It makes my heart soar to get custom requests for hand-lettering and calligraphy work. What fun it would be to just doodle the days away! There are certain friends and clients that I love working with too! Many times I can sit down and doodle till the cows come home, but I take commissions seriously and I take quite a bit of time planning, designing and perfecting them. I thought it might be fun to share the process on a “By Request” series each month. It might be helpful for those requesting work as well as other people doing similar work.
This week I’m featuring a request by my friend Julie. I’ve done some fun stuff for Julie in the past including a calligraphed graduation cap! (not a great picture but a fun project)
She’s asked for a couple of original inked pieces with some words from the hymn “It is Well with My Soul” to frame and give as gifts to loved ones.
Oh how I get giddy! We are doing this on 11 x 14 watercolor paper. I usually use a mid-grade, toothy watercolor paper for the best opacity and texture. I like the weight of Canson’s blue pads of paper.
When doing black, most of the time I use Sumi ink because its nice and smooth with brushwork. Very black and a slight sheen when dry. I also like Iron Gall ink for a more watercolor-y look (the light version shown). A number 2 round watercolor brush is my go-to though I used a smaller brush on this one…I think it is called a script brush (Master’s Touch from Hobby Lobby)?
So you can see I sketched this out first and scratched down some ink with a brush pen. VERY rough draft. This one is easier because it is a loose, free-flowing modern style. It’s much more difficult, concise and time consuming to work in a more traditional, formal calligraphy style.
Next I edit and revise as needed, then I go for a finished work. I usually work over my draft with a light box so that makes things easier and I can make some adjustments with spacing and centering as I go.
I love brushwork because you are able to embrace some “flaws” because of the overall imperfection of the style. Right now I’m also hooked on splattering everything. It just seems too clean if it doesn’t have spits and spatters.
Hope you enjoyed this little process blog.