Just about 10 years ago I came home from a visit to my parents’ house with a small box of my dad’s old calligraphy stuff. Like most girls who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I had spent plenty of time playing around with “calligraphy markers” and block lettering. I always enjoyed that and couldn’t wait to see what would happen with an actual dip pen. The result was this (December 11, 3013):
Yikes! I would play around a bit but it was not until 2015 when I really got serious about it. This time I decided that I was ready to put some effort into it. I started to follow calligraphers on Instagram, I purchased the right tools, studied up, and found myself in love with Engrosser’s Script. This was when “modern calligraphy” was gaining popularity — you know, the bouncy beautiful letters. But as trendy as it was, I was drawn to this classic style.
In 2016 I invested in myself and took a calligraphy workshop taught by the incredibly talented David Grimes and Joi Hunt. That course completely changed the way I thought about lettering and it pushed me in the right direction. Here’s a sample that I lettered in June 2016:
Well, around this time we encountered a series of life events that started to change things: layoffs, new jobs, kids’ school activities, a pandemic… it was like someone had set up dominos and one by one they kept falling. I didn’t have the energy to put into a lettering practice, so by the end of the year it fell by the wayside.
In 2021 I tried a modern calligraphy boot camp, but… it just didn’t feel right. So the pen nibs and bottles of ink were once again relegated to a shelf in my craft room. But lately I have started to get the urge to dust everything off and begin again. So that’s what I did yesterday.
I mixed up a new batch of walnut ink, I printed out a fresh set of guidelines, I prepped a new nib, and I spent a quiet hour noodling around, becoming reacquainted with the feel of my oblique pen. It wasn’t pretty (certainly not by my standards), but I reminded myself of how long it had been.
In a way, though, it was like riding a bike — I hadn’t forgotten everything.
A while back there was an Instagram challenge called #handletteredabcs and I’ve decided to work through the alphabet again. Today was a sheet of minuscule a. This took about 30 minutes and I was still working too fast. I need to focus on slowing down, breathing, and my pen grip.
I know I said I was throwing in the towel on Blog365, but maybe I won’t after all… at least for another 35 days since I have 25 letters and 10 digits to go! 😉
… Anyway, I’m excited to start this journey again and see how my work progresses over the next few months! Expect a lot of calligraphy content in the next few months!