“You Are My I Love You” poem in calligraphy

Final poem cut and backed with foam core

A favorite client came to me with this delightful poem “You Are My I Love You” by Maryann Cusimano Love.  They had me create it for their daughter as she was turning one.  Since people are always asking ,”How do you do that?”  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how a project like this is made.

A rough layout of the poem

First I determined from the client, the size and shape of the final piece.  She asked me to emphasize certain phrases that were her favorite.  She had a particular place on a wall that she wanted to hang it.   Next I discussed my vision of a combination of lettering styles and the flow of the words.  After that I created a rough layout on tracing paper.

Dark and Light pink gouache paint

Two colors are chosen and mixed. This can take a long time and lots of testing but they need to be just right. A sample of the colors is lettered on the chosen paper ( Arches 140lb 300 gsm hot press Watercolor )  and sent to the client for approval.

Dark Pink wording is brush lettered using a light table

The rough layout is tweeked a bit before the paper is placed on my light table and the first color and style of lettering is brushed in.

Using black strips of paper to determine where to crop

After the second color of lettering is done, I used black strips of paper to help me gage where the piece should be cropped.  The original poem is then mounted on foam core and given to the client for framing.

The client was so thrilled she even had me make a color copy for display at the child’s birthday party while the original was being framed.

For me, it’s a nice feeling to create something that expresses so much love and whose words will be cherished by this little girl as she grows into a young woman.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of the process of a lettering artist and the time and care it takes to do what we do!

And as always my calligraphy font, Belluccia, one of myfonts Most Popular Fonts for 2011, is available at : myfonts.com and fontbros.com.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol alexander
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 23:18:51

    I love your lettering style Debbie! You and your work are a great inspiration to me 🙂 thank you for sharing the details of your process! I need to sign up now for your brush lettering class!


  2. agalapa
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 13:51:22


    I just realized how hard and time-consuming calligraphy is but I still am engrossed in learning it. I just started and I will be sure to check your blog for tips. Thanks for the beautiful art! =D


    • Debi Sementelli
      Feb 14, 2012 @ 15:57:15

      You’re so very welcome! I hope you enjoy the process of learning this beautiful art. Everyone’s hand is a unique tool with something to say. I’d love to see what you create.


  3. michelle
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 20:09:08

    Shouldn’t the line say…you are my “saving grace” not “saying grace”? Just an observation


    • Debi Sementelli
      Feb 21, 2012 @ 00:19:00

      Yes, I know. But this is what the client asked me to do. So I wonder if there are several versions of the poem on the internet and the one she found says “saying” instead of “saving”?


  4. Shannon
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 20:31:05

    Beautiful. Are you still taking orders?


    • Debi Sementelli
      Nov 09, 2013 @ 00:09:39

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. This is my old blog and I don’t check it that often.
      The “You are My I Love You” poem was a custom project. It was an original piece. I can create a print of it, but am booked with work until after the holidays.
      Let me know if you are interested in an original or a print and I will send you pricing.



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