Category Archives: Projects

Italic Hand Portfolio

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Italic Hand portfolio

This was my final project for the Italic Hand class. Before you “ooh and ahh,” the beautiful writing on the folio is my teacher’s, not mine, LOL. I made the folio though!

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The folio opens up to show five different Italic hand variations.

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From bottom to top: Formal Italic, Chancery, Flourished, Pointed, and Rounded.

Okay, so the inside sheets are what I’ve written. Italic Hand is one of those that “look” easy, but very difficult to do well. You have to keep so much in mind (such as pen angle and letter slant) on top of everything else. I struggled for most of the class and didn’t start to get a feel of it until maybe a few weeks ago. That was when I tried the pointed variation after watching an inspirational video by Denis Brown. Do take the time to view the sample videos if you have a chance – his lightning-quick “striking actions” will leave you breathless! The flourished variation was the most difficult for me. I had so much help from my teacher but just couldn’t get it to look perfect. I definitely need more practice.

Italic Hand was super-challenging and I can probably use a whole year to do nothing but Italic. It’s definitely something I want to do well, since Italic is so commonly used. And having done more with a chiseled nib, I can say it’s definitely more difficult to learn than pointed nib.

We’re off for a summer break, and the next session will start in the fall. Guess what we will be diving into next – Blackletter! 

Alice in Wonderland Accordion Book

Alice Book - Cover

This is my final project for the Foundational Hand class. Our project is to interpret a book or a story, write a few pages out in Foundational Hand, and bind the pages into an accordion book.

I chose Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because I’ve always loved the book, especially with the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, published in 1865. Since Foundational Hand was developed by Edward Johnston at the end of the 19th century, I thought it would be a good fit!

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A Small Gift

Calligraphy for House-warming

I was visiting my friends Aaron and Anita’s house for the first time and decided to pick up some lovely Asian pears from the local farmer’s market. Refrigerated, it’s the perfect and refreshing fruit for a warm summer day.

Calligraphed Gift Tag

Of course, I love adding a little calligraphy wherever I can, so I recycled an Amazon box with summery wrapping paper and made a little gift tag. There, much better!

Emily Dickinson in Roman Capitals

Monoline with pencil

Monoline with pencil

This was my first session’s homework from the Roman Capitals class. We started with monoline, using just pencil to get the basic shapes and structure of the capital letters, then moved to basic strokes with a chiseled/broad-edged nib. After the softness and wispiness of Copperplate, I found Roman Capitals quite challenging, especially when it required getting used to writing with a chiseled nib. The pen angle is also crucial to writing each letter, as the angle of the pen determines the thickness of the strokes and affect the look of the letters. It is quite different from the pointed pen because it has a reservoir that needs to be removed and cleaned to prolong the life of the nib.

Practicing the basic strokes

Practicing the basic strokes

Roman Capitals A to Z

Roman Capitals A to Z

Writing A to Z in Roman Capitals. This was much harder than it looks! The rules of spacing was also tough to grasp. All the letter shapes affect each other as you write, especially in Roman Capitals.

For our final project, we were to choose a poem or a phrase we like, write it on nice paper, and put the finished piece in a frame. I chose a poem by Emily Dickinson:

At first I was going to write in a square format and use a square frame, but it just didn’t look right. I ended up getting a panorama photo-size frame from Aaron Brothers and it worked out nicely! My teacher gave us all great ideas, and I was able to use some lovely pressed flowers she had saved from her garden. The whole piece really came together when framed.

By Chivalries as tiny by Emily Dickinson, 1856. Written in Roman Capitals with gouache on Arches Hot Press paper.

The Roman Capitals class was really challenging, but it was tremendously helpful to study the form and structure of the letters. I think it has already helped my own handwriting and I’m sure it will help as I learn more calligraphy styles.

Letterpressed Holiday Card

Letterpressed holiday card

My final project for the Copperplate class is to make holiday cards. I usually send out 50+ cards every holiday season, so I decided to make it a big project and have them letterpressed!

I wanted to give my business to a local printer, but everyone I could find around Los Angeles quoted me way over my budget. I found Enframing Press on Etsy and they were so wonderful and accommodating. They are located in Santa Cruz, so it also felt great to give my business to a California printer.

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