Practice, Positive Practice

 How often do we spend hours and hours at the practice page only to tear up or otherwise dispose of the results of our labours?  Or do we keep suitcases full of old practice sheets, thinking there is something on this page that looks really good against all the scribbling?

I think we should ask ourselves why  the bulk of this “ Practice “ work is only scribble.  Would it not be better if each time we put pen to paper, the result at least looked as if we were trying to make something that would be worth putting in the portfolio or framing or passing on to a friend?   Even if we are just going to write out an alphabet, it is worth spending a little time thinking how we will arrange it on the page.  If, at the end of the day, we feel that  the piece is not worth keeping, we can at least tell ourselves that we really did try to make each letter as well as we are able, and will also be able to analyse where we went wrong.  At the same time, any glaringly obvious problems with layout will show themselves, so we can adjust paper / letter size, switch from portrait to landscape format or use a different combination of colours.  In this way we are not only practicing, but with each attempt are trying to make a series of good letters  / words sit on the page in a manner that is pleasing to the eye.

This page ( 2nd Attempt ) is the result of a need to show a Black-letter alphabet but to get away from the norm and hopefully hold the interest so that each letter is viewed in it’s own right as well as part of the whole.  I am quite pleased with the way this is looking.  Apart from a couple of anomalies in the execution of the letters, oh and the fact that one letter is missing altogether, I can see that slightly smaller letters or a larger page would be to the good.  So the next attempt should be the final piece, having fulfilled all that I set out to do.


The size of this page is A3.  Written with a Pilot 6mm pen.

This next piece comes from a thought that I might try my hand at Uncial with a pointed nib.  Rather than just writing out a straightforward alphabet, I looked in my copy file and came up with this that has been languishing for a good number of years.  Before starting, I selected the size of paper that I wanted to use, then wrote out the longest line on a piece of scrap.  I then knew, more or less, as this was to be a very informal piece, the maximum width needed, i.e. 9 1/2” x 28 lines at 1/2”.  Then mixed up some Titanium white acrylic with distilled water, ( no salts or calcium ), and this is the result.

18” x 12”  Ingres Fabriano. My thoughts on a riverbank, c 1993.

Before too long I realised that I had encroached on the right hand border and should perhaps have made my letters slightly smaller, and so, writing lines shorter. Nevertheless, I pressed on, knowing that this is going to be the bare bones of the masterpiece, heheh, that is in my mind’s eye.

You might like to know that Bill’s Space has now been running for just over a year and has had 5258 visitors from 67 countries.  Calligraphy at Bill’s Space MkII on Facebook now has 325 members and grows by the day. Thanks to you all for your support.  If you haven’t seen what we are doing there, please pay us a visit.  Whether you are a master or beginner you will be made really welcome.


Keep watching this space…………………………………………………..Italics Soon!

3 responses to “Practice, Positive Practice

  1. Pingback: ‘Godiva’ receives her Pilgrim Badge at Bradwell Abbey | BILL'S SPACE

  2. Pingback: Luton Calligraphy Workshops. Week 3 | BILL'S SPACE

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