EMAIL info(at)mariamontes(dot)net
PHONE +61 (0) 421 244 612
EMAIL info(at)mariamontes(dot)net
PHONE +61 (0) 421 244 612

The Shit Series

“The Shit Series” is a personal project where I am experimenting with different writing styles to communicate common Australian expressions using the word shit.

The inspiration behind these series is my Catalan Christmas celebration’s background. On Christmas Eve we celebrate the “caga tió” (Christmas log that shits presents). We also feature the “caganer” (the shitter) in the Christmas nativity scene.

See below my shit series in progress, the inspiration behind each post and the tools I have used to create them.

Post number #86: “Shit kicker” thanks to the contribution of @ben_stephen Post dedicated to all fellow designers like myself, who’ve spent countless hours doing tedious tasks and dreaming of better times.

Post number #85: “You are driving a shitbox” Post dedicated to my friends @teaganglenane and @craig_mcconaghy who met last year at Shitbox Rally and are currency on their way to Adelaide to start their second @shitboxrally together.

Post number #84: “Let’s pretend this shit never happened” Modern Carolingian using a 3mm broad nib and liquid watercolours.

Post number #83: “Making shit up” Italic calligraphy using a 3mm broad nib and liquid watercolours.

Post number #82: “You are hanging shit on me” Two calligraphic styles, two voices. Modern Romans at the top using a pointed flexible nib, and Modern Carolingian at the bottom using a broad pen.

Post number #81: “It’s so shit outside!” This week has been all about 🌧🌧and more 🌧… Winter is coming!

Post number #80: “That’s a crock of shit” is how I feel about my Roman Capitals… so much room to improve!

Post number #79: “Take no shit” thanks to the contribution of @lisachristinalorenz.

Post number #78: “Be totally unashamed about wanting to ‘make a shit ton of money’ […] As women, we don’t get taken seriously until we get taken seriously financially. And so women you owe it to the rest of us, to absolutely be determined to make a shit ton of money so you can then invest it in the rest of us, female founders, and help women build businesses”. A few weeks ago I listened to Debbie Millman interviewing Cindy Gallop on Design Matters and I got really empowered, so I designed my next 3 posts based on Cindy’s quotes during that podcast.

Post number #77: “Social media is simply a new methodology that allows women to do what we have been doing since the dawn of time, which is ‘sharing the shit out of everything’ in a way that men don’t” Quote by Cindy Gallop.

Post number #76: “I like to blow shit up” Quote by Cindy Gallop.

Post number #75: “SSDD (Same Shit, Different Day)” thanks to the contribution of the amazing Lara Captan. Check out the video of this brush calligraphic piece.

Post number #74: “Shit hot, Aussie ass” thanks to the contribution of Megan Cain.

Post number #73: “Bloody good shit mate!” thanks to the contribution of my dear friend Troy Leinster.

Post number #72: “Holy shit! (I’m forty and I’m totally OK with it)”. It’s all happening this March! After my Aussie citizenship, now I get to enter a new decade and I’ll be using my Shit Series to go through any mid life crisis that comes along the way.

Post number #71: “This is the best shit ever!” It’s only taken me 10 years and 6 months but finally, in March 2017 I became Australian and it feels so good!

Post number #70: “Leave my shit alone” Back at the studio again having fun. Neuland calligraphy using a bamboo pen and liquid watercolours.

Post number #69: “What’s shit, and where can I get some?” Schematic Roman Capitals using a 3mm broad nib and walnut ink.

Post number #68: “Love you shit loads” Let love win in 2017. This post is dedicated to my very good friend Carlos Garcia, who’s always been there for me. Vector lettering.

Post number #67: “It is not the shit that matters, it is the process” Rebooting the system and launching back-to-school mode. Neuland calligraphy using a bamboo pen and gouache ink.

Post number #66: “I’m not too old for this shit” This post is about the Australian Open: Watching the Williams sisters, Federer and Nadal makes me think about the value of hard work, focus and persistence. I tend to think about my age, and use it as an excuse for not doing shit… Well, I’ve taught a good lesson this week.

Post number #65: “Shit happens in threees” Good things also happens in threes: 1) To kick start the year, I had the incredible pleasure to meet George and Dominique Falla from Typism. As a last minute surprise, Bobby Haiqalsyah came to give me (literally) a couple of hands to film my online class for the upcoming #typismsummit. Thanks to the Typism community, I met Nikita Prokhorov a great designer from Brooklyn who creates amazing ambigrams. 2) My special Brush Calligraphy weekend workshop with Carla Hackett at Rotson Studios is sold out. 3) And on Day 10 of 2017, I’m on my way to the airport to join Filipe and Lauren Vilitati for their up-coming Fijian wedding. Next 12 days means holidays to me!

Post number #64: “This shit is important to me” Working on personal projects is very important to me. Today I spent my day at Rotson Studios having fun on my own. I always try to keep a balance between client work and self-generated projects: it keeps me happy and sane.

Post number #63: “Sorting my shit out” My Christmas celebrations in Australia consists of spending quality time with my partner.

Rob and I usually leave Melbourne and spend the Christmas break on our own. We prepare Bloody Marys every morning and reflect on how the year went for both of us. I am a big fan of mapping out our calendar year and setting our goals. This post is about being back at the office today feeling great, cleaning my desk, backing up my files and sorting my shit out.

Post number #62: “What a log of shit” In the next 2 posts I am going to share with you the inspiration behind The Shit Series, which is my Catalan Fecal Christmas Festivities.

The “Caga tió” is a Christmas log that shits presents and is sold all over Catalonia in supermarkets and Christmas markets. The Christmas log is a tree stump standing on stick legs with a very happy painted face. It is “fed” sweets and candy, pampered and cared for by children starting from the 8th December, and ending on Christmas Eve on 24th December.

On that night, the Caga Tió log is put very close to the fireplace. The children sing the “Caga Tió” song to get the log to “poo” some presents. The song ends with a final load cry of “Caga Tió!” which is the imperative tense of the verb “shit log!!”

Generally, the presents pooed out by the log are candy, sweets and maybe one gift. The bulk of Christmas presents for children in Spain are delivered on 6th January by the Three Kings on Kings Day (6th January), not by Santa on Christmas Day. More info here.

Post number #61: “The Shitter” A caganer — or “the shitter” — is a small figurine of a person squatting down with lowered pants shitting. They have been around since the 17th century and can often be found hiding in an obscure corner of a Nativity scene.
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The figurines originally became popular among farmers who believed that the caganer’s “offerings” would make the soil rich and productive for the coming year.
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The “Association of Friends of the Caganer” states that the figures were meant to add “a human side to the representation of the mystery of Christmas.” Wikipedia also mentions how the caganer might represent “the equality of all people” because “everyone defecates”.
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Nowadays, young children in Catalonia still play a Where’s-Waldo-like game that involves searching for the caganer in the Nativity scene arrangement.
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You can read more about it here.

Post number #60: “I do have time for this shit” This quote is inspired by the great and generous Nicole Phillips @typographher and her recent blog post about my shit series. Toy can check it out here.

Post number #59: “Shitting bricks” This post is literally me freaking out as I almost missed a really important appointment in my life. Great news coming up in the next months!

Post number #58: “Shittie” Last week I was revisiting my post number 52 (shitism) and I asked my studio buddy Chloe if there was a gramatical rule to determined when a word ends on “ie” or “y”… normal questions that arise after almost 60 posts on the same subject. Chloe told me that the standard way to say it, in this case, was “shitty”… so I redid my post and sent it to Das Automat to get a t-shirt for myself for Christmas! Chloe also told me about the meaning of shittie (google it if you, like me, have no idea what is this about)… It cannot get any classier!

Post number #57: “You can’t spell for shit” Copperplate calligraphy using a pointed flexible pen and liquid watercolours.

Post number #56: “Have a shit hot Xmas” Sometimes you seek for inspirations, and other times inspiration finds you. Nearly a year ago, my partner and I were driving to Lakes Entrace and we bumped into a huge message on the side of the road. We stopped the car and I took a couple of photographs. I didn’t know that I was just a few weeks away from starting “The Shit Series”, neither that I was going to end up writing 50+ posts about it.


Post number #55: “Sheeeeit” This post is about me feeling extremely happy having my last 5 calligraphy workshops of 2016 sold out!

Post number #54: “Dumb as dog shit” This post is about making a statement of what I consider my calligraphy philosophy: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist” Pablo Picasso.

Post number #53: “Bored shitless” brush calligraphy using a Pentel aquabrush pen.

Post number #52: “Shitism” This post is about my feelings after learning the news from the US elections. “I can’t believe that we are going to put up with Trump’s SHITISM for the next 4 years”.


Post number #51: “That’s the best damn shit that ever happened” This post is about me feeling clearly very optimistic, as was I thinking “election day has finally arrived and Hilary will cruise along”… wrong.

Post number #50: “You think you are king shit”. Fraktur calligraphy using a Pilot Parallel pen.


Post number #49: “I’m up to my eyeballs in shit” thanks to the contribution of Dan Breukel.

Post number #48: “Don’t chicken out chicken shit” Happy Halloween!


Post number #47: “Shits me to tears (when people ask me to work for free)”, inspired by Mr. Bingo’s great talk today at Creative Mornings Melbourne.

Post number #46: You know how much I love you Melbourne, but sometimes you are such a hard work… “The weather is shithouse” thanks to the contribution of my studio buddy Peter Tarasiuk.


Post number #45: “You are giving me the shits” Trying out a new writing for the first time and I feel like there are so many mistakes that I should not be posting it! Definitely having 2 ‘g’ and 2 ‘s’ in the same quote is not helping at all.

Post number #44: “Let’s make (good) shit happen“  The last 10 days, after the loss of my cat, have been pretty sad but I am determined to find the GOOD energy I brought back from Barcelona.

Post number #43: “Warming the shit up” and getting for my last calligraphy course of 2016. Neuland calligraphy using a bamboo pen and liquid watercolours.

Post number #42: “Stiff shit” This post is about the loss of my cat Graham. After being together for more than 8 years, it really heart inside saying goodbye to him. Neuland calligraphy using a bambo pen and liquid watercolours.

Post number #41: “Fresh shit” This post is about the excitement to come back home.

Post number #40: “This shit is bananas” thanks to the contribution of Bethany Simons.

Post number #39: “Just just got real” This post is about the excitement prior going to Barcelona!

Post number #38: “Just talking (fancy) shit” Copperplate calligraphy using metallic inks.

Post number #37: “As boring as bat shit” Fraktur calligraphy using a Pilot Parallel pen.

Post number #36: “Bullshit artist” thanks to the contribution of Michael Poland.

Post number #35: “Photoshop the shit out of it” thanks to the contribution of Danielle, Christian and Marz while having a team meeting at Tractor Design school. Modern carolingian calligraphy using a 3mm broad pen.

Post number #34: “Don’t give me more shit” Neuland calligraphy using a bamboo pen and liquid watercolours.

Post number #33: “Keep that shit up” This post is about finding motivation in the middle of a cold and rainy Melbourne.

Post number #32: “Crack the shits” thanks to the contribution of Kate Pullen. Roman Capitals calligraphy.

Post number #31: “You scared the shit out of me” thanks to the contribution of Teagan Glenane while leaving the Rainbow Hotel and running inside a garage door escaping from the rain.

Post number #30: “Pushing shit uphill with a rubber fork on a hot day” thanks to the contribution of Craig Newman. And I asked him “what is that mean?” and Craig said, “means is really hard”.

Post number #29: “In the middle of a shitstorm”. This post is about struggling with being a sole trader, and wanting to do too many things at the same time without loosing my mind.

Post number #28: “It’s all shits and giggles until someone giggles and shits” thanks to the contribution of Steve Abbott‘s brother.

Post number #27: “You are so full of shit (mate)” Hand lettering artwork using a Rotring Rapidograph.

Post number #26: “That’s the good shit” This post is about me feeling really happy for selling out my first calligraphy workshop in Sydney, yay! Brush calligraphy usign a Daiso pen.

Post number #25: “You gotta be shitting me” This post is a joke about displaying a broad nib when I am actually using a flexible one to write Copperplate calligraphy. I don’t think anyone noticed on Instagram.

Post number #24: “That’s shit house mate” thanks to the contribution to Teagan Glenane and Lauren Abbott. Modern Carolingian calligraphy using a 3mm broad nib and liquid watercolours.

Post number #23: “Get shit done”. Roman Capitals calligraphy using a 1.5mm broad nib and walnut ink.

Post number #22: “Up shit creek without a paddle” contribution thanks to Rebecca Olivieri. Neuland calligraphy using a bamboo pen, walnut ink and liquid watercolours.

Post number #21: “Shit yeah!” contribution thanks to Ben Tovell. Fraktur calligraphy using a 3mm broad nib and liquid watercolours.

Post number #20: “You do so much cool shit” one blogger says to the other while attending a private whisky event in the city. Fraktur calligraphy using a 3mm broad nib and liquid watercolours.

Post number #19: “Holy shitballs Batman” contribution thanks to Robert Tickner. Modern Carolingian calligraphy using a 3mm broad nib and liquid watercolours.

Post number #18: “Panna cotta is the shit” contribution thanks to Rhianna Hobs. Modern Carolingian calligraphy using a 3mm broad nib and liquid watercolours.

Post number #17: “All professional and shit” thanks to the contribution of my studio buddy and great photographer Peter Tarasiuk. Fraktur calligraphy using a Pilot parallel pen. Brush calligraphy using a Daiso brush pen.

Post number #16: “You little shit stirrer” contribution thanks to Teagan Glenane. Fraktur calligraphy using a Pilot parallel pen.

Post number #15: “I lost my shit” is about dealing with personal problems and not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Brush calligraphy using a Daiso brush pen.

Post number #14: “Bat shit crazy” is about approaching the end of February and feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything yet. Modern Carolingian calligraphy using a Brause & Co 3mm nib and liquid watercolour ink.

Post number #13: “Same old shit” is about going through a very tough personal time and using calligraphy to meditate and calm down. Italic calligraphy using a Brause & Co 3mm, 2mm and 1mm nibs and liquid watercolour ink.

Post number #12: “Honey, I know you like to think your shit don’t stink” is about my non-romantic approach to the commercialised St. Valentine’s Day. Neuland calligraphy using a bamboo pen, walnut ink and liquid watercolours.

Post number #11: “Get your shit together” is about pushing myself forward, finding the good energy, working harder and remembering how lucky I am for doing what I love for a living. Copperplate calligraphy using a William Mitchell elbow nib and liquid watercolour ink.

Post number #10: “No shit Sherlock” contribution from my partner Rob Tickner. Brush calligraphy using a Daiso brush and a golden touch pen.

Post number #9: “You don’t know jack shit” is about the feeling when you think you know something but in reality you know nothing at all! A while ago I attended a “Type by Hand” workshop with Wayne Thompson and Carla Hackett. I thought I knew how to write letterforms since I tried a Tombow pen and I felt I have never held a pen before. Brush calligraphy.

Post number #8: “You are shitting me up the wall” contribution thanks to Teagan Glenane, my studio buddy and a great photographer and videographer.

Post number #7: “Shit!” while playing with a Tombow pen for the first time. Brush calligraphy.

Post number #6: “I am shitting my pants, I shit you not” is about my feelings after my solo exhibition. Having a project ahead with a specific deadline helped me a lot to be motivated and extremely focused. After the exhibition I felt really lost, looking around and asking myself way too many questions: “What’s next? When am I going to get paid again? Where am I going now?” I was really scared. Now I am still fighting it and trying to find my next project to keep myself happy for the next months. Neuland calligraphy using a bamboo pen, walnut ink and liquid watercolours.

Post number #5: “Just for shits and giggles”, just for fun. Hand lettering using a Pentel Hybrid Technica 0.3mm and tracing paper.

Post number #4: “All over it like flies on shit” contribution from Viki Wright while having a few beers in Barnsdale, VIC. Italic calligraphy using a Pilot parallel pen.

Post number #3: “Built like a brick shit house” contribution from Sarah Graham while camping at The Prom (Australia) and trying to scare a wombat who showed up without an invite. Fraktur calligraphy using a Brause & Co 3mm nib and liquid watercolour ink.

Post number #2: “Rare as rocking horse shit” contribution from Ken Tickner. Italic calligraphy using a Brause & Co 3mm nib and liquid watercolour ink.

Post number #1: “Shit will hit the fan” I learned about this saying from Ken Ticker during our monthly Saturday dinner meet ups at his house. Copperplate calligraphy using a William Mitchell elbow nib and golden gouache ink.