Author Topic: Hello from NYC!  (Read 1250 times)

Offline chisato

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Hello from NYC!
« on: August 23, 2017, 12:20:06 PM »
Hello everyone! I started studying calligraphy about a year and half ago, and thought it was high time I joined this forum :)

I've worked in a number of design fields throughout my life (theatre, film/tv, windows, events, graphics, etc.), and one thing I've experienced is that all of these industries have moved further and further away from things created by the hand. There's a lot of great advantages gained by the digital/technological advances of course, but it's also given me a deeper appreciation (and need!) for something like calligraphy that takes real time and offers something a machine never can.

So far, I've only studied pointed pen hands, but am looking to start broad edge next year. I am thinking to start with Foundational, then move onto Italic and so on, but if anyone has any suggestions or input on this, I'd really appreciate it! I'm lucky to live in an area that has classes, though Foundational isn't always on offer, so I might start with Italic?

Anyway, looking forward to being a part of this community here! Thank you for reading!

Warmly,

Chisato


Offline AndyT

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2017, 04:33:56 PM »
Hello Chisato, and a warm welcome to the forum.  :)

Italic and Foundational are both good styles to start with, but my advice would be to pick whichever hand appeals to you most all other considerations notwithstanding.  There are excellent teaching materials available for both and classes aren't a necessity.  Patience and motivation are the important things.

Offline chisato

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 05:16:54 PM »
Thank you for the welcome, Andy  :D

And thank you for your advice on Italic vs. Foundational. I have Sheila Waters' "Foundations of Calligraphy," but do you have any personal favorites for learning resources?


Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 09:10:02 AM »
In addition to starting with whichever style appeals to your eye, you might consider getting the Speedball Textbook and trying all of the broad edge styles to see which one *feels* the best. In my 20 years of teaching, I encouraged beginners to try everything to see which style drew them in. It was impossible to predict which style would be the one that each student found to be their personal favorite for starting. Sometimes it would be gothic or old English. Other times it would be uncial. Even the students were surprised when something that didn't have initial eye appeal would suddenly feel wonderful. It is a tactile activity, so the feel is a big part of the activity.

Foundational and italic are the two styles that get the most attention from beginners - but gothic/old English, Neuland and uncial are all very good styles for beginners. They give the beginner a lot of practice in understanding the way the broad edge nib works. Foundational and italic both have more details. I am not saying that those two are not good for your first broad edge style. I've seem people who showed very little promise while trying every single style - and then - after trying all the others, they blossomed when they turned to italic.

With the Speedball Textbook, you get a lot of fundamentals as well as a top notch exemplar done by one of the rock stars of calligraphy. For $15 plus shipping, it is IMHO - a great way to have a wealth of solid information at your fingertips for a very reasonable price. Order from John Neal at JohnNealBooks.com if you want to support the person who has done the most for keeping the calligraphic arts alive and well in the US. He is also happy to ship to other countries and tries to keep the cost of international shipping reasonable.


Offline chisato

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 12:26:07 PM »
Hello Jean, and thank you so much for the detailed advice. I'm actually most drawn to Fraktur and Gothic styles, though I was thinking I shouldn't start there. Good to know that there is a variety of ways to approach learning broad edge.

I will look into the Speedball textbook, thank you. And yes, I also try to support John Neal whenever I can!

Looking forward to learning more from everyone on this forum :)

Offline AndyT

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 08:12:54 PM »
I'm actually most drawn to Fraktur and Gothic styles, though I was thinking I shouldn't start there.

If that's what you like by all means start there: I did.  Fraktur, technically speaking, is typography rather than calligraphy although the boundaries have been blurred a great deal in recent years.  The Gothic group of styles is extraordinarily complex and a fertile ground for paleographic dispute, but essentially there are two ways to go.  You can either content yourself with an approximation or pastiche such as you'll find in the Speedball booklet or (infinitely better) Marc Drogin's Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique, or you can avail yourself of the untold riches to be found gratis in the digitised catalogues of institutions such as the British Library, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Bodleian Library, the Getty Collections and the University of Heidelberg, to name but a few of the obvious resources.

I do not wish to labour the point, but the idea that this profound and specifically European subject can be condensed into a few pages of an American signwriters' primer is risible.  Downright insulting, in fact.  If you want to support John Neal, good for you, but your money would be far better spent on Sheila Water's Foundations of Calligraphy book.

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2017, 10:58:32 AM »
I apologize for the insult and certainly did not intend to be insulting.
I have recommended Sheila's book several times on this forum and will continue to direct people to her book after they have decided to study seriously and have the money for a book that is more than twice the price.
In my 20 years of teaching - in the teaching wing of a respected midwestern art museum - I found that most of my students fell into two categories. People who had recently retired and finally had time to explore their artistic side and mothers who had very little time to themselves, but the kids were finally in school and they were taking 3 hours per week for themselves. Rarely did I have someone take a class with the idea of becoming a professional calligrapher. Most people recognized that it would take more discipline than they had to really master any of the styles.
While I studied with several of the rock star calligraphers, both American and European, and while I did make a decent amount of money addressing envelopes and working with a magazine publisher (Meredith) - I quickly learned that each person comes to art with a different motivation. It was my choice to expose people to many different styles and tools and find something that was a good fit for their skill level and attention span.
The Speedball Textbook has changed a lot in its 100 years (I believe it's been around that long) Most people do not want to invest a lot of money when they are just exploring the possibility of calligraphy as something they may want to study. A small and inexpensive book is appropriate. It's like a pair of sneakers. Not fancy - but comfortable and useful.
I have had a few students who had spectacular skills and for them it has been appropriate to recommend other options.
I am out of town, babysitting two kids under 4 and am squeezing this post into nap time - so I do not have time to edit and make sure that I have not said anything that sounds defensive.
I apologize for the insult - and hope that we can all get along.
I believe the wording that Sheila uses when she signs her book is:
In mutual love of letters (or maybe lettering, but I think it is letters)
I will continue to put in plugs for John Neal because -as I recall- he published Sheila's book and works tirelessly to publish books and magazines devoted to lettering and book arts. If there are other people doing more than John - for our community - please give them a plug, too.


Offline chisato

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2017, 12:00:08 PM »
Thank you both so much for your passionate insights into the rich world of broad edge calligraphy. I am excited to dive into it next year when I'm able to take a little break from my pointed pen studies to really focus on it. (I've found I learn new hands better if I can take a break from all other ones.)

I luckily already own Sheila Waters' book and do intend to engage in serious study, but as Jean said, sometimes it's helpful to have a more approachable overview to start. My initial introduction to calligraphy was through a "hobbyist" type of copperplate class, and at the time I really liked that it was not intimidating or overwhelming. I was able to then later go back and study more formally and rigorously, but it was a great place to start.

Andy, thank you for the recommendation of Marc Drogin's book. Looks like a great resource for historical context also, which I find really important and interesting. I also did not know that University of Heidelberg had a digital collection. I took a quick look and can already tell it'll be a fantastic rabbit hole to fall into.

Thank you again for sharing the benefits of your experiences, and I look forward to learning more from everyone!  :)

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2017, 12:14:32 PM »
Welcome @chisato I'm so happy you joined us here at Flourish! I enjoy your lovely Instagram feed.

As you have already seen, we are quite passionate here about our calligraphy and lettering. One of our strongest points is the vast amount of different opinions people share so we can take from it what works for us personally. Hopefully, any feelings of defensiveness or insult in regard to our choices and shared opinions does not overshadow our welcoming new members.  ???

Sheila's book, as you already know, is an excellent resource for detailed study. As is the Speedball Textbook great for its wide range of styles and strong exemplars. I started calligraphy as a child teaching myself Blackletter and Italic, however, over the years the idea of learning Foundational or Roman Caps first has been repeated by several teachers as a way to lay a strong foundation for all other broad pen styles. However, I like the idea to work on whatever hand appeals to you most at the time.  ;)

I am like you in that I also find it best to take a break from other hands when learning (or concentrating on) a new one. I'm sure you'll love broad pen as much as pointed pen. Again, welcome to Flourish!  ;D
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline chisato

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Re: Hello from NYC!
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2017, 10:29:59 AM »
Thank you for the welcome @Erica McPhee ! And thank you for the kind words about my IG :) I've always admired the amazing community you've created here, and am happy to officially be a part of it!