Monday, September 2, 2013

Copperplate Calligraphy—A New Teaching Adventure

My students have heard me say, time and again, that teaching calligraphy has made me a better calligrapher.  Through written and verbal instruction, and hands-on demonstration, I need to be able to explain the forms I am creating and relate individual letters to a bigger picture, calligraphically speaking.

Copperplate sample; quote by Alfred Fairbank 

I was first introduced to the Copperplate style more than twenty years ago; I have been doing Copperplate in the form of commissioned work for at least the last ten years.  I have been asked to teach this hand, but have never felt ready until now.  Why?  I think it's a matter of finally feeling confident in recognizing the little details that make these letters so beautiful.

Dr. Ph Martin's Bleedproof White on gunmetal metallic paper

Aiming for consistency between the related letters is always key when learning a  new hand.  Sometimes it's difficult to realize that we need to "learn to walk before we run" and that "flying lessons" come when the basic forms are fully understood. 
Rose gold (mixed acrylic) on blue; Hunt 22 nib
 But Copperplate lends itself well to some creative flourishing, as well as the opportunity to use a variety of different capital letter styles.

Walnut ink on white; Hunt 22 nib; Spencerian style capitals

And we don't always have to write on a straight line! 

Winsor & Newton Permanent Yellow Deep gouache; Brause Rose nib
So, beginning in October, up to ten unsuspecting souls will join me in "walking lessons" with the pointed pen, and in six weeks we will progress toward "running"...well, maybe a trot. :)
Flying lessons will have to wait for the next class—I have to leave something to keep them coming back!