Monday, August 29, 2011

Italic Calligraphy: Calligraphy One

To sign up for the Wednesday evening class, Nov 14th -  Dec 19th, 2012, contact Jacob Gunter at

Calligraphy One: Italic with Anne Elser
Beginner to Intermediate | $190 | Min. 5/ Max. 8
The Italic calligraphic hand is one of the most widely used and versatile alphabets around. It is highly legible and can easily be dressed up or down. Italic is the perfect hand to learn for the beginning calligrapher yet versatile enough to experiment with for the advanced.
During the six week course, students will be given handouts and guide sheets, learning the upper and lower case characters. We will also address spacing and layout for addressing envelopes.
Calligraphy is less about pretty handwriting, but more about DRAWING each and every letter. Its about establishing a pacing and rhythmic motion as you write - giving you a consistency of shapes and letters, and spaces in between words and lines. It is highly relaxing and meditative. Like yoga for the hands.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Palatial Palm Tree

It's finished! Save the Date monogram for a wedding in Miami. Stay tuned for the Invite monogram next.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Working on a monogram today and within Illustrator CS5. With this new version comes a WIDTH tool and it's pretty amazing. It gives you the ability to mimic up and down strokes, creating stress where you want it. Totally different from what I used to do - trace the drawing from the outside contour. It feels more calligraphic now. Really, really interesting.

I love the asymmetry of this piece and can't wait to see how it changes when we do the wedding invitation version.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Amorous Palm Tree

New sketch for a couple to be wed in Miami, who asked for a monogram with palm leaf accents and tropical flair. I will bring this sketch into Illustrator today and have some fun. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tool Bed

A fellow dribbbler asked me recently to upload shots of the tools I use. This is a pouch Barbara Calzolari made to carry her own tools. She's an amazing Italian calligrapher from Bologna, who just did a workshop here in Atlanta at Binders called Pointed Pen Variation.

I traded a book I'd made for this pouch. The brushes I use for brush calligraphy are sized 00, 0, 1 and 2. The strange looking pen in the middle with the large screw at the top is called a Ruling Pen. It makes similar strokes that a brush makes and the screw increases or decreases the distance between the 2 parallel plates. Can be dipped in ink and drawn at the very tip for a fine line, or on the side at any angle. An amazing tool.

There are a couple of calligraphy pen holders next that are set at an oblique angle I use for Copperplate. In this oblique pen holder is a pointed pen nib. Currently my favorites are the Nikko G and the Zebra G nib.

For broad edge work I use a Brause nib. The three pens at the very end are automatic broad edge pens called Pilot Parallel pens. Another amazing tool.

This tool pouch came SPOTLESS with no ink spills, splatters or stains. That's how clean a good calligrapher keeps their tools. It's all about a sense of care, wonder and very good craft.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brush Work

Writing with a brush is tough to learn. Creating interest in your strokes and crisp, defined marks is tricky, too. Been doing a lot of brush work practice lately, especially since Barbara Calzolari's Pointed Pen Variation Workshop.

She had me practicing with a brush, then the pointed pen and back again to the brush. They are essentially the same tool - just the brush is more sensitive. HIGHLY sensitive - which can be maddening. But it's good. I am in search of a brush lettering workshop and my goal is to take one from John Stevens.

While practicing with the brush, I started with black in. Then Barbara introduced me to the idea of using gouache. Now gouache is my preference. It makes my brush slow down because there is a slight chalky texture to it. It takes curves nice and slowly and I can feel the slight vibration in my hands. It's an amazing feeling.

I've been using the cheapest brushes I can find to practice with, but have just upgraded to a nicer version - Windsor Newton Series 7 Miniature Sable brushes in #00, 0, 1 and 2. They have a lovely waist on their short blue handles.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hand Painted Calligraphy on Vintage Handkerchief

More hand painted calligraphy on fabric. Created with thinned fabric paint in black and white, onto a vintage linen handkerchief. I used a #0 brush, kept it clean and sharp and went very slowly.

This particular item is a gift to the Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine editor, Shira Savada. Came with my most recent package of calligraphy wedding envelope samples. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hand Painted Monogram on Fabric

I am still digesting all of the fabulous things I learned from Barbara Calzolari's Pointed Pen Variation workshop last weekend. And I think you'll see a good many posts about the new tools and techniques I've adopted. My most urgent need was to get better at brush lettering. And this is a start. Barbara had me switch back and forth between the brush and nib - each sift improving the other. Then, with a very clean, size 0 brush, I used thinned fabric paint on this cotton doily. I am in LOVE. Will show you a handkerchief tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bjork: Virus

I have just listened to Bjork's new Biophilia single, "Virus" and am completely blown away. This is an enchanting, loving and entirely different view of our relationship with viruses. "My sweet adversary" nudges me closer to the opportunity illness brings. Take a deeper look at your body the next time you're down with the flu, sniffles or even something greater. Understanding always brings opportunity. Opportunity brings change. And that's a good thing.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Anton's first day of school!

My little bird goes to school (Coralwood) via school bus this morning. I kept it together until waving goodbye to him and blowing a kiss. Just feeling wonder at the flow of life - picking me up, picking Anton up - higher and higher and higher. I can't stop crying. Heavy morning.

And here he is coming home after a great first day. :) Sigh. Of. Relief.