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!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Derwent Inktense Pencils

A group of us lettering gals get together about once a month and teach each other what we've been learning. Some share what we learned in a class, be it in a workshop or an online class. Some share what they've read and experimented with.

This past Friday we congregated around one of women who taught us quite a lot of things actually. One was how to use the Derwent Inktense Pencils. I wasn't exactly sure what these things were going to be, but I realized after I had gotten home that I already owned some Derwent Watercolor Pencils. And they both work in much the same way. So, you really do not need to go out and buy something new if you already have the watercolor pencils.

According to the Dick Blick website, "Derwent Inktense Pencils are as versatile as watercolor pencils, but with a firmer texture that allows them to perform with the brilliant intensity of traditional pen-and-ink." So there you have it!

Anyway, we were using capitals in all of our exercises. We varied height, weight, lightness, darkness, stretching out the letters, compressing them, etc. We were to bring with us a quote or phrase to use. Since my daughter had just had a baby girl, I focused on her name, Gabriella Basil Binanay.

First, I wrote her name in monoline caps using a pen (forgot which one). Turns out that when you put a wet brush to this pen, it bleeds, casting a blue tint. So I decided to use that. (One of those Happy Mistakes.) The yellows, oranges, and reds were the Derwent Pencils.

Here's what you do: Have a small container of water handy along with a small watercolor brush. Wet the brush and then touch it to the end of a pencil until you are happy with how much color you have extracted. Now put this brush on the paper and start filling in wherever you like. It is quite easy.

I'd suggest not using too many colors. It is always a good bet to limit your colors to about three. You could practice on another piece of paper to see what kinds of color combinations you like before you commit yourself to your final piece.

This is my first practice piece, so I am pretty sure that I will keep working on the idea until I am completely satisfied!

Why don't you experiment too!

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