Posts Tagged ‘art’

My Favorite Waterproof Calligraphy Inks

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Let’s talk ink for a bit. It’s been a while since I’ve done a watercolor or a calligraphy post, or any post for that matter. I’ve recently adopted the “slow blogging” method. I spend most of my time teaching these days. You know I teach calligraphy right? If you’re new, it’s a stellar class that includes personal coaching so you know you’re getting the right instruction for your specific needs (and yes, I totally teach lefties).

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Sometimes I find I want to do some kind of watercolor wash after doing an illustration or a name. But I can’t, because the ink inevitably smears everywhere. I thought I’d test out to see how many of my inks are waterproof. Now, I didn’t test all of my inks, I just tested the ones I have that are easily available and most common. I have some small-batch inks that are a little harder to source. I’ve also only tested black (or black-ish) inks. Pigmented inks are a whole different can of worms because of the unique properties from pigment to pigment. If you’re hoping to use a pigmented ink with watercolor, I would recommend trial and error before working on a finished piece. Well, and really trial and error no matter what you’re using before working on a finished piece.

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Among my inks, I tested:

 

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So what inks do you think performed the best? I personally thought that the Pebeo Encre De Chine and the Ziller Glossy Black would do the only waterproof ink. I was mostly wrong. Continue below to find out which ones did the best!

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TUTORIAL: DIY Ink/Paint Holder

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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.

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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.

SUPPLIES

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Admire your handywork!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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