July 6th, 2022
The Nameplate Project
This project is a DIS Engrosser’s Script tradition. Students are tasked with penning a nameplate to be “engraved” and hung on the door of their first engrossing studio in a make-believe scenario that encourages each Dreamer to imagine themselves pursuing the pen as a living. The general format, layout, and sizing of each nameplate is established by the directions in the lessons, but students are encouraged to let their individuality and artistry shine through in their selection of a personalized tagline and use of artistic ornamentation (if they see fit!)
June 6th, 2022
So many would-be penmen neglect getting started until they can “get started on the right foot.” I posit that there is not only no “right foot”, but no “wrong foot” either. There is only the first step and the learning experiences that we have along the way.
March 12th, 2022
Specialty is an confusing phenomenon. It’s commonly accepted that specializing in a niche field increases the quality of the contributions that an an individual can make. However, the concept of specializing—particularly when it comes to penmanship—is often seen as being at the expense of other knowledge and abilities. A specialist might excel in one avenue of script but flounder in others. One common thought is that there’s a certain sense of perspective that one loses by focusing on the specific, rather than the general. Western culture glorifies “renaissance men” who are capable of a wide range of feats, but overlooks—or even admonishes—specialists until we have a need for them.
February 2nd, 2022
It was 2014.
I was struggling to find inspiration in some mundane task that I’d been assigned by a client who didn’t really need a graphic designer but wanted to use one anyway. I was taking it seriously, though; I wanted to be a legitimate designer, not some kid who scraped the Craigslist “gigs” section twice a day.
As the sun set on the pine trees shielding my window, I signed out of my time tracker and exited Photoshop. My fingers clicked rapidly as I typed up an email to send tomorrow morning with updates on the project. I shut my laptop with a smack. I was free for the next eleven hours.
My hands fumbled on the Parallel Pen as I twisted it this way and that way in my fingers. I watched—and rewatched—John Stevens’ hands on video as he produced an effortless brush fraktur exemplar. The confidence in his strokes was palpable. Each movement revealed a stain in the paper that had been there for a thousand years. How could he see what he was writing before he wrote it? Why couldn’t I?