Versals after Gemma Black

A farewell card for a calligrapher friend

This farewell card gave me a chance for further practice on the versals I studied with Gemma Black at LetterWorks this summer in Ogden, Utah, and again last month in Missoula, Montana.

Lettering is done in gouache, as are the counters of the 1st and 3rd lines . The counters of the 2nd and 4th lines are done with a Palomino Blackwing pencil.

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.

Portfolio project

Remember this post? wherein I claimed to be making progress. Hahahahahaha.

I’ve scrapped those pages, and the minuscule progress I’ve made since then, to make it a pencil-only portfolio. Here are two completed pages. We will make portfolios for our projects in August, so I really do have to get cooking on these. 

Portfolio project – B is for Balance
Portfolio project – J is for Juxtapose

Casual versal

Casual versal G illuminated with watercolor pencils and pan watercolors.
Casual versal “G” illuminated with watercolor pencils and pan watercolors. Approximately 1.5″ square.

At our local guild meeting on Monday, Diana guided us through the designing and painting of a casual versal letter (or 4, in the case of one participant!). We had a lot of fun with pencil, pen, watercolor, and watercolor pencils. Here’s mine, at left. I began another; perhaps I’ll post it when I finish it.