Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pen, Ink, & Paper in Harmony

A majority of my calligraphy work has allowed me to select a paper of my choice, which can create a bit of "laziness" when it comes to selecting the best materials under varying circumstances.

This past week I was commissioned to write a number of words on a photo matte.  A variety of lettering styles were requested by the client, and basic black ink with gold highlights.

I sat down to practice and picked up my trusty Brause nibs—the nibs I learned with 26 years ago and generally my "go-to" choice.  These worked great on my practice paper and for the initial paste-up layout I provided the client.

However, when it came to writing on the actual matte surface, the Brause were way too stiff, not making complete contact with the matte for clean strokes.  I went from feeling very comfortable with the process to, "Yuck!  This stinks!"

practice on the off-cuts

A-ha...that's why calligraphers should always have a variety of nibs in their tool kit...whether they be broad edge, pointed pen, or brush pens.  Pen, ink, and surface/paper must be in harmony with one another to give a good result!
The solution was my more flexible Mitchell nibs, and using them without a reservoir.  The flexibility allowed beautiful contact between nib and paper/matte surface, resulting in clean strokes that were a dream to create!

gold highlights added with Fine-Tec watercolor

The framer we worked with was wonderful in providing me with the off-cuts from the matte, allowing me to practice and find this harmony with my tools.

the finished matte

 It's easy to become complacent with our favorite things.  But expanding your knowledge and experience with a variety of nibs, inks/gouache, and papers will make the creative experience more enjoyable.