Tag Archives: calligraphy practice

Precision, Perfection, Practice

I don’t ask for this degree of precision from my students but strangely, it is what many of them strive for. My thoughts on this matter : Aim for perfection in everything you do but do not be obsessed. Perfection comes with practice, (PPP), in all aspects of calligraphy, from first mastering a script, to building a page, from the initial planning, right through to putting on that final decoration. Most will never achieve it.  After all my years as a lettering geek I still aim for that perfection, I know I shall never attain it but I sure have enjoyed the journey so far.

By the way, when you do achieve that perfect piece of work, don’t be afraid to ask for top dollar. This watch has a price tag of 2.6 million of them.

Cheers. Keep watching this space.

JEWELS. Another knot in my golden thread?

Isn’t it strange, how sometimes, something catches the eye and demands your attention?

An unexpected treasure.

Walking through the shopping precinct in Houghton Regis, a small town between Luton and Dunstable, that Gill and I rarely visit, I noticed a shop window full of old reconditioned sewing machines.  It was not the machinery that had attracted me but the various display cards that accompanied them which were all written in a very distinctive hand.  Then I realised it was not just sewing machines for sale but a whole range of art and craft materials, and what scribe can stop themselves from entering what they see as an Aladdin’s cave?

Just a glimpse.

Cutting a very long story short.  I found that the cards in the window were written by Julie Kent, a co- student of the calligraphy class I had attended in Dunstable College, some thirty-ish years ago.  Though we have both taught and practised our art in the same area for all this time, we had never come into contact again.

Now, it seems that Julie, in partnership with Les, runs this emporium as an outreach for a local church and offers facilities for children’s groups, various classes, arts/crafts, and yes you’ve guessed it, CALLIGRAPHY WORKSHOPS .

Subsequently I have returned on two occasions during calligraphy sessions and having met the participants and seen some of their work, I must say I am impressed, not only with the standard of work achieved, but with the enthusiasm, commitment and friendliness of all involved, and the TEA!  Hot, strong and sweet!  Oh! and each time I have walked away with a bag full of goodies.  Brand names at very reasonable prices.  I can’t wait to get to grips with the Fabriano papers.

Some of the works created by Julie’s group.

On top of all this, Julie continues to take commissions. Not only for calligraphy but also her beautiful watercolour paintings.

Some of Julie’s pieces .

Congratulations to all you hard-working folk at JEWELS ARTS and CRAFTS CENTRE, Bedford Square, Houghton Regis.  You are doing a wonderful job.

I hope you have enjoyed this foray into deepest Bedfordshire.  I hope it will be a reminder to us all to keep our eyes open for those little gems that are literally on our doorsteps.

A link to my subsequent Calligraphy Workshop at Jewels.

Keep watching this space.

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!