Friday, August 17, 2018

Abecedary Coloring Tips: A

Monochrome involves
two tints of the same color
or two similar colors.
High contrast uses two
colors from opposite
sides of the color wheel.   
There's no single, magic, correct choice for coloring the letters.  Try out both high-contrast and monochrome color schemes to decide which you like better.  


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

An Abecedary of Calligraphy Capitals to color in: A

Click here to print out 
the full-size page.    
These capitals are free for you to print out and color in.  They first appeared a book I wrote and drew for Macmillan Publishing, Capitals for Calligraphy, which explains how to design a single letter and use it on the page.  Starting with these designs for A, I plan to post one page per week, giving you 156 letters from my collection of thousands.  Enjoy! 

Answers to FAQ: 

  • Abecedary is an antique word for “alphabetical collection.”  
  • The letter pages are copyright free for your own use.  Use them in your calligraphy projects.  
  • In the comments section, ask me anything.  
If you like historical lettering, check out my Pinterest board Beautiful Letters from the Past.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

And two more colors

Oh, yeah, I forgot; I use these two Prismacolor pencils a lot in making rough drafts.  So now I have mixed some ink to match them, too, and I am working them into current designs for Song of Songs.  

At right: Pale gray lavender-lilac and chartreuse/lime 
In fact, if you don't intend to get any new supplies, you still might want to have these convenient bottles for custom-mixing small amounts of ink. The droppers let you fill your pen neatly instead of dipping.   

 bottles: Vivaplex, 24, Clear, 15 ml (1/2 oz) Glass Bottles, with Glass Eye Droppers

Calligraphers welcome every chance to explore color; its hue, saturation, and brightness, and how it changes when another color is nearby.  It's one more way to let the reader hear the tone of voice that words on paper suggest.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ink warms the soul

Ink warms the soul 
Today is National Handwriting Day. It's every year on John Hancock's birthday. So pick up your pen and write something important. Scientific proof exists to remind us that ink on paper is a better way to think, thank, request, soothe, and commemorate. You can still write down your resolutions for the year, or start drafting the perfect love letter for upcoming Valentines Day.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Colors that I like to come back to

Shortly after I started copying the Song of Songs, Which is Solomon's, I designed a title page that used seven strong, basic colors, which I have gone on to use over and over in the 50-some designs for the group.  I was especially partial to orange, indigo blue, and gray. 

But along the way I have found some new favorite colors that surprised me.  (If you've just sworn off browsing in art supply stores or sites because you already have too many pencils or inks, you might want to skip this post. I have too many pencils and pens and inks but I still just can't resist one more.)  
By exploring the Prismacolor display, I've found four colors new to me and learned to mix them with ink. 

  • First is the palest "Grey Green Light" color that I've already worked into the background of three pieces to add soft, subtle texture.   
  • The second is "Black Grape" that gives purple truly serious weight.  It was the perfect foil for the cream and sepia band of color in "Majestic as the..." Now I use it often.  
  • The third is "Metallic Green," a verdigris that seems to solve every color problem I encounter.  It's almost worn down, to a 3" stub.  Too bad for me, it seems to have been discontinued.  I'd give a big reward for anyone who finds one more.  
  • Orange comes in a lot of variations, such as the "Vermilion" here.  I like it because it punches through soft gray colors.  

Here are three of the designs 
I've used these colors in.  Let me know your own favorite colors.    

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Kinds of light from the sky

SONG of SONGS: Timeless love poetry in contemporary calligraphy. 

Letters, letter strokes, and lines of letters can portray many natural forms.  Here, suggested by the central metaphor, they portray what we see in the sky.  
(Scanned at home, not corrected yet for tone)

  •    A round area of aqua letters makes the disc of the moon.
  •     A descending column of gray letters falls right through the blue letters, suggesting a broad beam of light.
  •    A diagonal sliver of gold falls at a different angle within that beam.
  •    Simple lines of lettering with the verse's citation make thin rays of light.  
  •     The words spoken by the other young women form two other rays of light, set off to the left like a chorus or echo just outside the central spotlight.
  •    Traditional repeating pen strokes radiate out from the glowing moon, and evoke its pale greenish-bue light.  

We are so grateful to live in an era when astronomers' photos fill our eyes with gorgeous images of the heavens nearby and of deep space.     


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Galaxy arms Part two

SONG of SONGS: Timeless love poetry in contemporary calligraphy. 
Galaxy arms Part two: 
After comparing total randomness with strictly repeating pattern, I combined the two ideas.  The four different swaths I ended up making were based on spiraling galaxies, the DNA double helix, two twined colors, and an irregular sine wave that faded in and then faded out. In each case, the pattern formed against a background of random dots.  

I wanted the galaxy arms to have a similar texture to the lines of lettering--not too dense or too light--and to in some way echo the words in both form and content.