In calligraphy, practice approaches perfection, right?

This week I had occasion to write out a poem in letters of nearly 1/2″ x-height. It had been a long time since I had written anything of any length with a 3mm-wide nib, so I began with my go-to practice page, the alphabetical list of related terms. The first page was of upright italic, and then I tried something with a good slanted. The final piece had a slant that was somewhere between these two, but these two sheets were a good starting point and a great warm-up.

Lots of fun with Big Sky Scribes and Suzie Beringer

I had a thoroughly good time at our state guild’s spring workshop last weekend. Suzie Beringer taught her “Once Upon A Circle” and was a fantastic experience. Helena’s local guild were wonderful hosts. Deb brought a slice of her store, Queen City Framing & Art Supplies, for our shopping pleasure and also hosted a dinner Saturday night. All in all, a beautiful weekend, and I’m grateful to have had to opportunity to be there.

My work is in the Letter Arts Review juried annual issue!

26+ Alphabets in 4.
Gouache and metal pens on paper. 4 x 4 in.

I’m so pleased to have my work included in this year’s juried annual issue of the Letter Arts Review! My copies arrived in the mail today.

In making this piece I found myself exploring many of the same design elements that quilters contend with: proportion, color, texture, direction. At just four inches square, this was an exercise in small writing. Each 1-inch quadrant contains a large letter made of white space, the remainder of the alphabet in medium-sized capitals, and a lot of smaller complete alphabets. 

More Akim lettering for our guild project

Gouache, Zig Cocoiro brush pen, ZIG Mangaka 01 pen on Canson XL watercolor paper. 6 x 9 in.

I’m continuing to enjoy Akim lettering. I made these in preparation for next month’s local guild meeting. Even though I switched to a brush pen for the main lettering, I tried for a fairly monoline effect. I love doing Akim lettering with a brush pen.

Gouache, ZIG Mangaka 01 pen on Canson XL watercolor paper. 6 x 9 in.

Here I used the same palette as for the first one, but mixed neutrals. After I penciled in the box and did the main lettering, I went over the lettering inside the box with Pebeo masking fluid and a bowl-pointed pen (didn’t want to ruin my tiny brushes). Then I painted in the box. When the paint was dry, I removed the masking fluid with a rubber cement eraser. I had done a pretty bad job of tracing the lettering, but that was all right. And where it was just too egregiously out of whack I painted some neutral back in and blended it with the rest of the painting.

Akim – a surprisingly enjoyable script

Studying Akim for our guild’s long-term project with monoline lettering. Here the lines are discrete, but the letter elements are stretched to maximize the graphic impact and slow down reading. Fine-line marker on Clairfontaine paper. About 4 x 6 in, as I recall.

I’ve come across Akim script several times over the years, most usually because I return again and again to Hans-Joachim Burgert’s book The Calligraphic Line. This script is an approach as much as a hand, developed by Burgert. Until now, it has not drawn me in. But now I see it as a relaxation of the confines of lettering in favor of the graphical aspect of the page. And I’m really enjoying it.

These pages were done while sitting at the piano through many hours of choreography and staging and technical rehearsals for a production of “Carousel.” All I needed was a pad of Clairfontaine Triomphe paper and a fine-line marker. (I didn’t even need guidelines, a circumstance that is quite freeing.) Most of these were done with ZIG Millennium markers, sizes 005 to 03.

Here the lines are baselines are allowed to wave, but the lines intrude only sometimes upon one another. Fine-line marker on Clairfontaine paper. About 4 x 6 in, as I recall.
Akim script practice
Here I’m exploring a less linear texture by allowing the lines of text to intrude upon one another. Because of this intrusion, I’ve lessened the contrast between the letters’ wide arcs and the small counters. The text is “After Quiet,” by Hazel Hall. Fine-line marker on Clairfontaine paper, about 8 x 10 in.

Layouts & monolines guild project

Our local guild, Bridger Mountain Scribes, is now 8 months into a year-long project. We are each making a portfolio of 6″ x 9″ pieces featuring a variety of monoline lettering styles and watercolor decorations. My theme is “Questions.” And here’s my piece, which I may re-do, for month 6. (You can see 3 earlier months’ work here.)

Experimental letter weaving with built-up capitals

A weekly online lettering prompt “Warp & Weft” coincided with work I’ve been doing to develop a workshop on built-up capitals. And this resulted:

Leftover palette of gouache, #6 Mitchell Roundhand nib, student-grade watercolor paper.
Content area 5 x 4 inches.

Note to self (for the umpteenth time): don’t use crappy paper even for experimentation if there’s any chance at all that something interesting will result.