On Saturday, momma Deb and I attended a demo workshop at Opus called Basic Hand Lettering and Modern Calligraphy. I have had a growing interest in learning and exploring hand-drawn letters for a while now, and I have been searching for a class or workshop to learn some of the basics. Much to my dismay, most of the classes I find have already happened or have a long waiting list, therefore, when I came across a free demo workshop at Opus, I was more than ecstatic! Being a demo workshop, there was not hands on elements, but there was many opportunities to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the art of hand drawn letters.
The instructor for the demo workshop, Corrina Keeling, describes herself as a "sidewalk chalk revolutionary, graphic recorder extraordinaire, lover of hand-lettering, and maker of music to move you" (see instagram @lovelettersforeverybody). Throughout the two hour demo workshop, Corrina's passion for letters, creating, and collaborating was very evident.
Although it was her first classroom style experience, Corrina's personable and charismatic personality captivated our attention and took us along with her on her creative journey. I never thought watching someone drawing letters could be so calming and almost meditative.
I learned a lot in the demo workshop, and most importantly, I was super excited to get started on my own hand lettering journey. It is clearer to me now that lettering is essentially drawing. It is apparent that the beauty of hand lettering is its flexibility and adaptability. It is not so focused on traditional rules and it really celebrates personality and style. I found that part of the charm of hand lettering is that it's not perfect.
At one point, Corrina asked the audience for a quote, I offered the words "embrace imperfection". It seemed like a fitting quote for the vibe of the day. To write the quote, she used an ordinary paint brush and masking fluid or frisket. Masking fluid is used to preserve white space on paper when watercolouring. It goes on wet and when dry is peeled off to reveal a clean white surface. I was fascinated by this new tool/technique and purchased a bottle of it. Stay tuned for my experiences using it...
It is safe to say that you can pretty much use any materials you have for hand-lettering. Pens, pencils, markers, chalk, sand, you name it.
Corrina demonstrated one of her favourite tools, Crayola Window Writers on the demonstration mirror.
At the moment, I have decided to practice hand lettering using Tombows markers, Microns pens, and Gelly Roll pens because that is what I have (thanks to my love of tangling).
There are many many websites and instagram posts on hand lettering, some of the more helpful websites I have found include...
Now, the only thing left to do is practice. Practice makes better,and practice takes time. In time, my hand lettering will get better. Stay tuned! I am looking forward to combining hand drawn lettering and tangling. The possibilities are endless! Happy Lettering!
Over the last couple of months, I have been borrowing (from the public library) and purchasing (in-store and online) various Zentangle themed books. I tend to be very choosey about the books I buy, and I often take the advice of friends and family when making my selections.
Jump forward to my weekend at Tangle Island. JerryAnn and Nancy had copies of Cris Letourneau's book Made in the Shade and Pattern Play. I already owned a copy of Made in the Shade (on the recommendation from Aleesha, my first Zentangle teacher). I loved it so much; I bought a copy for Momma Deb! Having learned so much from Cris' first book, I knew I had to check out her newest book Pattern Play.
Pattern Play by Cris Letourneau and Sonya Yencer is not like any other Zentangle "how to", "guide", or "workbook" that I have come across. It "encourages you to play with each new pattern and to develop your own unique style" pg. 13. For me, it had one of the most thorough introductions and explanations of the Zentangle method that I have read in a book. The only thing I can compare it to is taking a class. I am not saying this book takes the place of a class with a CZT, but it is a wonderful supplement that can fill any gaps you may have after a class.
Pattern Play gives you an overview of the Zentangle method, a virtual beginners class in a book, and encouragement and techniques for personalizing your art. It explores 21 tangles with step-by-step instructions, over 125 tangleations (variations), and 75 idea starters and tips for better tangling with plenty of space to practice and refine skills. There is also a helpful glossary in the back as well s a resource guide.
These are the four pages dedicated to the tangle Crescent Moon. Two of the pages are introductory pages that introduce the tangle, show it step by step, and provide six possible tangleations for it. The other two pages are sketch pages to test out and experiment with the tangles. These pages also have the idea starters.
This is my work in progress (WIP) on the Crescent Moon sketch pages. I found the large blank sketch pages intimidating, so, I traced a couple bijou sized tiles on the left page and one large tile on the right page. I thoroughly enjoyed playing, exploring, and creating!
Pattern Play is one book that I will continue to return to on my creativity journey. It has definitely increased my confidence to experiment with tangles, and it is helping me to develop my style and skills. I strongly feel this book is a great addition to my Tangling Library, and I highly recommend it to you! Happy Tangling!
On the weekend, I attended Tangle Island in Parksville, BC Canada. It was an inspiring weekend learning multiple watercolour background techniques with Twinking H20s and Tombow Dual Brush Pens. The theme was dragonflies and butterflies, and at the end, we combined all our pieces into a hand sewn booklet. I had the most amazing time. I met so many wonderful tangle-minded people, and the instructors, Jerryann Haggart of Tangled Artistry and Nancy Dawes of Crafting-Passions, were phenomenal at teaching techniques, sharing ideas, and showing great patience as we worked through our creative process.
Upon arrival at the Macmillian Art Centre, each table spot was set with a decorative book box filled with supplies we would be using through out the two days, two cups of water (one clean for wetting tiles and one dirty for cleaning brushes), a few little treats. There were about 15 people in the course and each table sat two people. My table partner was a lovely lady name Ann, we worked well as a team having different strengths and understandings of the different processes, we helped each other a lot!
Being the keener that I am, I arrived about 35min before class started, this extra time gave me a chance to browse Jerryann and Nancy's mini store which was set up over a couple of tables. There were many wonderful treasures I wanted to buy, but I had to be reasonable. I knew I would visit the store more than once, so on my first visit, I picked up 3 opus tiles (larger than a typical tile), Cris Letourneau's book Pattern Play and a package of Zentangle Pre-strung tiles (first series). Cris Letourneau was attending this course as well with her multi-talented daughter Alexa. Cris signed my Made in the Shade book and Pattern Play book.
On the first day, we learned how to do two types of watercolour washes. The first was a gradient wash and the second was a drop wash. We learned that when using Twinking H2Os (twinks) it is super important to make sure that your tile is very wet (I forgot a couple times, but eventually got the hang of it). On the other hand, when using Tombows, it is very important to make sure your tile is dry. Apparently, if your tile is wet when using TomBows you run the risk of the tile surface pilling. I loved practicing the gradient technique. I like how the colour gets lighter and lighter. The second watercolour wash we learned was a drop wash. I liked how drop washes allowed you to use a couple different colours and they blend to create new colours. It was helpful that we were provided with a colour wheel. We were reminded that complimentary colours (opposites on the colour wheel) blended together create a browny mud colour. I really loved working with the greens, blues, and purples.
Once we had "mastered" the gradient wash and drop wash techniques, we used these basic techniques to experiment and explore other techniques. For example, we played with rice, rubbing alcohol, a stylus, glaze pen, wax paper, plastic wrap, and tissue paper. My favourite technique was using a drop wash with Twinks and plastic wrap. The finished product reminded me of broken glass. We were also taught how to do gems with Twinks. I struggled a lot with creating decent looking gems and I look forward to practicing this technique some more.
As we played and experimented with the various techniques, Jerryann and Nancy also taught us some tangles. Those tangles included Skye, Poke Leaf, B'Dylan, Henna Drum (Drum Henna?), Molygon, Aquafleur (courtesy of Cris), and Mumsy (courtesy of Ann). We also learned how to draw simple dragonflies and butterflies using simple twirly scrolling lines.
Included in our wonderful supplies provided were four Twinkling H2Os and four TomBows, I purchased six more Twinks and five more TomBows from Jerryann and Nancy's store. I also bought a book recommended by Nancy. I'm so excited to build my supplies and continue experimenting and playing. Our homework for the first night was to use our favourite tangles on our drop wash rice tile. I think they turned out beautifully!
At the end of the second day, we began piecing our collection together. Before Nancy taught us how to bind our collection together, we gathered everyone's pieces together to admire all our hard work and creativity. To bind the book we learned a Japanese 4 Hole Stab binding which result in each of us taking home our very own hand sewn book.
I was pretty much giddy throughout my entire time at tangle island. I was so grateful to have such a wonderful opportunity to further my understanding/techniques of something that I am very passionate about. I truly enjoyed meeting so many wonderful artist, and I look forward to staying connected through our love of tangling. I can't wait to attend the next Tangle Island in October, and this time, I'm going to bring Momma Deb with me!