Saturday, May 26, 2012

I'm Old Fashioned

...A great song and a little description of myself since I do love traditional things-- when it comes to art anyway. Calligraphy is the art of hand-lettered writing and is still needed even in the digital age. Here's an example of a project where my calligraphy skills serve me well. (Pay attention 8th graders-- I didn't teach you calligraphy for nothing!!)

A local church needed a calligrapher to fill out its memorial book where deceased members are listed and honored. It must be done by hand since it is a very large leather-bound manuscript. I took it on a number of years ago and have been the calligrapher on this job ever since...
The book belongs to the Fairhaven Unitarian Memorial Church on Green Street, a Gothic cathedral designed by world famous architect Charles Brigham.
This is the book's cover-- definitely cannot be put through a computer printer.
This is the book's first page-- fancy!

Here's the first page in the book I have worked in-- there are more books dating back into the 1800s.

The calligraphy wasn't always done by hand--some of you may remember Letraset transfers...
This is the first page I did, for the year 1998.

The first thing to do is draw guidelines in pencil based on the size of my pen.
I do pencil in the year so I can then place and pencil in the illuminations around the header.
On the left, a pointed nib drawing pen for the embellishments, on the right a calligraphy pen with a square nib. Both of these pens require an ink well to dip into which is really really old fashioned but works beautifully.
Time to ink: I begin with all of the lettering, including years at the header, then the names, with the calligraphy pen. The embellishments have to be done with the pointed pen which is for drawing.
After all the ink is done and dry I use a kneaded eraser to get rid of the pencil lines (that eraser leaves no residue).

The embellishments throughout the book have watercolor accents- here are my supplies for that step: tiny brush, palette, water, watercolor tubes, paper towels, test paper.
I mix and test a goldenrod color and a bluish gray which are the accent colors on the date headers throughout the book.
 Finally, here's the completed header with color accents. I will continue the same steps to complete pages for 2009-12.