The Calligrapher's Life

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Planning is a Plus

Think about the last novel you read. If it drew you in from start to finish with captivating words, you might think the words flowed easily from the author’s brain onto every page.  If you’re an admirer of fine art, you probably imagine the artist randomly splashing color onto canvas to create this visual masterpiece? Well, for some artists and writers, this is a rarity instead of the norm. It actually takes some artists painstaking hours of planning, editing and sketching before unleashing their work at their own standards.

Personally, it took several months of calligraphy before I appreciated the time and effort lettering artists spend to layout designs for addressing envelopes and designing creative pieces.

In the beginning, most novice calligraphers understand the importance of basic envelope layout because no one wants to lose any addressee information while maintaining the proper letter style.

To avoid errors,  a ruler and straight-edge measure line width and length, which helps before adding the name and correct address. Then, using a light pencil, like #2B or #2, helps write the address in the exact size and length. Planning ahead eases the writing process and allows the calligrapher to fit letters and numerals perfectly before starting with permanent inks and paint. Once the layout appears accurate, writing with ink or paint should be a painless process and save time and envelopes!

During a recent assignment, I also discovered sketching in pencil helps generate ideas and determines how lettering will appear in the project format. Plus, it’s fun to brainstorm new ideas in smaller form then compare what appeals to the eye before making the final decision. Once the lettering artist reviews and makes changes,then they’re ready to create bigger and better designs with added color on their favorite paper.

Not all works of art or writing need careful planning to achieve greatness, but when it comes to calligraphy, I’d suggest beginners to plan every time. If you do, it’s harder for anyone to notice that you’re a novice.

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