Casual Pointed Pen with Jane Shibata

Casual Pointed Pen, a to z

Mike Kecseg’s Casual Pointed Pen from a to z

I braved traffic from the LA Marathon and drove out to Santa Monica to attend Jane Shibata’s Casual Pointed Pen mini-workshop last Sunday. It was my first time attending a workshop coordinated by the Westside Regional of the Society for Calligraphy and it was definitely worth the drive cross-town.

The Community Room was nice and bright, with great natural light. There is a small park nearby that offered a nice quiet atmosphere for a Sunday afternoon. I was really looking forward to the Casual Pointed Pen class with Jane because I wanted to try a more casual script with the pointed pen after having learned Copperplate and Spencerian.

Jane Shibata's Casual Pointed Pen Workshop

Jane Shibata talks about Casual Pointed Pen

Casual Pointed Pen Workshop

Jane gets ready to show us the letterforms

Jane gave us a packet with pages of detailed instructions and exemplars, both from herself and Master Penman Mike Kecseg who developed this particular style of Casual Pointed Pen. The letter forms are based on Copperpate and Italic Hand, with a 55° slant like Copperplate, but with more open oval shapes and has a more informal style. She showed us the groups of lowercase letters first, and had us start writing, then went around the room to give us individual attention.

Jane does a demo for Hedy. She tilts her paper almost vertically!

The view from my work table. Casual Pointed Pen is tough!

The view from my work table. Casual Pointed Pen is tough!

I really enjoyed writing in the Casual Pointed Pen style for the first time. The letters are really fun to write and require a lot of concentration. It takes so much control to achieve the perfect amount of pressure to make it look so effortless and to look like it was done quickly! For example, the “wedges” that take place of the regular dots over the letter i takes time to perfect. If you move the pen too fast, it turns into a teardrop rather than a wedge. There is a beautiful wedge at the bottom of each downstroke that is achived by placing pressure on the right tine of the pen, then slowly releasing the pressure on the left so that the left tine will slide over and re-join, while never lifting the pen off the paper. That is some incredible control over the span of 1-2 millimeters!

Jane mixes up some gouache for a demonstration

Jane mixes up some gouache for a demonstration

At the end of the workshop, Jane demonstrated further by writing each of our names with gold mica color on black paper, and everyone was completely awestruck. I love the incredible attention to detail and the mastery needed to perfect this hand. Needless to say, I am inspired to practice and get better at Casual Pointed Pen!


Big thanks to Jane Shibata, Barbara and Debra, and the Westside Regional for an excellent workshop!