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!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pen Sketch: A Nature Piece

The Triangle Calligraphers' Guild will be hanging some of their calligraphic works of art on the walls of Sunflowers for the month of August.

Here is one of my pieces that I hope to be on display. This is in the pen sketch stage. Now I will transfer this design to watercolor paper and start the process of adding color.

So, what were the steps leading up to this?

Step One: The Thinking Phase - I had a frame already that I wanted to use, so I perused some art that I had pinned to one of my Pinterest Boards and found a layout that would fit that frame. I tweaked it a bit and came up with a similar layout in my mind.

Step Two: Solidify the Details - Once I figured out a layout, I now had to come up with a design. What should I put into this layout? Well, the theme for our guild's display was Nature. Okay, so how about something having to do with the Four Seasons?

Step Three: Get out the Pencil - I sketched the layout of my design on graph paper with a pencil. Why graph paper? It already had straight lines, and that is what I would need for my layout. Why pencil? It's easy to erase! I call this final stage my Skeleton. It is the bare bones of the design.

Step Four: Fill in the Skeleton - Now that I had a penciled skeleton of my layout on the graph paper, I now needed to flesh it out. Here comes the tracing paper! Instead of continuing to sketch on the graph paper, I laid a piece of tracing paper on top of it and started filling in the design, bit by bit. There could be numerous layerings of tracing paper by the end of this process. I actually had four.

Step Five: From Pencil to Pen - Once I was fully satisfied with the pencil renderings, I used yet another layer of tracing paper to trace the pencil lines with a 005 black micron pen.

Step Six: Onto the Real Deal - A lightboard comes in handy at this point. The penned sketch in laid on top of the lightboard. On top of that is laid watercolor paper. Turn the light on! Now you can see the penned sketch through the watercolor paper. The design can now be traced onto the watercolor paper.

Whew! And NOW I am at the point of thinking about what colors to use on all this!!! Fingers crossed!

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