Archive for the ‘tutorials’ Category

Pilot Parallel Pen Review & Difference between Broad-Edge & Pointed-Pen

0 Comments

Thanks to Goulet Pen Company for providing us with the Pilot Parallel Pen Handlettering and Calligraphy Set. Both Hayley and I had a lot of fun playing around with these pens. I’ve had a few of these pens for a while, so it was fun to use the full line of pens from the Parallel Pen line.  

Before giving you my thoughts on the Parallel Pens, I thought I would give you a little info about calligraphy in general: Broad-edge calligraphy vs. Pointed-pen calligraphy. 

You’ve got hand-lettering versus calligraphy. Hand-lettering is illustrating letterforms. Often times letterforms take on a more dimensional look with decorative elements and illustrative affectations (above left). Calligraphy is the careful construction of letters with a prescribed set of strokes (see above right). Think of it as carefully writing each stroke, almost drawing each stroke. 

There are two camps within calligraphy itself: broad-edge and pointed-pen. Broad edge materials literally have a broad edge (see marbled holder and pilot parallel pen in the far right). The orientation and angle of the nib gives you the control over thicks and thins. But because of the broad edge, you’ll find that you have lots of thick strokes (see broad-edge styles). The broad-edge styles in the above image there are in no way exhaustive of the kinds of letters you can make with those tools. As a general rule, tools with number measurements like Speedball C-2, C-0, Mitchell 5mm, Pilot Parallel 6.0mm, etc. are all describing the width of the edge. 

Pointed-pen calligraphy, while using angle and orientation in order to work, relies on pressure in order for the thicks and thins to happen. As a result, you’ll find you can easily get sweeping fine lines and hairline flourishes with pointed-pen tools. When it comes to “Modern Calligraphy” that’s oh-so-popular, it’s referring to a pointed-pen script hand that’s based (although sometimes too loosely to be actually readable) on Copperplate/Engrosser’s Script foundations. This style needs pointed-pen tools. If you don’t, you’ll get messed up results like below:

SO…….. 

While the Pilot Parallel Pen Set may not be the right materials for “modern calligraphy”, this set is awesome for exploring a wide range of broad-edge styles in a variety of sizes! Without any further ado, check out the full review video. If you already know the difference, skip to 5:40.

 

Now for the review, we really loved these pens a lot! Here’s the breakdown of the pros and cons.

The pros:

  • Instruction packet for easy assembly
  • Variety of colored inks & black inks
  • Plastic nib/plate cleaner
  • Pens are juicy and synthesize dip pen beautifully
  • They travel well
  • They feel great

The cons: 

  • The artwork on the packaging is a little deceptive (you canNOT do brush lettering with these pens)
  • The “ductus” pages are made from fonts, not calligraphic hands*
  • You can’t put the caps on the ends of the pens while in use

*A “font” is a programmed set of letters used on the computer, a “hand” is a calligraphic style. The fonts in the ductus pages aren’t a bad place to start, but they don’t give you much information on pen angle/orientation or pen manipulation or stroke order. 

Overall, I’d say this set is a win. If you’re interested in trying broad-edge or bolder styles these pens are a must-have! They’re a great tool to take with you for practice on the go or even when attending workshops, meet-ups or guild meetings with limited space. 

Want to learn more about calligraphy? Check out my classes over at Calligraphy.org! 

Product provided by Goulet Pens. All thoughts are our own. 

How to “Custom Frame” on an IKEA Budget

3 Comments

This may be a silly post, but I often get asked about where I get the artwork I’ve collected in my home and where I get them framed. Sure I’ve had some special pieces (investment pieces) custom framed. And it was worth every penny. But I personally love a mixture of high-low. Also, custom framing every. single. piece of art gets expensive!! Especially if the piece has more seasonality to it. 

Back in my college days, I took a framing class down in the basement of the BYU Museum of Art. It was a thrilling experience to be in the same room as original Van Goghs and Monets and Picassos and Maxxes. Brigham Young University has one of the largest private art collections in the United states. IT’S AMAZING!!! But that’s beside the point. I had the awesome chance to learn how to properly frame pieces myself to add to my home. During this experience I learned the “right way”, but also that there’s a “good enough” way. So I’m going to share with you the “good enough” way to do a floating frame with artwork with a deckled edge. And how to create a deckled edge on any of your prints or pieces. As long as it’s paper, it can deckle!

Here’s what you’ll need:

I strongly recommend just watching the video above for the step-by-step. But if you’re the speed-reading type see below for directions: 

  • Get your frame and artwork and measure how much you need to reduce the size of your artwork to fit it into the frame nicely. I would personally recommend making the artwork around 1/2 inch smaller than the mat opening on each side (if you’re using a frame without a mat, make it 1/2 inch smaller than the frame opening on each side. Depending upon what sizes your art and frame are, this may take some math. You may notice in the video above, I just eyeballed it. You can eyeball your measurements a little bit with deckled edges because it adds to the charm of the deckle. That said, I’m also pretty darn good at eyeballing square measurements (humble brag ;)).
  • Lay your metal ruler over the artwork just shy of what you want to remove. 
  • Press down on the ruler to keep it secure, you don’t want it wiggling around!!
  • Starting from the top, slowly rip off the excess paper all the way down the side. 
  • Repeat on all 4 sides. You don’t want to remove less than 1/2 inch of paper for a deckle, mostly because it’s a pain in the fingers to do that!! (see video)
  • Lay the mat over the backer paper and trace over the exterior perimeter with pencil. 
  • Cut excess paper with scissors (these lines don’t have to be perfect). If you’re not using a mat in your frame, cut the backer paper down to fit the full size of the frame. 
  • Place the mat back on the backer paper, lining the corners up nicely.
  • Put Tombow Sticky Tabs on the backside of the artwork along the corners and sides. Remove the double sided covers of the sticky tape
  • Gently center the artwork within the mat area and press into place. 
  • Place all pieces (mat, art with backer and frame backer board) back into the frame and hang! 

 

I really love the effect of the rich-colored backer paper. White would have looked fine, but I like how the deckled edge becomes more pronounced with the accent color of the backer paper. 

For very little time and very little money, you’ll have a framed piece that looks like a million bucks! Let me know if you end up using this tutorial. I hope it was helpful. Tag me on instagram @melissapher if you use this technique!

This tutorial and accompanying printable is free for personal use. Feel free to share, but link with love. 

Affiliate links are used to help support my crafting addiction. Your support and purchasing through these links doesn’t affect your final price, but helps me make more content like this. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

How to Hang a Gallery Wall Vignette

0 Comments

I’ve wanted to share this with you for some time now. Creating gallery wall vignettes with a wide variety of artwork and found objects is what my house is made of. Just a couple weeks ago, Hayley and I set out to hang artwork on the walls of our entertainment space in the new kitchen. Over the next few months, I’m going to share with you the updates that we’ve made over the course of the last year (still ongoing :/). So to kick it off, I’m sharing with you the process I use for hanging artwork on the walls. 

I love taking medium to small sized blank walls and create little galleries with a wide range of artwork and objects. I hope this can serve as inspiration and motivation to get your creative side going and hanging some artwork!! 

As an introduction, this space is quite the multi-functional spot. We dine and craft and relax in this space. We have no formal dining area, so I wanted to tone down the gigantic black box in the middle with some lively artwork and clean up the bar from the artwork I had piled on there so we could use it as a buffet when company comes over. Getting the art from the counter to the walls really cleaned up the space so much. So let me take you through the space….

So let’s get on to hanging artwork! 

These are my must-have tools for hanging art work. 

I really love the above hangers. They’re really stable and great for heavy pieces, especially if you’re not hammering into a stud. You can find these at home depot, but they’re in various sizes in the Fixa set. Seriously, $5 very well spent there. I’ve had that little set for a couple of years, and it’s well worth it. It’s self-contained which makes it easy to keep from the children “playing” with the materials.  

Finding ways to unify pieces is great. Sometimes if you have a variety of styles that you want to bring together (like, for example, family portraits in a wide range of eras and styles). But hanging artwork on every wall in your house in the exact same frames gets really stale. So start collecting art and objects in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and frames! This is where being a little scatter-brained and ADHD comes in handy. 

Collecting a variety of prints, original art, found objects gives you lots of variety, texture and depth. But by having a variety, you need to find ways to bring back unity. 

Grouping pieces together that have similar color schemes and making sure that art is spaced evenly brings in consistency that the eye enjoys. 

HOT TIP: if you stand back from your grouping (whether on the wall or the floor as a mock-up), defocus your eye. You’ll see what spots are visually more heavy and where to add pieces. 

Gallery walls don’t need to fit into a tight rectangular shape. As you’ll see from the grouping on the top right hand side, that it peeks out of the rectangle, but it takes up roughly the same negative space as the tighter grouping on the left. 

So what do you think? Will you be hanging art vignettes on your walls any time soon? 

Best Tooth Fairy Ever

0 Comment

We have a killer Tooth Fairy. Not in the creepy horror film way, but in the OMG-she-totally-knocks-it-out-of-the-park sort of way. She’s amazing. Not to toot her horn too much, but she’s a darling little 6″ sprite that writes the sweetest little love notes to Penelope. They even have occasional back-and-forth correspondence that’s total cuteness overload. 

We don’t have many ridiculous or time-intensive traditions at our house. Really, we don’t have many traditions at all. But this is one that really jives with our family core values. It’s creative. It’s cheap. It makes my children’s childhood magical. 95% of the time the Tooth Fairy has her act together, but some times she’s busy. And she gets the tooth the next night. But she usually includes a very heart-felt apology in her little love note the next night. 

Cute dress from the ever darling My Sister’s Closet

I age restricted the video in case little eyes come across the video. Let me know if that’s an issue. I’m still pretty new to this whole YouTube publishing thing. Click on over to YouTube if you’d like to subscribe to my weekly videos. Content includes creative art-related DIYs, art material reviews and lettering/calligraphy time-lapse videos. I’d love it if you subscribed, but you do you. ;)

So here’s what you need: 

Knowing calligraphy isn’t an absolute must*, but it certainly helps. ;) I can teach you how. 

Since I have a Silhouette machine, I downloaded an envelope template from the Silhouette design store and resized to my liking. The final envelope size is somewhere between 1″-1.25″ wide. The letter is about 3/4″ wide and 1 1/2″ tall. So these letters are TINY! It’s what makes them so fun. If you’ve got a Silhouette, resizing an envelope template and cutting out on your machine is easy-peasy. I have cut out envelopes by hand before. Not the most fun thing in the world, but also not the most time consuming thing ever, either. 

The paper listed above handles ink really well. If you’re using a very fine point pen (Sakura has .003 micron pens that will give you a ridiculously small point), then any kind of smooth paper will do. 

If you’re using pen & ink, the Modern nib alternative to the one in the video (the Leonardt Principal) will get you a nice fine hairline. Make sure you use a fine ink as well. I prefer walnut as it’s easy to use and it doesn’t corrode your nib like iron gall inks do. 

Once you’re done with writing your note, fold up the note to fit inside the envelope. Wrap the envelope flaps around the note and seal with a wax seal. You don’t have to glue the flaps closed because the wax will do the work for you. I use wax seal wax and a drill bit to make a fun imprint. 

Then grab your dollar bill and fold it into something exciting. These are my favorites out of the ones I’ve tried:

Then tuck the envelope in one of the folds of the animals and you’re done! I’m sure it’s easier for the Tooth Fairy to slip a buck under the pillow and be done with it, but this is just straight up magical. Let me know if you end up doing this with your kid(s)!

 

 

Affiliate links are used. Your price doesn’t change, I get a small percentage of each sale from these links. All proceeds from affiliate sales goes towards making new videos like these. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Post-Holiday Thank Yous for Kids

2 Comments

Finally coming up to the surface after a very wonderful, but very busy holiday season. OH wow. It was great. My kids were spoiled, too. So, how do I include them in giving thanks for their massive haul of presents? They make the backgrounds and I make the cards out of them. It’s really quite easy. I made a video about it, but I’m sure you can figure it out on your own, though, too. ;)

SUPPLIES:

  • paper (I love this stuff, you can find it at Walmart usually for $5)
  • watercolors 
  • brushes
  • Sakura brush markers (they’re waterproof)
  • -or- a Thank You stamp/sticker (I made my stamp with the Mint)

No need to cut the papers down, give them to your kids and let them have fun! But not so much fun that they totally saturate the page with water and pigment. We need the paper to still have some integrity. So try (sometimes easier said than done) to pull the paper away and give them a new one to color once they have markings in all four quadrants of the page. Teach them how to splatter their paint (only if you have washable colors like crayola watercolors!).

Once you have a collection of pages from your kid(s), let the papers dry and cut the paper in fourths (5.5×4.25). Now add your Thank You phrase! You can write it by hand with marker or use a Thank You stamp (like this or this).

Now on the back, write your Thank You on the back on the left half of the paper. Be sure to leave room for your kid to make a mark, whether it’s a scribble or part of their name. Write the recipients address on the right half and stick a stamp in the top right corner. BOOM. DONE. Postcard postage is 34 cents now, so keep that in mind. :) 

I hope you get your kids involved in expressing gratitude with us! Let me know how it goes by tagging me on Instagram @melissapher. And if you’re looking to learn how to do that fancy-pants calligraphy on the front of the card, look no further. I teach brush lettering with personal coaching (one-on-one feedback that’s actually helpful) over at calligraphy.org. Hope to see you over there! 

*Affiliate links used for products I use and love.

mobile site