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:

Prince

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.

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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Remembrances in Writing

As we all know, 2016 has been off to a rough start, with the deaths of two people who have affected a lot of us more than we might be able to acknowledge. It certainly didn’t help that no one saw either one coming.

Alan Rickman and David Bowie both carved out places for themselves in their arts, and as I look back at the movies and music that helped to make me who I am, I see both of them. So when they passed, I knew I had to do something.

So I did.

I’m a little too old for Rickman’s Snape to have lodged himself in my psyche, but that one word – “Always” – as his past and his history were revealed to us carried so much power and meaning that I couldn’t leave it out. The line from GalaxyQuest is one of my favorites from the whole movie. Not just because of what is said, but because of what is not said – the struggle for this actor to not just collapse in a pile of self-loathing is visible with every muscle on Rickman’s face:

As for the line from Dogma, he was able to make Metatron go from flippant to deep within moments, and seemed to really enjoy the portrayal of someone so utterly human, despite being an angel.

The first one I did was the line from “Space Oddity,” and that was probably because – like many other people online – it was one of the first to pop into my mind. I used FineTec blue to write it, and that’s stuff that I’m still getting the hang of. I may do that line again at some point. In the same way, I think I may re-do the line from “Memory of a Free Festival” – the “The” is just kind of… there. It might look better if I include it with “Sun Machine”, which I think turned out really well. And that’s it, really – the rest of it makes me happy. Good colors, good scripts. I can make it work.

The line from “Let’s Dance” was done quickly, but it worked out. Quite a dark vibe that song has, I think.

Finally, the “Starman” refrain took a few days and several tries to get right. This is another that was being passed around the internet (and the Instagram calligraphy circles) pretty quickly after Bowie died, so I wanted to make sure it looked the way I wanted it to. And, in the end, it did. I tried to make the blue an Electric Blue, in honor of “Sound and Vision,” but I don’t know that the gouache available to me was going to make that possible. The Starman itself is a mix of yellow and gold gouaches, and looks very nice in person. As for the dots along the bottom, they’re for the “morse code” that comes before the chorus in the song. I knew I wanted to represent that, but it took some puzzling out to figure out how.

And that’s all I can really do. It’s hard to explain, sometimes, why the deaths of people you had never met and never really known can have an impact like this. All I can say is that they were, through no choice of their own, part of my life. Because of that, I feel like I can’t let their passing go unnoticed and their influence go unacknowledged. This is what I can do, and so it is done.

Calligraphy in 2015

Now that the year is fully and finally over, we can take a look back at the things we did in calligraphy in 2015. And what a busy year it turned out to be!

 

2015-12-31 20.27.08

From another angle, all piled up, it looks like I’m going to have to get a bigger box.

2015-12-31 20.40.17

 

Not too bad! Now, is it all quality work? Of course not. I’d say at least half of it is things I knocked off in an evening, just so that I could look at my tools in the eye and say I did something. But the other half, while not exactly museum-quality, is work that I could show off and be reasonably pleased with.

Aside from being a nice way to look back on the progress I’ve made in the past year – and I have – it’s also a nice way to look back at some of the events of the year. I can look at a piece and recall the context in which it was made. So even though I don’t really do the whole diary-writing thing, this is a kind of diary in its own way.

A few highlights:

Valentine - Conan the BarbarianThis was my winning entry in the r/calligraphy Spring Contest. Where it remained until Halloween.Who doesn't love Pi?Princess Bride 01Amazing Race RiddleWalter BluntJoke - MandelbrotWil Wheaton 01Star Wars 18Quotation - The Crow 03Victor Von Doombot 01Mel Brooks 02Peter Serafinowicz 01Leonard Nimoy 01Kids in the Hall 02Bob Ross 01

There’s a lot more. A lot more. But I think these few are some of the more entertaining ones I did this year, and I look forward to bettering myself in 2016. Calligraphy-wise, anyway. Other aspects of myself might deteriorate wildly, but not this. I hope.

Enjoy the new year!

What I’ve Been Up To

Things have been quiet over here in the last few weeks, mainly for two reasons.

Reason The First: I got Fallout 4. That should pretty much explain everything.

2015-11-23_00002
The best things always begin with nuclear annihilation.

I figure once I play though the game a few times, this’ll be less and less of an impact on my calligraphy time. Then again, I also bought – on a friend’s recommendation – Witcher III, so who knows how winter break will shake out.

Reason The Second: My damn, dirty eyes.

Up till a little while ago, my vision was pretty much spot-on. Sure, my right eye was a little weaker than my left, but it was within tolerances. For a few months, though, it was becoming more and more obvious that my little jelly cameras weren’t working the way they should. Case in point:

Pellucid

Take a look at that h in “light.” That really shouldn’t happen, but when one eye decides that it wants to start doubling things up, then that’s what happens. I couldn’t line things up against the guidelines under the paper, and couldn’t be absolutely sure where the pen nib was going. For calligraphy that’s a bad, bad thing.

So I went to the eyeglass shop, got my eyes checked, and got my very first pair of eyeglasses.

2015-11-19 19.12.19

I wanted something with a horn-rimmed look, which turns out to be the style of Moral Ambiguity in TV and movies. It was an interesting experience, actually – not only getting eyeglasses for the first time, but doing it all in Japanese.

Now everything is in HD, as my sister puts it, and I can see what I’m doing again. All things being equal, I would rather not have to have them, but that’s where life’s put me at the moment, so I won’t complain. Rather, I’ll slowly get back to doing calligraphy work. The Calligraphy subreddit is doing holiday-themed Words of the Day leading up to Christmas:

DecemberGingerbreadSnowflakeWintertime

Anyway, I’m getting back on the horse, as it were. With Star Wars coming up, I’ll do a few of those this week, and I’ve been building up a bank of ideas and requests. Winter break should be productive. See you there!

 

Welcome Home for August

I think I mentioned before, but I like to make sure I put my calligraphy to some sort of practical use from time to time. Here’s the one for August, which I knocked out a couple of days early on the occasion of the visit of The Boyfriend’s parents.

 

For what it’s worth, the visit went well. We had a lovely lunch, and I got to show them some of the work I’d done over the last year. This was actually the first time I’d shown these works to people in person, rather than in a digital form, and it’s a different experience. Digitization is a wonderful thing to have, but it simultaneously takes some of the life away from a work and emphasizes its flaws. At least, that’s what happens when I do it.

Anyway, welcome home, everyone. Have a good month!

That Bwessed Awwangement

“That dweam… wivvin a dweam.”

Indeed it does. #calligraphy #lovewins #marriageequality #SCOTUS #PrincessBride

A post shared by Chris Gladis (@mshades01) on

 

One of the nice things about doing calligraphy as a hobby is that you can create something fairly quickly, while The Moment is still reasonably fresh in your mind. With the announcement of Marriage Equality in the US, I suddenly heard Peter Cook’s voice echoing through my mind and knew I had to get this down.

I don’t usually do calligraphy at 5:00 in the morning (which should be evident – look at that d in “today”), but I felt this was something I had to get done before The Moment passed.