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Heart & Body

"Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow." ~Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

I have been bringing my 3 year old daughter to gymnastics class but only recently am I reminded of that passage from long ago. It just feels perfect time to motivate myself in this journey.  I have been diligently practicing calligraphy for about a month now and I realize that I have such a strong desire to be really good at it.  There are many times that I feel hungry, tired and sleepy from taking care of my little girls but once I follow the tug in my heart and pick up my pen, I then get lost in the moment.  There's just so many ideas and talent out there and I am very excited to challenge and discover myself more, with the company of those who understands exactly what it feels like to learn this skill!

UPDATE: PRACTICE SHEETS & DRAFTS

After uploading all my photos, it seemed to me that I may have gone overboard on this. But these were actually taken different mornings. Okay, I'll admit. I got a little ambitious trying many different ways to do this to push myself further =D

I started with a layout below. I could have gone simply writing it as is as Idea #1 or add a line for some emphasis like Idea #2. Then, I thought about adding some sense of "motion" like Idea #5 or for the words "throw" and "heart" on Idea #3 but I wasn't sure how I could pull it off. I thought about adding actual bars like Ideas #4, 6 and 8. I really liked Idea #7 but I may have spacing and positioning issues with my words so I decided to proceed with Idea #9. I figured there wasn't much detail to worry about and I had an image to emphasize for the message.

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I'm always anxious to begin and write words with my dip pen and ink but I have to remind myself that learning the fundamental strokes is important. These basic strokes seem simple enough but it was a challenge to keep them consistent. My ink was either too much or not enough when I do those down strokes that I had to fill in those lines most of the time. I loved watching the tines spread out though on those downstrokes, watching how the ink fills up the space between them before transferring on the paper :)

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I had to pay for my laziness, too. Instead of ripping off the page from the entire notepad, I covered those O strokes at the bottom with another paper hoping they won't smear while I rotate my practice sheet. I really need to learn how to avoid messes like this :-ss

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My hands have had enough at the end of that page so I attempted on another day.

As for style, I thought maybe it won't hurt to try different ways to do each letter. I have Molly Suber Thorpe's book on hand and this is my first attempt to try her suggested styles. I was always intimidated and clueless where to begin so I faced those fears head on this time.

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I kind of liked Style #2 above but I wasn't sure how to connect the letters. The other styles seemed too formal and I wanted one that has a "flowing" and casual effect to match the "throw" part of the message, like Style #4.

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I tried your alphabets, too, Bryn. But I can't pull it off nicely the way you do! :D I also experimented increasing the spacing between letters to make it more "flowy."

With that in mind, I considered actually drawing and painting so that I can see if the words would match the image I've chosen. And because I have no drawing skills whatsoever, this entire step was not fully successful. Add to that is my attempt to even dare try using watercolor!

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So, I kind of abandoned this idea and used the other end (small marker tip) of my Tombow brush pen. Then, I also tested it with my walnut ink but it ended up bleeding on the page...

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On another day, I decided to maybe just change my image again.

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And practiced a little more with my watercolor.

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I was surprised to achieve the shadow effect on the right places and the outline of the body is more defined than my first one.

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Now, I am just left deciding between these two. At this time, I like the one on top, but I am worried that the words may be too small to write them in the flowing effect that I want. And soon as I was done with this, my husband looked over my shoulder and asked, "Is that a pregnant woman?" I should have stabbed him with my nib and pen holder but I love him too much. Oh well, atleast I know where to work on next on my final piece.

FINAL DRAFTS

Following Anna Victoria's suggestion below, I followed the words streamlined along the gymnast's body instead of through asI did with the earlier draft.

I also just tried learning how to use a masking fluid and I had the idea to incorporate it with this project.  Here are images of the other designs that I was able to come up with.

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I picked what I liked the most from the first set and then, to my surprise, the ideas just kept coming.

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I still had some boo-boos on this final piece and I wished to make some more changes but it was a very satisfying experience over-all. I kind of merged all the techniques that I just learned and love.

     I added some glitter watercolor instead of leaving it with a plain white background. I stuck with black sumi ink to strike a balance with all the colors.  I stayed with the bouncy effect on my letter connections. I wrote Dr. Norman Vincent Peale in print just to set a contrast. Whereas in my practice sheets, I used a Nikko G, I recently acquired some new nibs and my new favorite is the Hiro 111EF, which was used for this final piece.

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I am very glad to have finished this project, seeing a physical reminder that I indeed followed the quote I worked on, at it's very core. It was like a mantra that I repeated to myself every time I created one draft after another. And a testament to its truth each time I see this final work.

If there is anything I could take away from this two-week challenge, it's the delight I got from following where the brush and pen would take me.  I got so carried away from the whole process that I ended up with several layouts to choose from. And it was the most difficult part -- deciding which one I could call my "final" piece when I love everything that I was able to create in such a short amount of time. It was just pure bliss. Thank you for sharing and teaching us, Bryn.

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