Workshop | The Trafalgar 6th November 2016

Hello! Today I am going to share with you some pictures from my most recent workshop at my new venue, the gorgeous riverside pub The Trafalgar. I absolutely LOVE this location. Greenwich has become one of my favourite parts of London with its stunning buildings, village feel and just general beauty, so I fell in love with The Trafalgar when I had my first meeting there. My workshops take place upstairs in a private room which overlooks the river filled with masses of natural light...absolutely perfect for a calligraphy. Not to mention there is a bar downstairs if you fancy a tipple.

As always my workshop was filled with a talented bunch of ladies and they all did brilliantly, I am looking forward to seeing lots of Christmas cards and tags being made this year! The gorgeous Maxeen Kim was there snapping away and as you can see below she got some pretty good action shots of the class in action. 

All my 2016 workshops are now sold out, but I will be releasing dates for early 2017 super soon so if you are interested then sign up to my newsletter below and follow me on Instagram to be the first to hear when I do!

Workshop | Brixon Ritzy 27th August 2016

Hello! Happy Wednesday everyone! Todays post is all about my first group workshop that was held on Saturday 27th August at Upstairs at The Ritzy in Brixton. I had such a great time teaching this wonderful group of students and was lucky enough to have Catherine from Catherine Short Floral Design attend and bring some gorgeous blooms with her as well as the wonderful Philippa from Philippa Sian Photography there taking all kinds of professional snaps for me! 

We started off the workshop with a little introduction to myself and the basic tools and rules of modern calligraphy. I then introduced the group to the wonderful world of drills and how to use the nib and penholder to create the thin upstrokes and thicker downstrokes. After some drill work we moved onto the much more exciting alphabet! I talked them through my style of lettering and did a little demo showing them how I hold my pen and write some of the more difficult looking letters. 

I absolutely LOVED this workshop it was so much fun and full of enthusiasm and it is the best feeling to be able to share my skills with others. Take a peek below at some of the gorgeous shots that Philippa took for me and sign up to the newsletter below to be the first to hear when I release new dates (it will be super soon!) and also some collaborative workshops I have in the works!

Tools | Resource Books

Hello! Happy Thursday! Apologies for the lack of post last week, and the fact that this is being posted on a Thursday....things have been a little crazy around here. BUT it does mean that we have lots of upcoming shoots to share with you all over the summer! 

Todays post is all about Resources...in particular books that have really helped me on my calligraphy journey. 

First up it is the first calligraphy book that I bought when I first started and one that I have mentioned previously-Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe. Getting this book was such a breakthrough for me as it finally gave my learning some structure. Molly was one of the first calligraphers I discovered on Instagram and I did and still do find her book immensely useful. There are so many different variations of the letters that you can really play around and find your own style. She also explains the basics of nibs and pen holders perfectly and after you've done all the practise there are some great little projects to try. Definitely recommended!

Next up is a newish release, Nib and Ink by Chiara Perano of Lamplighter London. I will be the first to admit that I am the biggest fan girl when it comes to Chiara from Lamplighter. She was my first introduction to calligraphy in the UK and I think her work is flawless. So needless to say I was very excited to get her book. The look, feel and design of the book is absolutely gorgeous. She introduces the art of modern calligraphy and the tools needed and then there are examples of her gorgeous alphabet and style and pages to practice (I have not used the book for practice and am unsure how easy it is to write in though.) at the end there are some fun quotes and sayings to try out as you grow with confidence if you are a beginner. This book is probably aimed at someone who is more of a beginner than me but I like to dip into her alphabet ocassionally to try and find new ways to write.

Now we move away from the more modern scripts and onto books looking at Copperplate Calligraphy with Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy by Eleanor Winters, Calligraphy in the Copperplate Style by Herb Kaufman and Geri Homelsky and Script Lettering for Artists by Tommy Thompson. These books are proper workbooks and they are great for learning the rules of calligraphy. All the letters are broken down into strokes and examined and everything is really well explained. I must admit I probably skipped over the 'learning the rules' part of teaching myself calligraphy a little too fast and now I wish my copperplate skills were better. However, it is something that I am planning on practising more and these books will be my go-tos.

I have linked all these books so you can go and examine them on amazon and maybe purchase them if you fancy some extra learning! My main recommendations would be Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe and Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy by Eleanor Winters. Go treat yourself and enjoy! 

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Tools | Favourite Basic Calligraphy Tools

This weeks post is all about my favourite basic calligraphy tools. To start off with I am keeping it simple, the ultimate basics kit that you need to get you started and the items that I still use day in day out. I will extend on these in future posts about other tools that I use frequently. But for today let's start at the beginning.

When I first started to teach myself calligraphy I was using a little calligraphy kit that I bought in an art shop which was full of squared off nibs (the kind used for traditional calligraphy) so I wasn't getting the modern look that I wanted. I then went on a hunt and bought a load of vintage nibs off eBay, very pretty and I still have them in little jars, but not the most practical. It wasn't until I started Molly Jacques Skillshare course and bought Molly Suber Thorpes book that I finally found the tools that worked for me and to this day, I still pretty much stick to these basics.

Nib - Nikko G

The Nikko G is my absolute favourite nib EVER. I have a box full of different nibs, which I will go into further detail in another post, but I always go back to the Nikko G, it is without a doubt my number one workhorse. The Nikko G is a strong but flexible nib making it great for beginners and those with a slightly heavier hand, myself included. 

Nib Holder - Speedball Straight

I have a whole pot full of nib holders yet it is this cheapy one that I always pick out. Light and comfortable to use you really don't need anything else from a nib holder. From the beginning I have always used a straight nib holder over an oblique one. It is what I started with and it just works for me, but this is purely a preference thing. Many calligraphers prefer an oblique holder. They are cheap enough so I would advise trying both out once you are more confident with your calligraphy skills. To start with I personally would recommend a straight holder, it's less scary and complicated! 

Ink - Higgins Eternal & Sumi Ink

My ultimate favourite ink has always been Higgins Eternal however recently I have fallen in love with Sumi Ink, it has such a shiny finish and looks great. However, Higgins is still my go to as it dries much much quicker than Sumi. So if I am doing envelopes or place cards that I can leave to dry then I will use Sumi, however if I need to scan soon then I will use Higgins as it just saves time! For drills and practising, I would recommend Higgins-less chance of smudges everywhere. 

Gum Arabic - Daler Rowney Gum Arabic Solution

Gum Arabic is great and essential in my opinion for beginners and day to day calligraphy. At the beginning of your calligraphy journey you may come across some ink flow problems, I definitely did, and Gum Arabic was my saviour. If you are and you have made sure that you have first prepped your nib by cleaning it with some toothpaste, saliva, or running it through a flame quickly (new nibs come with a film on them to stop them rusting) then dip your clean nib in gum arabic, then in clean water and wipe off with kitchen roll this should help with your flow problems. 

Paper - Rhodia Pads and Daler Rowney Marker Paper

Both of these papers are really smooth and easy to write on as well as being really great for scanning in if you are going to digitalize your work. Generally there is no bleeding or catching and both types of paper are thin enough to put guidelines underneath and see them through. Rhodia pads also come in gridded and dot paper which are really useful for sketching out and practising letter forms. 

Also always good to have to hand is kitchen paper, pencil and eraser.

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So there you go, that is a list of my absolute favourite essential items and those that I would recommend for beginners, armed with these tools your calligraphy journey will hopefully be easier. Sign up on the homepage to receive emails when I post new blogs about further tools and other insider information!