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, May 4, 2018

How to Make a Pastel Border

How to Make a Pastel Border

This is so very easy, and when it is done, it makes whatever you have lettered look fabulous.

In the first image, top left, you see the pastels that I used. It's just a simple, inexpensive little package of pastels. You choose the pastel kits you want. They come in all kinds of colors. 

The craft knife is used to scrape off some of the pastel colors you want to use onto a scrap piece of paper.

Make sure you have taped some copy paper or scrap paper around your lettered piece, making sure the taped down papers are straight, both vertically and horizontally. The best tape to use is Removable Tape. And the tape is on the outside of the strips of papers so that the inside is free of tape. See image top right.

Now the magic begins.

Using a cotton ball, dip it into the pastel scrapings. Swipe the cotton ball over the top of the taped down papers towards your lettered piece. That tidbit is important. You do not want to put the cotton ball on your piece and swipe towards the taped down papers. See image bottom left.

Once you are happy with the amount of pastel you have put onto your piece, carefully lift off the scraps of paper to reveal a perfectly crisp border. See image bottom right.

Ta Da! 

Wasn't that easy? And this little gem of a trick enhances any lettering art.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Monogram on a Canvas Tote

This tote was lettered for my granddaughter, Gabby, for Kindergarten.

The first step was designing the monogram. Grid paper and a pencil was used for this step. As you can see, I came up with two designs and chose the bottom one for the tote.

Now, here comes the sort of tricky part. In order to give me a stable surface on which to write, I needed the little cardboard piece to insert into the pocket on the tote. 

On a piece of tracing paper, I used a General's Pastel Chalk pencil to color in a square larger than the monogram. 

Now comes the layering. Lay the pastel square, face down, onto the tote. Next, put the pencil monogram on top of it. Tape these down so that they will not move. Use a ball point pen to trace over your pencil design, pressing hard. This will force the pastel chalk to be imprinted on the tote.

Once you are satisfied that the logo came through onto the fabric, you can remove the pastel square and the pencil monogram. What you now have is the monogram imprinted on the tote.

I used a fabric marker, bullet point, to trace over the imprint.

Voila! A fabulous, one-of-a-kind tote for Gabby Girl!

Now, you go and try this technique out to make yourself or a friend a wonderful gift.

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.