A Conversation with Judy Detrick

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

I was around 13, and during art class our teacher passed out paper, ink, holders, and Speedball B nibs. I was enthralled by the rich, black, juicy strokes that appeared on the paper. We worked with them for a week, and I didn’t want it to end. It wasn’t until 18 years later that I took a formal calligraphy class, but I’ve never forgotten that early experience or that teacher.

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

Always try to sit next to the smartest [...]
By |2021-11-22T12:19:58-08:00December 2, 2021|

A Conversation with Gemma Black

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

I started my formative writing with a tiny broad-nib pen in Italic when I was a child at school. There was an inkwell on the side of the sloped drawing table and I got to fill these wells as class ink monitor with bottled ink we made from powdered sachets. My formal calligraphy training started when I left school as I was eager to explore more of the lettering arts.

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

Otherwise: save all your pennies and study through [...]
By |2021-11-22T12:18:45-08:00November 30, 2021|

A Conversation with Amity Park

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

When I was 16, I became interested in illuminated manuscripts and started buying books about them.  I bought a copy of ‘Writing, Illuminating and Lettering’ by Edward Johnston and followed his instructions to cut reed pens. I bought some bamboo garden stakes and cut my own pens. That is my first memory of writing with a broad edged pen.  

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

Sage advice from my parents: Don’t charge more on your credit cards than you [...]
By |2021-11-15T13:24:50-08:00November 25, 2021|

A Conversation with Carl Rohrs

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

1973.

Why do you letter? What keeps you coming back every day?

It's just fascinating. That every single stroke is an opportunity to get lost in a graceful or powerful expression, but then it combines with subsequent strokes for even more power and grace, and continues to build into a complex composition of visual fascination — and on top of that visual delight is pure communication itself. It really is a magical invention — an unending variety of beauty that can record and carry — throughout time — any thought that words express. [...]
By |2021-11-15T13:23:18-08:00November 23, 2021|

A Conversation with Cora Pearl

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

I was 11 years old! I found Fred Eager’s book, The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting, in a bookstore in New York City where I grew up, and it blew my mind. I fell in love with lettering immediately and have not stopped doing calligraphy since then.

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

When I was in college, I went to a workshop taught by the musician, Michael Hedges. He told the students that he learned this piece of life changing wisdom [...]
By |2021-11-15T13:21:59-08:00November 18, 2021|

A Conversation with Hiroko Shimizu

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

It was the summer of 1994 when I was living in Boston. I didn't even know the word "calligraphy" until then.

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

It was not really advice but a comment I got from the instructor after a workshop I took. However, it has the same meaning as advice for me. That is “You took a great leap of faith.” I signed up for that workshop just out of my curiosity and intuition, even though I couldn't clearly understand [...]
By |2021-11-15T13:20:08-08:00November 16, 2021|

A Conversation with Benoit Furet

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

28 years ago. It was an accident, I wanted to learn about Celtic knotwork and registered for a course including calligraphy & Celtic decoration. I ended up writing line after line of an uncial script and loved it. I left this course with the first lumbago of my life (tables were too low) & an addiction to calligraphy and knots. Since then, I developed several other addictions related to manuscripts.

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

“Don't look at the model, look at the original source, the manuscript!” Amanda Adams (with her husband Keith, they were my masters in my calligraphic journey) [...]
By |2021-11-15T13:17:47-08:00November 11, 2021|

A Conversation with Rachel Yallop

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

It was in 1977. My mother had learned some calligraphy when she was at teacher training college in the 1940s, and one day, while sorting through some stuff, she found her old Witch pens and exemplar sheets. She gave me some guidance, but I didn’t start calligraphy properly until four years later when I was at art college.

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

When I was a teenager and being rather shy and modest about my abilities as a potential artist, an old family friend called John, who was very encouraging, said ‘Don’t hide your light under a bushel, Rachel’. It has biblical [...]
By |2021-11-15T13:16:32-08:00November 9, 2021|

A Conversation with Julie Wildman

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?


The first time I picked up a calligraphy pen was probably a Schaeffer pen of some sort when I was in high school, but I don’t exactly remember. I know that I drew a lot of letters as I was always interested in writing and was the designated poster-maker in grammar school. I also helped on the high school newspaper, illustrating for the front page and drawing headlines and such. But the first time I used a REAL nib and holder was in Reggie Ezell’s 1998 year-long class. Once I got the thing to work properly and made a nice, pressurized Roman letter ‘I,’ I put my head [...]
By |2021-11-15T13:15:36-08:00November 4, 2021|

A Conversation with Suzie Beringer

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

I had always loved handwriting—since I was very young—but didn’t actually pick up a broad edge pen until I was in my early twenties.

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

Know that you are exactly where you are meant to be—where and how much you develop beyond today depends on you…AND…slow down and have fun!

Why do you letter? What keeps you coming back every day?

It is a part of who and what I am. I have been focused on creating beautiful letterforms since I was very young and didn’t even realize there was such a thing called ‘calligraphy’ back then. I couldn’t imagine not [...]
By |2021-11-15T13:13:50-08:00November 2, 2021|
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