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 34 years since that white piece of chalk was laid on its side. I am still learning. Come learn with me!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I have a commission from a bride to make a chalkboard out of an old sign (above picture) she gave me, then letter on it. This is exciting for me as this will be my first time to go through the process.

I talked with two calligrapher friends who had made chalkboard signs as well as researched the topic. I bought chalkboard paint from Michaels and a foam roller.  I taped the edges of the frame of this sign so that it would prevent the paint from landing there. Then I rolled on the paint, one thin coat, and let it dry the specified time. Once dry, I painted over it a second time and let it dry.

Once the chalkboard paint is done, you "prime" it by rubbing white chalk all over the paint. Once you wipe that off with a dry cloth, it is ready to be lettered upon with either regular chalk or chalk markers.

Ribbon Writing

Today I learned Ribbon Writing in our Triangle Calligraphers' Guild Meeting. The woman who shared this with us is Nell. She said there was not a whole lot written about this type of lettering, but she fell in love with it a few years ago and uses it a lot. I looked in my library of books and actually had the book that shows this exemplar. The book is "Hand Lettering" by Marci Donley & DeAnn Singh, and this exemplar is on page 102.

Nell explained how she forms these letters, and then one of the members, and engineer, came up with a completely different way of making them! And it was really easy doing it her way. 

I had fun with this. I think the choice of colors make the lettering. I like the pinks and greens together with a touch of blue. Nell showed us a piece she did using only a pencil for shading and coloring and it was nice as well. 

I laid down a curved line on my bond layout paper, then placed the exemplar underneath my layout paper, making sure the letter I wanted to trace was sitting on the line. I traced over each letter in pencil. Once done, I went over the letters with a black micron pen, then erased the pencil marks. Next, I chose the colored pencils I wanted to use inside the letters.

This is fun. It's easy. And if you want to make a quick Thank You card or Easter Card or Get Well Card.....
this would look grand.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Drawn Roman Caps

Last weekend was Session Two of Reggie Ezell's "26 Seeds " workshop. Part of what we learned was how to draw Roman Caps. As part of our homework assignment, we are to draw the entire alphabet in pencil, do all sorts of machinations to them, ending up with our own personal exemplar. This is my start. I have a ways to go, but I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Homework Session One #4 for Reggie Class

I am currently working on the homework for Reggie's class, Session One, Homework Assignment #4.

We are to mark out gridded paper into the line spacing and interlinear spacing for a Mother Teresa poem entitled "Just It Anyway." It is 135 words long. OR we can do a poem of our choosing of similar length.

I chose to write a Love Letter to my Dad and use it instead.

This first pic is of the gridded paper. We were to make spaces 1/2" for the lettering with 1/8" interlinear spacing for the text of the piece. Needless to say, just doing this little bit took a while.

Next, I taped off an area of my Arches HP paper in which I plan on lettering. I want to lay down a light coat of yellow watercolor as background for this piece, let that dry, then do the lettering in values of blue. We are to use 5 values of one color to do the lettering. Each letter is to have a different color value, starting at 1 and going to 5 and back down to one.

Let me try to make that clearer...

Let's take a simple "I Love You."
"I" would be value 1.
"L" would be value 2.
"o" would be value 3.
"v" would be value 4.
"e" would be value 5.
And now we head back to 1.
"Y" would be value 4.
And so on, throughout the entire length of the poem.

I will insert pictures as I get done with each stage of this process. (Right now, my gmail is not cooperating with me and I cannot get my pics!)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Color Wheel Finished...

I continued working on the Color Wheel today using egg cartons to mix my gouache. 

And here is the finished wheel. Maybe. I have other ideas that I want to work into my design, but you will have to wait to see those. I hope my ideas turn out to actually add interest to my wheel instead of detracting from it or possibly ruining it altogether! 

Will you cross your fingers for me?

Starting the Color Wheel

I will be posting a lot of pics of what I am and will be doing in the year-long calligraphy course I am taking called "26 Seeds" and taught by Reggie Ezell.

One of our assignments was to make a color wheel. I won't go into all of the details on how to actually do this, but needless to say, it was a learning experience. At this stage I am halfway through. This took me 3 hours! 

Reggie had designed a Color Wheel Flower for us to paint our colors into, but I wanted to do something different. Why??!! Well, I guess because I want to be a bit different? I want to make it even harder than it is? I'm insane?

I have given myself permission NOT to be perfect with any of the assignments we will be given. This will enable me to avoid the mental ward. We're supposed to be artistic, right? So, art is freeing, or at least that's how I see it.

Anyway, hope you enjoy this pic and the ones to come.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reggie Ezell - 26 Seeds

I signed up this year to take Reggie Ezell's yearlong calligraphy class entitled "26 Seeds." The image above shows my notes written for the first session. I wrote on the grid paper we were using in class. When I got home, I decided to transfer them all into a beautiful orange bound book with lines. 

This is going to be a journey I have been preparing for since my decision to be serious about lettering in 1997. To put it metaphorically, I have been walking slowly and steadily on a straight path, and now the journey will be uphill with some leaps and bounds.

I hope you will enjoy this journey with me.