I was inspired to design this printable to-do list because I feel that writing down our goals for the day (or week) is better than typing it on our smart phone calendars. You can post it on your wall, and it’s easier to see. It makes the list more ‘real’, and it personally helped me manage my time better.
The past few months were filled with wedding invitation designs and calligraphy addressing, plus a few commission works here and there. I had to list my deadlines, and make sure I stick to them.
So here’s something to help us stop the procrastination and actually do something! Coz you know what? I love the feeling of ticking one task and proceeding to the next one. The feeling of satisfaction is priceless. I hope you like the freebie for the day!
My first couple of years writing calligraphy, I was always on the look out for the richest, most opaque white ink out there. I discovered PH Martins Pen White, which was fortunately available here in Singapore. It was great, but I had to mix it with water every time I had to use it.
When I had to make custom coloured inks for a project, I decided to be adventurous enough and mix it myself using gouache and water. For those who haven’t tried it yet, gouache is a actually a water-based paint similar to watercolours. But unlike watercolours, it’s opaque and will give you richer, fuller shades. That’s when I started using white gouache instead of the pre-mixed Pen White, and since then a pot of white gouache has been a mainstay on my desk.
Here’s a video of me writing in real time — I’m a slooooow writer, but hey, that’s the beauty of calligraphy! It’s pretty close to channeling your inner zen.
I’m planning to upload more demo videos in my Vimeo chnnel, so stay tuned for that! Enjoy!
It’s 2016 (woohoo!) and I’d like my first post of the year to be special. So here’s one special destination wedding I had the pleasure to work on last year – Tom and Simone’s big day in Phuket, Thailand.
It was a travel-themed wedding, so each table number featured the couple’s photos from different places. And not just that — either of them were holding a small chalkboard with a number on it! I thought it was a very cute idea.
I also did the calligraphy and lettering for the signs and stationery used at the venue. There were the menus for dinner, cocktails and cupcakes, photo booth sign, and wedding programme to name a few. My favourite has got to be the escort cards which weren’t cards at all, but little paper airplanes hanging in strings! The colour motif was grey and dusty blue, which were perfect for a classy beach wedding. I’m very happy for this sweet couple, and I’m pretty sure you’ll like the photos as much as I did. Scroll down to see more.
I became an instant fan of the classic 1920’s look because of this art deco themed invite suite I had the privilege of designing. It was a vintage theme, yes, but the beautiful thing is, it doesn’t look ‘old’ at all. It’s just pure class, and I truly enjoyed the whole design process.
The suite is a mix of handwritten elements and digital design, and searching for the perfect art deco font proved to be a challenge. A self-proclaimed font snob, I found myself browsing through fonts that were too mediocre to use. I finally found one or two that would suit the design excellently. Paired with the classic art deco pattern and modern calligraphy, the printed suite came out so much prettier than what I saw on my laptop screen. The colours came out soft and pleasing to the eye — exactly how I wanted it to be.
There are so many reasons why many would opt for modern calligraphy over the traditional styles. First reason would most probably be because there are ‘no rules’ in the modern style. Another reason would be its popularity all over the web and social media platforms. Modern calligraphy is everywhere nowadays, and a lot of people are doing it as a hobby. Third reason, and this is the reason I believe the most, is because the modern style can reflect the writer’s personality. It would display one’s individuality, and you can have a style you can call your very own.
Before I go on, I’d like to dispel the myth that modern calligraphy simply has no rules. It’s a myth. It’s false. Modern pointed pen calligraphy is based on traditional Copperplate, so we will still follow the basic rules that come with it — consistent slant, legibility, and uniform thicks and thins. I would prefer to write something that is actually readable.
Now, for the fun part. With so many calligraphers and enthusiasts out there, how can you make your work stand out? It took me 2 years to come up with my own style — and I’m still learning, everyday. For beginners who want to display your individuality, I’ve come up with a few pointers.
1. Learn your basic letter forms.
Once you have memorized how each letter would look like, your calligraphy will look more consistent. Try to write the same letter in that style every time. Once you’ve mastered it, make slight variations to make it a little more exciting. Which leads me to my next point.
2. Write your own exemplar.
To help you memorize your basic letter forms, why don’t you write the full alphabet in the same style? You can always refer to it whenever you’re writing. You can write your variations there, too.
3. Study calligraphy fonts.
Modern calligraphy fonts are different from each other, and observe why this is so. Some have thick downstrokes, some are very upright, while some are playful and carefree. While doing this, you can also gauge what style reflects your personality more.
4. Keep on practicing.
Even the expert calligraphers out there still practice and do their drills. Believe me, it helps! It builds muscle memory, so you’ll be able to do your letter forms right. Practicing also keeps your mojo going, and very relaxing, too. I can write drills for hours. Just remember to have your own exemplar around while practicing so you can be consistent with your slant and style.
Finally having a style you can call your own will take months, or even years of practice. I must admit I tend to jump from every style I can think of when I was starting out. It’s not bad, and it actually helped me come up with the style that I would actually stick to eventually. Good luck in finding your own pointed pen style! Remember — Practice Makes Pretty!
It’s such a pleasure to be showing you the logo for Mita Kelder, a photographer here in Singapore. I really enjoyed working alongside this lady! Mita wanted a logo, and a logo mark as well that will serve as her photos’ watermark. She also wanted a hand-drawn camera to go with her name.
I’ve been doing a number of photographers’ logos lately, but each one is different. I enjoyed drawing different styles of the camera for her, and after a few mixing and matching, I was able to finalise the logo and watermark symbol. I’m very much delighted to share these photos with you today!
I was amazed by so much talent during the first Calligraphy In Colour advanced modern calligraphy workshop here in Singapore. I was happy to be back at Joo Chiat Place, too! There were some familiar faces, ones who I’ve already met in my beginners’ classes. There were new faces, too, and all 12 ladies were very enthusiastic about mixing colours and exploring new styles.
During 2014, I’ve always had beginners’ classes where we use black ink and focused on drills and basic letter forms. In the advanced class, we used different types of coloured paper, different kinds of inks and paint, and an end project that everyone so creatively pulled off. We got a little technical as well, because I believe that these things are better taught during an advanced class where everyone is already familiar with pointed pen calligraphy.
Oh, and as always, we’ve got a sumptuous menu for our lunch specially catered by Carpenter and Cook.
I’m looking forward to having another Calligraphy In Colour class in the next few months! If you’re curious if this class is for you, well, you just need a basic knowledge of using a flexible nib and be familiar with the letter forms. A more detailed class description can be found here. After practicing calligraphy in black ink, it’s a whole new experience when you start customising colours and finally creating your own work of art. Thanks to everyone who came, you were all awesome!
Late last year, Yasmin of Coffee Creative got in touch with me through my Etsy shop to write their wedding invitations in calligraphy. It was for their wedding in Texas, USA, and I was thrilled! It turned out to be a lovely suite, because calligraphy matched the awesome drawing Yasmin did of her and her groom! I would be totally inspired by this idea, now I wish I’m getting married again. It has a lovely, organic feel and I am super happy to have provided calligraphy for this wedding. Photos were taken by Kristen Swanson.
I’m still on a high from last Saturday’s Happy Hour Workshop! I think this is the first time that we had 3 Michelles in the group! Who would think modern calligraphy drills would actually be fun? I was teaching myself years ago and drills were a chore (albeit necessary). I’m still quite amazed at how patient these ladies were, even when there were quite a few scratchy sounds, ink blobs and spills.
They were all so into writing, it was difficult for me to coax them out of their seats to have lunch! Finally, the smell of Quiche Lorraine and pastries lured them downstairs and we all enjoyed a hearty meal (thanks to Carpenter & Cook, as always!).
I should’ve known that this group is really into learning modern calligraphy. When I opened the registration for this class, all seats were snatched in minutes. I was in awe!
I’ve been receiving a lot of emails regarding the upcoming workshops – looks like everyone wants to get into the craft before the year ends! Great news – I’ll be having one session specially for those wait listed from this October session. Another will be for subscribers of the Workshop Newsletter, so leave your email address on the right sidebar to get the first dibs. I cannot wait to meet all of you, and I promise to have more classes in 2015.
I’m sending another shout out to Heaven In A Wildflower for having us at her lovely, lovely, lovely home studio.
Last August’s Beginners’ Modern Calligraphy Workshop was super fun! What I love about these classes is meeting different individuals from different fields, all eager to learn a new craft. Some are even eager to take an advanced class (which I’m preparing for, by the way – thanks for the feedback!). Here are the photos from The Happy Hour!