I love calligraphy. Although, I never did it myself, until I taught it. Most people recognize letter forms as having an intrinsic level of beauty. Each one is a creation. Together, a composition, playing off one another rhythmically.
I love to teach Lettering and Typography, one of the classes we offer at the high school in which I teach. This year I finally realized that certain approaches are better than others. My students want to be creative, not perfectionists. Who really does? One of my purchases for school is a book by the wonderfully talented Lisa Engelbrecht called Modern Mark Making, from Classic Calligraphy to Hip Hand-Lettering.
My students are all into the second part of this book. They love to doodle and letter. They want to create their own font, not copy and recopy other people's designs. I understand. I love to play far more than I love to copy. Don't get me wrong, I know there is a lot of value in practice. One must practice to master anything. And, the kids that intend to be lettering masters will practice. But, a lot of them just want to enjoy the process and savor their results. My job is to get them into it just enough that they will create, while semi-aiming for a higher bar than they may have intended on from the start.
I love Lisa's book, because it really makes "mark making" cool! You wanna' try making letter forms immediately, or at least as soon as you can scramble over to your art space, grab some paper, and basic tools. Including some not so basic tools, such as a homemade calligraphy pen made from the plastic from an empty yogurt container, a pencil, a staple, and some duct tape... Sound weird? Well, it really works, and it's fun!
I'll share some examples with the yogurt cup pen when I get more time to play with it. It requires a lot of ink and makes really big letters. I want to experiment with Black Letter style, which this pen would be perfect for, and which would be a style of lettering I believe my students would really like.
Finally, from the top examples, you can see I was playing with an informal brush style, which I liked so much, I transferred my enthusiasm onto a piece I have had sitting on the back burner for far too long. I am 10 minutes away from finishing it. Finding 10 minutes the past week has been challenging. Balance in all areas of my life is what I aspire to all the time.
(P.S... I love the way something I tried for school made its way into my artwork. Just realized that fact upon rereading this post. Hmmmm?)
Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam