Monday, 2 March 2015

Mother's Day Cards

Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday has been celebrated for many years around the world, and the tradition originated from North America.  It is a celebration of motherhood and family bonds.  In the UK, Mother’s Day moves ever year, usually around the spring time.  Families traditionally invite families around for Mother’s Day and treat their mothers with gifts, days out, chocolates and cards.  In the US, Mothering Sunday is a national holiday and is a celebration of the importance of mothers.

In the UK, this day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent and the dates are not fixed.  Celebrating Mother’s Day came earlier than in the USA and England was the first country to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day cake is traditionally a Simnel Cake, which is an almond cake.

How to Write a Mother’s Day Card Using a Calligraphy Pen

Here is an example of how to write a Mother’s day card using a broad nibbed calligraphy pen, black ink and writing in Gothic style.  I used black ink cartridges and a Manuscript calligraphy pen.  The broad nib size used was a 4B or 2.8.  When writing on card, be careful to choose a card that is not too shiny or rough, as this will affect your calligraphy work.  Shiny card will make the ink smudge and run and rough surfaces will make your nib snag and will affect your calligraphy work.  Before writing your card, think of a short and simple poem or think about what you’d like to write in the card.  Draw some faint pencil lines with a ruler for guidelines before you write in your card.

YouTube Clip of How to Write in Calligraphy

This video clip gives an example of how to write out a Mother’s Day card using a Gothic style, but you can choose another style, such as Italic or Cursive.  You can draw patterns or swirls to set your work off nicely and introduce some colors to create some stunning designs.  You can also use fancy calligraphy writing for gift tags too.

Practice your writing on a scrap bit of paper before writing in the Mother’s Day card, and make sure your work is evenly spaced and pleasing to the eye.
You can use calligraphy writing for other gift cards too, such as Birthday cards, Valentines cards or Christmas cards too.  Calligraphy can be used in so many ways, is versatile and is fun to do.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Happy Birthday

People all over the world celebrate the anniversary of their birth with gifts, cards, a birthday cake and a party with friends and family.
Notable birthdays and ‘coming of age’ is traditionally the 16th birthday, (sweet sixteen) celebrated in the US and Canada, 18th birthdays and 21st birthdays.

The Birthday Song

Around the mid nineteenth century, a kindergarten in Kentucky used the song ‘Good Morning to All’ and it was presented by Mildred and Patty Hill, who were sisters.  They later changed the lyrics to ‘Happy Birthday’.  This song is still commonly used today all over the world in different cultures.

How to Write Birthday Messages Using Gothic Calligraphy

Have you ever wanted to make your own personalised designs for gift cards, tags or labels?  Here, in this example is how to write ‘Happy Birthday’ in beautiful calligraphy handwriting.  Shown in this tutorial, is a way to write in beautiful writing for gift cards, banners and birthday cards to impress your family and friends. 

How Do I Write a Birthday Message in Beautiful Writing?

Shown in the YouTube clip, is a simple tutorial of how to write a message in calligraphy.   I have used black ink cartridges and a wide sized calligraphy pen.  The broad nib size used was a 4B or 2.8, and the pen was a Manuscript calligraphy pen
I introduced some simple swirly patterns to enhance the Gothic style calligraphy work. 
It is very easy and simple to make you work look impressive and it just takes a little practice.  You can create a template to use again and again, and it takes little time to design one.
You start by choosing which calligraphy writing you would like to use.  Then you map out your work carefully, using a pencil and ruler.  Once you have planned your work, you can start practising with your chosen style.  You can use some subtle color to offset the letters, introducing gold or pastel colors to enrich your work.

How Do I Write Beautiful Writing On A Birthday Cake?

The picture shown below, can be used as a template to write pipe letters, using buttercream, Royal Icing or melted chocolate on top of a birthday cake with the style used in this example.   You can use freestyle and your imagination to create your own cake decoration using calligraphy styles for your birthday cake.  It is best to use a pipe bag with a fine tip.  Practice on some grease proof paper before attempting to write on the birthday cake. 
Happy Birthday Message Written in Gothic Style

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

How To Make Labels For Jars and Containers

To create personalised fancy labels for jam jars, sweet jars or other containers, you can use simple, but effective designs.  You can vary the layout by using different mediums and nib sizes to create beautiful patterns for boarders.  Make sure your lettering is central by mapping out your labels using a faint hard nibbed pencil and using a ruler to work out the centre line of your label.  For small labels, use a finer nibbed pen and simple and legible lettering styles.

Label For Loose Leaf Tea
How to Produce Labels for a Tea Box or Tea Caddy

This simple project shown below, is an idea for producing a label for loose leaf tea, such as Black Tea, commonly seen in tea shops.  You don’t have to stick with formal layouts and letterings to produce labels. You can use any design you like.  In the example below, is an ornate label for a tea caddy.  You can use different shades of grey, black or pencil colors to set off your work.

In the picture, shown below, is a mapped out design for a label for tea.

Mapping out your work
I chose a wide Gothic font style so I can introduce some ornate patterns inside the upper case letter form.  I mapped out the outlines of the work in pencil, and drew inside the letterings, using a fine nibbed pencil.  I then drew a simple plait pattern design inside the upper case letter, but you can make up any pattern or design you like.  It is important to keep the ornate design balanced with the letterings, so the pattern does not distract from the letters and that the calligraphy style is kept legible.  I used a 2H pencil and a fine nibbed black marker pen to draw the outlines of the letters.

How to Make Colored Labels for Jars

In the YouTube example shown, I used some watercolor pencils for this pencil tuition, but you can use other mediums as required.  This pencil technique can be used in other project, but you can use watercolor and pastel colors too.

Personalised Labels for Gifts

You can use self-adhesive labels, colored labels or commercially produced labels for your work and you can use any calligraphy fonts you like.  You can also draw some ornate borders around your work.  In the project example, I have used a variant of the Gothic style and a Celtic upper case letter.  The letter is a capital ‘T’ but it can look like a ‘C’.  This letter form, is a typical example of Celtic styles, commonly used for tattoo designs.  The upper case letter used, gives a bold statement, which introduces sweeping curves and ornate patterns.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Valentine Calligraphy

St Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate romance, and is marked every year on February 14th.  People traditionally give each other cards, chocolates, flowers, and gifts to express their love for each other and giving valentines day presents. 

A Quick History about St Valentines

The tradition dates back to early Christianity, when three Catholic saints were martyred on 14 February, although this is shrouded in history.  It was said that one of the saints performed forbidden Christian weddings for soldiers.   Emperor Claudius II didn't want Roman men to marry during wartime although there is many legends surrounding St Valentine’s Day.

A Few Modern Facts about St Valentine’s Day

St Valentine’s was marked as a holiday in 1537
The first Valentine’s card was produced in 1913
Cadbury’s manufactured the first heart shaped chocolate box in 1822
In Victorian times, it was said that it was bad luck to sign a Valentines card
Many people give Valentines cards to their beloved pets

The term ‘Wearing your heart on your sleeve’ came from the Middle Ages when men and women would write names and pinned them to their sleeve for about a week      is more than just a phrase. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be and to express their true feelings.  

Writing Romantic Messages on Valentine’s Day for him or her

Writing a simple, but loving message to your beloved in your own calligraphy handwriting can make an extra special and personal touch to your Valentines card.

Here are some simple demonstrations about how to write valentines messages using an easy calligraphy style for cards and gift tags on Valentine’s Day.
You can use this style for writing your card, using a black calligraphy felt-tippen or a biro if you prefer.

Be careful when choosing gift cards, as some of the paper can be quite shiny and smooth, and can smudge your work.  Other paper can act like blotting paper and may cause the ink to bleed between the fibres of the paper.  Try to pick a card that is smooth but not shiny.  Practice your work before you finally write your message in the gift card.  It is a good idea to map your work in faint pencil marks before writing your work in calligraphy pen.

You can practice drawing some love hearts, flowers and other illustrations around your work to bring out your calligraphy writing and introduce some color.

You can hand write your messages in calligraphy styles for other occasions, such as Easter, Christmas, birthdays, weddings and many other special events.  You can also put your calligraphy practice into use for gift tags too.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Wine Bottle Labels

Calligraphy is a versatile hobby, and can be used in so many different ways, for example, producing labels and using beautiful calligraphy styles. 

In this post, we are focusing on making labels for home made wine.  Brewing home made wine is a common hobby, can be fun and save you money.  People have been producing home made wine for thousands of years and wine can be made from fruit, grapes or mixed with spices. Making your own wine labels give it that extra special and personal touch to your creation.

How to Produce Home Made Wine Labels

To start, draft up a basic layout of the wine label, such as the date, name and details of the type of wine you have produced.  Think carefully about the curvature of the wine bottle when designing your label.  Try to keep the layout balanced and pleasing to the eye and think about the size and shape of the label to fit the wine bottle.

Attractive Borders for Wine Labels

Wikimedia Commons
You can use sticky labels, or waterproof adhesive, so the label does not wrinkle when you stick the label to the glass bottle.  For attractive borders, you can photocopy some basic decorative designs to frame the lettering or you can try to draw the borders by hand.  You can introduce some color to the borders to make the label stand out.

Choosing the Lettering Style for Your Wine Bottle

Many wine bottles have two labels, one at the front and another at the back.  You may also choose to have a smaller label on the neck of the wine bottle.  Have a look at other wine bottles for some ideas for your design.  The wine label shown, illustrates the italic copperplate style, which is a traditional style commonly used in wine bottles designs.  You can use the lettering template, such as the example shown below to help you trace out the lettering styles for your wine bottle label.  Other commonly used styles are Gothic or Roman letterings.  However, you can choose any calligraphy style you like. 

Lettering Template for producing a wine bottle label

Producing a Picture to Design Your Wine Bottle

Introducing color and simple colored images can set off your wine bottle label beautifully.  In the example below, is a simple pastel image of a landscape. You can draw a simple picture for your label to make it stand out.  You can also use any image you like to create an eye catching label for your wine bottle.  If drawing or painting a picture is not for you, then you can take a photograph of a landscape and then use the special effects settings commonly seen on camera phones to make the photograph look like a watercolor picture.  The picture below was taken by a camera phone and special effects was applied by using one of the camera settings.  You can apply different colored or tinted effects to help you create a great wine label.  You can then upload the picture on a computer and resize it, using ‘Paint’ and then apply the picture on your label with your letterings.

A Pastel Colored Landscape using a camera phone

Monday, 2 February 2015

Modern Style 1

There are many different styles of calligraphy and you can make up individual styles yourself.  This particular style does not have a name, but it is a very popular typeface and is very versatile.  The basic outlines of the letterforms are drawn first.  You can use a simple Biro, waterproof marker pens or a simple black felt tip pen.  You can also use any pattern style to fill inside the letters, such as squiggly lines, dots or any other patterns as desired.

Inventing a Style of your own

First of all, trace the outline shapes with faint pencil for guidelines, and use a ruler to ensure the lines are straight.  Carefully draw the outlines with a black pen, being very careful not to stray from the guidelines.  You can draw the outlines with a steady free hand if desired.  The letters can be drawn quite large for this particular style.

Introducing Patterns and Dots

For this modern style, you can use any design you like, such as squiggly lines, doodles or any other patterns drawn inside the letterforms. You can combine this with dots and introduce some color and other decorations as required.  This style can be used for producing posters, flyers and notices, where the letterings are large, eye catching and easy to read.

Many modern styles are based on the older fashioned styles, which are original calligraphy letterings, such as Roman, or Gothic.

In the picture shown in this post, for example, I have drawn straight lines, using thick black felt-tip pen to outline the letterforms and used a finer nibbed black pen to draw the patterns inside the letterforms.  As you can see, there is a combination of squiggly lines and dots for effect.  It is a simple design, but you can use any design you like.  Experiment with different combinations of patterns, lines and dots for artistic effects. 

A simple calligraphy style with patterns inside the letterforms
You can use color to make the letters stand out, or if desired, gold nibbed calligraphy pens or pastel colored pencils to make the letterforms appear shiny.

Using a traditional calligraphy style, such as Times New Roman or Black Letter, for example, and experimenting with these letterforms using a combination of different designs and colors can be a great way to invent a lettering style of your own.

I find that experimenting and combining traditional styles as a basic letter template is a great way to find a unique style of your own.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Lombardic Alphabet

The Lombardic alphabet is characterised by very broad, fat letters, and ornate designs.  The broad letters gives plenty of room to draw beautiful patterns, scrolls and designs within the letterforms.  The Lombardic letters are usually used for initials, and beginning of sentences.  They are to be used sparingly though, because your work can look over the top if you overuse the Lombardic lettering styles.  However, with this in mind, it can be very effective when combined with lowercase letters, such as poems, odes and short paragraphs and phrases.

How Do I Use Lombardic Letters

The Lombardic letters have been used for many years and were commonly used for notices and signs in circuses, market stalls, and fairs.  However, Lombardic letters can also be used for cake decorating, using clever artwork with icing and icing sugar.  Other common uses were fancy embroidery, posters and flyers, fabric artwork and part of pictured designs and illustrations.

How To Write Lombardic Letters

You can download plenty of Lombardic templates, transfers or typeface styles to practice your work and you will find that there are many variants of Lombardic lettering styles.  You can even make up some designs yourself.

Plan your work before writing this style.  To begin with, draw some very faint straight lines to map out your work, and then lightly trace the letters carefully, using a hard nibbed pencil.  Copy a style carefully, or trace it out until you are confident with drawing the letters.  Once you are satisfied with your outlines, you can then start to use a Rapidograph or a black, fine marker pen to draw out the outlines.  If you wish, you can color in the letters with any color of your choice, and any medium desired.  Lombardic letterings are commonly used with bright and vibrant colors, such as red or green.  You can use felt tip pens or strong watercolors to bring out your work.

A Picture Of A Typical Lombardic Alphabet

As you can see below, a flat pastel yellow watercolor wash was applied for the background of this lettering artwork, and a fine black pen is used to draw the outline of the letters.  White flecks of highlight are used to enhance and bring out the letters and there is no calligraphy pen involved.

The Lombardic Alphabet
There is no hard and fast rule when writing Lombardic letters, so you can produce your own orinigal designs.  Once you have mastered the basic shapes, you can go to town and produce some wonderful and creative decorative artwork.