A (slightly late) Mother’s Day post

Just before we get started – yes, I made sure that Mom saw this on Mother’s Day. So I am indeed a Good Son, which I know was a great concern of everyone’s.

So here’s this year’s Mother’s Day piece:

Laurie Anderson

This comes from Anderson’s song “O Superman,” which is a rather trippy song, all things considered:

Now there’s a lot to unpack there, and for me it recalls a very specific time period from college. Way too long to explain, but it warms my heart.

The bit that I pulled out for the piece stands out as a rather unconventional message for moms – that at the end of all things, when all else fails, mom is there.

I really like how the versal turned out – I always get nervous doing those without a clear vision of what I want, because I’m convinced something will go wrong. This worked out, though. The blue and white part could have been a little clearer, but again – lack of foresight. It’ll get you every time.

The first mock-up had a versal for each pair of lines, but I scrapped that idea right away. It would have been too bulky and distracting, aside from spelling out “WAA” down the side, a sound my mother hasn’t had to endure from me in quite a long time.

Let’s see, other notes… I picked Quadrata because these lyrics have a kind of litany feel to them, like something that would be chanted in a Mother’s Day ritual. Mind you, probably chanted in front of a great stone monolith of a statue whose eyes would glow red once the chanting was finished, but that’s pure speculation. In the song, this bit is immediately followed by a perky, “Hi, Mom!” but I left that out, as I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.

The three key words – Justice, Force, and Mom – are all colored in their first appearance, but not their second seeing as how they’re “gone”. The color scheme of the versal is meant to echo those colors as well as the colors of the As (which are the color that Love would have been, were it not also “gone”).

I think that’s about it. Mom’s response on Facebook: “Awwww… made me weep!” Which means it worked.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

May the Fourth Be With You (2016)

I do so love May the Fourth – Star Wars Day as it’s otherwise known. Up until last year or so, though, I had no real way to participate in that day. Nothing to contribute, really, other than to pass around some cartoons or memes that someone else had put together.

Ah, but then I started on calligraphy and discovered that I do have a way to contribute. Last year I did a bunch of great lines from the movies, and had such fun that I thought I’d do it again. So here, without further wind-up, are this year’s Star Wars Day pieces. Enjoy!

It's variously "I have" and "I've got" throughout the movies. I picked this one. Ink: Waterman Tender Purple Script: Italic
It’s variously “I have” and “I’ve got” throughout the movies. I picked this one.
Ink: Waterman Tender Purple
Script: Italic

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Words, Words, Words

It’s not been a terribly productive week, honestly. You know how it is – some weeks you’re on fire and can’t do enough, while other weeks it’s just… bluh.

Fortunately, I have the Reddit calligraphy community, and they have a regular Word of the Day so that I can at least get some practice done with a modicum of good conscience. Mind you, these are usually the first things I do in the evening, so they’re not always as good as they could be, but I thought I’d share – especially since the words of the last week or so have been more about the letters than the words themselves. For example:

With 8 letters and together with “fabaceae,” they are the longest English words that are playable on an instrument.

So, here’s what I do when I can’t think of anything else to do. Enjoy!

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Let’s Go Crazy…

The death of Prince didn’t hit me nearly the way the death of David Bowie did, but there is no denying that Prince was a vast influence on the landscape of modern music. What’s more, he was talented to the point of unbelievability and, as has surfaced in recent interviews, he was a humanitarian who made every effort to help people in need, all while taking no credit for it.

So here’s my tribute piece to the man who should have had much, much more time:


The scan really doesn’t do credit to the Purple Pizazz from Diamine, but it suits perfectly. This took a few tries to get right, as most things do. I’m happy with how it came out, though, and of all the many, many words the man wrote, I think these were the best choice.

Now. If you don’t mind, I’d like to get through the rest of 2016 without any more legends leaving our midst.

The Final Ink Drop

Yup, you read that right – this is the last one. Goulet Pens announced earlier this month that they were discontinuing the Ink Drop program. Oddly enough, the main reason was because it was too popular, which doesn’t seem to make sense. So much so that I mentioned to to our business teacher as a possible case study for his students. They explained it rather well, though.

The end of the Ink Drop was a bit anticlimactic, and a lot of comments seemed to be, “But what about ME?!” I admit, it would have been nice to end with a bit more flourish (a writing joke -get it?) but it is what it is, and I’m thankful that I was able to benefit from the program for as long as I did.

That said, here’s this month’s colors! The theme is “Forest Foray”.

2016.04 Ink Drop

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a fan of brown fountain pen inks. Walnut ink passes muster, but not much else. Indeed, Earth Brown has a little more yellow in it than I would like, and while Terracotta is more on the red end of brown, if I wanted an orangy ink, there are a lot of others I could go with. But that’s just me – your mileage may vary.

As for the greens, They’re all good. Forest Green is dark and rich, Sherwood green is a little more obvious in its Green-ness, and Magical Forest… Well, it’s one of Diamine’s “Shimmertastic” inks, and it lives up to the label. It’s almost ostentatiously shiny.

As an aside – I don’t think I’ll ever use a Shimmertastic ink in a pen. The glittery bits settle pretty quickly, and if there’s one thing you never want to do, it’s shake a fountain pen. I’ve been getting lots of use out of them for calligraphy, though.

So there we are. That’s it for the Ink Drop, which means several things:

  1. I’ll finally be able to start running down the trillion little ink samples I have on my desk, and
  2. I’ll need to find something else to put on this blog. Damn you, Goulet, for making me actually put effort into something!

I’d like to extend my appreciation again to Goulet Pens for having provided this service, and I really can’t recommend them enough. I’ve bought from them many times – pen, paper, ink, supplies – and they will continue to be my first choice in this regard.

Now. What else to write about…?

Alas, Poor Yorick…

Over on Reddit a week or so ago, there was a question about how long it would take to write out the entirety of Hamlet in calligraphy. A student wanted to know for an English project, and the general consensus was that it would take much, much too long and would probably not be nearly valuable enough in terms of the grade earned versus the time put in. We managed to talk the student down to a soliloquy-length piece.

Still, it got me thinking – how long would it take? I decided to give it a shot, and this is what the result was:

William Shakespeare - Hamlet

Overall, I think it turned out very nice. The versal is pretty much mine, and the trees come from the Wharncliffe Hours. I know – using a fifteenth-century illumination on lines from a seventeenth-century play? What kind of madness is that? But it fits the mood of the piece, and I like it.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how the stats worked out:

  • Eight lines, 76 words, 311 characters: 38 minutes

That’s about 7 seconds per character, about 30 seconds per word on average. There’s a few short pauses in there, re-dipping the pen, remembering to inhale, that sort of thing, but that’s my data.

Also, it took four tries to get through the whole thing without making a mistake, so I should add about another half hour or so for false starts, setting up a new page, etc. So just for fun, let’s call it a full hour – that feels short, but it’ll do:

  • 11.5 seconds per character, 47 seconds per word.

Let’s aim for somewhere in the middle: about 10 seconds per character (I get about 142,000 characters from the Gutenberg text)

Therefore, it should take me – writing continuously in italic with no breaks – 16.5 days of writing.

If I spend 8 hours a day writing, so that I can eat and do other things besides writing, it would take almost 50 days.

That would be quite the labor of love, to say the least. For now, I’ll stick to my short pieces.

Annual All-Reddit Calligriphication Extravaganza

April Fool’s Day is one of those Love It/Hate It kind of things. When it’s done cleverly, it can be a lot of fun. When it isn’t… Well, it isn’t.

But over on the Calligraphy subreddit (which went full Comic Sans for April 1st, a jarring change), we have a wonderful tradition of exploring around Reddit, finding entertaining comments, and prettying them up in calligraphy. Mind you, many of them won’t make sense without context, but that’s probably even better. So here’s this year’s batch – enjoy!

(Note – there may be some NSFW text in here. Scratch that. There will be.)

Reddit Comments - Autism Spectre
I think this has the makings of a great kids’ show.


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