Homegrown Trajans with Yves Leterme

I’m taking my very first online calligraphy course. “Homegrown Trajans” is taught by the wonderfully clear and thorough master Yves Leterme via Harvest Crittendon’s site, Acorn Arts. It’s as rigorous as anyone could wish for, and I’m already just a tiny bit behind. Week 3 posted today, but these are my worksheets from week 1 (complete) and week 2 (not quite complete). I think some of these students have no other demands on their time! Or perhaps I’m just incredibly slow. Either way, I’m buckling down tonight and catching up.

Those gestural brush alphabets

I do like to return to the gestural brush alphabet from time to time, especially when I pair with a contrasting element. This particular one was made to put in the solo exhibit in Missoula last fall. 

Having embarked today on Yves Leterme’s online course, “Homegrown Trajans”, I can predict that I won’t be doing anything like the above in the near future. Unless … it’s as relief from those demanding Trajan Romans.

My latest artist book edition

I realize that, although I posted process photos of my last book edition, I never did post photos of the book itself. (I forgot to photograph the entire edition before it dispersed. Gah!)

Umm, I seem to have misplaced those photos. But … I do have more process photos. As always, click on the image for a closer look. Next time, photos of a completed book or two. Promise.

A stack of lettered accordion text blocks, ready for their covers.
Various parts of the books, spiraling clockwise from top left: some folded text blocks and their end sheets; a pair of covered-board covers; a standing text block with end papers; a put-together book (partially shown); a text block being held open with a micro-spatula; 3 weaving strips; a homemade scoring tool, a needle punch, and a bone folder; another pair of covers; a couple of templates; a stack of unfolded end sheets under a template; 4 covers which have been laced together and are ready to be laced to their text blocks.
Lacing the cover to the text block. I’m using a micro-spatula and a tool made to pull elastic through a sewn casing.

Pointed-pen flourishing for thank-you notes

I’ve been preparing for our next pointed-pen class, when we will be experimenting with using the pressure and release of the pen to make decorative oval borders around some lettering. Here a few examples of what that could look like.

Pointed pen practice/play

I’m having the best time teaching a great group of students this winter. Although I’ve taught calligraphy classes for [checks résumé] 30 years (!), this is the first time I’ve taught pointed pen scripts in a classroom setting. To teach others is always to educate myself. Determining how to explain a concept often spotlights previously ignored fuzzy areas in my own thinking.

We’ve begun with a business hand and no pressure, gotten an intro to pointed pen nib and offset holder and ink, and then moved on to a working copperplate hand that is not too fussy (think Buddy Blackwell). 

Here is a bit of silliness that broke out during a practice session focusing on whole-arm movement exercises. Contrary to what this image may suggest, I do not plan to cover “modern calligraphy” in any depth. I was just having fun. Click on the image for a closer look.


Stumbling in the new year

This year I made a greeting card to celebrate the new year. I’ve almost got them all mailed (hey, it’s still January, isn’t it?). Here’s an image of it. IRL it’s 8.5″ wide and 16.5″ tall, folded vertically into thirds. Happy New Year to you!


Register here for a new pointed pen calligraphy class beginning January 7

I am offering a 6-week calligraphy class from 5:30-7:00 pm on Sundays, beginning January 7. We will study pointed pen lettering, with an emphasis on monoline and copperplate styles.
Please use the form below to register for the class. 
The cost will be $95 per person, payable the first day of class or via PayPal here.
The class will be limited to 10 participants.
We will study the letter forms and how to use them in projects such as greeting cards, bookmarks, place cards, little books, and more.
Pointed pen lettering requires a bare minimum of tools and materials. You’ll need the following for the class:
  • Strathmore Drawing 300 pad at least 9″ x 12″
  • Oblique pen holder
  • Leonardt Principal EF pointed nib (I can supply 1 nib for $2.50, same price at John Neal)
  • a black fine point marker such as Sakura Pigma Micron 01 or ZIG Millennium 01, approximately 1/4mm width
  • pencil, sharpener, eraser
  • metal-edge ruler at least 12″

Except for the Leonardt Principal nib, everything here is available at the MSU Bookstore. I’ll offer a basic kit, which includes the first 3 items, for $12 to those students who let me know that they want a kit by January 1.

In addition, I will provide some tools and materials for your use, and others for you to try out. I always say that many a budding calligrapher got their start due to a case of OSD (Office Supply Addiction).
Class will be held in the social hall of Temple Beth Shalom at 2020 West Koch; this is just west of 19th Avenue South, near Albertsons.
Class will commence on Sunday, January 7, and meet weekly except for January 21. The last class will be held on February 18.
Email me with any questions. I look forward to seeing you in class! 
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Italic practice, after a break

Time passes, I travel, I do other things, and suddenly I realize it’s been awhile since I practiced any lettering. Sure, I’ve done an edition of 1-5/8″ x 3″ books with tiny capitals lettering in it, and finished a baby quilt, and done some lettering on mirrors. None of that “counts” towards lettering practice — as is proved by the uncertainty and inconsistency of today’s practice lettering. I’m preparing for a long piece, and this must improve!

New calligraphy class in Jan-Feb 2018

I’m planning to teach an 8-week class in January and February in Bozeman.

To make it as inclusive and accessible as possible, I’ve set up a poll to discover what you are interested in learning and what time of day and week you could attend. If you’re interested in taking the class, scroll down the examples to let me know what interests you and when you could attend.

In response to some questions about the class, here is a little more information.

Depending on how many students we have, the cost will be $100 to $120 per person for the course.

Students are welcome to bring what they have that would work. For those who want it, I am happy to provide a beginner’s kit for students on the first day of class. The cost is $18 and includes:
  • 4 Mitchell dip pens (in 4 sizes) + 1 ink reservoir
  • 1 basic pen holder
  • 1 pad of Strathmore Drawing 300 paper
 A student starting from scratch will pay $15 – $35 for basic calligraphy supplies if they purchase them individually. At a minimum, we’ll use 
  • dip pens — a sampler of pens is $12.95 or $15.95, although a student could buy a few nibs from me @ $1.25 each;
  • sumi ink — available at the MSU bookstore or pay $6 for small jar of Moon Palace at John Neal;
  • Strathmore Drawing 300 paper — a pad of 11×14 paper will cost about $11 (or less with a Michaels coupon or when it’s on sale). 
(I assume people will have basic office supplies on hand, such as pencil, eraser, ruler, etc.)
To give you idea of how I run a class, check out this link to a class I taught in 2015. At the bottom of the class you can see syllabus and assignments, week by week.
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