Friday, May 25, 2012

Coco Killian and the art of beautiful handwriting

You wouldn't think a plain manila envelope would create a sensation, but after Coco Killian adds her artistic flair that's exactly what happens. 

Coco dropped off some information to me about this year's Charlotte Assembly Debutante Ball in an envelope that had such beautiful handwriting on it, I've kept it displayed on my desk. Almost everyone who has walked by has noticed and appreciated her skill. Here's a photo so you can see what I'm talking about:

You just don't see lovely handwriting often, so I had to call Coco and find out more.

"When I was in 2nd Grade, I was visiting my father's old home place and found a little box with nibs that used to be used for dipping in an inkwell and the wooden handles you attached them to," she told me. "Someone else gave me an old inkwell and I started messing around with it."

By the time she was in college at Virginia Commonwealth she was doing a lot of pen and ink work and took some script lettering classes. Coco went on to get a master's degree at Pratt Institute in New York City and started a career in graphic design that eventually led her to a successful tenure at the Observer as a leader in Creative Services.

She decided to leave the corporate world years ago. During that time she began creating invitations and addressing envelopes for friends and became in such demand that she now does it as a business. She still gets requests from close friends who call and ask her to just sign Happy Birthday on a card they plan to give someone because it makes the greeting extra special. 

"I always tell them sure, just bring it by. For me it's relaxing and what I like to do," she said.

It saddens her that young people aren't being taught the art and skill of penmanship anymore. "I notice now that some people don't even know how to hold a pen - no one has taught them. I call it the monkey grip. You can't write with a pen if you have it in a death grip."

Beautiful handwriting is becoming a lost art, but thankfully there are people such as Coco who are keeping it alive. 

If you're interested in contacting Coco about having her apply her talent to your invitations or other project, email her