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Hey there! Thanks for stopping by.
I'm Brittany DeNovellis (she/her/hers), a Baltimore-based calligrapher and artist. I work in the nonprofit sector by day, and I handletter by night.
I'm originally from southern California but moved to Maryland after meeting my then-roommate, now-husband while teaching English in Thailand.
I started teaching myself calligraphy when we moved back to the USA in the dead of winter in 2013. I was jobless and looking for an outlet for the creative side of myself that I had long neglected for the sake of a "real " work. My time traveling abroad, combined with doing the exercises in a book called The Artist's Way, had helped me heal my relationship with my inner perfectionist, and I allowed myself to play, experiment, and be bad at art for a few years. Eventually I did find a job that I loved, working with refugee youth in Baltimore, which let me keep up my spending habit of buying way too many pens and art supplies.
I started Novel Letter Studio in 2017, the year after I got married (and yes, I did my own envelopes and signage!). Not only did I realize that I could help out other busy couples with signage and calligraphy to meet their day-of wedding needs, I also wanted to see if I could use the extra income to fund a wild dream that I had ever since we returned to the States: to take a year-long, round-the-world honeymoon. Suffice to say, working in nonprofit sector wasn't exactly leaving tons of extra room in my paycheck to save for travel, so I needed a solid side hustle.
As a bonus, my art supplies could now be business expenses 😉.
Well, I am happy to report that it worked! We started seriously saving money and airline points, I got commissioned for weddings, I started teaching calligraphy workshops, and we finally did it. We were able to quit our jobs in July 2019, and we gleefully set off on our trip.
My husband and I traveled to 14 countries in 8 months before COVID hit. We took the last commercial flight out of Ecuador before the borders closed, and we came back to Maryland in March 2020.
I found myself jobless in Maryland again, but my side hustle helped me stay afloat in uncertain times. I pivoted to making illustrations and hosting online workshops, and in the end, I found another full-time job in philanthropy in July 2020 that I still love doing to this day.
Along the way, life has unfolded quite beautifully: I became a dog mom to a greyhound named Remy that August, and most recently, a human-mom to a daughter named Magnolia in April 2022. I still love doing calligraphy for couples in Baltimore, DC, and Maryland....and of course, I'm constantly planning my next trip and adventure!
Proof that we took our trip around the world! July 2019 - March 2020.
I believe everyone should have the right to marry and have their love celebrated by all people and companies involved in their wedding. At Novel Letter Studio, my clients, employees, and colleagues can expect to be affirmed, included, and celebrated, no matter their gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, size, socioeconomic status, education, physical and mental ability, and professional or life experience. NLS is an anti-racist, LGBTQ+ inclusive micro-business committed to diversity and inclusion, and I am committed to growing through active dialogue, diverse and inclusive practices, partnerships, education and feedback; not just checking off "DEI Statement" on a list.