August 17, 2015

Well, friends, I am back at school, and am getting settled into my apartment and the first week of classes! I'm taking another hefty load, with a couple academic classes and several intense graphic design and illustration courses-- and running my business, doing an internship, freelance work, and hanging out with friends.

(Plus, I'm preparing my booth at the Ozarks Mini Maker's Faire! More on that later!).

As usual, I will be blogging a little less regularly during the semester.

This post is just a quickie, to share my newest love of the arts: calligraphy!

It's no secret that I love the beauty of letters; twelve-year-old-me filled an entire mini sketchbook with the names of best friends in really poor Blackletter calligraphy, and last spring's experiments with typography and calligraphy started to reawaken that love. I've already filled an entire Pinterest board with lettering inspiration.

Then I bought a dip pen for an illustration course... and discovered pointed pen calligraphy. Basically, the calligraphy is created by applying pressure to a tined nib. The "prongs" separate and create lines of varying width. It takes a lot of control.

This summer I started to creep on the #IAMPETH tag on Instagram (the acronymn stands for the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting) and found myself exposed to beautiful calligraphy that I had no idea existed.

I have not yet put in the time to do drills and properly learn the different scripts, but by doing copywork and just experimenting, it's coming along quite nicely. Most of all, I can just have fun with it. Over and over again, I fall for the insanely detailed zen-like arts such as wirewrapping, celtic knotwork-- and now calligraphy.

The above was one of my first pieces made with brush pens (the awesomely blendable Tombow Dual Brush Pens, to be precise). It's currently hanging across from my bed, and only two days after making it I'm already cringing at the mistakes I'm learning to recognize: inconsistent angles, inconsistent x-heights, and extremely inconsistent "e's".

That will come with practice. For now, it's just relaxing and magical!

(So for those friends who've been asking for prints: you are absolutely feel free to email me for a special print or original piece, but I am a ways off from being ready to treat my calligraphy as professional enough to sell prints on Etsy or Society6, etc).

Also, I always have to bring in The Lord of the Rings. Just a bit of Elvish for you all!

At some point in the future, when I am a more experienced calligrapher, I'd like to write a blog post reviewing my favorite calligraphy tools.

Because, you know, awesome art supplies make my heart happy.

For now, these are what live in my calligraphy-supplies box:

  • Dip pen holder and oblique dip pen holder
    (I have both the straight and the oblique cheap Speedball holders, and from my grandparents I also have the Tachikawa straight holder-- and someday in the future I would like to purchase one of the beautiful hand-turned wooden oblique holders that I've seen on instagram).
  • Speedball nib set (really I only use the Bowl Pointed Fine nib)
  • Nikko G nib (my favorite by far!)
  • 12-pack of Tombow Brush Pens (also great for ordinary artwork)
  • The absolutely magic Pilot Parallel Pens. I just wish they came with smaller tips!
  • Higgin's Eternal Ink
  • India Ink
  • Homemade inks from gum arabic, gouache/watercolor, and PearlEx pigments leftover from Mom's scrapbooking days
  • My bottle of J. Herbin fountain pen ink-- I have a separate container for half of this ink, and I mixed gum arabic into it so it is thicker and appropriate for a dip pen.

The worn-out fountain pen and felt broad-tip markers that I used as a twelve year old are there, too. I occasionally use my glass pen (mostly for writing letters and drawing, though, not for calligraphy). An assortment of Micron and Staedtler pens from drawing classes and my everyday fountain pen also live in the box-- for lettering, not calligraphy.

That's all for now today! I'd love to hear in the comments if any of you have tried calligraphy, and how you like it-- and if you have any tips or good resources!

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