The welcome banner
Whenever I meet a local calligraphy friend online, I always tell them to join the Society for Calligraphy. Not only will they get to take wonderful workshops year-round, they are also eligible to attend Letters California Style, the member conference that takes place every year on Presidents’ Day weekend.
Last year, I got a small taste of it with a mini workshop, and this year I was so excited to be fully immersed in the Letters experience! I got into Jane Shibata’s “Pointed Pen Variations” class, which was exactly what I wanted. After taking Jane’s workshop on the same subject two years ago, I have been practicing on my own, but really wanted to further refine my script. I was more than happy to learn from Jane again for four days!
Jane shares her work with us
We were given her exemplars and meticulous notes which were so very helpful as she showed us how to achieve details that make each letter beautiful. Jane’s pointed pen work is exquisite, and as she was doing demos for us, she made it look so very easy! Of course it’s from years of study and practice, and I found it so inspiring.
Had a lot of fun writing out this cocktail menu for a practice session of Casual Pointed Pen script. I was getting mighty thirsty as I imagined how delicious each of these drinks would taste!
I know quite a few people who prefer absolute silence when they work. I happen to like music when I work, and calligraphy is no exception. I listen to Spotify, Pandora. Last.fm, or my iTunes library, whatever strikes my fancy. Music is a big part of my life and I can’t imagine being without it! My husband and I have a substantial CD collection (3000+) that we’ve digitized, and we also have a small LP library thanks to our frequent visits to local flea markets and thrift stores.
Sometimes I’d stop what I’m doing and listen to the words and melody because they are just so wonderful. This song stopped me today and I had to put it on loop.
Lovely words by Bill Callahan of Smog. Give it a listen.
From yesterday’s pointed pen practice, cleaned up a bit and added color. I am learning with a broad-edged pen, but I always go back to pointed. I definitely feel more comfortable with pointed pen at the moment.
And this is definitely something to keep in mind as I boldly venture into the world of calligraphy!
Photo credit: National Geographic, Waikawau Bay, New Zealand. Photograph by Steve Burling
Some fun with calligraphy tonight.
I spent all afternoon at my desk practicing Casual Pointed Pen. This is the first time I sat down to concentrate and practice since the workshop with Jane Shibata a week ago. After trying out different penholders and nibs, I think I found a combination I like. I’m also just using Higgins Eternal ink. Next time I will try gouache.
After feeling a little more confident, I decided to write the Pie Day menu (March 14th) from one of my favorite eateries in Downtown LA, The Pie Hole. I was pleased with how it turned out, so I posted the photo via Twitter and got a response from them. It totally made my day!
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 talks about Casual Pointed Pen
Jane gets ready to show us the letterforms