Italic Practice (2010)

I often practise my calligraphy while listening to the BBC news or before going to bed — like cooking, it can be incredibly therapeutic.  Writing on old newspapers (on pages not covered with too many pictures) allows one to cover acres of paper without feeling too guilty about deforestation.  I usually write out whatever words I hear on the radio or spy on the pages on which I’m scribbling — or I make up words containing letters which I wish to improve or refine, for example c, o, r and g, which at the moment I’m trying to understand better.


Bookmark (2005)

Before my English classes got too big, at the end of each semester I always gave every student a bookmark with her or his name written in calligraphy — alternating between Italic and Copperplate if I taught the same student twice.  A fine way to pass on my passion for calligraphy and give students something they tend to see as rather English, I think.  Now that I typically teach more than 200 students a semester, however, this is no longer possible — a classic case of ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’!

The name above is in the Copperplate (English Round Hand) style, and was written with the pictured Hunt 56 vintage nib.


Italic Scribble (2010)

Some scribbling I did today with a Kuretake Calligraphy marker, on a postcard found in every issue of Time magazine, enticing potential subscribers with offers.  An incredible waste of paper, methinks, if not put to better use!

Calligraphy can be extremely therapeutic, especially if it is carefree scribble, and not serious commissioned work, that one knows will not be subjected to ruthless scrutiny.


More Whiteboard Writing (2008)

Another example of calligraphic scribbling I sometimes do for fun, again with two whiteboard markers banded together, and in the Italic style.  Horizontal strokes have been rendered a bit too thick because my penhold was wrong — the ‘nib’ should be held 45 degrees to the writing line, but this was closer to 60 degrees.

Incidentally, the Admiral Vernon is a covered market that forms part of Portobello Road Market in London, which I used to visit on Saturdays when I was a student at Cambridge, and a fountain pen collector.

Whiteboard Writing (2009)

A quote by Thomas Paine, written on a whiteboard with two round-point markers banded together.  As you can see, it’s not easy to write straight at this size (x-height approx. 15 centimetres or 6 inches) without the help of guidelines! 

When doing calligraphy workshops I usually project guidelines (on a PowerPoint slide) onto the board using a projector, taking care to ensure that the slide is quite dark (e.g. grey) so it doesn’t dazzle the audience.  This was written as I was winding down after an English grammar class that ended late in the day.