Teacher Stories: Molly Suber Thorpe

Meet Molly Suber Thorpe, an award-winning designer and calligrapher behind Plurabelle Calligraphy & Design Studio. Her custom stationery designs, branding work, and decorative type treatments have appeared in such publications as Martha Stewart Weddings, The Guardian, Country Living, New-Fashioned Weddings, Style Me Pretty Weddings, C Magazine, I Heart Stationery, as well as on hundreds of sites and blogs, from Minted.com to Buzzfeed to Daily Candy. Molly teaches a highly popular Intermediate Skillshare Digitizing Calligraphy course.

I have always loved typography of all sorts, from vintage signage to graffiti to calligraphy. Ever since I can remember I meticulously practiced my handwriting and made conscious choices about the letterforms I used. When I was in design school I took a course in broad-tip, italic calligraphy. I fell in love with the art form through that class but really wanted to do script calligraphy instead, which uses a pointed pen nib rather than a broad tip one. Unable to find any books that taught contemporary script alphabets, I mostly taught myself (through much trial and error!).Today, nearly all the work I do involves calligraphy in some way, and a good portion of what I do combines calligraphy with my graphic design work on the computer. I also enjoy teaching immensely, and in September published a how-to guide to the kind of calligraphy I do, Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Modern Script Calligraphy (St. Martin's Press, 2013).

A few months ago I was approached by Skillshare to teach Digitizing Calligraphy: From Sketch to Vector (Calligraphy II). Teaching has always been a passion of mine, and I do a lot of it, so it seemed a natural fit. After a lot of brainstorming, we settled on an intermediate-level course that combines calligraphy with digital design. The techniques I teach in this class are ones I use nearly on a daily basis, so the subject ties in well with the work I already do. I had found there was a lot of demand for education on this particular subject. I'm often approached by calligraphers who want to bring their work into the computer but simply don't have the know-how, or, by contrast, graphic designers who want to hone their hand lettering skills in order to advance their design work.

My Skillshare course has certainly increased my exposure. It's a really cool feeling to hop on Instagram, for example, and see myself tagged in photos by strangers of the work they've done for my class. I have already received quite a few more teaching and lecturing inquiries since launching my class.

By far and away my favorite and most rewarding aspect of teaching this Skillshare class has been seeing the student projects. There is some awesome talent out there and I've been blow away by so many of the designs. The quality of the finished work takes second place to the overall dedication and persistence I see from the students, who are engaged, open to critique, and eager to learn. I love it!