Old habits die hard. I have always been into something, some form of crafts, and that “something” changes quite frequently. It is a marvel that my infatuation for knitting has been going on so long. Although I am committed to knitting as my life-long companion, I am also into other things, like, right now, hand lettering and calligraphy. (And on the side, films by Cameron Crowe.)
I have been a hand letterer (if such term exists), making holiday and birthday cards from scratch since I was barely in school, or drawing into my sketch pads all the time. I can draw letters free hand without tracing or drafting, pretty well. But, calligraphy or chalk art on blackboards are a completely different matter from free-hand lettering. First of all, both calligraphy pen and chalk are pain to draw with. Secondly, in order to mix different fonts and fill in spaces with various lines and pictures, you need a deliberate planning. So, I’ve decided to learn to use the medium to master the art.
While I was a consultant or a marketer, the only use I had of hand lettering was when I write birthday cards for friends on rare occasions. Now, being a shop owner and a graphic designer, I get to use the skill quite often – drawing shop signs, writing price tags or product descriptions, sending cards to collaborators or customers, etcetera. I tried to learn the basics about chalk art, but it seems there is no quick way to learn it. It’s a combination of graphic design, hand lettering, part calligraphy and just pure drawing, using chalk. Resuming calligraphy practice was my first step.
Incidentally, Creativebug has just released a four-part calligraphy lessons by Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls (you have to become a subscriber to Creativebug – for me, it has been worthwhile). I have her starter kit and all, really admire her as an artist. It is interesting that the other artist (chalk art) I admire, Dana Tanamachi, also has a Japanese last name. Is hand lettering somehow ingrained in our culture?
If you are interested in calligraphy as well, I highly recommend this book (Modern Calligraphy) and this book (Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy), as well as Maybelle’s starter kit. I have them all, and love them.