Sunday, July 21, 2013

Calligraphy Practice: An Accordion Journal

Full accordion

My calligraphy buddy, Suzie, and I have started an annual trek to Sun Peaks, British Columbia, for a personal retreat focused on all things calligraphic.  Well, wine and good food are involved too, but that's another blog topic. 
Usually I have a difficult time deciding what to do when faced with a multitude of calligraphy and art supplies.  So, this year I went prepared with some accordion folded cuts of Arches Text Wove and a plan...

Folios 1 and 2

Ever since first seeing lettering artist Joke Boudens accordion folded calligraphy books in the calligraphy journal Letter Arts Review, I have itched to create one of my own.  A vacation to the beautiful ski resort, Sun Peaks, in Canada seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

Folios 2 and 3

Knowing where and how to start is always difficult.  I purchased a bendable ruler a couple of years ago but had never used it, so that was my first goal—use my unused tools!  I began drawing curved lines, then made up text as I went along.  Without quotes on hand, I decided to chronicle our trip day by day—words
and phrases that will jog memories in the future. 

Folios 3 and 4


  The Details...


XS PITT pen, sumi ink, watercolor pencil

I took photos while out walking and incorporated some of the local elements into my accordion.
The paver stones and the pattern they formed worked well with the curved text I'd already established.

Because I do not draw in detail, the simple graphic nature of the local logo was easy to incorporate and set the "illustration tone" for the rest of the folios.

And yes, there was a GIANT bug on the deck...with antennae a foot long, I'm sure!

The small lower case Roman letters on the right were made with a Hunt 22 pointed pen nib and sumi ink.

The mandala is a logo painted on the side of the Sun Peaks Lodge in the village.  
PITT fine line pen (XS), watercolor pencil, gold mica powder made into ink with gum arabic and water.

Small text—Hunt 22 pointed pen nib, pressure and release

There was no plan other than to balance the lettering with illustrations, and to balance the weight and size of the blocks of text.

The next accordion I make will be done on Arches Hot Press watercolor paper or Stonehenge.  Though the Arches Text Wove is fabulous for pen and ink and watercolor, lettering in a small size is difficult on this surface.

The text here is Uncial script, written 1/8" high.  I used a Brause EF66 pointed nib that is clipped and formed into a very small broad edge—a bit rough on the Text Wove paper. 
There is still a day to be recorded to make this project complete, but I came home with a nearly finished accordion that was fun to create and fulfilled a goal.

Sun Peaks wildflowers

The view down...this is why I don't ski!

Suzie and Christy—Sun Peaks last year, at the Kevin Costner concert


  1. Love the smiles on your faces. Also, the beautiful accordion journal!

  2. Oh my gosh! This is a wonderful accordion fold album. Love all the different textures, lettering, drawings and designs. The grins on your faces say you had a fabulous time. Think you should create a class and do a small version of this. Love this idea and your bendable ruler seemed to work quite well. Great job.

  3. Thank you paperscissorsink! S.O.—is that you? :)