I am not sure if this tip will give you a little too much of a glimpse into my neurosis or have you going “aha!” When I showed you my last post on how I have been able to identify my nibs a lot of you were excited about the prospect. The labels on the nib holders have been very helpful for me, but my lettering system needed a little more help. Since I am new to lettering/calligraphy I have collected many nibs to try, some I adore, others I can’t get to work to save my life. I have found that I can’t always remember what nib produces what results on the fly; meaning I can’t look at my nibs + holders and think ‘Ah, I need this one for, this type of lettering’. Some nibs produce similar results and I often find myself practicing with them and coming back to my samples having no clue what nib I used. I am working on a little project now for a mock wedding dinner shoot and I know I want to use a fine nib and I do have samples that I like in my calligraphy cache, but since I don’t know what nib I used previously I have been going through my collection and just driving myself into madness! I saw on this blog, how the teacher (so smartly) had her students tape nibs to cardstock and above it added stroke samples that the corresponding nib could create. I currently don’t have enough nibs to tape and I personally need more than just a stroke to jog my memory.
My solution has been to take similar nib types and write out the same or similar words on a sample chart I created. I have found that my writing changes with each new pen or nib I use, I don’t know why this is. In traditional calligraphy this wouldn’t fly, but for hand lettering/modern calligraphy I think it’s a great reference to know how a nib responded. I made a little chart for you to download if you so choose, or you can riff on mine. I have found this to be so helpful for me, especially after long stretches of time when I can’t get practice in to be able to come back and know which nibs to work with is so much less stressful. My chart has spaces for you to write in the name of the nib (I used this one and this one for the photos), the type of paper (this is a current fave), the ink I used (I am a fan of Sumi inks and have been using this brand lately) and the guidelines I used (I like this one). These are the variables I feel that make a difference in my lettering outcome. If thinking of making this chart feels too overwhelming, (which of course is never my intention), maybe use the idea to spark a better one for your own lettering practice.
Oh, and what does this happen to do with a baby-centric themed week you may ask? I have been trying to find a name for my girl as mentioned and of course I am going to need to know what it looks like written out, right?
P.S. I found a great little resource post for you created by the talented Stephanie Fishwick. If you are in the Charlottesville, Virginia area she will be teaching a workshop soon and from her portfolio it looks like she will be a teacher well worth taking a class from!
Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they are expecting a baby girl in December. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.