Over the past four weeks, I have met with Liza to learn more about Modern Calligraphy and Improvisational/Freehand Modern Calligraphy. Improvisational Calligraphy differs from regular Modern Calligraphy in that it can trespass guidelines and have lines that leave the letter space, access another letter’s space and go above or below another letter space. This type of calligraphy can also completely not use guidelines, which means writing completely freehand on a blank sheet of paper. Here are some pictures of my experiments with Modern Freehand Calligraphy.

Modern Calligraphy alphabet:

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Modern Calligraphy:

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Improvisational/Freehand Modern Calligraphy:

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Calligraphy is based on one large concept: make your writing look as aesthetic as possible. This can be achieved in many ways, which causes there to be a multitude of existing scripts. In the scripts that I have learned about, this aesthetic writing is usually achieved through smooth and flowing lines, and a general sense of connectedness in the letters of a word. This foundation of many calligraphic scripts is the only thing that Modern Calligraphy and traditional Copperplate Calligraphy agree on, the rest is built on very different concepts. Copperplate Calligraphy is all about staying in the confines of perfect letter shapes, sizes, proportions and slants. All the practicing I did for Copperplate was to make my letter shapes consistently match the ones in the standard Copperplate Script book, to make my slant consistent and perfect, and to make my letter proportions perfectly fit the guidelines. The concept of Copperplate Script is to keep your script consistent with all other standard Copperplate Script to ensure its perfection. Modern Calligraphy is a complete U-turn in the other direction. I remember my mentor asking me to go out of the guidelines for the first time and the feeling of confusion filling my brain. Modern Calligraphy is completely built on the calligrapher’s creativity and personal wants.

In the Copperplate part of this project, there were almost no alternatives for letter shape or design options, however, there were alternatives for what tools to use right from the start. My mentor supplied my first nibs and nib holders for me. She supplied two types of nibs and two types of nib holders, just so I can find which ones I like and would fit my writing style the best. This was immediately important because a nib and nib holder affects a person’s ability to write a certain script, comfort when writing and style of writing. I was very lucky to have a mentor who offered these alternatives right from the start and I think another mentor might have just given me one starter nib holder and one starter nib or not supplied any materials at all. When I found Copperplate to be somewhat dull compared to the Modern Freehand Script, I was given an alternate perspective on Copperplate. This perspective was that Copperplate’s greatest strength is not in stimulating your creativity, but in the concentration you must focus to make a letter shape perfect while keeping proportions, slant and spacing in check. I found this to be true when I returned to practice Copperplate. The concentration puts you into a relaxing mindset where you can’t think or worry about anything else but this one task. From this alternate perspective, I found the best part of Copperplate to be when you finally get a letter perfect, or even better, an entire word perfect, with slant and spacing and letter shape exactly as described in the book. It’s the most rewarding and satisfying feeling ever when you look down at your paper and think, “I wrote that”.

My learning centre will include a lot of my practice sheets and first work to show how far I have gotten in my calligraphy. It will also have some full-page compositions to show where I am now in my Modern Calligraphy. I also want to show what materials are used in calligraphy, and how important they are to creating proper calligraphic lettering. To make this learning centre interactive, I will be seated at my table and will be writing to show people how calligraphy is written and how the materials work. I will also be quickly teaching people simple Copperplate Script and how to write their name in the script. I will have a separate piece of paper with guidelines where people that learn the simple Copperplate Script can write their name.