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Messages - Erica McPhee

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Show & Tell / Re: Cell phone cover
« on: December 01, 2013, 03:56:52 PM »
Thanks Emily!

I ordered it on because I had a coupon! I usually order from I haven't ordered a case before so I'm curious how it will come out. I'll post when it arrives! I can see myself going crazy and making a ton of these!  :D

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Christmas Gifts
« on: December 01, 2013, 03:50:39 PM »
GREAT topic!  :D I hope other members chime in!

I will take some pictures to share but I am actually on my way to our guild's holiday party right now!

In the past, I have made:

  • notecards with people's names on them
  • library book plates (People love these! Great for kids, too.)
  • card sets with Happy Birthday, Thank You, etc. on the front and blank inside
  • just made paperweights today (I love these!)
  • totebags with lettering using iron-on t-shirt transfers

Introductions / Re: Hello from California
« on: December 01, 2013, 03:40:18 PM »
<sigh> The flying thing! I wanted to go when the conference was in Boston but both years it was, I was having babies! The timing!

Sounds like you are being brave to pursue what you love and that is awesome! I found you on Instagram. Your photos are so lovely! I could "heart" every single one! Just beautiful!

Yes, breaking out of the rules is very difficult for me, too. It helps if I loosen up my arm and swirl it around (although I'm sure I look like a crazy person). I also listen to some crazy music.

Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

Tools & Supplies / Re: Paper
« on: December 01, 2013, 03:31:36 PM »
I have a few! is one of my favorites.

If I need just plain white blanks sometimes I'll pick up a pack of 50 with a 50% off coupon at Michaels. If they bleed, I either spray with a little fixative or use a decorative paper as a background and then layer the calligraphy on top. But sometimes I'll scan and then print my calligraphy so usually they go through the printer fine (great, quick gifts with the person's name on it!). is another good one if I am looking for something specific.

I used to order from here quite a bit:

I hope other people chime in as there must be some other good resources I don't know about!

Introductions / Re: Hello!
« on: December 01, 2013, 03:26:36 PM »
Hi Emily!

Welcome to the forum! So happy you have joined us. It sounds like you are taking some great classes and learning all you can. The more, the better!  :D We learn so much from each different class and every teacher. I don't think we ever stop learning!

Hopefully there will be a guild near your new home. It's such a great way to connect with other lettering artists, share ideas, and take workshops.

I found you on Instagram and started following.  ;)  Looking forward to seeing you on the forum!

Introductions / Re: Hello from California
« on: December 01, 2013, 09:58:35 AM »
Welcome Sharon!

We share much in common! (Another calligrapher with C's in penmanship!  :D). I understand what you mean about the stress of taking on a paid job. It is one of the reasons I stopped doing weddings. I just felt too much responsibility and the deadlines were crushing (especially with three young ones).

Exciting you were able to attend IAMPETH! It's on my bucket list but I don't travel well.

In terms of modern calligraphy, we will get there for tutorials but I am going through the fundamentals of Copperplate first. However, just a little bit about it. The key is, as you said, to be more free and playful. So your letters will dance along the baseline - or in some instances go WAY up or down between letters. However, the best examples, even though appear inconsistent, are actually consistent in the variation.

Check out the Thanksgiving video I posted in the Contemporary Calligraphy board and print off the attachment. I find tracing over some variations will give you a feel for how to loosen up.

Hope that helps! Again, welcome to the forum!

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Kids and calligraphy?
« on: November 30, 2013, 11:54:37 PM »
He sounds like a kid after my own heart!  :)

 ;D  Next workshop I go to, I'm going to go around and ask if I can see everyone's middle finger! I'm sure we aren't alone!  ;D

You're so welcome! Thanks Linda!  :)

Ouch!  :'(  Yes, I do. But I have built up a  callous on my third finger. But there is a permanent divet there.  ;D

Here's a small trick if you find you are putting too much pressure on the hand you letter with... hold a pencil (eraser side down) against the surface in your opposite hand. It counters the pressure and helps with balance. Try it - it works!

In the meantime, what about those little rubber finger caps? I think you can find them at a drug store.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Kids and calligraphy?
« on: November 30, 2013, 12:30:07 PM »
Oopsie ...hit send before I was finished!

In terms of calligraphy, there are a couple of great books! Eleanor Winters has a Calligraphy for Kids book. Anything by Margaret Shepherd. It's never too young to start! But I would advise beginning with a marker. I started calligraphy in the 5th grade (around the same age as your nephew).

Peter Thornton told me in a calligraphy workshop once that he found the thing in common with many of the modern day masters is they all started at a very young age. I think it's about muscle memory and ingraining the techniques at a young age. The same can be said for most sports. Or perhaps there is some innate skill there that is just expressed early on and then continues to improve with age.

Personally, I had horrible handwriting until after college. I used to get straight A's but with C's in penmanship in grade school! It would make me crazy! All the while practicing calligraphy!!!  :o

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Kids and calligraphy?
« on: November 30, 2013, 12:20:27 PM »
How awesome he is teaching himself cursive! We are homeschooling this year so I am teaching my younger two cursive as well. I am making it up as I go along but Michael Sull has a wonderful course.

I think you can order it through John Neal and Paper & Ink Arts as well but the link above goes into more detail.

I think it is important for them to master the basics before they move on to pointed pen. There is a frustration factor involved with getting the pen to even work, let alone making the correct letter forms. However, I have introduced all of my kids to a pointed pen around age 7 just to get a feel for it. They were thrilled when they could write words with it but I think they are a long way off from actually doing cursive with it. However, every child is different! My kids have handwriting issues anyway (go figure) and low muscle tone so it is a bit of a challenge to manipulate.

No harm in giving it a try!

In terms of other lessons, people really like handwriting without tears but I don't care for their letter forms. I have created a manuscript lesson for learning print. I will post it at some point, but it isn't cursive. This is another great resource but again, not crazy about some of the letter forms (however, of course, I have my own idea of what they should look like).

This is my favorite: She has a bunch of free downloads, too.  :)

You are very welcome! I'm glad you like it. I think it's helpful if someone wants to eventually do contemporary lettering to be able to have some examples they can trace over to get a feel for how it flows. It looks easy but it takes some forethought and a method.  :D

Show & Tell / Cell phone cover
« on: November 29, 2013, 07:04:14 PM »
Spent all day working on gifts today! What fun. This is an iphone cover for my teenage daughter's cell phone. This is her favorite quote. I combined the lettering with two graphics from shutterstock because I just ran out of time and didn't want to fuss with it. I think she'll like it!

Favorite Resources / Yoke Pen Co
« on: November 28, 2013, 08:45:26 PM »
Beautiful hand turned custom nib holders:

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