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Topics - tiffany.c.a

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Calligraphy Book Reviews / Illuminated Letters Sketchbook - Sullivan
« on: April 28, 2017, 02:46:22 PM »
Illuminated Letters Sketchbook
-by Jane Sullivan

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As it is titled, this book is definitely a sketchbook. It is like keeping an art journal. I am enjoying using it.

I actually had no problem finding media that worked on the paper. At first I wasn't expecting watercolor/gouache to work well, but I was pleasantly surprised that the paper held up pretty well with gouache. Transparent watercolor also worked. Make sure not to use either too wet or the page will start to buckle. (Because of this consideration, it was not as easy for me to use the "float" technique for gouache on this paper as it would be on art paper.) Otherwise, it doesn't soak through. (I used Cotman student grade watercolors and W&N pro-grade gouache.)

Colored pencils of course work fine. I also used several types of pens and markers, such as gel pens, Pitt markers, Stabilo, Zig waterbased and waterproof markers, Itoya Calligraphy, Hybrid Technicas, and Microns with no or almost no bleed-through. Unfortunately, the W&N pigment watercolor marker I used bled through. Both sumi and Higgins Eternal with a nib worked with almost no feathering if any.

There is not too much hand-holding in this book. The author gives you a beginning point, a bit of structure, and then gives you space to experiment and create on your own.

There are 2-page spreads that present each letter. All of the pages are gridded like graph paper. This is helpful when trying to replicate her letter, trying to create a balanced letter of your own, or just to use as a writing line for calligraphy!

In the top left corner of the spread is a finished example of a letter - decorated and often in color. Then there are a few "snapshots" of the process of how she drew that letter -  meaning she provides an outline of the decorated letter for the reader to color in, and/or just the outline of the empty letter for you to both decorate and color. Eventually she takes the training wheels off and gives you completely blank spaces to do your own thing.

There are also brief examples of how to draw a few different leaves, butterflies, little animals, vine work, interlacing, Celtic knots, and mythical creatures. Each of these is "taught" or presented in the same way as the letters -- in steps with minimal words.

While there is not a lot of written instruction, this book is more about observation, a back and forth between noticing and trying. You can see the skeletal letter form that she begins with. You can look at her finished letter, and try it yourself, then look back at her letter, compare it to yours, and try again. Or, you can just observe hers to get the gist and try your own thing. I find looking at her color choices instructional as well. I can write notes in the open spaces around my attempts.

At the end of working through this book, I think I would feel quite a sense of accomplishment. I am acquiring knowledge and a journal full of practice and learning first-hand what works and what doesn't. I am working on my technique as I stretch my creativity.

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Calligraphy Book Reviews / Decorated Lettering - by Jan Pickett
« on: February 23, 2017, 06:00:08 PM »
Decorated Lettering - by Jan Pickett
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I have been having the most fun working through this book. It has been giving me a wealth of great ideas for my art journal devoted to lettering. The pictures are gorgeous and fun.

I think the opening info on the basics is detailed enough to get a beginner started. Then there is specific instruction on both calligraphy and freestyle lettering. One chapter gives instruction/ductuses for calligraphic hands (Foundational, Roman caps, Uncials, Gothic, Italic, and Neuland). The next chapter delves into producing hand lettering, from more traditional letters like Versals to more free-style letters.

The next eleven chapters are devoted to how to further enliven your letters with embellishments ranging from watercolor to pastels to gold. It gives other ideas about playing with medium and material, including embossing, stamping, and using masking fluid. All the techniques and materials are pretty accessible.

The clear instructions make me feel I can try any and all of these fun and exciting techniques. It also encourages the reader to experiment and try one's own variations. Following the book's instruction boosts confidence to go on and try your own thing.

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Calligraphy Book Reviews / Lines to Live By - Mike Gold
« on: December 11, 2016, 10:44:23 PM »
Book review: Lines to Live By - by Mike Gold

More than about technique, this book was a peek into the process of a calligrapher. Indeed, Gold advises that "if you focus on process, product will come" and "enjoy the process" (p. 22).
It is a quick read in terms of length, but there are some nice nuggets you might want to ponder for a bit.

This book enthusiastically promotes finding one's style as a modern calligrapher, and going beyond what was done in the past.

Gold discusses the value of expressive calligraphy, even when it borders on or is illegible. Whether you are open or not open to this type of calligraphy, the discussion gives some insight from the perspective of an artist who does this type of art.
(It should be noted that Gold has done extensive work in the greeting card industry where lettering obviously needs to be legible. He allows himself to be more expressive in his personal art.)

I won't go into the merits or my opinion of this artistic approach one way or the other, as this is just a book review. I will say that this book opens the door for the reader to examine what he/she thinks about the topic of how far illegibility should go in modern lettering art.

The book includes a nice range of Gold's artwork, some of which he includes to illustrate a point that he discusses. Many pieces are exciting and fun to look at.

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Open Flourish | General Discussion / Rhythm - how you develop it
« on: August 31, 2016, 04:58:13 PM »
Hi all,
Just wondering if people can list some of their tips about or experiences with developing rhythm. What has worked for you? Could be generally-speaking or specific to a calligraphic hand (what you do/have done to develop rhythm in that hand).

(I searched the forum for "rhythm" and found it mentioned in various threads about various things, but did not find anything dedicated to it. Sorry if there is one and I overlooked it.)

I find that in general, using a large size of paper has been helpful for me. I can practice strings of letters or drills for a decent length before running out of space. I then practice writing normal size.

Looking forward to hearing other people's thoughts.

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Kind Critique / Business writing/Spencerian practice
« on: May 20, 2016, 03:22:15 PM »
Hi all,

Well, finally I am posting something for critique. Sorry about the scan quality. Please share any critique you may have. I actually mention on the practice page what I need to work on, which is everything.  :)

The business writing examples are supposed to be monoline, but the Nikko lays down a pretty thick line. Good in terms of showing were I need to lighten up perhaps.

In terms of letterforms, I really need to work on the curve of "h" and "n/m". My general tendency is to write a bit pointy. A little pointy doesn't bother me, but it is too pointy on many of those letters, and at times on the bottom of "a/d" etc.

A big challenge has been to get the loops round on both sides, which seems to be standard on most Business Writing/Spencerian exemplars (as opposed to flat on one side). I do refer to the Spencers' exemplars as well.

I do consider this handwriting, but I want it to be nice handwriting.

Thanks!


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Introductions / Hello all!
« on: August 28, 2015, 08:27:23 PM »
Hi all,
I'm Tiffany from NJ. I have been practicing calligraphy consistently for a couple of years now, after having practiced sporadically for many years. I am ready and excited to be serious about it now.
I've been taking classes and hope to start addressing envelopes soon. I also try to explore artistic calligraphic endeavors. I like adding calligraphy to artist trading cards and decorating envelopes.
I'm interested in broad edge and pointed pen, traditional and modern styles.
I am very excited to join this forum.

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