6.15.2012

Randomosity on Fridays: Calligraphic Edition



I found The Complete Guide to Calligraphy: Master Scripts of the West and East, Step-by-Step with 45 Projects by Ralph Cleminson at a discount store.  This is the type of book I'd never pay retail $35 for but for $10 hot damn yes I'll take it home.

And since I inherited an ancient cheap fountain pen from my mom along with a bottle of equally ancient ink, I had a go at calligraphy since the book contains step-by-step instructions on the order and number and direction of strokes that compose each letter for a variety of different fonts. It was tedious and slightly rather a little bit hard at first, but I got the hang of it eventually. The above is the level I'm at after two days of messing around and not following directions such as drawing out lines and calculating angles and practicing strokes.


It's pretty fun.  Then again, I do have a masochistic nature.  Which is why I wrote my friend an 8-page letter in calligraphy without practicing beforehand.  Page 1 is a mess but page 8 isn't bad.

It has also given me new insight and consideration for when characters in fantasy novels write stuff--since if it's Ye Elde Fantasye, they're not carrying around pencils and ballpoint pens.  It's likely either quills or fountain or dip pens, and since the letter "g" in Carolingian font (the main style I used in the above) takes no less than 5 separate strokes, and all other letters also require multiple strokes in a certain order and keeping things level and the same size is no frolic in the park, uh, well, let's just say I have a new respect for penmanship in olden times.  That's the sort of detail I never really dwelled upon since, you know, it's usually not important.  But now I know.  And appreciate.

(Also for dip pens you have to reload pretty often, and then wipe off the excess.  I don't need to use a blotter but I imagine it must suck to worry about smearing your hard work.)


I have played around with fountain pens in the past--I had a cartridge pen that always bled everywhere and I got discouraged and dumped it once the ink dried up inside and everything got clogged--but I rather like messing about with this dip pen and nib.  Especially since it makes my ugly handwriting look nicer. 

Have you tried calligraphy pens before?  Is your handwriting a symphony of form and function or is it more like the scratchings of a blind chicken on crack?

15 comments:

Julie Dao said...

I've always wanted to try calligraphy!! I used to ogle those beautiful kits in the gift section at Barnes and Noble. I have a glass pen that I got for Christmas, but it definitely doesn't write that cool. Your handwriting is beautiful!

Connie Keller said...

I feel in love with calligraphy when I was a kid. But the "fun-ness" or lack of "fun-ness" is totally dependent on the quality of nibs and ink. With some nibs the ink flows almost as well/if not better than a ball point. Others...it's like writing with a chicken quill on a brick.

I have a friend who repairs antique nibs. So cool!

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Emy Shin said...

I've always been in love with calligraphy, though more Eastern than Western until recently.

Looking at this makes me want to whip out my fountain pens and give it a try. :)

lbdiamond said...

Awesome! I love calligraphy, but am not talented in the slightest, LOL! (I blame it on being left-handed.)

Tere Kirkland said...

Eh, just with calligraphy markers. I'm not masochistic enough to go the real ink-pen route, lol. You got some awesome results, though, Alz! Can't wait to see Krispy's!

Angela Brown said...

As you randomized along the calligraphic road there, reaching back to ye olde times and all, it made me wonder how did left-handed people write without causing an awful mess?

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Ye olde Renaissance fantasy can have pencils. They're pretty old, but you're right, if you're going for an older feel, it's quills and barely anyone knowing how to write.

Hmm, maybe penmanship was a test for whether or not one could be a monk.

"But I'm very devout!"
"Shut up and write. God needs believers who can spell."

Sophia Chang said...

This was a rousing, fun post! And helped me with thinking more about my MS.

Alicia C. said...

I think back in ye olde days people weren't allowed to be left handed as it was considered a mark of the devil.

In other news I HAD to take calligraphy as I *ahem* failed penmanship in, what, first grade? Seriously. Totally illegible. Calligraphy helped a great deal. Though now I have weirdly swoopy cursive....

Lydia Kang said...

I used to do calligraphy in highschool. I even did some wedding invitations and a couple of pieces my parents still have hanging in their house. It was way fun!

The Golden Eagle said...

Great pictures!

I've tried it a few times and usually write a card or two a year in calligraphy.

My handwriting varies--sometimes it's relatively neat and other times my baseline is all over the place and the letters aren't the same size. :P

linda said...

Ooh, that's so cool! Never was into fountain pens and stuff but I did like experimenting with different fonts for a while. My handwriting is pretty awful though, haha.

akossiwaketoglo.com said...

Oh wow!
I really want to try it. Free hand writing is dying and I think this could be a fun thing for kids to learn.

Connie Keller said...

Hey, Krispy and Alz, I gave you all the Versatile Blogger Award today. (I hope you haven't had it before.)