Versals after workshops with Gemma Black

I was one of the lucky ones at LetterWorks this summer in Ogden, Utah: I got into the 5-day class taught by Gemma Black, “The Versal and the Book“. Even luckier, Gemma came to Montana earlier this month to teach a 2-day workshop on versals to Big Sky Scribes, the state-wide guild, and I got into that workshop too.

I might be finally getting the idea of versals. My goal has been to letter a page a day. Most days I’ve been making that goal. As shown below.

Dave-Jones-like versals with a 1mm Brause nib and sumi on 100# Strathmore Drawing 400 folio. This was Wednesday.
3/4-mm Brause nib and sumi stick ink on 100# Strathmore Drawing 400 folio. This was Thursday.

On Wednesday, I was shooting for a rhythm. Which is harder than you might think, since it is drawing and filling in. But I still think a rhythm is important, even when drawing.

On Friday (see below), I tried to make thinner-than-normal weight, but I kept defaulting to a standard weight. The Mohawk Superfine paper was a bear to write on, especially with gouache, and especially because of the drawing-and-filling-in thing which caused the paper to shred.

Open traditional versals. 3/4-mm Brause nib with stick ink on 100# Strathmore Drawing 400 folio. This was also Thursday.
Traditional versals. 3/4-mm Brause with Schmincke Calligraphy Gouache on Mohawk Superfine, for some unexplainable (and indefensible) reason. This was Friday.