Letters Of Joy (Part III)

My second class was a bit different from any others I’ve taken. Enliven Your Italic taught by Gina Jonas. Although very different from what I thought it would be, it still was enlightening.

Before we even started with our pens Gina talked much of the importance of meditation, focusing on your breath and stretching a little. For just a second I felt like I had been teleported to an ashram back in Bali.

There is the need for practice before you just dive right in. Just like a dancer, an athlete, a musician, practice is needed before the actual performance. The same is necessary for calligraphers too. I knew warm up was important, but this class really, super emphasized it and at a certain point within the warm up things sort of clicked. I definitely need to spend more time warming up.

page34-35-med1{image found here}

Find the rhythm, sense the touch or feel the flow of the push & pull in relation to your thumb & forefinger. Move your hand and arm in a circular motion, then up & down and side to side feeling the weight of your arm. Then do the same putting pen to paper.

page52-531{image found here}

Once we got to putting pen to paper, I saw where the breathing exercise came into play. At times, while writing copperplate with pointed pen, I’ve noticed myself breathing in on the light upstrokes and breathing out on the heavier down strokes. The same thing applied to the italic letterhand.

One good point that stuck out in my mind was her comment that calligraphy is different, it’s an art of movement, so it should be different from just handwriting. The way your wrist hits the page, the pace at which you write, even the angle you write at.

easel!{image found and for sale here}

Which leads me to another point, using a drawing board with a padded surface. Gina rests the bottom of the board on her lap and rests the top against the table (I hope that makes sense). I’ve never tried this before until this class. Gina used a large piece of foam core board. She may have used a couple pieces because her board looked so thick. Over the top she attached some suede fabric. I’ve often used foam core board too, but never thought of laying fabric over the top too.

The class was far too brief. It should be at least a full day course…maybe even two. Once we got to writing the only letter we got to was the letter ‘l’! Yep, far too brief. I wish we had had more time. Even Gina wished we had had more time, but I still learned a lot from her in such a short time.

reservoirpositions{image from here}

One last comment about the class. On the supply list was a Brause 3mm nib. I’ve used Speedball & Mitchell, but never a Brause for edged pen work. I liked it a lot! There was a lot of give and flexibility in the nib, but not too much. I think I’ll keep using that nib for a while to see if it grows on me.

findingtheflow{image from her web site}

Gina has written a couple books. This book above goes very well in conjunction with the course. Gina’s books are available here, here, or here.

doughnut-med{image found here}

Check out Gina’s web site here and be sure to check out her beautiful ketubah’s, especially if you’re planning a wedding. They’re gorgeous!

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