Tag Archives: letters california style

Letters California Style 2017

Over Presidents’ Day weekend, I had the best time at Letters California Style, the member’s conference that takes place every year on that weekend, organized by Society for Calligraphy in Southern California. This year I was in Robbie Saslow‘s class, “Fabulous and Functional: The Art of Certificates and Scrolls,” along with nine other calligraphers from California, Texas, Nevada, and Washington State. We all enjoyed learning from Robbie who shared wonderful stories, knowledge, and great tips! He was such a fantastic instructor.

Robbie doing a class demo.

Our first class assignment was to create a certificate, picking one out of three choices with different criteria and styles. Most in the class opted for a certificate for the “Golden Poppy Society of Southern California” (a fictitious organization). We sketched drafts and worked on our designs with Robbie’s guidance for the first two days:

Snap shots from class: Robbie doing a demo and shared his beautiful work for the Los Angeles County; beautiful certificates done by Schin Loong, Diane Reiter, Kathy Barker, and Cindy Haller.

I ended up choosing a baby name certificate, which had the requirement of: baby name should be prominent, with a style that is casual, playful but clean, no pink, and must have three cats. I felt it was the most comfortable for me to dive into!

Rough draft of my certificate.

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with this one, using pointed pen styles, sketching cats, lettering with colored pencils and using green with FineTec gold!

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Letters California Style 2015

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.

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Roman Capitals with Alisara Tareekes

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Many calligraphers, whether seasoned or just starting out, will agree that Roman Capitals is one of the most beautiful yet difficult hands to master. Its beauty is in its simplicity of form and structure, yet understanding the form and structure and applying them skillfully can take years of mindful practice.

One of the mini classes offered at Letters California Style 2014, “Hacking Roman Capitals: Defeat the divine proportion and rule the flat brush” taught by Alisara Tareekes, explores a new way of learning Roman Capitals by using a special template that she has developed.

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Alisara started the class with a brief introduction of the history of Roman Capitals and also showed us a large sheet of rubbing from the Trajan’s Column (113 AD) where some of the finest examples of Roman Capitals were chiseled into its base. Alisara’s template consists of the same proportions, using die-cut straight and curved lines that make up all 26 alphabets. Each alphabet will be 6” tall. Using Alisara’s handout as a reference, we followed the template to lay down light pencil lines on a large sheet of rice paper. We then took a ¾” flat brush and followed the pencil lines to construct each letter in watercolor. Alisara recommended David Harris’ The Art of Calligraphy: A Practical Guide to the Skills and Techniques for its thorough yet concise brush-lettering instructions for each letter, and walked around giving each of us individual attention.

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The class concluded on a high note, with very nice Roman Capital samples we created to take home on a rice paper scroll! With Alisara’s wonderful template, Roman Capitals now seem a little less daunting and perhaps one day, I too will become a Roman (Capitals) conqueror.

[This class recap was published in the 2014 issue of Calligraph journal, published by the Society for Calligraphy.]