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SCRIBE: Artist of the Written Word Review [GIVEAWAY – closed]

John Stevens: SCRIBE: Artist of the Written Word Review

Scribe: Artist of the Written Word | John Stevens

Available at John Neal Booksellers

Many eager learners of calligraphy today do not think twice about spending a couple hundred dollars for an online or beginner’s workshop to gain access to coveted secrets of the craft and trade. But many do hesitate to spend even a fraction of that on a book. However, I believe anyone who loves the calligraphic arts and is serious about their pursuit of learning calligraphy should purchase SCRIBE: Artist of the Written Word by John Stevens. This is especially true for those considering calligraphy as a business.

Not only is SCRIBE bursting at the seams with the gorgeous and diverse work of the mega-talented John Stevens, but the book also contains some of the best narrative about the art form I have ever read. SCRIBE is not a “how-to” book but an impressive portfolio of John’s lifework, interspersed with savory paragraphs of expert knowledge regarding the principles, rather than the techniques, of calligraphy. John endeavors to elevate all forms of this expressive and functional art – no matter the style of calligraphy, the tool used, or a work’s purposeful use.

He jumps in by discussing the word “calligraphy” itself and the word’s inability to express everything that is encompassed by our art today or how it will be influenced in the future as a craft and art form. He implores us to not think in terms of dividing calligraphy by trends, styles, or genres, but rather to realize that quality is what really matters. He states, “thinking in terms of tools or styles is a mistaken idea, as it does not tell us anything about the quality of the form or the work….Comparing genres is different than looking at quality.”

And quality is something John knows. The book, itself a quality publication, is full of amazing contemporary and classic calligraphy: Roman, Italic, Copperplate, and Fraktur, as well as brush lettering, gestural lettering, calligrams, and more. Page after page, John’s work beholds both expertly executed design and true mastery of calligraphy as an art form. Each and every piece is a study of quality work and inspires contemplation of what makes it so successful. And the diversity of letterforms is truly astounding.

However, I am enthralled as much by the narrative as by John’s visual gallery. He gives such incredible insight into form, rhythm, movement, content, design, and implementing the use of calligraphy that I feel I should have paid tuition as well as the price of the book. He writes, “Simply possessing a nice hand such as Italic or Uncial is admirable, but is that the real goal? Practice and study are necessary, yet how to put it all together is the bigger topic…[C]alligraphers are striving toward more thoughtful connection to meaning and intention, beyond the merely beautiful or decorative.”

John speaks in-depth of cultivating an appreciation for the lettering arts and how to expand on the “make it simple” teaching of calligraphy. He states, “If we cultivated the appreciation of form, content, and design from the beginning, then we would move the conversation away from ‘perfect penmanship and pretty poems’ toward a more vibrant expression.” While he is not against beginning and basic classes, he explains in order to develop calligraphy, we need to be teaching at a higher level than where we currently are. His ideal in teaching is “to achieve a fine balance of visual language, letterform development, design with content, and mastery of tools.”

SCRIBE reveals invaluable descriptions of the exercises John uses when teaching the progression from fundamental forms to developing variations. While he embraces the form, beauty, and quality of traditional work such as Italic, he encourages us to move beyond specific historical scripts to create almost endless possibilities of exploration and variation. He also discusses the importance of learning design and how to use the space as effectively and powerfully as we can.

John shares many secrets about, well, everything. In addition to the process of learning, he devotes an entire chapter to the “Working Calligrapher,” which includes creating one-of-a-kind pieces and the intricacies of working with clients, as well as working as a designer, invitation work, product calligraphy, wood and stone lettering, logos, certificates, and how he began his business. He shares page after page of beautiful, inspiring examples of his work. He closes the book with information about Cheerio Calligraphy Retreats and his approach and ideals as a teacher.

Beyond the discussion of modern versus traditional, beyond a compilation of gifted work, this book dives deep into what makes beautiful and quality calligraphy, and how we can both carry on and elevate the craft. I highly recommend you invest both the money to buy it and the time to read it.

Truly,
Erica

– – – – – – – – – -GIVEAWAY CLOSED- – – – – – – – –

John Neal Bookseller and Flourish Forum have teamed up to give away a free copy of SCRIBE: Artist of the Written Word by John Stevens. [GIVEAWAY CLOSED.] Don’t forget to follow @FlourishForum and @JohnNealBookseller on Instagram. The lucky recipient will be was selected on Friday, November 6, 2015, after 11:59 pm.

One entry per person. For Instagram entrants: per Instagram rules, this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 14+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.

P.S. SCRIBE: Artist of the Written Word would make a great holiday gift for you and for the letter lovers in your life!

 

—— UPDATE ———-

The lucky winner was:

SCRIBE Winner 2015

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Flourish Friends!

Just a quick note to say hope you all have a fantastic new year filled with fun, family, and flourishing! In honor of new years (and staying up late to wait for my teenager to come home safely), I created a mini-tutorial of Tips for Calligraphy & Design. I also added a new board called, Design & Layout where members can share their design tips, secrets, and examples.

Design Tips for Calligraphers

For all you new members, this is just one of many tutorials at Flourish. If you are a new member, please be sure to check out the Copperplate Tutorial video series in the Pointed Pen Nirvana section.

So grateful to all of the wonderful members at Flourish for answering questions, sharing information, and spreading the love of lettering! 2014 has been a great year!

Happy 2015!

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Practicing with Precision

Hello Flourishing Friends!

For those of you interested in modern calligraphy, if you’ve been following along with our copperplate tutorials, you now have a general background with which to branch out into your own style. I hope this tutorial series has helped you understand how to use a pointed pen and the basics of learning copperplate.

For those looking to learn a more formal copperplate, I highly recommend Dr. Joseph Vitolo’s Script in the Copperplate Style ibook as well as IAMPETH for learning Copperplate a/k/a Engrosser’s Script.

For both groups looking to hone their skills, I have added a quick tutorial to our Pointed Pen Nirvana board about practicing with precision. This video outlines the next steps for studying a more formal copperplate, specifically how to square off the tops and bottoms of your letters. It also includes tips for paper, pen, and hand angles. It includes a detailed, slow motion, close up of how the nib creates the squared off tops and bottoms.

I hope you find it helpful. As always, you know where to find me!

Truly,
Erica

 

How to Practice Copperplate with Precision

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Final Copperplate Capitals Tutorial is done!

I can’t believe it but I have finally finished Capitals Q through Z. If you knew what I had to go through to finish this! First, my firewire cord stopped working. So I ordered a new one. Then that one wouldn’t work, then I tried uninstalling movie maker, then switched the cords around. Then I dropped my computer and voila – the firewire started working again! But then my scanner wouldn’t work!

Unfortunately, the version of movie maker I re-installed didn’t have narration capabilities (weird that Windows would remove that function in an upgrade!). So I uninstalled and reinstalled various versions of Windows Live Essentials FIVE times! When I loaded the final version, the “add narration” button was there but once it finished loading, it disappeared! What?!

So I gave up and just gave in to the fact my life is always full of these petty things trying to trip me up! GRRR! I used a separate sound recorder and finished! Hooray!

This completes our Copperplate lessons. I am so pleased to have accomplished this and to provide an introduction to learning. Remember the lessons are only available in the Pointed Pen Nirvana board which can only be seen if you are logged in. I hope you all have enjoyed the tutorials as much as I have enjoyed making them!

I’m off to work on Dasherie Magazine!

Truly,

Erica

Free Copperplate lessons at theflourishforum.com

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Lesson 9 – Capitals I through P – is now available!

Hi Flourish Friends!

I am so excited about my announcement of the upcoming premiere of Dasherie Magazine.  If you missed it, Dasherie will showcase exquisite, stylish, and contemporary calligraphy and lettering designs for a wide range of social events, home decoration, lifestyle, and marketing products. I hope you are all as excited as I am!

Meanwhile, I have been hard at work preparing the next tutorial in our Copperplate series. These tutorials are only available in the Pointed Pen Nirvana board which is only visible to registered members of the forum. The forum is free and so are the tutorials but you must be registered and signed in to see them. This lesson covers capital letters I, J, K, L, M, N, O, & P!

The forum is really flourishing with so many wonderful things all related to calligraphy and lettering. Thank you to all of our awesome members for the fantastic sharing and contributions.

Truly,

Erica McPhee

Learning Caps I through P at theflourishforum.com

 

 

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Capitals E thru H!

Hello,

Lesson 8 is a super quick video teaching capitals E, F, G, and H as well as spacing tips. It’s only about 4 minutes long but gives a few more letters to practice. You can never have enough practice of capital letters! I hope your calligraphy is coming along. Several members have posted their work for critique and received excellent feedback from our more experienced members.

If you aren’t a member, sign up, membership is free and is the only way to view the Pointed Pen Tutorials in the Pointed Pen Nirvana board! So click the “Enter the Forum” box, register, sign in, and learn calligraphy!

Truly,

Erica

Learning Capitals E, F, G, & H at the forum

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Learning Copperplate Capitals aka Majuscules

The long awaited Capitals tutorial is finally up in the forum! This 10 minute video is an accumulation of over 28 hours of work. I’m pleased to introduce you to the basics of learning Copperplate Capitals, also known as Majuscules. This is a basic copperplate alphabet which is less rigid and hopefully, more accessible, than traditional Copperplate or Roundhand.

As with learning other calligraphy, I highly recommend taking a class in person with your local guild or a traveling instructor, or even going to one of the calligraphy conferences. Nothing can substitute the experience of learning in person from a qualified calligrapher.

In the meantime, I hope these tutorials are a great jumping off point. Enjoy!

Truly,
Erica

Learn Copperplate Capitals at the flourish forum

 

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Donut Sunday – Modern Calligraphy Exemplar

I can’t wait any longer. 🙂 I intended on sharing this exemplar and demonstration video for Valentine’s Day but I just finished my Valentines for the forum exchange and I’m excited to share. Plus, I decided some of you may want to use this new alphabet to create your own Valentines so this gives you a little head start.

This is really more of a demonstration and an exemplar hand out, than a tutorial. There were many requests for a full exemplar of a modern calligraphy style so hopefully this will help. It doesn’t stray too far from a traditional Copperplate so those of you who have been following along with the tutorials in the forum, should find it vaguely familiar.

While it is fun to play with different styles, I always recommend taking a class in person if you can with an experienced calligrapher. There is so much to learn from seeing it done in person and having someone there to give you instant feedback. It speeds the learning process immensely.

I have posted the video and the handouts in the Pointed Pen Nirvana board. This is a member’s only board but membership is free. So if you haven’t signed up, this is a great time to do it!

And Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!

Truly, Erica Donut Sunday Modern Calligraphy ExemplarModern Calligraphy Exemplar

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Lesson 4 – Pointed Pen Copperplate Calligraphy is now available!

Happy New Year to all you letter lovers. Tomorrow is the first Monday of 2014 so I thought I would share the next tutorial in our Pointed Pen Calligraphy series to brighten up your day!

We will be wrapping up the miniscule (lowercase) letters with the next lesson. We’ll then be doing a lesson on numbers! Yuck! I mean, Hooray! (Does anyone else not like numbers or is it just me?) In any event, we’ll do a full lesson on copperplate numerals and then move on to majiscules and modern calligraphy!

The lessons and membership are offered free of charge but you have to be a member to see the Pointed Pen Nirvana board. I have lots of great things planned for this year so I hope you’ll join us in the forum!

Lesson 4, Learning l, h, k, b, & f

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