Posts Tagged ‘calligraphy’

Sign Painting Inspired Photo Backdrop

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Sometimes I enthusiastically say, “Yes!” to a project before understanding the scale. It’s a problem I get myself into constantly. As much as these decisions cost me in time, I benefit in learning new things: new methods, techniques and at the very least when I should say, “no.”

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AlixMegan and I were asked to head up a photo booth for Alt Summit this year. After mulling through several ideas, our theme was b&w pre-internet, we settled on some typographic backdrop for the photo booth for Alt Summit (summer 2015). It took until the 11th hour to think of what words to use.

I’m no copy editor. Coming up with copy is difficult for me. I can make it beautiful, but figuring out what to write can be like pulling teeth for me. It took several conversations as a team and an hour long phone call with my mom. I figured it would make the most sense to do onomatopoeias. Since it’s B&W pre-internet (which I thought was kind of vague) I started with the sounds you would hear from pre-internet technology like the “click and clack” from a typewriter. Then it grew from there to include any onomatopoeia that I could think of. I didn’t want to repeat the words too many times.

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Initially I had thought about inspirational words or phrases, but we didn’t want readability to be an issue. The short words turned out to be great.

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This sign ended up being roughly 9′ wide and 4′ tall. Doing something this large isn’t typical of my day-to-day work. Also, sign painting and lettering isn’t something that I do often. I was more than a bit out of my comfort zone here. Between that and the fact that the only space I could complete the sign was the kitchen area, stress levels were at an all-time high. My stress always sky-rockets around Alt Summit. So Chris knew he needed to steer clear. The kids quickly learned that lesson after an embarrassing amount of yelling, “GET OUT!! I can’t have you touching the paper!!”

I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they live in a mausoleum, but I also can’t have their sticky otter pop hands anywhere close to the paper. My paranoia mounted the further along I got. Stakes were escalating, I couldn’t start over!

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In my efforts to keep Pen and Felix out of trouble and my precious paper out of harm’s way, I barricaded the kitchen off with various chairs and a car seat. Chris got a kick out of it. That buffer saved my bacon a couple of times by keeping Felix from barreling through the room on his way outside.

At one point Alix came over to help fill in words with her two littles in tow. 5 kids under the age of 7 made for some interesting work time. Her kids were so good at staying clear of the paper and paint. Mine, not so much.

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The event went well, but as we were setting up for the backdrop I noticed that we had an awkward blank space on the top left corner of the backdrop. I made it a point to have my art supplies with me so that I could letter names for people (that was so fun!). So it was no big deal to whip out the white paint and brush and get to work on a couple extra pieces to fill out the negative space.

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If you look carefully, you’ll see that the “alt.” logo, arrow and “BAM” are a slightly different white. I had a different white, a teeny brush and I had to do it while the backdrop was hanging so I didn’t have a hard surface to work on. It certainly wasn’t my best work, but I was able to fill in the blank and make it look like it was supposed to be there.

I may be biased, but we rocked the photobooth. I’m glad I said yes to this project and got out of my comfort zone.

Project materials:

New things in Hawaii

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My pals at Silhouette asked if I wanted to go to Hawaii for an upcoming launch. I was more hesitant about booking the flight than Chris was since I would be leaving him alone with 3 kids for the majority of a week. That didn’t scare him! He’s so used to the family schedule (with both of us working from home) that he urged me to go and stay an extra day or two to really enjoy Oahu. It wasn’t a hollow offer. I took him up on it and lived it up Aloha-style!

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All of this fun was because of Silhouette Summit. The Silhouette team launched a slew of products last week and we who were in Hawaii, got to see it all in action first. And let me tell you, it’s amazing. 

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Image via Silhouette

July 2015, Silhouette will be launching their Curio machine, which will have the capabilities to etch, cut, stipple and most importantly emboss! I’m thinking of all of the calligraphic possibilities there and I’m nerding out just a little.

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Image via Silhoutte

Then, September 2015 (which can’t come soon enough, if you ask me) Silhouette will launch Mint. It’s the first desktop DIY stamp maker. OH yes. All calligraphers rejoice! It will use a companion software that will be compatable with fonts, the silhouette library and your own designs. Instead of 2-14 day turnaround for a custom stamp, try two MINUTES! I showed everyone on periscope, but I have no idea how to find the link to that. I’m @melissapher if you want to check out past videos and see how it works.

Through thermal printing, it exposes the “plate” and the exposed portions allow ink to saturate. And once inked, the stamp will last up to 50 impressions! Perfect for return address stamps or stamping your own business cards (which I’ve done in the past more than a few times – here, here, here). More on all this as I get to experiment with the machines themselves. Stay tuned!

But it wasn’t all business all the time. 

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Silhouette had a tour bus waiting for us Wednesday so we could explore the island more. Heather, Kierste, Linda, Cindi and I decided to go off the beaten path, rent a jeep and tour the island by hopping from one food stop to another.

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And the food in Hawaii was amazing. One of my favorite treats was a pineapple malasada I had the first day. It’s like a doughnut. But better. And filled with pineapple cream. Rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

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Image by Sarah Hearts

Then there was the shave shave ice! I got Waiola’s Passion Orange Guava with cream on top. We have shave ice in Utah during the summer months, but I’m not sure we have the ice shaved as finely as you can find at Waiola. It was remarkably refreshing.

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This is the water on Lenikai beach. A private-ish beach found on the east side of the island. A ton of beautiful homes are backed up against the beach. There are a few people lingering on the beach, but not crowded like Waikiki.

Funny thing: I’m not a beach person. They’re beautiful, but for heaven’s sakes get the sand off me!! I have insane texture issues. Needless to say, I brought my swimsuit, but I really only got up to my knees in the water. A shame since it’s Hawaii.

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This may be completely odd, but the highlight of my trip to Hawaii was teaching a calligraphy workshop at South Shore Paperie. We partied with brush markers, ate some delicious pastries and joked that I sounded like a chain smoker.

I lost my voice through the course of the trip. Something that had been working its way through my system since before I left, perhaps. I felt fine despite my voice sounding terrible, thank goodness.

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Image by Bradley & Lily

We spent considerably more than the 2 hours I budgeted for the workshop, but we all couldn’t tear ourselves away from the learning. We also couldn’t help but drool over the gorgeous Bradley & Lily stationery line. They just launched a new feature on their website allowing customers to essentially complete their own invitation design. Sometimes I wish I could get married all over again simply so I could use all of the wonderful resources out there like this one. I digress.

I was incredibly impressed at how well everyone did during the workshop! Great focus, good positioning and neat practice! My favorite part of my job is seeing other people catch the calligraphy bug and run with it. That enthusiasm really pushes me to work harder on my own craft. Follow along here and instagram for a Utah brush lettering workshop coming soon.

This post isn’t sponsored by Silhouette. I just really, REALLY can’t wait for these products to launch! They’re both game-changers. 

 

A Tribute

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Last November my nephew’s dad passed away after a battle with colon cancer.

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As a tribute, I made this little art piece for his parents. I may have over-flourished, though.

Until we meet again, Marc.

Freebie: Inspirational Quotes

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Back in January, I had the joy to design a little print series for Bing for their lounge at Alt Summit. They wanted inspirational quotes to support the concept of their cloud-based services. I made a series of 4 prints that could be tiled together to create an abstract cloud, or they could stand alone.

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I’m happy with how they turned out, despite my limitations with the design and time.

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See above how I tiled them.

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I was very limited on the design as I didn’t have much time to execute. I was given the official ‘go ahead’ while I was flat on my back with strep throat. The next day I created the designs. By the time I had work ready to print we were less than a week away from the deadline. Obviously no time for fun stuff like letterpress, gold foil, laser-cutting, etc.

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Of the local digital print services I tried, no one wanted to touch this job. We needed 500 of each design (2000 cards total). I sent it off to overnight prints and they pulled through for me (granted, it required a substantial rush fee).

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I would love to re-work these prints and get them completed with off-set and silver foil printing. I just don’t see that happening though.

As far as the design process goes, I painted the starry scene on watercolor paper with dry gouache. Added gold and glitter touches then scanned in. I lettered the quotes separately and placed them over the background.

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Click the image above to download the free desktop background quote “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” By downloading you agree to the Terms of Use below. Stay tuned for more fun stuff with the other three quotes!

Are you new here? Check out the “printables” tab at the top of the page for more freebies! Interested in learning calligraphy? Let me teach you how! Click the image below for more information.

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*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

A Few Of My Favorite Calligraphy Things

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We have had our fair share of travels these days. Between partying in Vegas with Calligraphy friends, Disneyland with the kids and a Phoenix Calligraphy workshop I’m happy to be home. And I’m tired. One of the many reasons why I haven’t updated this blog in some time.

I hate the silence! Let’s fix that. :)

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A couple things I’ve come to obsess with over the last couple of months:

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In the above image I used Jacquard’s Lumiere Halo blue gold for the “Local Calligraphy Workshop” lettering. It’s one ink and the golds and blue swirl around to create this fun dance with color.

In the envelope below, I did an ombré with dioxazine purple and turquoise blue gouache. It’s more obvious in person, but the gradation is fun. And I also used the lettermate for writing guides on that envelope.

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You can subtly see the clear glitter gelly roll pen on the above card. It gives things the subtle hint of shimmer. I like to do swirls, but I don’t worry if they’re perfectly balanced or executed, because you really can’t see them that close when you’re looking at it in person.

In the ‘thank you’ I’m using that jacquard lumiere ink. It’s got to be diluted with water a fair amount. Mix regularly and apply with a brush, but it’s great.

I’m also using little bits of glitter glue for little dots of sparkle. I have one in every color except orange. That needs to change soon. I need ALL the colors!

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Here I’m using Jacquard’s Pearlex super bronze powder. It’s hard to convey through a picture alone how bright the metallic is. It’s mirror-like in some lights! I love it! Mix with gum arabic and water to make a useable ink.

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I’m using the Lettermate directly on the envelope to write the above envelopes. The top one I letter without ascenders or descenders then I take off the template and pen them in afterward.

With the Scratch envelope I wrote Franky Scratch by hand, let it dry then used the Lettermate for the address below. I added an excessive amount of flourishes between each line when I finished.

What are your favorite calligraphy things right now?

If you have no idea what I’m talking about and would like to get into calligraphy, take my class! I teach year-round at istilllovecalligraphy.com. Purchase the class and starter kit right here.

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