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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!


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.


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 :)


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



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.





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.


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!


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...


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


And practiced a little more with my watercolor.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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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