Unique Expressions of Symbol and Script
My mom taught me the art of calligraphy when I was a kid. She was so good at it. My great aunt is a master calligrapher too. So is my great uncle. He even scripted invitations for one of America's presidents! I'm not telling which one, because my uncle is a private dude, and I don't think he'd appreciate me divulging.
Anyway, you could say calligraphy runs through my lineage. Moreover, it just made good sense for me. I love writing, art, and communicating emotion in unique ways. Calligraphy is a fabulous way to express oneself.
What's more, calligraphy helped finance a portion of my college education (which was a total joke, however, I am an A+ drop-out). Throughout my torrid college stints, I hand-scribed invitations, envelopes, menus, posters, etc. to keep myself solvent.
Later, I started "bending the lines" with my calligraphy. I wish I could say I had a grand epiphany that prompted me to twirl scribed phrases into symbolic shapes, but I can't. It was laziness that gave me the idea.
Any good calligrapher will tell you the excellence of a final piece is all in the lines. Angular perfection. Straight lines managed and adhered to consistently throughout the piece is what makes good calligraphy.
Well, one day I got lazy and decided to forego the use of straight-line rulers in laying out a poem I was scribing for a project. I wrote the poem purposefully along a wave. The effect was liberating (and very cool looking). From that moment on, I started playing around with calligraphic lettering in the shape of symbols and simple designs.
The symbol calligraphy art on this page are some examples of that fooling around without the limitation of lines.
Traditional italic calligraphy is most familiar territory for me, but I also hand-craft pieces in Celtic-style print as well as Copperplate (a script that looks like the US Declaration of Independence).
I use traditional dip-pens, nibs and inkwells. Yes, I do have a feather pen - it was a gift and works rather well. My favorite dip-pen has a gold-plated nib in the shape of a hand. The index finger is dipped in the ink. Very cool, but the weight of the strokes are too thin with this nib, so I don't use it very often. I also have a glass dip-pen. Grooves in the tip hold a store of ink (but not much). It's a lovely piece, but highly impractical. I'm dipping for more ink every 3rd letter!
Ehem, did I mention I have a bit of a pen fetish? Ha ha!
In the past, I sold calligraphy pieces on this website, and occasionally offered my scribing services for commission work. But, I am no longer a scribe-for-hire. Scribing can be murder on the hand (which I try to keep nimble so I can keep typing on my websites!), and hugely time-consuming.
However, I still scribe occasionally for close friends and family.
Well, thanks for reading about my sojourn into the realms of symbol calligraphy art. I hope this page inspires you to take pen-in-hand and try it for yourself! There are tons of starter calligraphy kits on the market today.
Go to an art supply store and pick up a kit (some are under $10 US). You can even get pens with ink cartridges in the cylinder - no dipping - easy-peasy! Most of these kits come with a little instruction book (but honestly, most of your learning will be up to you, unless you have an awesome-cool mom to teach you :).
Heck, you don't even need a calligraphy pen to do symbol calligraphy art. Pick up a carpenters pencil and shave the lead to get a good square tip. Scribe your letters with that square tip at around a 45 degree angle. Bam! Calligraphy! Now do this in a shape, and you've got a simple start at your own symbol calligraphy art!
Give it a try. There is something about combining the power of words, symbolic shapes and the art of beautiful writing that really unleashes creative forces from within. You may find symbol calligraphy art is a phenomenally rewarding method of self-expression.
So take up your pen (or carpenters pencil) and start symbol-scribing today! It's quite liberating, and results are similar to those working with mandalas.