Posts Tagged ‘art’

TUTORIAL: DIY Ink/Paint Holder


I made this and shot pictures like 2-3 years ago. I just discovered it while cleaning up images on my desktop (which is a hot mess) and figured I would share. I’m sure it’s been done various other places, but I need to cross this off my list so here we go.


I found myself wanting small jars for mixing custom ink colors in gouache (for calligraphy, but works for any aqueous media) and then tipping them over. Constantly. We replaced the flooring in my studio not long ago because of how horribly stained it got. Also, I hate carpet.

So I made this little ink tray. You may want to, too.



Cut down your block to 12″ wide. Sand the edges so they’re smooth to the touch.


Mark out every inch along the board with a pencil. Optional: create an indent with the tip of the screw so your bit won’t slip around as you start the process.


Measure how deep you want the drill to go and tape it off. This will allow you to have consistent heights when you put your jars in the board.


Drill away! Go slowly and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area with protective glasses.


Admire your handywork!


Use the sticky tack to apply to the bottoms of your jars so they don’t move around. it also helps tilt the jars when the ink gets low.

This tutorial or freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. You may publish 1 photo along with credit back to the original post. If you would like to use this tutorial or freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Random Calligraphy Thoughts


It wasn’t until September 2009 that I discovered calligraphy was part of my personal history. I’ve always loved letters; finding out that my great-great grandfather was a sign painter in Ogden, Utah made me love them more. It was like I was destined to love calligraphy. I can’t describe how perfectly timed that gift was. It was like God was telling me that calligraphy was what I was meant to do. It gave me more direction in my life.


Since getting more involved in calligraphy, I’ve felt even more validated that I’m supposed to be here. Over the summer I attended a calligraphy conference. Spending a week with some of the world’s most amazing calligraphers was incredible and eye-opening.

In art school, I felt like I was somewhat of an outcast because I was in the strange gap between commercial and fine art. My professors nearly failed my BFA final show because it was “too commercial”. It bothered me that they couldn’t see that commercial art can be fine art.

I feel like calligraphy strikes that harmonious balance. The people in the calligraphy community get it, too. There’s a shared love for modern and traditional, commercial and fine art, formal and casual. I love that.


Here’s a little birthday card I made for my cousin. It’s no fine art piece, but it required the creative process in order to complete. And isn’t that what creating art is about at the end of the day?

What art will you be creating?

Calligraphy: Memorial for Miss Daisy


I got an email from an acquaintance of mine asking if I would do some lettering for her daughter’s memorial. Not the kind of news I like to hear. Her precious girl left this earth before getting a chance to take her first breath.


There are no words, really. This hits me so close to home as I’m waiting for our little girl to arrive. And it breaks my heart to think about the pain of their loss.


Our family has been incredibly blessed with two beautiful, healthy children and one on the way. I haven’t experienced that pain of infertility or loss first hand, but there are so many women I know that struggle with it daily. It’s really changed the way I view this pregnancy.

I moan about the discomfort pregnancy brings, but it’s never with an ungrateful heart. The discomfort, frustration, emotional roller-coaster is because of a baby. A beautiful baby that I hope to meet in October and love as much as I love Penelope and Felix. I can’t forget that.


The quote below the name and date is so perfect. “Faith tells me that no matter what lies ahead of me, God is already there.” The perfect reminder that we’re not alone in our struggles.


The final piece is 11 x 14. Bonny wanted watercolor and gold like last month’s wedding calligraphy and little flourishes like my gold wedding inspiration calligraphy. I used a #1 liner brush with the watercolor and a gillott 404 with Dr PH Martin’s Spectralite gold for the calligraphed text.


Tutorial: Getting the Most Out of Your Watercolors


It’s been a while since I’ve busted out the paints. I love painting! Painting was my life before I had kids.


When talking to friends about my love for painting the conversation usually steers towards watercolor, “the most difficult paint medium”They’re not as difficult as you may think. If you’ve got the right tools, you’ll be surprised how forgiving the medium is.

Periodically, I’d like to chime in here and there with a few tips on painting with watercolor. Let’s start with the basic tools and how to get saturated tones.



All Kids Are Artists


Penelope’s really come into a creative grove since she got her new studio. What’s even more awesome/remarkable is how all of the neighbor kids congregate in the tiny hallway to create artwork with her.

We’ve got quite a few budding artists on our street, including a 6 year old girl whom I’m convinced could be a fantastic calligrapher.


So I’m going to start a series. A virtual gallery stroll, if you will.

These kids are really inspiring to me, especially how they just freely create without any rules.


Penelope drew this bee for her aunt B. Get it? Adorable. She’s always creating little pictures and sculptures.

On the first Wednesday of each month, I’m going to be posting her creative endeavors and maybe a couple from the neighbor kids as well. I would love to see you participate! Use the banner above and post your kid’s creative endeavors on your blog on the first Wednesday of each month. We’ll link up for a virtual gallery stroll. For this month, feel free to link up in the comments to any artwork your child has done. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to submit your child’s work to me before the first Wednesday (July 3) and I’ll publish it here. I hope you’ll participate with me! See below for submission requirements.

Artwork must be 100% done by your child 18 years and younger. Photo must be taken in natural light and image must be at least 550px wide.

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