   Michael Gazzaniga, a cognitive neuroscientist says in this Big Think article, ‘narrative coherence helps us to navigate the world.’

Here’s a list of what helps me navigate my creative world:

RadioLab – For question lovers. An unexpected mix of science and philosophy edited so brilliantly, it can (according to my friend) quiet any kid filled car.

Invisibilia – A deeper cut of RadioLab, asking the questions about things we cannot see. Always so thought provoking and moving. Highly recommended.

The Memory Palace – is moving from their host “Maximum Fun” but listen to its older episodes and keep your eye on this amazing podcast. The episodes are steeped in history and memory and yet are impossibly short.

You Must Remember This – Karina Longworth does her homework, giving you the secrets of Old Hollywood with in depth storytelling and memoir like episodes.

Moth Radio Hour – Edgy, imperfect stories from your neighbors, celebrities and perhaps one day even from you.

Pitch – Small and (pitch) perfect episodes on ideas & music and sound.

Neighbors – A smaller maybe low-budget version of This American Life, where stories are told in  by Jakob Lewis’s neighbors, making you wonder about your own neighbors’ stories.

ScriptNotes– “Car Talk” for ScriptWriters. But I often recommend it to all creative folks, because the craft discussion reaches all type of storytelling.

Here’s The Thing – Alec Baldwin’s interview podcast. The discussion is often specific and not about promotion, but more about craft and technique. His interviews with Elaine Stritch and Josh Fox (Gasland) were riveting.

WTF – with Marc Maron. This is not for everyone, Maron’s neuroses were difficult to listen to in the beginning, but he gets the most interesting and sometimes intimate conversations because of his own vulnerability. I have grown to love him.   And aside from all this, it’s funny.

Studio360 Hosted by Kurt Anderson, this is a great ‘on air’ magazine featuring artists, musicians and inventors.  They also have an American Icon series that profiles culture legends and a ReDesign series that  challenges listeners to redesign, rework or invent classic or new pieces.

The Bowery Boys – These guys eat, breathe, drink and sleep NY.  Highly detailed narratives about the City that doesn’t sleep.

StarTalk – Hosted by Neil de Grasse Tyson.  Will make you as start struck with the Universe as Tyson is.

Finally, my friend Casey’ Wolfe’s Earbud Theater.  Full disclosure – my short “Carl” produced by Earbud won an Audio Verse Award. What I love about Wolfe’s endeavor is that it harkens back to the radio days where it was possible to tell a captivating, scary, mysterious story and hold an audience with no visual narrative. I’m hoping more folks tune into his vintage and yet unique podcast.

What’s your favorite thing to listen to while you’re working?


NY Weddings

Happy New Year! Let’s Dance!

Merry Christmas!

It’s Coming On Christmas…

“…We needed a sad Christmas song, didn’t we? In the ‘bah humbug’ of it all?” Joni Mitchell, NPR interview. (Pigma Micron & Sumi Ink, digital invert – from photo of Olympic Figure Skater Jeanette Altwegg in St. Moritz.)


Happy Thanksgiving!

Grande Affare!

From tattoos, to matches, to table cards, I had a great time working for my clients Lizzie and Craig.  Their Wedding took place in Skaneateles, New York but the couple brought their love from Italy into this grande affare.

All photos courtesy of Mary Buttolph Photography


Cheeky Groomsman featuring Custom Tattoo


Gold Lettering on PaperSource Table Cards, featuring the couples’ favorite haunts.


Custom tattoos



Mini Cupcake favors from Baked by Melissa 


Guest sign a version of the Custom Wedding Crest of the  Trevi Fountain’s Coat of Arms (where Lizzie and Craig were engaged.)



Custom Napkins







Custom Tattoos



Custom Chalkboard Cocktail Sign (DIY Mirrored Frame was made by painting mirror with Chalkboard paint a la the Groom!)



Custom Matchbooks


p1020304327-2Gold Ink on PaperSource Luxe Placecards.


FALLing in Love

Fall Wedding Season Begins!  Started my favorite season with lovely envelope stock from the seriously green printers, Smock.  Their stock is printed on bamboo paper in upstate New York.   Shadow Cards are from Optical Toys.    The next sample set  and invite comes from the luxe paper shop Fine Day Press.


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A Map of Their World

My clients’ affection of Montauk  gave me the inspiration to create a very specific Wedding Map for them.

Space was left in ‘ocean’ of this large scale illustration for their guests to sign!

Can’t wait to see the ‘Sea of Signatures.’








What is the map of your world?

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Painted Flowers

The Sunday Sketch

The Sunday Sketch

The Sunday Sketch

Sundays are for Sketches…

Getting to the Point…

Follow Me On Instagram!



“Victorian Silhouette” Easter Eggs brought to you via Tuccicursive (and Sharpie!)

Took a break from my very busy Wedding Season to color some Easter Eggs….

I take my egg coloring very seriously…

Have a Wonderful Easter Week.


Fresh Ink…

Happy New Year!

…my 2014 New Year’s Card features a sketch of one of my favorite photos – a 1956 London street scene, “Dancing in Soho Square.” The quote in calligraphy is from Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.”

Thank you to all my clients for a wonderful 2013.

Looking forward to expanding the shop with custom rubber stamps and more!


Dear Santa…

…for the past several years, I played the role of “Santa” – penning a letter to my client’s children.  This is probably the last year that my client and I will be co-conspirators in this act of keeping kids believing in the sweetest lie of all.   It’s been a great annual gig.

Merry Christmas!

Santa Letter - tuccicursive

Breakfast WITH Tiffany’s

Cause for Sprinkles

Selected for a third consecutive year by the Editors of New York Weddings Magazine.  Thank you for your support and continuing patronage.  Watch for new products and services in the New Year.  It’s cause for Sprinkles!

Okay, okay…. anything is cause for donuts with sprinkles!  New York Weddings Winter 2014 Edition is on stands now.   Be sure to read the lovely last page “Advice for the Ages” – an interview with a couple married almost eight decades… as well as the article “It All Starts With a Question…”


Tricky Owls

If you’re Waiting for a Sign….

Have a Seat!

Here come the Brides!  And your guests!  As we head into June – and early Summer Fêtes,  I thought I’d share a few ideas…

Artist Ryan Haugh upcycles champagne cork Cages into whimsical chairs.  They are a sweet keepsake and a clever way to display your Escort Cards at your own Champagne affair.  His shop and his chairs are found on Etsy.



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Speaking of Spirits, you can recycle your own wine and champagne corks or upcycle them as I did here with a little pen and paint.  You’ll need to slice the cork at the top with a serrated knife for the card to slip into.  The kind folks of Brooklyn’s own Smith & Vine donated these corks, but it’ll be much more fun to stock up on corks the old-fashioned way…





If your event dares to be a bit more wild, why not try some Animal Magnets? .   These customizable wedding favors, sold on Etsy, come in array of animals and colors.





And why not put your tchotchkes to work?   These sweet felt chairs are Anthropologie Christmas ornaments.


Go vintage!  These are vintage cup cake toppers, which I also found on Etsy.





You can always add a little elegance to your own small parties and events by adding a special touch – yours!  This is my own place mat sketch, but the folks at Cake Vintage are the masters of beautiful paper placemats and serving papers.  Printed on recycled paper with soy ink, the papers give any simple meal, an elegant feel.


Look Ma!

May Flowers

It’s been a very busy Spring Wedding Season – and I congratulate all my June brides!


In the spirit of Spring, and all things ‘green’ – here is a sampling of my client’s  letter pressed envelopes.

They are from Smock Paper’s Engadine Line.


The Syracuse based company is one of the first print shops in the U.S. to use sustainable bamboo paper (and it is a dream to work on.)


I created these mini magnolia paper flowers with the help of Paper Source’s Paper Flower Kit – what a great way to honor flowers and the Earth, by ‘making’ them with recycled paper…You can reuse the pattern with other textiles like I did here with a some pages of a vintage copy of Dr. Zhivago…





Mirror Mirror…

The British Are Coming!


Purple Ways

Business is Blooming

Art Nouveau

My work is featured in the Fall Anniversary Edition of Nouveau Magazine, the digital and print-on-demand bridal resource for intercultural couples and multi-ethnic weddings. Issued quarterly, it offers insights into “real fusion wedding inspirations.”

I was part of Ana and Andre’s Dream Team which included destination photographer KT Merry, and Invitation Designer  Cheree Berry, among others.  A destination wedding, the ceremony took place at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.  

“…Drawing from many influences – Judaism, Catholicism, Quakerism even Atheism – we tried to create a ceremony that resonated with who we are.” – Ana Rosansky, Bride.

Vendor Spotlight: Papél New York

I didn’t think anyone could love paper as much I do, until I met Raegan, proprietress of Papél New York, in Brooklyn.  Many of my clients come directly from Papél, looking for the final touch on their beautiful invitations curated by Papél‘s owner.  Raegan’s design aesthetic mixes classical and modern elements, moreover Raegan has a feel for her clients, the message they want to send and often brings it to fruition with her empathetic sensibilities.

Walking into her store, you know she loves everything about paper, it is an homage to the craft of making it and sharing it.   Papél  offers Customizable Invitations and Announcements as well as fill in and printable invites.

Her store has the perfect touch of ephemera and cards and features merchandise from indie designers like Wild Ink Press, Dude & Chick, Flywheel Press and one of my favorites, Lilywillow Paper and Press.

Read more about this Brooklyn fav and get a ‘studio tour’ by clicking here–Brooklyn Bride Online’s Feature on Raegan.

Visit her store – you may even meet her infamous daughter Francesca, the little mastermind behind “Frankie’s Pick of the Week!”

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Check Out

Olive You

My calligraphy got to Italy before I did!

My client Ravenel, used Olive Branches with my work on her place cards for her Wedding in La Selva, Tuscany.   Olive branches are one of the traditional symbols of an Italian Wedding.  It’s often given from the Bride to her Mother in Law.  Brides are also known to wear olive branches in their hair, as a sign of fertility, peace and perhaps like an Olympic Athlete – victory!   Some strange and some lovely Italian traditions are listed here.

The photography is by the incomparable Italian artist, Leila Scarfiotti.

More of this amazing wedding on Leila’s blog under the “The Sacred Veil.”

Breakfast With Tiffany’s

Sitting Pretty

Congratulations to William and Kate.  

I suppose our invitations got lost in the Royal Mail…

And Congratulations to all my recent clients who share their Wedding Day with the Prince and Princess as well those whose special days are soon to come!

I’ve seen many variations of place cards and escort cards, and many creative ways in displaying them.  I believe that when it is ‘your’ day, you should bring yourself, and your personality through every aspect of your Wedding, including through the place and escort cards.

However, there is traditional etiquette that is worth noting.  I turned to The Wedding Planner Whisperer herself, Lauren Sozmen of Loli Events, for some advice on dealing with this special ‘deck’ of cards.

Lauren reminds us that ‘the escort card table is one of the first things that your guests will see when entering the reception. It is worth spending time thinking about it; use your colors, be creative and set the tone for the party to come!!’

One of my clients, Judy McDermott O’Keefe, did just that by placing wooden gift tags on paper mache trees from the West Elm David Stark Holiday Collection. Tables were not mere numbers but cities, and guests had a great time ‘finding their city.’

Stephanie (nee) Driscoll combined her favors and escort cards. Stephanie used Green Post tags (composed of recycled paper with wildflower seeds that when planted, grow) and put them on wine bottles to demarcate table numbers as well as guest names.  

Although Gabrielle {nee} Obermeier used traditional tent cards, she too used the opportunity to seat guests at ‘meaningful locations’ rather than typical table numbers…

Whatever creativity you do use, Sozmen says that ‘etiquette for the escort cards should follow the formality of your event. If guests were addressed as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith on the invitation then the escort card should be in the same format. A more casual invite and escort card would be Kate and John Smith.’

If someone is bringing a guest you should do two separate cards.   Sozmen feels that is never ‘right’ to ‘write’ “John and Guest.”

If a husband and wife have a different name then it is best to put the woman’s name first.’

And in regard to Placecards, Sozmen goes onto to note that ‘place cards are only necessary if you feel strongly about where your guests sit at their table or if you are having a small intimate and formal event of 50 guests or less.’

And unless yours is a kind of casual cocktail party, your Wedding MUST have escort cards!    It makes the mood more of Royal Affair rather than that of a High School Cafeteria.

For more etiquette rules and guidelines check out this page from Crane & Co.’s.

Hope you’re sitting next to someone special!

The Gift That Keeps on Living {vendor spotlight} Twig Terrariums

The Spring Wedding Season has Sprung–and so brings on the Wedding Registries. Another toaster?  Crockpot?Ladle?  No!    Why not consider giving an original keepsake gift to that special couple?

Meet the team behind Twig. The creators behind “Moss Terrariums and Other Small Worlds.” These exquisite custom Terrariums can commemorate that special couple’s first meeting or their legendary favorite trip or even their Wedding Day.

The team specializes in “easily contained, easily maintained life.”

Lifelong friends and crafters, Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow have been creating “moss terrariums and other small worlds” for a little over a year.  They have received press from the New York Times, Country Living and Rachel Ray’s Everyday Magazine.

Katy and Michelle use over 15 different kinds of moss and capture ‘moments’ in antique, vintage, apothecary science glass and jars, in kitchenware, and any odd glass objects they find in their travels.  You can view many of their creations here.

These living sculptures require a small amount of upkeep, and as time goes on, these terrariums will not only ‘take care of themselves’ but will take that special moment and make it literally and figuratively live forever….

Isn’t this the gift that you’d rather ‘give?’

Terrariums can be purchased locally.  Twig also supplies Gift Certificates and DIY Kits.





For Custom Orders, please email Michelle and Katy at info@twigterrariums.com.

Bee Mine {vendor spotlight} Worker Bee Designs

Meet the woman behind the films that make your weddings appear timeless and cinematic.

Meet Jessica Lyons of Worker Bee Designs…

Worker Bee Designs Highlight Reel from Jessica Lysons on Vimeo.

Jessica uses the beauty of Super High 8 Film to make 15 minute heirloom keepsakes of your wedding, union or event.

In an article by Lindsey Eden Turner in Austin’s “Rare” Magazine,  Super 8, developed in 1965, is noted by Phil Vigeant, Owner of Pro88mm in LA, as not only being archival, classic, and lasting forever, but containing a ‘human element.’   “It lends a quality of immediacy that makes the person behind the camera feel connected with the actions in front of it.”

As Jessica notes, her mini epics are like an ‘espresso’, having all of the good stuff and none of the filler.  The look is timeless and the technology is archival.

In other words, it’s the best of both worlds.

But an even more lovelier creation are Jessica’s Flip Books.

As a book, film, and ephemera junkie, this sold me on Jessica’s point of view as an artist.  These books encompass what a great wedding day should be, one that is sweet and clever–A memory you can literally put in your pocket.

See one in Action by Clicking Here!

Jessica Lyons grew up in Spokane and now lives in Brooklyn.  She studied Architecture at Yale and was Clerk of the Works for a general contractor in Seattle. She also happens to be the Vice President of an investment banking firm.

Strange but true.

“I love giving handmade gifts.”  Jessica says.  ” I love objects that display the mastery and passion of the maker.  I started Worker Bee Designs to do what I love on a bigger scale.”

The unique kind of Valentine we’d all like to receive.

Visit Worker Bee Designs for more information on rates and demos.

Lucky You 幸運您

A recent client got me thinking about Chinese New Year.  After addressing these lovely red envelopes in traditional gold ink for a Corporate Event, my curiosity was piqued about this ancient tradition.

Centuries old, Chinese New Year, the most important festival in Chinese Culture, takes place on February 3rd.  The New Year lasts from this first day until the 15th Day of the year.   2011 is the Year of the Rabbit.   “Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.”

Red symbolizes prosperity and luck and these red envelopes are given out on Chinese New Year and at Traditional Chinese Weddings.  Those that give and receive a red envelope are considered lucky!

This monetary gift is often given to children and unmarried adults.  Married couples give red envelopes to their parents and money in these envelopes must be new and the total must be even, certain numbers such as four are considered unlucky.   On the morning of the New Year, Mandarin children greet their parents with “Gōng xǐ fā cái, hóng bāo ná lái” (Happy New Year, now give me a red envelope!)

Images of carps, dragons or lotus, with four character expressions of well wishes are traditionally featured on the unsigned envelopes.

Giving a red envelope is one of the many traditions practiced on Chinese New Year, and though they vary, other customs include hanging red decorations in windows and sweeping homes of the past year’s misfortune to welcome in the New Year’s luck.

This culture’s tradition is a great way to adopt the idea of reconciliation and renewal in your own New Year.

Why not spread some luck by making your own “Ang Pow” or Chinese Envelope.

Another great source for Chinese Envelopes and Traditional Chinese fare, is Soho’s Pearl River Mart.

Spread the luck and the wealth this year.  And see what returns…

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè

Got Paper?



Many folks ask me for my recommendations in paper selections.  Here’s a few of my favorites, especially  for you ‘DIYers.’

PaperSource – The Chicago born national chain, finally makes its NYC Metro debut in Brooklyn.  While I do prefer independent paper stores, it’s hard to resist such a great house.  You can tell they are obsessed with paper.

Papél – Because this is a small Brooklyn paper boutique, Owner Raegan Hirvela can give you personal service.

Paper Presentation – The famous DIY Chelsea haunt, is my go-to store.  While their website is convenient, you really must walk the wood floors of this mecca. The staff knows their paper and their inventory and are not afraid to show it!

And for custom made invitations and designs, check out my “Folks I Like Page.”  Though the process and the price is not cost effective, letterpress is hard to resist.

In addition, check out Bowne and Company, Stationers at South Street Seaport.  They still use their 19th Century Treadle-powered presses.

Also visit the West Village sister run Greenwich Street Letterpress.

Many couples and planners are doing away with paper and going ‘green,’ using digital invitations and Social networking to invite folks to their special day.  While imagination and conservation is much appreciated, there are many more ways to keep this lovely tradition alive (while keeping trees alive.)   Many printers use post consumer materials and soy based inks.

You can also scale down your own consumer materials in many interesting ways, Consider using postcards!  Check out this design by Lucky Luxe proprietress Erin Napier.

In this electronic age, it is still and even more worthwhile to receive a personal invitation in the mail.

If you have a favorite paper/invitation source, please feel free to post yours below.

Stay tuned for more vendors profiles!

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