Behind the Scenes with Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

Behind the Scenes with Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls is an artist and calligrapher with a uniquely modern aesthetic. You’ve probably seen her work before, since she’s worked with practically everyone cool: Martha Stewart Weddings, Sunset Magazine, Victoria, Better Homes and Gardens, and Brides, and has been featured on Design*Sponge, Besotted, Brooklyn Bride, Oh Happy Day, Snippet & Ink, Sunday Suppers, and Style Me Pretty.

And now that includes Creativebug.

Maybelle is kind of like her calligraphy – elegant and lovely and you want it around you all the time. She filmed with us for an entire week, so of course we had to interrupt one of her lunches and find out more about the woman behind the pen. Here’s what we got:

Behind the Scenes with Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

Where do you live?

Oakland, California.

Do you have any adorable pets / kids / life partners we should know about?

Everyone is adorable.

My husband is a woodworker and he built the shelves featured on the set as well as the inkwells. He’s very handy to have around. I also have twins and a dog.

Maybelle's twins

How (and when) did you get into calligraphy?

It really started when my husband got me calligraphy classes as a Christmas present. Prior to that I had tried to teach myself and bought every calligraphy set available…but that didn’t work. I’m a visual learner, so once I took a class I was hooked.

What’s the toughest part of calligraphy?

Finding the right tools to work with from the get-go.

It’s also really easy to get discouraged when the finished product looks different from the original vision. In the 22st century, we’re used to everything being perfect at lightning speed.

What advice would you give beginners?

Be open to looking at different styles. Look for script in the every day. Once you’ve taken a class or two you’ll be so much more aware of it you’ll start seeing it everywhere. Be aware of how things are formed. You’ll start to see what you didn’t before.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Tokyo and Paris. And the flea market when I don’t have time for a 10-hour flight. I travel a lot for my workshops and that keeps me inspired since I love to see how people live. I’m not only noticing new lettering styles, but getting a whole new look at a community.

How do you make time to craft?

When the kids were younger, I’d start working at their bedtime: 7pm. I’d end when the project was done. Now they go to kindergarten so I have a little bit of time during the day, although it feels like I just have enough time to drop them off and then turn around to pick them up.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Cy Twombly, Jun Kaneko, Elliott Puckett, Andy Warhol and Isamu Noguchi.

cy twombly


What are your favorite materials to work with?

I absolutely love when I find a ream of typewriter paper at a flea market. I buy them off eBay.

What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made?

I made a set of maps for Martha Stewart. I also made chalkboard scribbles for A Cake Story.

Maybelle Imasa maps


Be honest – how much fun is it to film these Creativebug classes?

Oh my gosh! Really fun. The hardest part is figuring out how to convey your natural self to the camera.

Do you enjoy being in front of the camera?

Not the video camera – I prefer someone taking lots of still pictures of me and then picking the best one.

Okay, last question: Where should we stalk you online?

My website!

You also also definitely follow Maybelle’s Instagram feed and Facebook page.