It is meditative. It calms you down like a personal retreat as you work on one stroke in a letter one at a time.
It builds creativity. You always want to try the lettering a bit different — a different color, slant, angle, size, with new or different elements, or whatever.
It is satisfying. You create a project, show your friends, and receive good vibes from creating something beautiful.
It builds up a person. Some people discover that calligraphy is their main thing in life and it becomes part of their identity. They gain confidence as their skills mature. Continue reading
Psalm 148 artwork
This project began as a homework assignment in which we were to put text in a circle using Copperplate. I drew a couple of circles for the baseline and x-height that would fit neatly on 11 x 14″. I drew them on translucent grid paper of that size. I figured I would make the final piece on 11 x 14″ Bristol board, cut to 11″ square. The x-height circle was 5 1/2″ in diameter.
I wanted the circle motif to make design sense for the words. I chose a psalm from the Bible that included the sun, moon, and stars, all circular things. My first chosen verse was too long to fit on the circle, so I chose another verse that did, from Psalm 148. I drew the outer swashes in pencil, erasing and redrawing until I was pleased with their composition. In some cases, the letters linked; in other cases, I drew free-standing swashes that linked letter swashes on either side. Continue reading
People have wondered when they can call themselves an artist, singer, dancer, writer, or whatever. At what point can you say you have finally arrived, and call yourself an artist? There are different answers to this question, and they depend on how you define an artist. Here are several responses with my comments on each. Feel free to add to the conversation in the comments box below. Continue reading
Final piece, digital print
This project began as a homework assignment in Barbara Close’s workshop at her studio space in Costa Mesa, California. We were to do a piece with Fraktur or Gothic lettering paired with gold gilding. I settled on this text because I wanted a Bible passage in my repertoire that was more familiar to people than many of the obscure texts I have used earlier, as posted in my Etsy store. To make the work more interesting, I decided to add red Latin text between the black Fraktur text, of a style having the same even x-height throughout, and that decision led me to use Half Uncial. I chose that over Uncial to challenge myself to try something I haven’t done before, and because its unusual letters looked interesting, and because I thought it was a better fit with the Latin text. Continue reading
Life of Christ quote by Fulton J. Sheen
One assignment we had for our class with Barbara Close was to make an artist’s book of painted paste paper. We brought in Arches Text Wove paper for the pages. The benefit of using paste takes place when we mix acrylic and the paste fluid together, apply it to the paper, and have time to add all kinds of marks to it before it dries. Continue reading
Psalm 103 Final
Our class assignment, given by Barbara Close, was to do a piece in Italic in two nib sizes and two colors. I had the idea of doing Psalm 103 after my pastor spoke on it the following Sunday. With Psalm 103, King David tells us of the benefits of knowing God dwelling in their midst. I thought I would list those benefits in a circle around “Bless the Lord O My Soul,” the words that begin the psalm. To add context for the blessings, I would include the explanatory “forget not all His benefits” running through the middle. So it’s a song about counting your blessings. Continue reading
For this class assignment, we were asked to create a work combining Gothic and swashes, an example being a large initial cap with swashes. However, I challenged myself to think of a reason for them to appear together. In what way can I use these elements to communicate something in the words?
I chose to do Acts 2:1-2 and try to communicate the “rushing mighty wind” in the passage. I would do this in two ways: round the letter guidelines and stagger them to create the body of a whirlwind, and add the swashes to simulate air currents or streamers blowing in the wind. With this in mind, I got to work. First, here is how it turned out:
Final piece, from Acts 2:1-2
In our class in Uncial lettering, we wre to create a book of 5-6 pages, including a colophon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colophon_(publishing)).
Its size was to be half a page with wide orientation. The paper was to be folded in half with the ends at top. The top ends will be gathered and punctured for the binding. The turnable pages will show folded edges.
The finished book
You can see a sample of the updated content here.
The app has been available on the iOS (Apple devices) platform since 2011 when I restarted my calligraphy efforts. I’ve improved over the last five years, and re-did all the lowercase videos. I’ve also been able to use better software to reduce the size of the videos, so that not only are they larger in dimensions than before, they are smaller in digital size. The app with all the internal videos used to be 200+mb; now it is 160+mb in size.
Here are some screenshots (click to enlarge). The app works on a variety of screen sizes, mobile and tablet.
Sample Learn Italic Calligraphy app screenshot
Sample Learn Italic Calligraphy app screenshot
Sample Learn Italic Calligraphy app screenshot
Sample Learn Italic Calligraphy app screenshot
A quirk presently prevents me from adding it to Google Play. So I uploaded it to the Amazon App store instead: http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Husting-Learn-Italic-Calligraphy/dp/B01F1G0V4W/ref=sr_1_1?s=mobile-apps&ie=UTF8&qid=1462235621&sr=1-1&keywords=learn+italic+calligraphy
I’ll update the iOS version once I figure out how to overcome another hurdle.
How do you get started in a calligraphy business? I don’t have all the details, but I do know that you’ll need to determine exactly what you want to do with your skills. I thought I’d jot down the different kinds of ways we can apply our calligraphy. Continue reading
What would I like to see in a U.S.A. museum dedicated to calligraphy? Here are some ideas.
- Displays that change art monthly to show us the great diversity in art styles. Show old and new works, and at other times, organize works based on a theme, season, or person.
- Rooms displaying art gifts to the museum. These pieces can rotate as the collection grows. Can auction off to support the museum.
- A hall of remembrance showing departed calligraphers and their works. (It’s a calligraphy museum, so these top points would take up the most space.)
- Visual timeline of calligraphy through the centuries, showing how one style is the offshoot of another. This can be stretched across the four walls of a room.
- Room selling calligraphy art. Rotated.
- Give demonstrations for visitors. Work to be projected on a wall for all to see.
- Classes to learn hands-on calligraphy for a fee.
- Displays showing the many kinds of calligraphy tools and equipment used over the ages.
- Shop for mementos, books, and supplies.
- Lecture hall.
- Video room of screens showing calligraphy videos curated/spliced together from YouTube or other free sources, with comfortable seating.
- Snack bar and seating.
- Space for calligraphers to post their business cards.
- Security cameras and staff.
To put this into motion, we just need to win the next 500-million-dollar Powerball, then hire professionals experienced in managing the above areas. When the money runs out, it all shuts down. It’s OK to dream!
Do you have some ideas not listed here, or thoughts on the subject? Please comment!
Just for fun, I made these four Star Wars character names in calligraphy on bookmarks. Occasionally during the year, several of us calligraphers will attend a function, such a book fair or outdoor art fair, set up a table and chairs, and create bookmarks of people’s names for them when they stop by. (On the back of the bookmark is information about our Orange County guild.) If you watch these videos, you’ll see the types of bookmarks I make — in this case, as if Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Kylo Ren, and Rey had come up to the table!
The videos are located here: https://vimeo.com/user19862488/videos
You can download the final pieces from here (click on the down arrow at lower right): https://www.flickr.com/photos/95697769@N07/23315668624/in/album-72157662043469289/
I have two 3-ring binders of material that I had printed out over time and assembled. When I see an inspirational calligraphic work on the Internet, I save the image to my hard drive in a particular folder for that purpose. After I get enough of them, I open Word and past similar images together. I print those out and place them with like subjects. For instance, Copperplate and handwriting material are grouped together with a divider.
3-ring binders, dividers
Barbara Close taught her students how to make a folded pen, also known as a cola pen (yes, as in soda pop). A fellow student, Juan, graciously posed for the step-by-step photos.
- First we cut the strip of sheet metal Barbara supplied according to a pattern:
Hand-made folded pen, shape to cut
These are different kinds of mistakes I’ve seen in myself and others over the years with calligraphy work. Do you see yourself in these areas? In what areas can you work for improvement?
- Jumping right into an important project instead of taking the time to warm up with the lettering and flourishes first, to get into the flow and rhythm, a steady hand.
- To keep on lettering instead of cleaning the pen every few lines. As a result, the strokes are uneven.
- Failure to practice new lettering types with appropriate guidelines and slant lines.
- Forgetting to protect the writing surface from spills, drips, and human oils. Continue reading
Inside pages of my Spiritual Calligraphy devotional book
Here are the steps I followed to self-publish my book, Spiritual Calligraphy, on lulu.com in 2013. I went the POD way: Print On Demand. What this means is that I created the pages and cover artwork of the book, uploaded the documents to lulu.com, typed in the information for the book and store, told lulu.com how I want my royalties, and it is all set. A visitor to your storefront of lulu.com will see the book information, scan a few pages of the book, and purchase the book online. Lulu then prints the book and packs and ships it to the buyer, taking care of the credit card transaction for you, and depositing your money where you want it. The customer can order a physical copy of the book or a PDF version for mobile reading.
The cool thing is that I don’t have boxes and boxes of my books stacked around my mobile home. They are not even printed until someone orders a copy! I can also order a few to keep one on had to show others or give away as gifts. It does not cost you anything to create an account and upload your book. Lulu will take a chunk of the price of the ordered books and you’ll take whatever you set as your royalties. So that’s an overview of the benefits of going POD. Continue reading
I made a Whopperplate.
Out of cardboard, tape, glue, and two pencils.
Cardboard whopperplate, top
I had a 30″ x 5″ strip of paper left over from my last class homework’s accordion book (previous post). I had cut it to use as a backup in case I needed to redo. I decided to turn it into a book of prayer promises for myself. Here are the steps I took to create it.
Prayer Promises Accordion Book, swash Italic side
Barbara Close gave her class the homework project of creating an accordion book with our calligraphy on the inside. Once again I was faced with filling a blank sheet of paper. After talking to my architect brother about the project, the ideas began flying, and I thought I would cut holes in the pages and outside edges. (This was one day before the project was due.) That evening I went to work, measuring out all the cutouts first, then making the tracks the lettering will follow, then drawing the letters in pencil. The final paper size was 30″ x 5″, with six 5″ squares.
On pages 88-89 of Scribe by John Stevens, John gave several kinds of exercises that he gives to his students. I thought I would try them out with the Copperplate practice I was doing at the time.
In the first line, I did plain Copperplate.
In the second line, I changed the angle of the letters.
In the third line, I added bounce to angle change, moving letters up and down.
In the fourth and fifth lines, I added stretch to some of the letters.
Finally, I changed the baseline. As you can see, it had evolved to a modern calligraphy look with very little effort.
As you do each step, he stresses that you are supposed to ADD to the previous steps, and that can be hard to keep in mind. Of course, you can add other variations, such as color and overlapping.
The final result is still a bit wonky, but it’s a good exercise to stretch oneself! We could do this with any writing style or tool.
Exercises from John Stevens’ book, Scribe.
After I saw several small calligraphy pieces in a Boston bookstore, I was challenged to do my own “small” piece using a Brause 1mm nib. The result is this famous poem rendition in Uncial.
Each letter is only 1/8″ high, not including the ascenders or descenders. It is only four inches from the top line of text to the bottom of the last line of text.
I recently returned from a vacation in Boston and came upon the Commonwealth Bookstore not far off the Freedom Trail there. Lo and behold, they had several pages of illuminated texts framed for sale from $850+. What was so interesting, though, was their size. They had a lot of detail and yet the pages were barely 5″ tall!
illuminated ms in Boston bookstoree
I received permission to shoot them and share. I uploaded the pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/95697769@N07/sets/72157651448155119/show
Above, you’ll see Fantastic Calligraphy Links. I made several large edits to that section.
I inserted my final entries to Western Calligraphy in the Movies that I had not gotten around to adding earlier. Many thanks to those who suggested titles and gave links. Time to add some of these videos to your Netflix queue!
I updated Calligraphy Internet Resources. I added more links to the various U.S. calligraphy guilds and sought to add as many as I could in each state. This list is now alphabetized according to postal abbreviation. This list is not complete; some states have more than one guild, but I haven’t been able to find a link to their individual sites. If you’ve been wondering if a guild is in your state, check this page and see. If the guild listed in your state is too far, then contact them and ask if there are other guilds elsewhere in the state.
I’ve also added several more categories of resources to the page with their own headings. Check out the page and see if there are any of interest to you. I inserted links to the headings at the top of the page so you can jump right to them
My Book Collection page has been enlarged slightly, and I added RECOMMENDED to certain outstanding books.
If you have information that belongs on these above pages, please type it into the box at the bottom of that page to share it!
I and many other calligraphers spent four days this past weekend in Pomona, California at the annual Letters CA Style calligraphy workshop retreat. To get an idea of the many classes and the talent that was on hand, take a look at my Flickr account and browse through the pictures and videos.
You’ll see pictures from the class I took with Ed Fong, and pictures from almost all the classes as I went through them in the class walk-through time on Sunday afternoon. Several pictures are for raffling off, others were displayed in a gallery for voting and member appreciation.
Have fun, and may inspiration strike!
Birthday cards for work
For about a year now I’ve been doing the monthly birthday cards for the company’s employees. In the past, the company bought giant Hallmark cards, large enough for every employee to sign, and they were given out once a month at a get-together in the company lunchroom/meeting hall.
My sister, who also works there as the bookkeeper, saw my calligraphy and suggested they ditch the cards and have me make them instead. So I bought a pad of 18 x 24″ paper and used normal markers to make the cards. Then at Aaron Art Mart I purchased two oversized, 15mm Acrylic paint markers, red and blue, and tried them out. The letters look much better with them. The above will go to the two birthday boys for this month, rolled up with a fancy ribbon placed around each, their names and year lettered on the outside edge in Uncial. At 18 x 24″, it provides plenty of space for everyone to sign.
I finished my second version of Joy to the World. The problem with the first version is that although the word joy was there, the “joy” wasn’t. So this version was an attempt to put the joy into the work. It accomplishes that better than the first attempt.
I used brush and folded pen to do the preliminaries sketches for the “Joy.” You’ll see them all in the video I made of the process. As you’ll see in the video, I painted the letters below “joy” by tracing the letters with a light pad. Then Joy itself was outlined with colored pencils, warm tones on the left edges of the letters and cool tones on the right. The paper color was allowed to show through the letters themselves. The video doesn’t show it, but after all the painting was thoroughly dry, I heavily retouched the letters with colored pencil to form the letters nicely where the painting was uneven. I used gold gouache to fill in some of the counters. Continue reading
This is a fun list of western calligraphy being used in public theatrical films and TV shows. The calligraphy in this list may have appeared in titles, credits, used by characters in the film, or included calligraphic elements on objects. There are two sections to this list, Calligraphy in Movies and TV, and Calligraphy in Titles and Credits Continue reading
Joy to the World – preliminary
I created this piece recently, but it’s not turning out the way I wanted. I thought I would put it up here, because it’s still nice to see!
Joy to the World – preliminary
After many preliminary sketches to decide which way to take this work, I finally finished Hark! today.
Calligraphy by Steve Husting, finished 12/27/2014
Calligraphy Christmas cards for inmate penpals, 2014
I created these Christmas cards for my penpals. I used ink and paint, Parallel Pen (black) and brush (gold, silver, white). Also used gel pens for added touches and lettering. We had excess green card stock so I used that, and cut it to 1/3 of an 8.5 x 11″ page so they’ll slide right into a regular long envelope without folding.
Someone else commented that it was a lot of hard work, Nah. It was all fun and easy. Continue reading