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Autumn Leaves

I am planning to calligraph a John Muir quote about the effects of nature on our souls. The changing seasons and my daily desire to be outdoors inspired me to choose this quote. I am hoping to achieve a simple, flowy, earthy style. So far, I have just written out the quote with a micron pen a few times to help me get a feel for the words, connections between the letters, and possible layouts.

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I have been practicing most evenings using the worksheets provided and also just filling up the pages of my layout paper pad.

My biggest challenges are settling on a uniform shape for my letters (can't seem to decide if I want them sharper or rounder), and choosing a style for the ascenders and decenders (small and simple or big and dramatic?). I also find capital letters really difficult! Mine always look a little crazy. And if I've found if I don't move the pen quickly enough on the hairlines/upstrokes, I end up with wobbly lines. So, lots more practice needed!

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I practiced on the page pictured below by first tracing her letters, then writing them without tracing and just looking at them for reference. I noticed I tend to write more upright than slanted. And you can see that I am struggling with the capital letters!

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Here's a pencil sketch of my John Muir quotation...

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I am leaning toward making three lines larger than the others ("Climb the mountains," "Nature's peace will flow," and "while cares drop off"), but having trouble executing that. I'm sure there are design rules about how much bigger they should be to be obviously bigger but not awkwardly huge. I am just trying to eyeball it, and it still doesn't look quite right to me. I am also still figuring out how I want certain letters to look, such as "t" and "f." My tendency is to write everything in a very formal, precise style, but I am trying to loosen up the style on this piece because I feel a more casual style will better fit the content of the quote. I am open to any suggestions!

My classmates' feedback was so helpful! I practiced and practiced until I felt I had found an easy, flowy style that I could do pretty consistently. It's an interesting process of trying to find your own style, manipulate it a bit to fit the look you are going for, but not have it look like a bad imitation of someone else's style. Once I was flowing through the words without having to think too much about every stroke, I knew I was getting closer. Like you all suggested, I went back to a simple straightforward layout similar to my inital mock up with the micron pen. (Funny how I wrote that in about 1 minute without any thought or planning, and it turned out to be more inspiring than all my labored attempts with the pencil sketches!)

So, here's my final calligraphy version of the John Muir quote...

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