Last fall I took a calligraphy class from Melissa Esplin of "I still love calligraphy". It was a wonderful class, but I was overwhelmed, especially because I'm left handed and getting the mechanics to work is a little tricky. I also signed up and worked with her online class which allowed me to really think about the mechanics and go at a slower place. I purchased the basic kit and it's the perfect starting point.
Fast forward to February 1st and one of the goals I set for the month was to spend a little time every day practicing and figure out a few more things. One of the things I did was purchase this sampler pack of copperplate nibs from Paper Inks Art.com. I also purchased some fun ink colors from Deign Roots ink bar.... the gold is heavenly. I also ordered this book: Mastering Cooperplate Calligarphy by Eleanor Winters, it's a great reference book and being left handed I am scouring references to get things correct. Then I practiced and practiced and practiced.
I still need to practice and practice and practice some more, but I'm finally seeing improvements. Today, I'm exhausted and feeling the effects of Loaf's cold and so after I ran Ellie to the vet to get an IV and shot (she's been sick too.... it's quite pathetic) and spent time testing the nibs.
It's amazing how different they are.
There are some really delicate nibs that don't even write with my heavy hand and some really rigid ones that require too much pressure. They all worked beautifully on the Rhodia practice paper, but not as well on the moleskine paper (which I use for my journal). It's good to have a variety and multiples... the favorite nib I have been using got lost in the chaos so I need to order another (it's not even pictured).
1. I have a long way to go. I am not interesting in becoming a master penman or learning all sorts of different calligraphy forms, just copperplate. I have too many other things I would love to do and learn.
2. Practice, practice, and more practice. I think calligraphy is something anyone can do, but it does require time every day which is not always easy with all the demands that are placed on us. I have found that I can write in my journal which helps me work on ink flow. I also listen to conference talks while I work on the letter forms.
3. The nib and ink can feel like a nemesis, but it's a beautiful way to express one's thoughts and feelings. It also helps me feel connected to my ancestors. Perhaps that sounds cheesy, but I look at my ink stained fingers and wonder about their lives. My great grandfather was known for his beautiful penmanship and I've thought about him a great deal as I write.
4. I will repeat this nib testing in a couple of months when I have a better handle on the formation of the letters and more accuracy.
5. I have always loved to write and practice different writing styles. In fact as I was writing yesterday I remembered the first time I started adding a basic flourish (which I now know is called a lead in stroke) to the beginning letters of my cursive was in Jr. High and my best friend Meghan's older sister Kami wrote something and she had the most beautiful letter beginnings I had ever seen. I have written that way ever since and it's perfect for calligraphy.