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Ditch Those Boring ABC’s: 4 Simple Tips to Practice a New Style

 

Whenever I sit down to my art desk to practice calligraphy, I’m never sure where I’ll start first. I go into it knowing that I want to practice a letter I haven’t tried in a while. Unfortunately, the same nagging questions run through my mind. What letters will I practice tonight? Should I practice the alphabet again? If so, should I try the lower case, upper case or both?

I usually fidget around with my iPod, looking for a good playlist, sorting through pen holders and nibs, and doting over the right paper to use until inspiration strikes.

Occasionally, I choose from a list of quotes provided by my calligraphy class to change things up. It helps to write in the upper and lower case in regular sentence form. But, I’ve grown tired of the same quote lists and discovered different ways to practice a new letter without passing out from sheer boredom.

Of course, as artists, we shouldn’t agonize over reinforcing our skill. Calligraphy is fun and relaxing. So, let’s drop those ABC’s for awhile and expand calligraphy practice with these following tips:

  • Check your address book with names of family members and friends and practice writing the names with formally, like Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brown, instead of Robert and Michelle Brown.
  • Grab your favorite song lyrics from a CD or check Google and enter lyrics for “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. It brings up the title and song, so you can practice your favorite verse or the entire song.
  • Purchase a book of quotes. You’ll have an endless resource for practice and possibly for a future project. If you have favorite quotes, keep them readily available to pull out for a practice session, so you’ll void using the alphabet. The quotes help you use both upper and lower case letters.
  • Use your favorite bible verse. The book of Psalms offers inspirational verses that make great lines for cards and keepsakes.

Next time you prepare to practice calligraphy, you’ll have no excuse to simply turn to your ABC’s. Break up the monotony and try the suggested ideas. Happy lettering!

What form do you use for warming up or learning a new hand?

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Give Brush Lettering A Try

paintbrush

If you’ve never tried brush lettering, it’s actually easier than you think.

Artisans accustomed to using a paint brush might have an easier time with it, but don’t let it chase you away if you’ve never picked up a paint brush before.

Brush lettering is a form of calligraphy used by artists and writers from all over the world for communicating visual arts. It’s simply creating letters or characters with a small paint brush and acrylic or oil paints.

Although this freehand lettering remained popular for sign writing and other paraphernalia in early American history, it’s lost prominence due to the rise in computer technology. Fortunately, artists and calligraphers keep it alive through arts and crafts projects across the country.

For instance, I recently used a casual style brush lettering for hand-crafted invitations with impressive results. Even without prior professional instruction, I received several compliments, which boosted my confidence and inspired me to learn more.

The Calligrapher’s Bible by David Harris and Brush Lettering Step-By Step by Jim Gray and Bobbie Gray were two good sources of instruction. The former provides simple tips on creating modern brush lettering in a variety of styles and the latter demonstrates brush lettering basics for artists or beginners who need guidance through each step. It also provides ways to practice with minimal investment by using tools and supplies you might already have.

If you’re a calligrapher who prefers writing with pen and ink, grasping the concept of this lettering only takes patience and enthusiasm. And, it should be a breeze to learn solo along with a lettering guide since it requires similar strokes with a slightly different approach.

So, give it try and practice until you’re comfortable and pleased with your progress. When you’re ready, move onto adding charm to your favorite item with a name or quote on glass, wood or canvas.

The audacious calligraphers who’ve practiced brush lettering understand the balance of joy and challenges that accompany this art form. From monograms to quotes, brush lettering gives artists infinite fun and creative possibilities as soon as they pick up a paint brush.

Have you tried brush lettering? What projects have you worked on?

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