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Calligraphy Reboot

So, the first experience I ever had with calligraphy was a single semester in middle school. I totally aced it and was the star student!

That was such a ridiculously long time ago.

I had always kind of thought in the back of my mind that it was like riding a bike and I could just pick it up easily again, but every time I tried to write stylistically, it would be a huge fail and just not successful. It's hard to believe that I once considered myself good at calligraphy, or to have had good handwriting for that matter, so I thought I'd take a look at the class materials and see if it was something feasible in trying out.

First of all, we definitely didn't use pen ink or pen nibs. That whole concept is new to me. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the materials for this class were quite affordable! I just might have a penchant to get myself into overly expensive or inaccessible hobbies. Maybe that's a reason why I shouldn't get into calligraphy... haha! Anyway, needless to say, I dove in, and here I am! So far, I'm having fun, aside from the very limited time I can commit to practicing. I just have to keep reminding myself to be patient and I may get there. I'm mostly taking this class for fun to supplement my job in design and for my desire to be a master letterer, but hey, one step at a time right?

Here is my very first practice session:

Ok, so it wasn't as easy as I felt like it was in my 7th grade class, but it's a start. One thing I'm really struggling with is the pen nibs getting "stuck" on the paper. Also, I noticed quite a bit of ink seeping through to the next page.. I think it has something to do with the pointy tips snagging on the paper and creating holes. I just don't feel like it writes as smoothly as I expected, the scratchy feeling is very discomforting to me. Should I be tearing a sheet of the paper out of the pad or can I write in the pad? At this point I'm making a mess! I started out tracing the first few letters on one of the templates but all of my ink kept seeping through onto my template, and over time the letters keep increasing in thickness, hence making the template no longer reliable.. haha! Anyway, will post more once I get a another chance to practice. Any words of wisdom or guidance would be appreciated.

Attempt #2

 

OK, so I'm definitely getting a lot of the scratchiness, cutting through the paper more often. What am I doing wrong? Here are a few issues I've been experiencing aside from my writing just not looking good:

  1. My thick lines are not getting the thicks as thick as the guide-- could my expectations be unrealistic or was the guide created with a different pen tip? in the image above, the counter in my lower case 'K' is not creating the thickness as the guide. Since I feel an anticipation for the pen cutting through the paper, I feel like my instinct is to shy away from pushing down because of the tip either cutting through or very unpleasantly snagging on the fibers.
  2. Cutting through the paper-- is my pen at the wrong angle? Am I applying too much pressure?
  3. Every so often, my ink pools into a little bubble at the first moment I place my pen tip down on paper. What is causing this?

Attempt #3

I looked at my project here and realized how uninteresting it is to look at practice marks, so I went ahead and just dove into writing phrases. I still need proper feedback as to how to avoid cutting through my paper and snagging bits of paper fiber on my pen nib. After my first run of freehanding it, I realize I need to trace more letters and practice. I have the strange instinctual desire to make quick end marks after each letter in a quick lifting stroke. I have decided I do not like that effect as it is too abrupt, straight, and unfinished. Here is an example of that in action:

DEFINITELY need a LOT more practice. But it's a very cathartic experience to get off the computer to do some hand work. Looking forward to improving through this process!

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