To make things a little lighter on this very tense day in the U.S. of A. I shall tell you a story from my childhood with my very liberal and eccentric Mother. I am one of those people that have a very vivid memory of childhood and unfortunately my teen years as well (awkward). When I was about six, I drew what I now would describe as a utopian neighborhood. My mother leaned over my drawing, her long, dark Cher-like hair tickling my shoulder and asked me about my drawing. I proudly explained to her that I was drawing a perfect world, “Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a house, food, clothes and all the toys they wanted?” She stuck her lower lip out and lifted her chin up and patted my head and said very nonchalantly in her thick Spanish accent, “Baby gurrrrl, ju are a communist?” My mother a product of the 60’s and practicing laissez-faire (hands off) parenting didn’t dissuade me from any leanings she may have thought I had at the ripe ol’ age of six, but figured I would find my own way eventually. I did, after I asked my 1st grade teacher what a communist was and she wanted to know why I wanted to know and I explained that my mom thought I might be one. That made her laugh (she couldn’t believe a parent might be so cavalier, but she hadn’t met my mother) and said teacher set me on my path to patriotism. I am happy to announce that my mom no longer believes I am a communist. I am also happy to be in a country where we can have a debate, as heated as it may get without fear of mortal danger to our person, that my friends is freedom.
In my hand-lettering journey I have found that being able to access specimens and try to re-create them has been such a great tool. By re-creating I learn what I like about a specimen or what I would want to work on or even what style I would like to riff on. I own a lot of antique type specimen books, I didn’t realize how many until I actually started to use them for practice; I suppose it has become an unexpected collection of sorts. Alex, a very thoughtful girl (and like me a lettering enthusiast), emailed me the other day and asked if I knew about Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles, it’s a two volume work and she mentioned the best part is that you get access to thousands of hi-res scans from the book. I didn’t know about it but ever since her email it has shot straight to the top of my holiday want-list. I want need these books so badly.
It seems that it must of been my good fortune week because I also received a note from former Souvenir Foto School student Simone that mentioned her recent acquisitions. Simone lives in the South of France and was formerly a stylist in NYC, she runs an on-line Brocante and finds the best potential photo props. Everyone in class wanted to know where she got her props for her Food + Foto class. Simone had recently come into possession of a warehouse filled with antique French documents all hand scribed in the most beautiful calligraphic hand. I don’t know about you but I am a little coo coo for French script, I love the modern French hand as well as the hand of yore, it’s all beautiful, interesting and well, French. To have access to original documents that you can have + hold and use as a reference to re-create sounds pretty amazing to me. I don’t have any other French connections that are willing to get me these types of papers and I love that Simone has become a great resource. You can even email her and tell her what period you are looking for and she will try her best to go through her treasures to find what you would like. I am trying to convince her to be on the look out for vintage school lettering books that she can scan and make available for download. I would love instant access to these types of books without having to add another item to my studio (better to hide my addiction from my husband, yikes!).
If you have any lettering resources you want to share, feel free to email me or leave them in the comments I am re-designing the blog and will most definitely be adding some resource pages for you to easily access!
I have admitted prior that I have a a very classic closet, some may read that as boring, but whatever, they are one day going to regret the photographs of themselves in neon leggings or whatever the latest trend is. How do I know that? I have some seriously blackmail worthy photos of my poor wardrobe choices of yore. Yes, that was a scrunchy or banana clip, bad perm, Keds and weirdly slouchy socks that I owned and proudly displayed to the world. No longer. I chose Kimberly Kennedy today as my Pinterest curator because I love her simple taste in fashion, simple is not shapeless and unflattering mind you, Kimberly’s choices are simple, classic and dare I say sexy? It’s subtly sexy. Her wardrobe choices feel like I wouldn’t be wincing at them say 10 years from now. If you want to be one of those women that just always look pulled together and effortlessly chic this board is for you and maybe befriending a French woman, gosh darn do French women have style. I know not one French woman that has a photo of herself with a scrunchy, crackly perm and slouchy socks. Check out Kimberly’s other boards as well, she has great taste and I think you will be happy for the introduction especially since she is my current ‘secret’ not a lot of people know of her yet and we are about to change all that right? You can visit Kimberly here and if you want to see what my latest addiction is you can visit me here.
This post doesn’t really have much to do with politics and I actually hemmed and hawed whether I should even broach this subject (dangerous territory and potentially boring for those that want pretty), but since this is a forum for me to discuss things that I am interested in I thought what the heck? I actually am more interested in the discussion of politics then actual politics (and I am also a little obsessed with
American history, okay, history). I love to be privy to hearing all sides and enjoy a deep discussion of the issues. I love when a subject incites passion in individuals; my normally docile husband will get blue in the face when he is on a political rant & roll. We don’t always agree and I have no problem with that, we agree to disagree. I just listened to a recent episode of This American Life wherein they discussed family and friends that have either been torn apart by political disagreements or that co-exist in their disagreement. An interesting listen to be sure. I can’t imagine a political debate being so heated that it would tear me apart from a loved one and I hope it never comes to that.
A lot of my stamp designs are inspired by what I want. I wanted a tiny ‘to:’ to be able to use on my small parcel tags. I actually went through a few different size versions of this until I got it right. Bonus you don’t need the tags you can stamp any scrap of paper, piece of cloth, thin wood, etc. and have yourself an instant gift tag! It’s tiny about 1/2″ x 1/2″, I love me some tiny stamps. Since it is Monday and as it seems to have become a bit of a tradition I will be giving away a few (3) of these little stamps to you, and you and you (that’s 3 different winners). Just re-pin this if you would like to be considered for a prize and for extra consideration leave a comment and let me know if you are willing to photograph some of the tags you make, I LOVE seeing how creative everyone is with their Besotted booty. Just when I think I found all the ways to use the supplies you always go and surprise me! I will choose the winners next Monday, November 12th. Good luck!
P.S. If you have been a past winner and haven’t been contacted yet, please email me so I can get you your prize!!!
P.P.S. If you don’t have a Pinterest account you can Tweet it with the hashtag #tobesotted, if you don’t do social media (lucky you, you must get SO much more done then the rest of the world!) then please leave a comment here.
Well, hello! I thought I might get back to reviewing another nib whilst I explore the wonderful world of lettering. I found a nib that I like a lot and can get both thick, thin and smooth strokes. I still love both the Zebra G and the Nikko G, but the lines can be very thin and for my purposes turning the lettering into rubber stamps, I need a little more line girth (that’s a horrible word). The nib is made by Gillott and is No. 1068A. The description for the nib is that it is very stiff with only slight contrast between thick and thin lines. I think I mentioned previously that it is suggested for beginners to use stiffer nibs and that may be why I enjoy it so much. I feel though like I can get very distinct thick and thin strokes so maybe it is just how you handle the nib? I currently have had zero success with any other ink color than black and so my practice has only been with black ink, I recently picked up this Sumi ink because it was readily available at the art store. I have bought several white inks, which I am chomping at the bit to learn how to use. I have not found any concrete information on how to dilute it to the point that you can use it. It’s either out of the bottle too thin and translucent or too thick and I don’t know the dilution ratios. The latter seems to be the white ink that letterers rave about for using on darker substrates. I tried Kelsey’s suggestion of Bristol paper, it is definitely smooth and the nib does not catch, it’s easy to find at your local craft or art store. After I ran out of the Bristol I went back to my Rhodia pad which I initially felt was too smooth, but with the Gillott 1068A it felt just right. I like the Rhodia because I can put a guide sheet underneath and practice different alphabets. I have a lot of letters that stump me, my ‘y’s’ are hideous, yes, you have to turn your eyes away and I have a hard time with linking ‘W’s’ with any other letter. I so wish there was a calligrapher nearby that I could take lessons from, if you know anyone in the Raleigh area let me know, I sure would like to know how to use that elusive white ink!
Above lettering was done with Gillott 1068A. If you have any lettering questions for me or for a future interview with one of the pro’s just leave it in the comments and I will try to get it answered for you!