BIG HINT:  I am not sure if I told you all this or not but GEL PENS NEED TO BE STORED UPSIDE DOWN WITH THE TIP DOWN….ACCORDING to GEL PEN people this is the best way to store your pens as it keeps the ink in the roller ball and will not dry up…the bad news about this is that it makes it harder to figure out which pen color you  have without taking it out of the container in which it is stored… I had been storing mine laying down but this  BAD!!!! Apparently this does allow the pen point (roller ball ) to dry out and then the pen won’t write… this is for ALL GEL PENS as far as I can tell.. Mine are mostly SAKARA GEL PENS and my white one is the one that drys out the worst but some of my glazed the dimensional ones and the soufflé which are the opaque ones also dried out so my advise STAND THEM UP WITH THE POINT DOWN.  OK now here we go.

I decided that I should get my pens out before they rusted…lol…so this week is all about letters and the variety of ways that you can make them.  I think I may have told you that I used to teach monoline lettering classes at a a few different rubberstamp and scrapbooking stores.  Although, I have been practicing FORMAL calligraphy since about 1984, I know from experience that many people who are creating scrapbooks don’t want to take the time it takes as well as the practice to learn formal calligraphy so I , being a letter lover ( all kinds of letters) realized that there were a bunch of fonts out there for the computer that could be adapted to personal hand writing.  If the schools really stop teaching handwriting in the class room then this might be a good time to share more of the scripts I developed for these classes.  We have done the AKIM , ART DECO, NEULAND ( which is considered a formal calligraphy) THICK N’ THINS and today we are going to play with HOLLYWOOD.  This is my exemplar for the classes I taught.

let hollywood


( PS THAT IS NOT MY CURRENT E MAIL ADDRESS  if you need to write to me use the comments it will send to my current e mail.)

As you can see from my note this is based on a style that I think is ART DECO which I love.

It can be written with almost any tool…. gel pens, colored pencils, and one of my favorite tools which I usually supplied my students with is the ZIG WRITER…it has two BULLET TIPS…that is the rounded tip.  One end is big and the other end is much smaller and will write a much finer line. When learning a new form of lettering (script) I always suggest that you use the largest tip so that you can really see your letters and see how well they match the exemplar.  Once you feel you have it down then you can move to the smaller tip .

In all calligraphy whether it is monoline like Hollywood , or formal calligraphy the size of the writing tip( nib or pen point) pretty much dictates the size of your letters.  What I am saying is that if the tip is large you can write large letters but writing really small will be next to impossible.  The same is true for the fine tip….writing small works but trying to stretch the letters too large will make them anorectic.  ALL OF CALLIGRAPHY IS ABOUT LEARNING TO SEE! SO use your eyes they will tell you when something just doesn’t look right.  If you have a large bullet tip pen to practice with then the letters above are about 3/4 to 1 inch tall…as I said this is good so that you know you are making the letters match the exemplar.

Its important that you use the letters as shown on the exemplar.  I say this because think of the letters in any script as if they were members in a school band….its important that they look like the belong to THAT BAND…ie all wearing the same uniform…so a little practice is necessary and keep the exemplar handy so you can refer to it.  You should be able to click on the image above and then print from that.  If you can’t send me an message and I’ll e-mail you a copy of it.  Once you have the feel for this script then you can try it smaller as well as some of the ideas that I came up with for it.  See below

let hollywood +

Each of these ideas works but be careful not to try all of them on one page or one card…pick one and give it a try…if you are writing a poem for someone you might want to only think about the bounce technique or the rolling wave technique.  I am ALL ABOUT LEGIBILITY..if they can’t read it why go to the effort.  So HINT:  DON’T GET TOO BUSY…LESS IS MORE…or the KISS principal…keep it simple stupid.  This goes for using different colors too… if you want to change the color then choose one for your base and only change the color on the words you want to emphasis.

Here are some of the cards and small book I did using the HOLLYWOOD script.

let hollywood cds 1


The inside of the card is mine but the envelope is from my BFF MARLENE MAJESKI and her version of HOLLYWOOD is very soft and flowing where mine is a little more rigid..

let hollywoodbook

let hollywoodbook 1

let hollywoodbook 3

let hollywood cds

I didn’t give you the complete booklet but hey you know the story… anyway you might guess that I was using one of the ZIG WRITERS, the small end and that is correct.

Ok I hope you will give this script a try and that you will find it useful.  The teacher in me thinks I should review a few calligraphy terms so that you know what I am talking about.


NIB            The tip end of your pen or writing too in monoline it is usually a bullet tip or a rolling writer type of ball as in the gel pen.

EXEMPLAR    The complete alphabet written in the script you are learning.

MONOLINE STYLE  These are generally letters written with a bullet tip or rolling writer or a regular pen that will not have thick and thin lines but all lines with be the same width so one width.

HINT   A lot of us have a tendency to grip our pen like we are trying to choke it to death if you have that problem then try holding another pen in your non writing hand…it will cause you loosen you grip stop that high pitched screaming that’s coming from your writing tool…lol

HAND MADE PENS…THIS LINK ( click on the blue) is from a blog by Letterlady… this is mostly for Calligraphers but thought you might enjoy a little look see. Her BONE letters are fantastic and it is NOT a script that I will be posting …mainly because its very difficult to learn and think that only calligraphers would be able to even try it and my best suggestion for learning it is TAKE A CLASS…it is totally pen manipulation and getting the feel of that manipulation is not something for a beginner…however, I played with for at least a year and have taken several classes and while mine might look good to you as it is one of the scripts I use a lot…there are errors with my letters so no exemplar from me and I will say for cards it won’t work as well because it really looks best with LARGE LETTERS…you can write it with a small nib but its not nearly as impressive.  If you are still determinded then send me a not via the comments and I e mail with possibilities.  Still great EYE CANDY.


Because we are all about letters this week I want to share a couple of links to videos that are wonderful the first one is a video of a guy who still paints CIRCUS SIGNS by hand which doesn’t happen often any more.. and I expected when I went to the link to see a really old guy …ok maybe not really old but lets say a more mature man….big surprise…be sure to look at the length of the hairs in his brushes….if you have ever tried to letter with a brush you will know just how difficult this type can be… he is definitely  talented.  It’s short so give it a look see. It takes a minute for the video to come up so little patience .


Click here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23313762


Then this next one is a small animated video of the” LETTER D”.  I just love this one and while there is only background sounds no talking you know exactly what is happening and if your as old as I am you will relate to the opening as a play on the words IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT!  You will love this…http://vimeo.com/40741682


Remember earlier in the blog I mentioned that LEGIBILITY was my main focus on lettering well here is an interesting article from the NY TIMES regarding what happens to letters that can’t be read/scanned by the machines…no video just an article but I found it very interesting and so far none of my envelopes have been returned to me because they couldn’t read it…maybe cause I had the wrong address…lol but they could read it. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/04/us/where-mail-with-illegible-addresses-goes-to-be-read.html?hp&_r=0

Well that’s all for this week and I do hope to share more scripts with you so let me know if you like this.  AS ALWAYS THANKS FOR STOPPIN BY...wire headed cyber toad….aka kath



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