I grew up in Raleigh at a time when the nuns taught at Our Lady Of Lourdes. They lived out back of the school and wore those imposing yet Holy Habits that commanded your adoration, attention, and, quite frankly, your fear. So, when they asked you to "sit up straight" with your "feet flat on the floor" and compose your letters properly according to the Palmer Method of Handwriting, you did just that! I believe it was at that impressionable age that I became infatuated with the formation of letters. When I was introduced to calligraphy in 1978, it was no wonder I fell in love with this beautiful art form. My first taste of the calligraphic world lasted no longer than one hour. The instructor turned a piece of chalk on its edge to form calligraphic works of art from A to Z on the chalkboard. That was that! But it was all I needed to fire the embers that had been sparked in elementary school. Watching the slow, rhythmical shaping of those letters was like listening to classical music. It was not until 1997 that I enrolled in my first formal calligraphy class. Boy, were my eyes opened! I knew I had a lifelong road of learning ahead of me. It's been 38 years since that white piece of chalk was laid on its side. I am still learning. Come learn with me!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Welcome to Our Wedding

I enjoyed working on this wedding chalkboard for Akira and Michael. Akira emailed me a pic from Pinterest that she liked and I endeavored to mimic it for her. You will see in the pics below the process. 

I printed out the Pinterest pic, then laid out a graph on it as well as on the chalkboard. 

Next was to start lettering according to the grids. This took a while.

It took several drafts with a fine chalk pencil to get their names exactly right. As you can see, if you scroll up, I ended up using a different draft for the final lettering. 

So, now you can pick up your chalk and go for it!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Carrie Imai lettering

Last Spring the Carolina Lettering Arts Society hosted Carrie Imai to teach a 2-day workshop. I did not make the class, but was fortunate to have two members of our guild, The Triangle Calligraphers' Guild, come and show me some of what they did. Above is one of the practice sheets I did with them. We used our automatic pens to write the letterforms. For ink, we used watercolors. 

After this tiny tutorial, I then decided to buy Carrie Imai's book, "dancin' pen," which comes with a cd. Now I can watch Carrie teach as many times as I please.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lettering in a Circle

A few months ago, I taught the Triangle Calligraphers' Guild how to letter in a circle. It wasn't that easy! First, I needed to do my research. I looked through the 60 calligraphic books I have on my bookshelf. There was next to nothing on how to letter in a circle. I then went online to try to find instructions. Again, not real helpful.

So, it finally came down to putting on my mathematical thinking cap and figuring it out myself, in a way that made sense to me.

Above is the final pencil sketch of my idea. The large "A" is a Roman rendition. I think I might need to move it over just a tad to the left for the final piece. The smaller "a"s are Uncial. Inside the inner circle are round Celtic signs.

Below are some of the steps taken to make this sketch.

Use gridded pad and compass to draw a circle.

Using a protractor, lay out lines equidistant, radiating out from the center. Add other circles delineating x-height, ascender height, descender height, etc.

Lay tracing paper over your template, cross your fingers, and start lettering! It might take a few tries to get the spacing just right.

I hope you found this helpful! Now, go and make your lovely letters in a circle! I want to see them!

Monday, November 9, 2015

This wedding mat was an interesting one to figure out. Seems like every calligraphic commission turns up something I've never done before. Sure, I've most likely done the lettering, at least, but even in this case, I had never done this type of lettering before.

So, what do you do? You tell your client you can do it and then you figure it out.

I was given an image from Pinterest to imitate with the lettering "Thirsty Script." I thought I would need to look at only those letters in that two-word image and then try to come up with the rest of the alphabet, figuring out which tool to use to accomplish the thick monoline effect.

Then I had the bright idea to Google "Thirsty Script." Lo and behold, it is a font, a downloadable font. So that's what I did. I downloaded it. Then typed out the names and the date.

What next? I used Saral Transfer Paper to transfer the outlines of the words onto the mat board. Once the outline was transferred, watercolor was laid into the words using a Princeton monogram brush. 

This took a lot of thinking and a lot of time, but once done, I was satisfied, and so was the Bride. And I learned how to do something I had not done before. Win-Win.

Happy Halloween

This brush lettering always lends itself to quick, easy, colorful, and fun lettering. I used Mead Academie Sketch Pad and Tombow Brush Markers. Colored pencils were used for the art. As far as the art, most of it is freehand. Some of it is based on images pulled up online, but still freehanded, not traced.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Always String in Pencil

It's fun to delve into something artistic other than lettering. I must say, I do enjoy Zentangling. but if you notice, I did letter in monoline Italic. :)

Duke University Award Certificate

I really enjoyed this commission for the Program in International Comparative Studies at Duke University. I designed and lettered the entire certificate. Then it was sent to my letterpress guy who letterpressed it in Duke blue. Once that was done, the certificates were sent back to me to add in the names in black qouache. I get to do these every year, and am honored to do them.