Ink Drop for February 2016

It’s the middle of the month, which means that it’s time for another Ink Drop! Once again, I’m referring to my list of fictional companies. It adds a new dimension of entertainment for me, and I hope for you as well.

2016.02 Ink Drop

The Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire and the Iroshizuku Ajisai are fairly indistinguishable from each other, with the Sapphire being ever so slightly more purple than blue. That’s fine, though, seeing as how they’re both fine blues to write with. The Ajisai, given its name, beautifully reflects the color of hydrangeas, if that’s your thing.

The Burgundy and Bordeaux are also very close pairs and, as per their names, quite reminiscent of wine. The Burgundy is a little bit darker, but if you’re looking for something in a nice pinkish-red to write with, these will do nicely.

As for the Private Reserve, I have to confess a bias against brown inks. Most of them, with the usual exception of walnut ink, tend to strike me as unpleasantly… fecal. There are often undertones of yellow and green that just rub me the wrong way. That said, they don’t come out too strongly in this ink, at least not when written normally. As per the name, it has a chocolaty darkness that makes it almost black but not quite. If I were in the market for a brown ink, I’d probably go with this one.

So there they are – this month’s inks, all flowers, wine and chocolate. Enjoy it!

What’re your thoughts? Put ’em in the comments!

This week’s work

Here we are again – I’ve got some free time on my hands and some work that’s been scanned, so let’s see what I’ve been up to this week, shall we? You know you want to.

Marcus Aurelius

I’ve always loved Marcus Aurelius and reread Meditations on a fairly regular basis. The wisdom contained therein is just as useful now as it was back in the day.

This one is one of my favorites, especially in this day and age when opinions are basically a dime a dozen. Just because you have an opinion, that doesn’t mean you need to put it out there. At the same time, if your opinion is something that is vital to you, you need to be sure you can support it and defend it.

I’m pretty sure Marcus Aurelius would be very upset with the way we treat our opinions today.

Lily Tomlin

This comes back to me every time an election season comes around. Just watching the campaigns and the primaries and all the arguing about Bernie or Trump or Hillary just makes me tired.

Neil Gaiman

As always, Neil Gaiman is a great place to go for some inspiration, and The Graveyard Book never disappoints. One of my students actually used this for her final English thesis, so I might see if she wants this one.

Mat Cauthon

This comes from the Wheel of Time series, which I haven’t read since the final book came out a few years ago. Still, this line was always one of my favorites. In the “Old Tongue” of the series, it means, “I am lost in my own mind.” It’s a feeling I’ve identified with plenty of times.

Garrison Keillor

Finally, a good one from Garrison Keillor. At first, it looks like he’s taking a dig at cats, but upon closer reflection, the paradox becomes evident – the purpose of cats is to show that not everything has a purpose. Perhaps it is not the cats that are without purpose, but rather we…

So those are a few things that have kept me busy. Any questions? Put ’em in the comments!

Things I’ve Been Up To

Hello again, all. I bet you’ve been on the edges of your seats, wondering what I’ve been putting out recently. Well relax! Unclench! The time has come to find out…

I’ve been keeping myself busy with a few found lines and some foreign languages just to mix things up. Here are a few of my favorites.

Head Boy

The Head Boy of our student council actually said this out loud. It made sense in context – he was talking to a history teacher about Stalin’s practices in Soviet Russia, but still… I had to write it down.

Ray Bradbury

Another student of ours came across this line quite a while ago, and I resolved to write it out. I did it once before, but the result was mixed. Nice text, terrible-looking attribution. She’s about to graduate, so I thought I’d make it look nice. Bradbury is popular in our program, so it’s great to see a student appreciate him.

Ovid

My very-nearly-second year lit class is reading Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” right now, and we had a couple of lessons on the story of Phaethon. Like a lot of the stories in that book, there are lessons that we still need today. In this case, be careful with dad’s car. Out of curiosity, I looked up the original Latin and decided to write it out. In Romans, of course. If it had been Biblical Latin, however, I would have used Uncial. Why? Because.

One translation of the epitaph is:

Here Phaethon lies who in the sun-god’s chariot fared.
And though greatly he failed, more greatly he dared.

Franklin Roosevelt

It was FDR’s birthday the other day, so I thought I’d finally do the line that everyone has on their list somewhere. I like how it turned out.

However, it always reminds me of a discussion I had a while ago with a friend who hates FDR thanks to Japanese internment in World War 2. I wanted to reply with, “Yes, but…” and then I thought about it. How the hell do you “Yes, but” Japanese internment? Simple – you can’t. But I can accept that Roosevelt was flawed, and that his good parts were really good.

Okay, one more:

Mark Twain

I love Mark Twain. I mean, he has a point, right? He certainly does.

Anyway, that’s a few of the things I’ve been working on. Hope you’re enjoying yourselves!

Last Ink Drops of 2015

For a variety of reasons, I got behind in trying out my new Ink Drop inks. Totally my fault, and has absolutely nothing to do with my being the sole survivor of a pre-apocalyptic suburban paradise lost in the wasteland of post-nuclear Massachusetts. Nothing.

First, November:

2015.11 Ink Drop Limerick

These were some lovely inks all around. I don’t have a lot to say about each one individually because, frankly, they all work. The Kiri-Same is a nice one to have, as a good grey ink is tough to come by sometimes (unless you dilute sumi, which is a perfectly fine, if a bit trial-and-error, option), and while the Autumn Oak is a great vibrant orange for calligraphy – up there with Noodler’s Apache Sunset and Iroshizuku’s Yu-Yake – it’s probably not one I would load up a pen with. Just as a personal preference, seeing as how my words don’t feel very orange to me. Yours might, so go for it.

The limerick, by the way, came from Ranjit Bolt’s book, A Lion Was Learning to Ski, all a bunch of amusing limericks.

Now, December’s a little different….

2015.12 Ink Drop

First, you may notice that I didn’t do a limerick. That’s because, even with Ranjit Bolt’s help, I just couldn’t find any that I really wanted to write out. So I went to another resource, my growing collection of abecedaries. This one is the group of fictional companies. I alphabetized them, numbered them, went to Random.org and used whatever came out.

Now I can see what Goulet Pens is up to this month, via those clever dogs at De Atramentis – Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, with some red and green to round out the five. Nicely done, although at least two of these inks gave me some trouble when I first did this.

The first time I tried this, the Gold came out really heavy, so the second try required a bit of a lighter hand with the dipping. Once that was taken care of, though, it came out looking quite nice. The Brilliant Red is more pink than red, really, so I probably won’t use a lot of it. Outside of my sarcastic Valentine’s calligraphy, I don’t have much use for pink.

The biggest troublemaker here, of course, is the Frankincense. All that feathering on what is pretty smooth paper. Kind of absurd, but it might not be too bad a problem if you’re using a fountain pen – especially a finer-nibbed one. If I want to use this again, I’ll have to be a bit more careful about loading on the ink. The other De Atramentis ink, Myrrh, seemed to work just fine, and the Vibrant Green is great.

So there’s two months in one. Lucky you!

Riddle Me This…

I’ve always enjoyed riddles, probably since I read The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. There’s a key section in the fourth book where a psychotic monorail forces the protagonists to answer riddles in order to save their own lives. Classic evil AI strategy, really.

When I was teaching EFL I would sometimes use riddles on higher-level students to show creative uses of the language. It was good fun, really – for me at least.

So it should be no surprise that I would use riddles as calligraphy practice. Enjoy these!

#calligraphy #riddles #copperplate

A post shared by Chris Gladis (@mshades01) on

#riddles #calligraphy #Uncial

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Angels and Demons

I do sometimes enjoy organized lists of things, and I’ve had these in my Evernote for a while now.

So there’s the Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical tradition, to which I was introduced through Alan Moore’s utterly amazing series Promethea. One large part of it is the organization of the spiritual world through a “Tree of Life” known as the Sephiroth which depicts the ten celestial spheres which surpass this poor, mortal world. Within the Kabbalistic traditions, each of these ten worlds is highly detailed in many ways, and each one is governed by an angel. So I decided to write them out.

Angel 01 - Metatron Angel 02 - Raziel Angel 03 - Tzaphkiel Angel 04 - Tzadquiel Angel 05 - Kamael Angel 06 - Raphael Angel 07 - Haniel Angel 08 - Michael Angel 09 - Gabriel Angel 10 - Sandalphon

 

Now because the Kabbalah is big on organization, it should go without saying that where there is a map of God’s creation of the spiritual universe, there must also be the opposite – a shadow map of sorts that describes the inverse of what God wants for Creation. Enter the Qliphoth – the Tree of Husks which represent our obstacles to God, and each of these ten worlds is ruled by a demon. So I wrote those out as well…

Demon 01 - Satan Demon 02 - Beelzebub Demon 03 - Lucifuge Demon 04 - Astaroth Demon 05 - Asmodeus Demon 06 - Belphegor Demon 07 - Baal Demon 08 - Adramelech Demon 09 - Lilith Demon 10 - Nehema

 

So there we go – some interesting names and titles and a whole metaphysical universal superstructure barely appreciated even a bit. I fully expect to see some annoyed people in the comments, so remember – it’s all in fun. Enjoy!

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!