calligraphy

Mirror Lettering Class - Review

Ahhh, continuing the year of firsts! I taught my FIRST mirror lettering class and it was outstanding! The class was based off of my e-book of a similar title! There is nothing like actually auditing a class in person, however if you are interested in getting a head start, grab this resource to start learning the basics!

The students that took this class were pretty much already confident letterers so it was truly all about tips, tricks and techniques!

Will teach this one again, definitely!!!

—ct

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2 Weeks Left to Beginner's Modern Caligraphy!

The class is Saturday, March 11, 2017! Start your calligraphy journey THIS year! I hope you can join me for my 1st Quarter class! There will be refreshments, a detailed curriculum, practice sheets and MORE. Better yet, a HALF HOUR has been added to this course so its 3.5 hours! Hurry and book your slot while the Early Bird rate is still available.

Indie Wed 2017 Review

Indie Wed was a huge success for me. I loved everything. The vibe, the vendors, the couples, it was truly special. Very intimate and "kitschy", I thought it was a one of a kind show. My mirror decor fit in perfectly. Special thanks to Kelly Horvath, the show's founder for accepting my company with open arms. Also need to thank my biz buddy Desiree Dent of Dejanae Events who encouraged me to do this show and also came out to help me field client inquiries.

I also heard that there was a special 7:15A segment that featured ONLY my mirrors but I have been unable unfortunately to obtain the footage! I DID make it to the "wrap-up" reel, but it was truly a "blink and you'll miss it" moment, so I made sure to get a screen shot of it.

Mirror Lettering: A How To Guide Available Now

It's been a looong time and so much has happened since the last blog. I need to recap the awesome calligraphy workshop I hosted on October 22nd... I've got some cool worksheets to share, and finally I want to get you up to speed on some cool holiday calligraphy ideas. Whew!

FIRST, I want to share that I've FINALLY (and I do mean finally) put together a "how to" guide for creating mirrors. I get so many questions about this particular style of writing that I thought I'd go ahead and put together my BEST tips for doing these right the first time. You can purchase a digital download from my hand lettering page or from my Etsy shop!

Excerpts below:

Grab the e-book by 11/30 if you can for the special rate! I'll be back soon with more goodies!

--ct

Getting Started with Pointed Pen - Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of Getting Started with Pointed Pen! Check out part 1 when you get a chance...

Choosing an Ink
Some inks work better than others based on the type of paper that you are using. Different kinds of ink: Waterproof, Non-Waterproof, India, etc. will have different absorption levels into your surface. Some blacks may even appear lighter/darker. 

One of the BEST ink comparison, explorations I've found done online (although limited to Higgins and Windsor Newton brands)  was done  by the Calligraphy Pen Blog... The owner does mostly illumination, and he is phenomenal, please check him out. He's one of those tireless calligraphy instructors that was doing this before it everyone knew calligraphy was cool! 

Taken from the  Calligraphy Pen Blog . Notice how different in appearance your inks can appear. This image has not been retouched in any way.

Taken from the Calligraphy Pen Blog. Notice how different in appearance your inks can appear. This image has not been retouched in any way.

I like Sumi Ink personally. It is a permanent, black ink made from vegetable oil made specifically for painting and calligraphy. Others are decent too... Speedball, Higgins, J. Herbin, etc., I just like Sumi because it's one ink that really never lets me down, no matter what kind of surface I encounter.

Creating strokes
Time to start making strokes! I did a prior blog on drills that you can start doing with pencil. Check it out when you can. I also provided a free worksheet. After you get used to making those marks, making the same kinds of strokes with a pointed pen will feel a little more natural. Actually, if you can go from executing these drills with:

pencil
-to-
fine line brush pen
-to-
finally, the steel pointed pen, that's the BEST preparation I can recommend!

You can find fine line brush pens at JetPens.com. This is one of my favorite places and if you are any kind of pen aficionado you will LOVE what they have to offer. They not only offer a HUGE variety of pens, they also have invaluable guides that help you shop for just the right tools. Can't say enough good things about Jet Pens. Anywho, similar to the pointed pen nibs, a brush pen SAMPLER kit is available and I highly recommend it. They actually have about 4 or 5 differnt sets available!

Pencil first, then fine line brush pen and THEN the pointed pen tip! This will help retain these basic, necessary strokes in your muscle memory. Light, feathery pressure on your upstrokes, firm, heavy pressure on your downstrokes.

Pencil first, then fine line brush pen and THEN the pointed pen tip! This will help retain these basic, necessary strokes in your muscle memory. Light, feathery pressure on your upstrokes, firm, heavy pressure on your downstrokes.

Hope this was helpful, I'll be back with some more goodies later!

--ct 

Using Addressing Guides in Calligraphy

Hi guys!

I recently posted a video on Instagram and got some great feedback on it. Thought I'd expand on it with a blog post! Addressing guides... I feel like I have DOZENS of these and have been making them since as far back as perhaps 2008?

Variety of addressing guides I've collected and created over the years...

Variety of addressing guides I've collected and created over the years...

 

Normally, when writing on envelopes, I use a lightbox. You can slip in a sheet of paper or light card stock with horizontal lines that you've either drawn with a straight edge or created in an art program like Adobe Illustrator.

I typically put a thick center line down the middle and vertical "stop" lines to the left and to the right... I follow these to control shorter and longer names and addresses. 

Non-opaque envelopes or papers are pretty much "solved" with a lightbox. I use a Light Tracer... They are starting to make them flat, but I prefer the slanted surface.

There are also some guides I've seen (and ordered), from Paper Ink and Arts. They are nice. They are printed on a soft, clear/transparency like stock. Kind of flimsy (I like my guides to be thicker than this), but definitely still serviceable.

Letter lines address guide inserts include not only horizontal lines, but slanted lines... GREAT for beginners who need this reference underneath their paper/envelopes.

This brings us to envelopes and surfaces that are OPAQUE. If they are heavily lined or are colored, you will NOT be able to use a traditional addressing guide. The lightbox will be rendered useless with these kinds of papers due to the lack of transparency.

There are static addressing guides you can buy for these (I didn't discover that companies actually sold these until a couple of years ago). Paper Source sells one called the "Lettermate".

This is a tool that I think calligraphers should own for sure, but the spaces on it are so tiny, I usually only use it to quickly draw lines on a smaller envelope...

I prefer to actually make my own guides so that I can actually have room to LETTER inside each space. It basically starts out as a regular address guide, I just use an exact blade to physically CUT the lines where the address is eventually lettered. 

The purpose of the guide is twofold:

  1. It obviously keeps the lines straight
  2. It keeps me from having to pencil in and (later erase) guidelines. The last thing I want to do after writing on (and proofreading) 100 or so envelopes is erasing guidelines, ugh!

The only wrinkle is you have to remove the guides in order to add in both your ascenders and descenders. A bit more of a "confined" feeling for sure, but again, it negates the need for guidelines and I think erasing guidelines for me personally, is distasteful.

I've gotten so used to doing this that I'm very comfortable forming part of the letter. Admittedly there are styles that make using this guide pretty difficult. If so, I just go ahead and use it to write guidelines. 

I've gotten so used to doing this that I'm very comfortable forming part of the letter. Admittedly there are styles that make using this guide pretty difficult. If so, I just go ahead and use it to write guidelines. 

In lieu of guidelines, I see many calligraphers using laser pointers to keep lines straight.

I assumed that this light would hurt your eyes, but I've heard from calligraphers that use this method that it does not...

I keep saying I want to try, but I literally have dozens and dozens of these addressing guides and i've grown accustomed to using them. I still want to keep growing as an artist though so utilizing the laser will be a future blog for sure!

Take care til' next time!
--ct

Pointed Pen Calligraphy Tips

Hi guys... I'll be teaching a pointed pen class soon and I thought I'd start sharing some tips and tricks for those of you who are either thinking about finally picking up some pointed pen nibs, or you already HAVE some pens but have been reluctant (or kind of lost) as it pertains to starting.

I want to recommend that you first start with a pencil. Yes, I said a pencil. SO MUCH of what you will be doing with the pointed pen is based on the amount of PRESSURE you apply to the pen nib, starting with a more inocuous writing tool like a pencil will definitely help.

Using a #2 pencil, make slanted strokes... Light pressure on the way up, and firm pressure on the way down. The "upstroke" where you are using light pressure is called the "lead in" stroke. The "downstroke", where you are using firm pressure is often referred to as the "full pressure" stroke.

Baby steps, yes I know, but this is one of the most important things you can do to start prepping your hand and wrist to tackle pointed pen strokes!

Baby steps, yes I know, but this is one of the most important things you can do to start prepping your hand and wrist to tackle pointed pen strokes!

As you get comfortable creating these basic strokes, you can move on to other shapes and movements. These drills will help your understanding of how to achieve "thicks and thins" through the use of he pointed pen, as well as helping develop your muscle memory.

Please download a free drills worksheet so you can make copies and practice, practice and practice some more.

Let me know if you have questions and I'll catch up with you later with more tips!

--ct