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Topics - Karen Gray

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Hi folks,
Sorry, I've been away for ages which wasn't my intention. My world seems to have frayed at every seem over the summer break and I've been struggling along (as you do) with little ability to stop and do anything other than just manage. I had huge plans for the holidays too, all of which I should have managed and haven't. Though I have managed to teach myself to write in braille (more on that later) and have been working on my lettering which has improved somewhat.

Anyway it's back to college tomorrow (thank the gods of education!!) Kinda needing that me time. Last year of study eek!

I also wanted to let you know that I'm running a free promotion on all three of my published novels one after the other. So if you have ever thought, "hmmm... I need a nemeocorn in my life," or, "I could do with some Scottish banter," or, "damn I need a good book RIGHT NOW," then I'm saying give mine a try. They are free after all so it costs nothing to give them a go if reading's your thing :)

There's full descriptions on my blog and website if you want to know more about them (or just ask me)

For King and Country will be free from today (the 29th) until the 2nd of September.
Chains of Blood and Steel will be free on the 3rd September until the 7th
and Battle of the Bannockburn will be free from the 8th September until the 12th.

If you read them, I hope you enjoy them. Anyways I wanted to share them with you :)

Other than that I am hoping that this is me back regularly now. I have posts and messages to catch up with. Emails to return, letters to write. Seems it's an eternal game of catch-up but I'll get there in the end.

Tools & Supplies / Ink Recepticals?
« on: July 21, 2016, 03:01:25 AM »
So, ok ink bottles are pretty rubbish if you are trying to dip a nib in an oblique holder.

I have taken to pouring it into the cap but it's never really deep enough for easy dipping and to use a temporary container will waste ink as it will never all cleanly go back into the ink bottle so I'd like to know what you all prefer to use for easy dipping and little to no wastage of ink?

Tools & Supplies / Hobbycraft will be discontinuing this ink soon...
« on: July 04, 2016, 08:07:24 AM »
I was in Hobbycraft in Livingston (Scotland) yesterday where I picked up some bargains;
The Daler-Rowney FW 29.5ml Ink Bottle - Pearlescent Effect (Set of 6) - for only 13 and Hobbycraft's own art ink in rose gold (on a 3 for 2 at 3.50 each) The bottles are 30ml and though it says on the side ideal for pen and ink it also says not for calligraphy or fountain pens but then goes on to say that it is suitable for diluting... which of course is just what I did. So I now have 150ml of this gorgeous colour rather than the 90ml I started with.

My point is that the manager who was marking the items to be moved by his staff at the time told me Hobbycraft are discontinuing the colour. I think if there is any left next week (when I get a few pennies) I will be spending them all to get myself a wee store of this ink because it's beautiful. I also added some of it to some of my walnut ink and it's gorgeous!

Just wanted to let everyone know in case they wanted to order some online or go buy some or whatever. It may be a UK only thing but I don't see why US folks couldn't have some sent in snail mail along with letters ;)

Cheerie the noo!

EDIT: Almost forgot. Here's the link to it in the Hobbycraft online store

Suggestions & Ideas / Tagging members
« on: July 01, 2016, 05:25:17 AM »
Is there a way of tagging members in posts? I know on some platforms it is achieved with an @ symbol before the user's name line @Thistleyroses . is there a function like this on Flourish Forum?

Tools & Supplies / Ink mixing question
« on: July 01, 2016, 04:29:59 AM »
Hi all :)
I was just wondering what ration you guys that mix your own walnut ink from van dyck crystals like to use between water and crystals? I have had the crystals and a new oblique pen for a week or so now and I have been enjoying my new pen but not yet made up any ink (I wanted to get a better container to store the crystals after opening the bag) anyway I thought it best to ask about consistency as I'm a newbie with regard to pointed pen calligraphy but an uber-noob with regard to walnut ink!

Any help and guidance appreciated
Thanks all :)

Workshops & Conference News / Online workshops?
« on: June 22, 2016, 01:56:51 PM »
Hey guys. Was kind of wondering if anyone knows of or would host an online workshop using skype or something like that? I'd love to do a workshop but getting out is often a problem because of hubby's health.

Show & Tell / My newbie hand lettering efforts :)
« on: June 19, 2016, 12:05:01 PM »
My newbie efforts ;) This was part of my collegework for a typographic heroes brief in my final block. Anyway I was quite pleased with how the leaflets and poster came out. The leaflet names and watercolour washes I did as separate artwork which was scanned in and put the rest together in illustrator. The poster is a scan of the original watercolour poster I did, I decided to keep that original instead of vectorising it :)

Introductions / Hello hello
« on: June 16, 2016, 05:54:29 PM »
Hi all,
I'm Karen and I'm really excited (and a little nervous) about being here.

Firstly can I say how happy I am to have found this forum. I am dying to learn more about hand lettering as I am studying Graphic Design (just completed my HNC top of the class -eep- moving on to the HND after summer) and I would love to specialise as a typographer, but in my opinion to specialise in type you first need to specialise in penmanship. Just my opinion, not necessary for my course, but necessary for me personally. I'm not great at book learning, I am a "monkey see monkey do" type, watch and copy an Aspie skill I will never regret having. I struggle a little with handwriting though (I always have) as I am also Dyspraxic, and I have issues regulating my grip strength on the pen and how much pressure I use on the paper. I have a strong drive to learn and improve, and I tend not to relax until I have mastered whatever specific thing I am trying to learn. I have improved a lot in the last year and I am eager to further my learning and develop this into a real and professional skill.

I had a bad experience last year with a group of bullies at supposedly the most respected writer's forum on the web, where I was one of the longest standing members, I was really sad to leave after all the work I put into promoting the place but with everything I have to deal with at home as a carer, it was causing me no end of stress and I just panicked every time I logged on, hence the nerves about entering into a forum environment again after leaving the last one, but I am really keen to learn and I do feel this would be the best place to do that.

So... yeah, a bit about me...

I am 32, I used to be a riding instructor but I stopped to have my first child and then my Husband's Crohn's disease which had been in remission came back with a vengeance and I was never able to go back. I have now been a full time carer for the last five and a half years. Two years ago I really needed an outlet. I was going crazy after being outdoors in a 35hr+ a week job, to pretty much housebound except for doctor and hospital trips... so I began writing my first book in March 2014. By March 2015 I had completed my third novel and planed out a further 17 (a total of 4 series, each containing 5 books) And absurdly I decided I needed to add a college course to all that. To be honest I think I am playing it safe. My books (although well received and rated highly) may never really take off in a way that would pay the bills. As a riding instructor I am not qualified to work from home and other than my books I had no way of building a business so I can continue to care for my hubby, and support our family at the same time. So Graphic Design happened. I have been allowed to study 9 hours a week at college with the flexibility to run home if need be (my 70yr old mother in law steps in when I'm out of the house) and I managed to keep up with the full time students to complete the HNC in one year. I plan to do this with the HND also. It's a subject that really drives me spurred by creating my own book covers and just developed from there and from that I have now developed a great love and I suppose you could class it as an obsession with hand lettering.

And here I am.

Sorry... A tad long winded but then I'm not the simplest of folks to explain ;)

I'm really looking forward to meeting you all and further developing my penmanship.

Karen :)

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