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Topics - JanisTX

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After lettering, do you remove the nib from the holder, or not??

I try to go to IAMPETH every-other year.  (This year, it’s in San Antonio!  That’s kinda sorta in my backyard!  Well, OK!  That’s almost 500 miles away!  But, in Texas, we consider that to be “right next door”!). At my last convention, I learned that “most” calligraphers take the nib out of the holder, after cleaning it.  I DO NOT do that!! My go-to nib is the Brause 66EF.  It’s tiny & delicate. It’s easy to damage it when putting it in or taking it out of the holder.  So, I just leave it in the holder until it wears out.  Sometimes when I pull it out of the holder, it’s pretty rusty & “icky”.  If the rust doesn’t affect the writing, I guess that I don’t really care about that!  What do YOU do??


Design & Layout / Lining Envelopes
« on: October 17, 2023, 08:19:04 PM »
@Erica McPhee :  I may not be posting in the correct place. Please just move this where it needs to go, if I’m in the wrong place!

I frequently line envelopes for invitations. I find gift wrap paper in a print that goes with the invitation “theme” or color.  I usually find 2 or 3 patterns for the sender to choose between. I love toile patterns, but floral is usually nice, too. I had a recent bride who picked an abstract pattern that I pretty strongly (although privately), disliked. If an envelope is prelined, it makes it hard to letter on the envelopes because you can’t see the lettering guide. I try to talk the brides or other senders out of prelining the envelopes before I letter them, if I get that opportunity.

To line the lettered envelopes, open up the flap of the envelope & trace around the outside edges of the envelopes onto thin poster board. When possible, I use the bottom left corner of the cardboard.  When I lay the envelope on the cardboard to trace around it, I extend the pattern 1/4” over the bottom & left sides of the cardboard & then cut out the envelope pattern on the right side and on top of the traced envelope. This insures that the pattern will be slightly shorter and thinner than the envelope, so you can still use the glue on the envelope to seal it. I hope that makes sense!

I try the cut out patterns of envelopes onto the width of the gift wrap paper (with right side of the pattern touching the left side of the next pattern, so I can make as few cuts as possible.  I only do that after assuring that the trial one fits properly into the envelope.  If it does, I apply an Elmer’s glue stick around the top & two sides of the back of the paper & place it into the envelopes. There’s no need to glue the bottom edge, as it’s safely tucked into the envelope!  I usually trace the envelope pattern across the width of the paper. If the flap has a point”, I’ll often lay out templets across the width of the gift wrap paper with the envelope points poking “up” & lay out the next row of envelopes having their points pointing “down” to fit into the gaps formed by the upward points of the row below. Obviously, you can’t do this if the paper pattern has an “up” pattern of some kind( like human figures, animals, etc.).

I hope that this makes sense and that this information is helpful to someone!!


I keep buying cards (birthday, graduation, new baby, etc.).  When I letter on them, the ink “feathers” like mad. My lettering then looks sloppy. Other than switching to Italic & using a marker, is there anything that I can do??  I’m beyond frustrated! 

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Benjamin Franklin Documentary
« on: April 06, 2022, 01:55:30 PM »
Hi!  Did any of you watch the Ken Burns special about Benjamin Franklin on PBS this week?  It was very interesting & very well produced!  Ben Franklin was a printer & during the show, they showed various documents from his day, some of which he printed.  I noticed that on most of the documents, the letter "s" resembled what I identify as an "f".  Anyone know when letter like that was the norm? 

There's an older insurance building across the street from the courthouse that has "Insvrance" carved in stone along the top, front of the building.  I know that at one point in time, "u" was written as "v".  My son was asking me about it, as it bugs him.  I couldn't tell him what era the use of the "v" for "u" was accepted.  Anyone know when that was?  Just wondering aloud here! :-)


Tools & Supplies / Mixing Gouache as Ink
« on: April 05, 2022, 12:03:37 PM »
@Erica McPhee I know that once-upon-a-time, you made a video about how to mix gouache as ink.  I've searched for the video, as I have an upcoming project & want to mix up a pretty robin's egg blue as ink.  I can't find the video!  (Probably, that is user error, but the end result is the same! - I can't find a link!)  Any suggestions on how/where to find it??

Thanks in advance!


Hi!  I’m looking for some advice here!  I have calligraphed some place cards & need to mail them to the client. (24 total place cards.). I used Pearl-Ex ink, so the lettering is raised, above the surface of the paper. I took one & threw it in my purse, with the intention to take it to my office & explore my mailing options. (I was thinking that a bubble envelope would be suitable.). I’ll admit that my purse is a hot mess, with WAY too much stuff in it. When I remembered the place card & pulled it out, I discovered that it looked worn, with the raised ink a bit smeared. Very shabby looking!  I’ve redone the place card, but am now afraid of mailing them to the client!  (The client is 9 hours away by car, so hand-delivery is not an option!). What do you think might best protect them? I’m thinking about going to Hobby Lobby & getting a small jewelry presentation box that’s just a bit bigger than the cards? Putting that soft cotton “stuffing” stuff that you see in jewelry presentation boxes inside? (WHERE in the store is that stuff?). Maybe adding vellum as a “buffer” between the cards??  Or, do you have a better idea??  I’ll just die if they show up smeared or shabby looking! What do you think?  Any ideas are welcomed!


Workshops & Conference News / Madarasz Script by Schin Loong
« on: January 27, 2022, 12:12:49 PM »
Hi!  John Neal Books has a link to a course being taught by a member of the Flourish Forum, Schin Loong.  It will be virtual & recorded, so that you can replay the course later to be reminded of the course contents.     

Schin Loong - Madarasz Script - Mar 25, 26; Apr 1, 2 - AM and PM Classes

Schin Loong - Madarasz Script - Mar 25, 26; Apr 1, 2 - AM and PM Classes

John Neal Books does not host this class.
Madarasz Script
with Schin Loong

Live online group workshop via Zoom, with live lessons recorded and available for replay.  There are morning and evening options.  (Replays at your convenience.)

March 25 and 26, April 1 and 2, 2022
9:00am OR 5PM Pacific Time
Registration opens March 6

I dug around to determine cost. - $195 USD for 5 hours of instruction.  If you are not familiar with Schin's work, she is a brilliant calligrapher and artist!  She has very fine Spencerian and also draws fantastic animals, etc., as flourishes.  I cannot recommend taking any class that Schin teaches highly enough!!  You will learn a lot from taking her class!!

Open Flourish | General Discussion / When did Flourish Forum start??
« on: September 03, 2021, 10:08:19 AM »
@Erica McPhee When did you start the Flourish Forum??  It just occurred to me that I have no idea when the Forum was started.  I found it in the spring of 2014 & I *think* that I was an early adopter, but maybe I'm wrong about that.


Tools & Supplies / Going to Omaha?
« on: July 27, 2021, 05:16:29 PM »
Is anyone going to IAMPETH in Omaha next week?  Do you want to meet up?  I'll be in a mask and I am fully vaccinated!


Tools & Supplies / Pearl Ex Brilliant Gold Problems
« on: July 23, 2021, 10:32:22 AM »
Does Pearl Ex "get old"??  I'm in the midst of a huge wedding project & today, I cannot get the Pearl Ex to flow.  I've mixed it per the recipe (4 parts Pearl Ex, 4 parts distilled water, to 1 part gum Arabic) & it just will not flow. I've made 3 different batches. Usually, when I have this happen, if I add about 10 drops of distilled water, the ink flows nicely.  However, I've added a huge amount of water (about 5 drops at a time) & still it will not flow.  I've added more Pearl Ex and more gum Arabic & nothing changes.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I've been at this 1 1/2 hours & I am extremely frustrated!  My friend, Google, doesn't have any suggestions.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


Design & Layout / Centering
« on: September 22, 2020, 01:09:43 PM »
Let's start this discussion by me admitting that I am really bad about centering text.  I almost always start too far to the left.  I am having to center a bunch of names on some award certificates & I came up with my own solution to this problem!  It's not perfect or fool-proof, but it comes up with a result that is quite acceptable.  I use a font (Edwardian script) that is very similar to my Copperplate.  I type out the person's name, centered on the page.  (All of the names are on the same sheet of paper, resulting in a centered list.)  I adjust the font until it's approximately the size of my handwriting.  I then print the list.  I carefully fold the paper in half, vertically, so that I can determine where the center of each person's name falls.  My pinkie finger is about the size of my lower case/miniscule letters.  My index finger is about the size of my capital/majiscule letters and the space between the person's first, middle, and last name.  I put my pinky finger on the center of the line of the certificate & then start moving it to the left, once for each letter to the left of the person's middle letter.  I use my index finger for the uppercase letters and for spaces.  Once I get to the beginning letter of the person's name, I use a pencil to lightly mark the starting point.  I then letter the person's name.  I'm very critical about things being centered exactly & I am pleased with the results that I am getting.  This is a work-around that I can live with!  I hope that this helps someone else!   :)


Tools & Supplies / Feathering
« on: June 20, 2020, 05:59:50 PM »
I am working on a project for my church.  I am writing the names and dates of service for each pastor to be placed on mats with a picture of each pastor, back to the church's founding in 1880.  I have completed one and  I have glued the paper to the mat and am pleased with how it looks.  I am using Noodler's Black Swan ink, as it matches closely to the interior burgundy mat. (I am using a Brause EF66 nib.  I experimented with several burgundy inks & gouaches.  The Black Swan is the closest color match.  I know that Noodler's is fountain pen ink, but I use it often & like the flow.)  Now, using the same ink on the same paper with the same nib, it is feathering like mad.  Does anyone have a suggestion?

Thanks in advance for any help!


Our very own, Schin, is going to be an instructor at IAMPETH in Atlanta this summer.! As many of you know, Schin is an artist and also a calligrapher with beautiful Spencerian script.  She has a new book out (available at JNB, where I purchased a copy), teaching how to draw animals and incorporate calligraphy into the drawing.  Her class at IAMPETH is on that topic.  The brochure for the conference contains a beautiful tiger, with "Be Fierce" incorporated on his midsection.  This is a great opportunity and her class is advertised as being for "all skill levels"!  If you can make your way to Atlanta July 6 - 11, you will have a real treat if you can get into Schin's class.  I met Schin at Portland's IAMPETH Conference 4 years ago & she is a lovely, gracious person.  I couldn't draw my way out of a paper bag, so I don't know if I'll take her specific class, but I definitely would like to challenge her "all skill levels" contention! :-)  I'm going to be deciding in the next few weeks whether or not I am going to go to Atlanta.  (I went to Denver last year & enjoyed every day of it!  I couldn't believe how much I learned!)  At any rate, if you're on the fence about going to IAMPETH, I hope that Schin teaching will prompt you to get off the fence & sign up!


Workshops & Conference News / Glass Engraving Workshop
« on: February 14, 2020, 10:19:19 AM »
Hi, all!

Carla Hagan, a Florida calligrapher, is holding a beginning glass engraving class in Dallas on 2/22/20.  It's entitled, "Introduction to Glass Engraving with Carla Hagan".  It's on February 22, 2020 @10:30am

Registration Closes 2/16/2020

Home2 Suites
3301 Gaston Ave,
Dallas, TX 75246

If you are in the Dallas area, I hope that you will plan to attend!  If you want more information, PM me & I will forward you an email.  I am signed up for the class & I am really looking forward to attending!


Calligraphy Book Reviews / Schin Loong's New Books
« on: August 11, 2019, 04:48:48 PM »
Many of you know Schin, a member here at the Forum.  She has 2 books available from John Neal Bookseller.  (I haven't checked, but they may also be available at PIA.)  One book is a study of flourishing.  Lots of good tips and tricks are offered!  I am not an artist, unlike Schin, who is a very fine artist.  However, I am really enjoying the flourishing section & I am going to attempt some of the simpler drawings.  (Fingers crossed!)  :)

The second book is The Declaration of Independence.  It is intended to be a Spencerian practice book.  The pages are each perforated, so that you can remove the page to write the words found at the top on the lines below.  I don't know if I have the courage to pull pages out of this delightful book.  Maybe I'll order a second copy that I can tear apart, since I don't want to disturb a full copy!  I've been working on Spencerian for 8 months & I'm getting better, but still nowhere near Schin's ability.  If you've ever received a letter from her in an exchange, you know what I am talking about!

I recommend both books to you & hope that you will buy them!  You'll be helping yourself grow in calligraphy & also helping out a very talented calligrapher!


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