“The greatest thing in the world is the alphabet, as all wisdom is contained therein –except the understanding of putting it together.” –from an old German bookplate
There is something sacred about them. By them, God created the world and in them lives the power of life and death. It seems fitting that they should be given special treatment. Maybe that is what a Letting artist or calligrapher sees in the art. While my Father never said this to me, I would be surprised if this were not part of the lure for him.
My Father loved words. He would read the dictionary for fun. He also read to me and challenged me to think. He would read me things like ‘The Greatest Salesman in the World” when I was eight. He also never let my thinking become lazy. He would require me to press through those times I said “I don’t know.” My father also taught me how to draw. He wrote me a lot of letters and decorated them beautifully.
I loved receiving his letters. They were enchanting to me as a young girl. I remember staring at the letters and the pictures for hours amazed at what the human hand could create. I wanted to learn how to create something like that. In my mind, and at that age, no one was a greater artist than my Father. I suppose that is how it should be with fathers and daughters.
As I became older my interest for art and lettering grew. The love for these things was officially taking root and producing fruit. Once my Father passed away my mother gave me a precious gift, all of my Father’s art supplies. Among those items was a book entitled ‘Lettering Tips for Artists, graphic designers, and calligraphers’ by Bill Gray. I am grateful I have this book. This is the book my Father used to study lettering. My mother gave it to him in 1985. So while my dad cannot be here to teach us all about lettering, maybe we can learn from his work and the book that helped his work along.
“Understanding how to form beautiful letters is really quite simple. You need only to practice the tips given here, and in a short time you will experience the joy expressed in the quote at the top of this page.” – Bill Gray (the quote the authoring is referring to is set below.)
“…the experience of creating something new or uncovering some hidden beauty is one of the most intense joys that the human mind can experience.” –H.E. Huntley
So how should one begin?
First, if you are interested in pursuing the art of lettering you should get a few tools. Here is a picture of the tools page from the above book. In addition, Joshua Leland gives some suggestions in the comments section of his post over at the CiRCE blog. ‘On Calligraphy & Repentance’
Next, you need a guide to imitate.
Finally, continue to practice.
As you develop your lettering skills, you will come to a point where you want to share it. Here are some ideas for hand lettering in everyday life.
:: Birthday, Wedding, and Anniversary gifts:: Writing letters:: Decorating menus
:: Seasonal decorations. Hand letter a message on a pumpkin, or do a simple wash on the back of canvas and hand letter a favorite scripture or Holiday Greeting on top of it all. (What do you think all that awesome scripture art on Etsy and Pinterest is?)
:: Write Legacy letters for your children.
:: Copy scripture onto cards and pin them up all over your home, car, and workplace.
:: Learn alongside your children. Some people who find drawing a bit frustrating can find calligraphy more approachable because it is more technical in nature.
:: Let it be an extension of handwriting practice.
As you can see, there are many daily outlets where your art can be set before other and allow them to respond. I promise you; they will. I still love looking through the letters my father wrote me and gazing at the formation of letters into words that express his heart and touch mine in return.
Expanding wisdom, extending grace,
|This part is a member of our 31 Days of Playing with the Arts Series|