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Topics - Lori M

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I recently heard from my local guild that Dick Jackson's Copperplate Calligraphy is back in print.

(Click on image to see on Amazon.)

Does anyone have this book? Is it well known? How does it compare to Eleanor Winter's Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy? Amazon is taking pre-orders, so I went ahead and ordered it because it has been rare until this re-printing (and because Dick Jackson was from my area), but I'd love to hear what kind of reputation the book and Dick Jackson have.

Calligraphy Book Reviews / Schwandner's Calligraphia Latina
« on: February 25, 2015, 09:37:28 PM »
I mentioned on Instagram long ago that I would review this, and I'm finally following through on it.

I'm not sure how well known Schwandner's Calligraphia Latina is, but it was published around the same time as Bickham's Universal Penman. (The Universal Penman was in the 1740's, this was published in 1746 in Vienna.) I became aware of it because of some monogram cards that came along free with my wedding announcements back in the (ahem) - 80's.

So recently I looked for a copy and found it for about $10 in Amazon. In my opinion, if you like embellished capitals, it's well worth the $10. It's the same size and publisher as the Universal Penman, and like it, has very little text, just examples. All of the images are public domain and copyright free. Here's a sample of an interior page and the back cover:

Here's one example of what you can do with them. There's even a free font based on ornaments from the book:  Calligraphia Latina Font

Coffee & Nib-bles / Finding Pretty Postage Stamps
« on: June 20, 2014, 02:23:14 AM »
Anyone else in the US a little underwhelmed by the selection of stamps right now, especially for regular postage? I found some pretty ones on that seem to go better with calligraphy. Has anyone gotten stamps from them before? Any other places to get pretty US stamps?

I was wondering just last night if I was "diluting" my limited skills by trying to do broad pen again at the same time I'm learning Copperplate... Should I just devote myself to one hand? But then I look at Moya or Ken Fraser and see that it is possible to do many well. (Not that I'll ever be at Ken's level.) Maybe it's like growing up bilingual -- you start to talk a little later, but when you do, it's worth it.

Kind Critique / Layout and Design Critique, Please
« on: June 18, 2014, 02:52:11 PM »
This is broad pen, so even if you don't feel qualified to critique the calligraphy itself, I'd love feedback on the design -- flourishes, colors, etc.

I'm just not happy with the overall effect of this. (Besides the mistake of using the bad gold marker.) It's just kind of bland. I don't know if it's because of the neutral colors (brown walnut ink on beige), or if the lettering itself doesn't have enough 'energy'....  I was going for a cooler, edgier Fraktur look and ended up with an 'historical' look instead.  :P  Would gold somewhere help?

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Calligraphy and Other Art Skills
« on: June 09, 2014, 04:07:47 PM »
I've noticed that many of those here are accomplished artists in other areas, like drawing and painting. I, alas, am not. I might be decent with some training, but I don't have an exceptional natural talent for it.

My questions are:  Are most great calligraphers also exceptional drawers and painters? And how important do you think it is to be familiar with some other art techniques, for embellishment, etc.? I've always loved watercolor, and it seems to go especially well with calligraphy. I'm tempted to take a watercolor class, but I don't want it to take too much time away from practicing calligraphy itself.

I'm very interested in learning Spencerian, after I've mastered Copperplate well enough to move on. (That could be quite a while, but I'm investigating anyway.  ;)  )

I found an article on the IAMPETH site that said, talking about Spencerian vs. Copperplate:

Spencer's system encouraged the more natural tendencies of the hand and arm muscles toward elliptical shapes and rapid, fluid lines.  They were easier to produce than circular forms, and far more graceful as well.

Based on that, it sounds like Spencerian might actually be easier to learn than Copperplate. Is that true?

If you know both, which did you learn first, and what do you like best about each hand?

Kind Critique / Squaring the top and bottoms...
« on: May 16, 2014, 03:07:53 AM »
I recently noticed something looking at my calligraphy compared to other excellent, more experienced calligraphers:  my bottoms, while somewhat square, are not parallel with the baseline. If you look at this picture of my calligraphy, there is about a 30 degree angle between the two:

while Eleanor Winters Mastering Copperplate has tops and bottoms that are parallel with the baseline, as does ultraQuiche here.

That seems to indicate that the tines must be at a different angle when released. (I'm thinking of the tines, when split apart, as sort of like a broad pen -- a questionable comparison.)

My question is:  Does it matter?? Should I play with the angle of my paper to get my bottoms parallel with the baseline? How important is paper angle in the overall scheme? I'm a leftie, and am following the IAMPETH recommendations, which has the paper tilted 55 degrees to the left. But lefties vary, so maybe that's not the right angle for me.

Kind Critique / Opinions on Monogram Stationery
« on: April 14, 2014, 04:44:03 PM »
This is another case where I had more guts that skill, but I really wanted to make custom monogrammed stationery for my mom's 80th birthday.

First off, the monogram(cipher?) itself:  Is this a design where 'drawing' it may have worked better than using a pointed nib? (The initials are VMS -- S is used reversed to make the design symmetrical.) Or do I just need to get more skill to make the curves smoother and more uniform? Any comments on the design itself?

I put some borders around it on the stationery (mockup below), I think to help distract from some of the imperfections. But now I am wondering whether it enhances the monogram or takes away from it. Any opinions on that? If a border, do you prefer the heavier or lighter?


(Click image to view on Amazon.)

This is the first broad-pen calligraphy book I have bought in about 15 years, as I try to re-establish an up-to-date calligraphy library. It's a great combination of style exemplars and projects that is a joy to look at. There are some similarities between this book and The Calligraphy Bible (which I have only skimmed), but this book appears to have more projects and photos and is a larger format. I recommend it as an up-to-date, comprehensive overview of broad-pen styles with a good dose of inspiration.

There are 40 different exemplars in chronological order, almost all broad-pen, with one copperplate exemplar. There are a couple of paragraphs of history with each exemplar, along with illustrated details on curves, spacing, and ligatures, and at least two example projects. At the end, there is a section that covers decorative elements (flourishes, Celtic knots), layout tips, and envelope examples. There are also some sections on using "drawing pens" and cola pens to create more abstract styles. There is a chapter on calligraphy basics at the beginning, but this is definitely not a beginner's "how-to" book.

I'm interested to see if anyone else has this book and what you think.

Kind Critique / Birthday Card and Envelope
« on: February 28, 2014, 01:45:38 AM »
I know I still have a long way to go on my pointed pen, but I wanted to get some critique to help me see things I may not be aware of.

First, an envelope. With modern calligraphy you're supposed to bounce the letters, but I found that can sometimes make the connectors look a little awkward. (At least when I do it..) Any suggestions on that?

I know this card has some bad letter forms (that 'd' is awful), but I'm not crazy about the flourishes either -- they're a little too repetitive. Is the key to learn other flourish "elements" that I can mix and match together to make it more interesting?

I suspect that you shouldn't mix a classic style and a modern style together on such closely related pieces. Is that correct? (I wanted to try that addressing style, so I ignored the little voice telling me a probably shouldn't.)

Those are my specific questions, but feedback on all aspects is welcome!

Tools & Supplies / Is Sumi ink for more advanced calligraphers?
« on: February 08, 2014, 10:46:10 PM »
I recently received a package with an assortment of nibs and Sumi ink. I immediately started playing with the new ink and nibs, but my results weren't so great. I decided changing two variables at once -- both the nib and the ink -- was not such a good idea.  So I went back to my Nikko G nib with Sumi ink. I love the finish of the Sumi ink (extremely black and almost shiny), but it seems like it blobs more easily and my hairlines aren't quite as thin compared to the Higgins Eternal that I've been using.

Is Sumi ink not the best beginner's ink? Does it ever need thinning? Do you use it for practice? Any tips on using Sumi ink (or playing with new nibs) are welcome!

The Sumi ink I got is Moon Palace, but it didn't come in the bottle with Chinese characters -- it came in a plastic jar with a John Neal label.

Tools & Supplies / Leave nibs in holder or remove?
« on: January 29, 2014, 02:50:16 AM »
I'm reading Molly Suber Thorpe's Modern Calligraphy book. I noticed she recommends not taking a nib out of a holder once you put it in. I can see how it stresses the nib a bit to be taken out. But it could get expensive to have that many holders, especially if you use obliques. I'd also worry that water would get up in the holder and cause rust when I cleaned the nibs.

Do you leave your nibs in the same holder until the nib is "used up"?

I'm going through the tutorials - slowly though, as I'm lucky to get in 30 mins. of practice a day. My questions are:  How long should you spend practicing one lesson? (Or does it depend on how you think you're doing?) Should you 'master' one lesson before you move on to the next? Should you go back and do some old ones regularly, or just keep moving ahead? And do I have any hope of getting anywhere with 30 mins. a day???

Introductions / Hello from the Desert!
« on: January 06, 2014, 02:48:22 PM »
Hello! I'm Lori, living in Arizona. I'm so excited to have found this board!

I'm a broad pen calligrapher from back in high school. I was pretty decent (even did a few wedding invitations), but then got into my establishing my career and calligraphy fell by the wayside. For awhile I feared calligraphy was disappearing due to the computer, but found out from the internet that it is alive and vibrant!

I've always wanted to learn pointed pen calligraphy, but could never find any local classes. Thanks to this forum, I don't need to anymore! I've started gathering supplies and plan to go through the tutorials soon.

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