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Topics - Estefa

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Tools & Supplies / Silver ink, any idea which is good?
« on: June 13, 2014, 04:13:42 AM »
So, has anyone a good suggestion for silver ink?? The ones I tested turned out quite disastrous unfortunately. I have tried so far:

Windsor & Newton Silver – nice shine but doesn't work very well with pointed pen and STINKS

Rohrer & Klingner Drawing and Calligraphy Ink Silver – more like mother of pearl than silver, also is too thick imho.

The only one that is quite ok is from Kallipos, the Polar Blau, it's a blue-ish silver that writes quite nicely. The only issue I have with that is that it's feathering with not so great papers …

I'd be happy for suggestions! Thank you in advance,


Show & Tell / My new logo … or banner … for etsy
« on: June 11, 2014, 04:40:07 AM »
So here's the banner for my Etsy shop. I had already a logo / header for my website / blog, but as you see I couldn't use this for Etsy because they only allow this one panorama format. As I didn't just wanted to copy the old one, or crop it, I decided to do a new one from scratch, also because I think I've made some progress since I made the blog header …

The blog header has some elements from German Kurrent, which is a cursive form of Gothic, as some of you probably know, that was used in Germany (and Austria, where it is apparently still teached today!) until around 1942, alongside "Latin" (regular, based on Italic and Roundhand) letterforms. I have been working some months ago on some kind of a mix of Kurrent and Copperplate with the goal of making Kurrent (which has its own, spiky beauty as I think) readable for us today.

But as on Etsy it's not so much about my arcane experiments, but more about my hope of selling some stuff, I thought it'd use a script that people might want to have on their envelopes ;).

So I'm curious what you think! (And I know it has more than a couple of flaws, but I wrote this so often, and then when I was ready with the digital version, I didn't like it and started all over. And when I was ready with the second version and showed both to my husband, he said I was crazy and didn't see a differences, until I pointed them out to him. So for the moment I'll let this as it is … )

Federflug_Calligraphy&Design_final_flickr by Estefa1317, on Flickr

Federflug_flickr by Estefa1317, on Flickr

Tools & Supplies / Historical production of steel pens
« on: June 03, 2014, 03:44:58 AM »
This is only part of the virtual »Quill and nib museum« by Matthias Gröschke ( I post this page because in some conversations in the last time the subject popped up, and these illustrations are quite interesting (I think at least ;)).

Click on image to view on Amazon.

We are at one of those turning points, for the written word, that come only rarely in human history. We are witnessing the introduction of new writing tools and media. It has only happened twice before as far as the Roman alphabet is concerned - once in a process that was several centuries long when papyrus scrolls gave way to vellum books in late antiquity, and again when Gutenberg invented printing using movable type and change swept over Europe in the course of just one generation […]. Changing times now mean that for a brief period many of the conventions that surround the written word appear fluid; we are free to re-imagine the quality of the relationship we will make with writing, and shape new technologies. How will our choices be informed - how much do we know about the medium's past? What work does writing do for us? What writing tools do we need? Perhaps the first step towards answering these questions is to learn something of how writing got to be the way it is.

I am quoting here the introduction to a book I am still reading: The Golden Thread by Ewan Clayton. It sounds so promising and interesting, just about two things I hold very dear - (the history of) reading and writing, written from the perspective of both a calligrapher and designer. So far I just managed to read about two thirds of the book and it is packed with information and ideas!

The author is a renowned calligrapher and design professor who used to live and work in the 1980s for some years a s a scribe-monk before leaving the monastery and then worked as a consultant for Xerox, with Steve Jobs among others – a fascinating man!

What I like very much about this book (apart from that he has a calligrapher's perspective) is that although he is looking (often in awe and admiration) in the past he also has an open mind regarding the future – that he not simply laments the downfall of handwriting for example. He reminds us that it was only in the last century that writing became a common experience, and only in the last few decades that young people began to develop their own distinctive graphic culture. – Writing has an exciting future. (Quote from the second article in the FT, see the links)

You can find a short review here

and more about the author and the book here

I thought maybe some of you may be interested as well.

(I really hope I didn't post this earlier, because I wrote a shorter review some time before for another forum!! But it didn't turn up in the search, so – )

I bought the highly praised McCaffery's Ivory ink some weeks ago and while I like the colour and how it writes (very smoothly, less like something gouache-like, more like an ink), I have two issues with it, and on IG some others as it seems also, at least with the slimy thing.

What happened is that when I opened the bottle the last time now the pigment sat down and on top it was more like yellowish water, which is quite normal with white inks, so I stired it with a toothpick, but then saw that there were slime-like thingies in it. I took them out and wrote nonetheless, but it's a bit disgusting. Plus then it happened that when I wrote, sometimes there were very small slimy things on my nib point which caused ugly strokes. So that really bothers me! I mean I don't want to eat it, but when it turns unusable, at least for precise work, I think that's a bit dissapointing.

So apart from Schin and Joi, did that happen to anybody? Is there a way to prevent it?

The other thing is that I find it's not very opaque on dark paper. So while I like using it on just slightly coloured one, I think it's not very good readable on dark grey or black. What do you think?

Workshops & Conference News / Barbara Calzolari in Dallas in July
« on: March 18, 2014, 05:08:59 AM »
So, while trying to find out more about Barbara's Workshop in Europe with Michael Sull, I found this about one in America … I'd so love to go, just what I am pursuing right now … but definitely too far away. Maybe some of you Americans may make it ;).

Waah … there is a series of really interesting workshops in April / May in Berlin, one of which competes directly wih the one with Michael Sull and Barbara Calzolari about which I can find no information on the Internet … so I am really thinking of participating in the one about Cancellaresca.

The themes / hands are: Foundational with Laura Di Piazza (beginner); Copperplate with Laura Di Piazza (beginner, I think? Not specified); Brush Lettering with Carl Fredrik Angell, aka. “Frisso” (Basic introduction); and Littera Cancelleresca (= Italic, but as Giuseppe Salerno also told me once "We don't call Italic Italic in Italy" ;D) with Giovanni de Faccio.

Broad Edge Pen Calligraphy / Learning Textura Quadrata
« on: March 17, 2014, 05:35:51 AM »
This weekend I needed a break from pointed pen and I decided to give it a try to learn Textura Quadrata. I feel that the discipline I learned with Copperplate and Spencerian drills helped me a lot to begin this! So I started with the what I think is the basic stroke, the i.

I am using two books as reference, one is this by great German calligrapher Gottfried Pott, the other one this by David Harris (I am using the German version).

So, what I think is that these ascenders are kind of quirky, I mean how I do them. Any tips on how to make them look better (apart from practice, haha)? What I do is start with the right "point", go down and make the left top with a new stroke. This is what Mr. Pott recommends, but I don't get it right.

About the "diamonds" on the feet and top of the letters, I think I make them a bit too long usually. Also I have a hard time making them regular / consistent, but I guess / hope, this will also get better with more practice!

I was using a 3,8 mm Parallel Pen, as I had to work on a completely flat table this weekend (at my in-laws) and I think that is kind of difficult with a broad nib. At least I tried it with a Mitchell's broad nib and got lots of ink blots (too much flow in the beginning, nearly all ink gone in the next stroke). As I have nearly no experience with broad nib apart from some playing around when I started with calligraphy last year, I would also be greatful for any tips regarding writing with broad nibs in general, because as I think PPs are great for learning the basic strokes, I guess they don't allow fine enough ending / beginning strokes / flourishes with smaller script. I think Linda said something like that ;)!

So any constructive critique is most welcome!

by Estefa1317, on Flickr

Show & Tell / Chalkboard design – »sed fugit interea …«
« on: February 20, 2014, 11:34:05 AM »
I just finished my first blackboard design!

I wrote more about it on my brandnew tumblr blog

– if you like to have a look at some making-of pictures!

Show & Tell / Romantic Vikings
« on: February 14, 2014, 03:18:03 AM »
I found this little treasure on the amazing blog of Erik Kwakkel, who is a medieval book historian at Leiden University, The Netherlands. I found it very fitting for Valentine's Day because it's meaning is … "Kiss me"!

"Kiss me" in Jötunvillur by Estefa1317, on Flickr

I know it's not really calligraphy, but I liked it very much … you can read more about it here:

Apperently this is coded even if you can read the Jötunvillur runes – these kind of riddles seem to have been very much en vogue with Viking lovers!

For everyone who loves old books this blog is a delight ;)

I found this book time ago and thought this could be a great inspiration on how to flourish Capitals or whatever! And they are just a joy to view. The book is called "Kunstrichtige Schreibart allerhand Versalie[n] oder AnfangsBuchstabe[n] der teütschen, lateinischen und italianischen Schrifften aus unterschiedlichen Meistern der edlen Schreibkunst zusammen getragen." – "Art- and Rightful Way of Writing Various Majuscules or Capitals of the German, Latin and Italian Scripts Assembled from Different Masters of the Noble Art of Writing" which I think is just a great title ;). It is a woodcut book from 1655 and starts with simpler forms to go on to more complex ones so that in the end one Capital fills a whole page!

Kunstrichtige_Ex-1 by Estefa1317, on Flickr

Kunstrichtige_Ex-3 by Estefa1317, on Flickr

Kunstrichtige_Ex-5 by Estefa1317, on Flickr

Kunstrichtige_Ex-7 by Estefa1317, on Flickr

Kunstrichtige_Ex-9 by Estefa1317, on Flickr

I posted some more examples on my Flickr page, but you can donwload the whole book from the link above. I hope I am not violating any Copyright issues as this seems to be Copyright free … and I show this only for research / learning purposes!

Guidelines / Copperplate Grids
« on: January 30, 2014, 05:16:42 AM »
I just updated my Copperplate grids, added some new x-heights and thought maybe someone is interested! These are with x-heights from 3 to 10 mm with the standard ratio (3:2:3 descender:x-height:ascender) with 2 sheets with a smaller line spacing for more condensed writing. If anyone has a question, just ask!

And no guarantee that they are 100% correct! ;)

Spencerian Script / Learning Spencerian - Resources
« on: January 30, 2014, 04:08:58 AM »
Hi Nora, thanks, I am really glad you like my review ;)! I f you want to learn the basics, I really recommend these little copybooks
with that:

but I would also look at the resources at Iampeth – for it took me ages to find out, that equally important like the letterforms, maybe even more, is to make proper warm-ups and ovals to get a feeling for Spencerian! But I guess there are much more experienced people in the Forum who could give you more detailed advice ;)

And I really love this book by Michael Sull "Learning to Write Spencerian" which as far as I know you can only buy in the States:

He shows and explains very thoroughly and nicely the more fancy variants of Sp.

I know that you can find similar hand books on Iampeth, but I like also to have a book and not only an online reference for learning. And I can't print everything out!

But you seem to be super busy – good for you ;)!!

Ah – one more thing that Barbara mentioned, and that I find quite important to keep in mind, is that Sp. is not an alphabet but a writing system – what makes these warm-ups and drills so important – the different movements and principles need to become part of the "muscle memory".

Not that I am close to that … I think I find just these humble miniscules so difficult.

Tools & Supplies / Ordering supplies - America and Europe
« on: January 30, 2014, 02:22:14 AM »
Joy – you do know all the nice suppliers here in Europe, like,, they have most of what you'll need except for very specialised Spencerian-related stuff, and Dinky Dips ;). And it's much faster – I also have waited up to 4, 5 weeks for deliveries from the States – that is so frustrating, and when you are in the middle of a demanding job, even more!

What nibs do you need, if I may ask ;)?

Show & Tell / Fairytale Poster
« on: December 13, 2013, 05:46:36 PM »
I didn't have time for Words of the Days because among other things I had to (well, had promised to …) make this poster for a neighbourhood theater event. It was fun but also quite more work than I thought in the beginning (like most times). I am still not happy with some details (the flourish on the bottom is somehow off) – it was a great learning experience. And it had to go to the printer today, so – here it is:

Der gestiefelte Kater by Estefa1317, on Flickr

And I think the linking or uploading or whatever worked – wonderful!

The original is black on white (except the illustration which I did like it is without inverting it), this is heavily retouched / layouted and rearranged in Photoshop.

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