Coming up with a concept for the letter E was anything but easy. Mitch had a bit of a creative block so we delayed by one week, which ended up working out well since I had to focus on my final calligraphy project.
For me, inspiration hit when I realized that erase starts with an “e,” and I wondered how I could show erasure creatively. I thought of using eraser shavings, but I realized that it would be even better to use a chalkboard. I put chalk over the entire board and used a wet Q-tip to erase the letter e into it. The chalk dried over again leaving a somewhat ghostly line that was quite unattractive. To remedy the situation, I dipped the Q-tip into soapy water and tried again. It gave me more time to take my photograph, but I still had to work quickly. I think it turned out quite nicely, and I look forward to the letter f.
As always, you can check out all of the entire alphabet challenge on Storify.
The letter D is the first one I’ve been a bit disappointed with. It is not due to the outcome, I think dazzle was a fun idea. The issue I faced with this letter is that the original concept I wanted to follow was making the letter D look like a disco ball. However, the time limit and my busy schedule made it impossible.
There are no progress photos this time. I didn’t feel that a huge explanation was necessary. I used a glittery gift bag to give the letter D some dazzle without the mess of loose glitter. Then, I wrapped ribbon around the D in diagonals. It’s a simple idea that would’ve been a lot more exciting if I could have made a disco D. You can check out Mitch’s de“light”ful, screenprinted letter D on Twitter.
I mentioned this last week, but there is a storify with all of the letters if you want to see them in one place. This letter was delayed one day in terms of posting due to the holiday weekend. The letter E will be ready on Sunday, so check #myletterhalf to see what Mitch and I come up with.
Continuing with the alphabet challenge, Mitch and I unveiled our letter C’s yesterday afternoon. I think they are both strong pieces, so I am excited to see how this will continue.
As always, I have a little about the process. For C, I thought of colors and cross-stitch. To make my life easier, I created a grid of x’s in different colors so I knew which color string to use at different points in the letter. Since I used paper, I went ahead and stabbed holes into the surface using an awl before pulling the needle and thread through (if you’re wondering why, this kept the paper from ripping). My final C is below and you can check out Mitch’s C via Twitter. Because he’s awesome, he also aggregated the challenge into a storify, which you can follow moving forward.
We’ll be back Sunday with the letter D.
Continuing with my alphabet challenge, last week’s offering was the letter B. Again, I went for a handcrafted option. When I brainstormed ideas for the letter B and what I could do with it, my first thought was baseball script. There is a flow and energy to it that is both exciting and nostalgic. What better to pair with baseball than bubblegum pink? I didn’t want to actually chew bubblegum to make the B, but I wanted it to have a bubblegum quality. To get that aesthetic, I opted to use Sculpey to craft the letter.
You can see the process above (starting in the top right and continuing clockwise). I began with plain Super Sculpey and added color to it using a brush pen. Constant rounds through Sculpey’s own Clay Conditioning Machine ensured that the color spread evenly. Then, I extruded the pink Sculpey using an extruder. Finally, I shaped the resulting cord of clay into the shape of the B I sketched. It was certainly a lot easier than the linocut! The final product is below. There could’ve definitely been more attention to the joining points, but I’m fairly pleased by the B.
My friend Mitch and I revealed our initial alphabet challenge pieces on Twitter yesterday. It was an exciting moment for me because I would be able to see his thought process versus mine. By being so open with this project, I thought we would both have very different ideas, but we both created prints—me with a linocut and Mitch with an apple. Above is an image detailing my process. After cutting my block, I inked my linoleum and printed by hand with a spoon (notice that buff edge!). It was a bit of a trip down memory lane, because I had forgotten much of the printing process.
I wanted my A to feel like a very fancy drop cap. I added as many curves, flourishes, and small details as I could with linoleum. It was fun to form everything by hand instead of tweaking anchor points in Illustrator. Below is a better photograph of the A. I will post the letter B next week, but you can always search #myletterhalf on Sunday if you don’t want to wait.
Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of designers challenging themselves to create more. Many of these are simple, daily tasks, but others are competitive bouts. Drawing inspiration from several avenues—Typefight being a major one—I decided that I would challenge myself to create one letter of the alphabet a day.
After discussing my idea with my friend, Mitch (and convincing him to take part in my challenge as well), we changed the time limit to three letters a week. However, this ended up being a lot more time consuming than I originally imagined, so we are going to create one letter a week with our reveals to one another on Sundays via Twitter. Maybe after twenty-six weeks, we’ll be so over this project that we hate it, but if not, we will potentially move on to numbers.
All of that being said, I will post each letter here on Monday mornings, so make sure you check back for the letter A.
I often visit the Torpedo Factory in Old Town, Alexandria. No torpedoes are manufactured there now, but there is a bustling collection of art studios open for visitors and shoppers. If you are in the area and have never been, I’d suggest taking a trip over a sunny weekend.
Generally, I am content speaking with artists and viewing their work, but everything changed when I saw a beginning calligraphy class offered through the Art League. I really love handlettering and calligraphy is probably one of the most amazing aspects of it. After one class, I’m already hooked. Our first step is learning foundational hand. I particularly enjoy the letter “l”.
Have any of you taken calligraphy classes before? What advice to you have to offer?