Category Archives: envelopes

Summer In Seattle

To those of you from the U.S., I hope you all had a fantastic Independence Day.

Lately I’ve been working on some envelopes:

and dreaming that I were here again:

But now that it’s the 5th of July, summer has officially began in the Seattle area. It’s finally warming up here, but does it have to be so drastic?

Thursday’s temperature is going to be 92F/33C!!! Ugh!


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Filed under calligraphy, envelopes


I’ve been away for a while. I know. I have loads to share with you and day by day I will get to it. So let’s get started.

FlickingerSpec0001{image via IAMPETH}

In September I was lucky and fortunate enough to attend a weekend Spencerian workshop hosted by Write On Calligrapher’s, of which I am a member. The teacher for this workshop was none other than the Spencerian God, Michael Sull. Jealous?! I thought so! That is, if you know much about calligraphy.

sull_certificate{picture from here}

Allow me to give a little background. Sull, a Master Penman, is very well-known in the calligraphy world. He is a master of the Spencerian letterhand in addition to flourishing of all sorts of things including birds, cherubs, feathers, quills, horses and various other animals and objects. He is a master at many, many, many things and has a wealth of knowledge to share.


{picture from here}

Isn’t he the cutest? Off the subject for a second, I just love bow ties! Sull is recognized by his circular glasses and bow ties. They’re so perfect! Back when I was in high school and when I went to university guys wore bow ties a lot more than they do today. We need a bow tie come back, don’t you think? Every now and again I see a groom in a seer sucker suit, bow tie and saddle shoes and I’m always taken by how handsome he looks.

Anyhoo, back on topic. I was at first a bit star struck being taught by Sull. In comparison, it’s almost like having to cook a meal and entertain for Julia Child, Jamie Oliver, Eric Ripert or Jacques Pepin. Just having him look over my shoulder to see how my practice was progressing made me…oy vey!…a little nervous, to say the least! But he is so willing to teach, open to your questions and really wants to share and pass on what he knows. That’s exactly what put me at ease.

Sull, a former President of The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting, aka IAMPETH, is a marvelous teacher. Even for just a two day workshop, I learned so much! We were even able to get to a little bit of flourishing. We learned a little about birds and feathers and even just his brief instruction and direction helped me tons! I’ve never thought I had the skill to pull that sort of thing off, but something clicked in this workshop with me.

555_2054_large{image from John Neal Books}

I would never have thought to try a nib most commonly used by Japanese cartoonists, but the Nikko G really does give a superb thin hairline. Along with Old World Iron Gall Ink or McAffrey’s Penman’s Ink, you’re sure to receive great results with practice.

146_75_large{image from John Neal Books}

If you’re looking for a good book on Spencerian instruction, I highly recommend all of Sull’s books & DVD’s, but one Sull himself highly recommends is Spencerian Script & Ornamental Penmanship Volume II. And if you’re even a little interested in Spencerian script and you have the chance to take a class from Michael Sull, jump at it! You will not be disappointed.


A nice gift from Sull was that he took the time to write each of our names and add some flourishing to it upon some dark gray paper in white ink. If I recall correctly, he used Dr. Martin’s Bleed Proof White Ink.


How awesome is that?! And all done freehand! He just thinks about what would go well with the name and it all looks so great!


Here’s a picture of the majority of them. And another cool angle below. I totally want to frame mine!


Since the class I’ve been thinking about trying to draw an owl. It’s a different kind of bird, but one thing’s the same, its head can literally be in any position in comparison to its body. What I mean is, birds can turn their head practically all the way around, right? Well, so can owls. Once you get the head down, the body should just flow in whatever direction you want, just like the usual ornate birds you see. Yes, I definitely would like to try this with an owl. Have you seen this done before? If so, please do share! I’d love to see one! Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.

Also, if you are interested in improving the state of penmanship and the way it’s taught today, Sull will soon have a book out for just that purpose. It’s already being used among home school programs. (It should probably be given to medical doctors too. Honestly, they have the worst handwriting!) With the use of computers and technology today, students just don’t get the same amount of practice as we did growing up. Seriously, I’ve seen some bad handwriting from some and wondered if a 1st grader wrote it!! It makes me want more and better for my nieces & nephews and future children. So keep your eye on Sull at John Neal Books. I’m sure it will be available soon.

spencer_new_standard_image0{image from IAMPETH}

Getting back to Spencerian, lower case letters is by far the most important. Everything has a sense of curve. Michael Sull says, “Every curve is part of an imaginary oval”. “Envision the oval.” “Strive to be aware of the oval.” As with any letterhand, practice is key. Spencerian is unique in its flow and arm movement, but with time it will come, so it’s said. Don’t worry about having it all come quickly, arm and shoulder movement, shading and spacing. “Just relax and have a cookie”, as he says.

Oh! I hope to soon offer this letterhand for envelope work along with custom invitation work. Contact me if you’re interested. And if you’re looking for Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year card addressing, time is ticking away!

Jacques P├ępin


Filed under calligraphy, envelopes, weddings

Results Of A Graceful Envelope

Yesterday I received some of the best news!


This arrived in the mail yesterday! I was so stunned! With entries that came from all over the globe, I’m very, very honored to be included. I must admit, for a long time I’ve wondered if my work was really that good compared to so many other calligraphic artists, but this definitely helped me feel more confident in where I’m at with my skill set.

Do you know what’s even cooler? My main calligraphy instructor, the extremely talented Kathy Barker, was selected as one of the 12 winners!!! I’m definitely in very talented company and I can’t wait to see what her envelope looked like. A definite piece of art, I’m sure.

On August 15th you’ll be able to see the artwork on the Washington D.C. Calligraphers Guild web site here. If you’re in the D.C. area in October, stop by the National Association of Letter Carriers Headquarters and the envelopes will be on display there.

Some of the judges of the contest were Sammy Little, whose client list is very impressive, The Supreme Court, the U.S. Capitol and the National Gallery of Art, to name a few.

ml-brown{image from here}

Another judge was the very talented Marta Legeckis. Here is a piece of her beautiful artwork above. Marta works as a freelance calligrapher for The White House and Department of State. Makes me want to move to D.C. just to have the chance to learn from these folks and maybe be lucky enough to address some White House correspondence or invitations.


This is the latest weather forecast for my area. It’s frickin’ hot here in the Puget Sound area folks! Seattle is forecasting 100 degrees tomorrow, which will be setting a record. We may even set an all time high record, and the weather has been recorded in this area since the 1800’s. To those who don’t believe in global warming, come sit in my hot house for the week without A/C and then tell me everything is normal.

The only relief in site is Saturday with temperatures looking to be around 85 degrees. And for the Seattle area, that’s not much relief, but at least it won’t be like it is today for the Urban Craft Uprising. Don’t forget! This weekend, Saturday & Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Hope to see some of you there!

Until then, if you don’t hear from me here it’s due to the heat. Sorry folks it’s much too hot to be sitting with a laptop on! Now it’s time to go sit in a tub of ice water. Ciao for now!


Filed under calligraphy, envelopes

Graduation Gift In An Envelope

Mom’s had a daycare in our home since forever. She’s retired now and focuses on her grandkids, but there are two boys, brothers, that in some ways she’s still tending to or maybe they’re tending to her now. The oldest, Dan, just graduated from high school. The same high school I went to. I can’t believe it! He was the very first baby that fell asleep in my arms. He was such a happy baby too. The perfect first baby for any first time parent to have, if only I can be that lucky some day!


Anyway, his graduation gift is inside this envelope, addressed in Gothic Italic letterhand, with a card I made. It’s not an original design of mine. I know – shock!


But it’s still handmade. All cut and put together by yours truly. I chose an eagle because he also just received his eagle scout honors. I love pop up cards, don’t you? It’s from a local Seattle artist, easycutpopup. I purchased mine on their etsy store. You purchase the card you want and they send you a pdf file for you to open, print, cut and put together. Yes, it’s just that easy.

Congratulations, Dan!


Filed under calligraphy, envelopes

The coffin of a document…

…the scabbard of a bill; the husk of a remittance; the bed-gown of a love letter. – Ambrose Bierce

My April envelope, yes that’s right – April, is almost complete. You could say I’m a bit behind, but I’m not giving up. Those waiting will get their envelopes – eventually.


I decided to share a scan of how it’s shaping up before the address gets added. I cut some Arches paper using my own envelope template this time. This is just the front before it’s all folded, sealed and ready to go.

The theme? The famous quote, “April showers bring May flowers.” Hmmmm, perhaps I’ll make May’s envelope with a floral theme then. So what do you think of the envelope so far?

Oh! And happy move day to the MG family, M1,M2,M3,M4,M5. I had my nephews, M3 & M4, stay with me last night and we had a blast playing Wii and building a fort. I will miss you guys, but you’re only three hours away, so not too bad.

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Filed under envelopes, watercolor art/paintings

Photog Session

Yesterday after I finished some work I asked my very cool guy to take some pictures of my envelopes.


I told him, “Have fun with it, Babe.” And I think they turned out great! He used my new chandelier (minus the crystals and candles) that I just painted to go above my bathroom tub. Do you see my gnome hanging in the greengage plum tree? I love my gnomes. (No, I’m not some odd gnome collector! I just have two. One for the back and one for the front yard.)


I love the texture on the paper that calligraphy sometimes gives. No matter if I use sumi ink or a gouache mix, they both leave a nice feel on all sorts of different kinds of paper once dry, of course.


I often see color combonations like this, purple, yellow, orange with some pink too. The colors look really great for wedding flowers.


Talk about air mail! This was a really cool shot taken in my backyard.


Here is that same envelope close up. Work done with pointed pen again in a red gouache on a white envelope. I’m not sure if this letterhand has a given name. It sort of reminds me of uncials with the roundness of the letters.


For now I’ll try and think of a fun name for it.


This is a nice photo in the greengage tree. But the next one, the next one I really love!


I love it not just because I love these colors of the envelope and ink together, but I love it because that’s my rhubarb! You should see it!! It’s going crazy this year!!! Maybe this weekend I’ll make something for us with the rhubarb. Mmmmm….

So if you need or would like someone to address envelopes for you for an important event, whether it be a wedding, new baby, a birthday party, moving announcements, holiday cards, just let me know. On top of designing invitations and announcements I offer that too. Soon you’ll see my Etsy shop open just for that.

Have a nice weekend everyone!


Filed under calligraphy, envelopes, gardening, weddings

Envelopes of Blue & Green

I’m working on an envelope project and had to find the right shade of kelly green for the ink. I mixed some gouaches together, added distilled water and then added some gum arabic. I think it turned out really nice on the light blue paper. Actually, it’s the shade bluebell from Paper Source.


Above is the scanned image. It really looks nothing like the true colors! I think I need some serious color correction. So while I wait on my photographer for proper photographs, here are what the colors really look like.


Total difference! Right?! Then again, who knows what it looks like on your monitor because colors can vary from one monitor to the next. I really think I should invest in a color corrector thingymabob. Does anyone use one? Do you recommend any?

Anyway, this style of letterhand is still copperplate, but a more relaxed or less formal version. I’m not sure what to call it. “Relaxed Copperplate” sounds a bit dull. What do you think? Do you have any suggestions? Just send me a comment if you do.

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Filed under calligraphy, envelopes