Blog

Blackletter Watercolor Techniques (Part 2 of 2)

Blackletter Watercolor Calligraphy Part 2 by Jake Rainis

In the previous post, we covered the all of the tools and materials you’ll need to create beautiful blackletter watercolor calligraphy.

Now it’s time to take it a step further and see what can really be done when you push the limits with these watercolor calligraphy techniques.

Read This Post

Blackletter Watercolor Calligraphy (Part 1 of 2)

Blackletter Watercolor Calligraphy Part 1 by Jake Rainis

I’ve always liked working in color. Specifically, black and white — although some might argue that this doesn’t count. But in my never-ending quest to explore new tools and techniques, I’ve recently been in working with watercolor. And as it turns out, you can achieve some amazing visual effects.

I’m breaking this topic up into two posts. In this post, we’ll talk about the tools and materials you’ll need to begin blackletter watercolor calligraphy. In the next post, we’ll explore different techniques that you can leverage to get the most out of your own work.

Read This Post

How to: Italic Blackletter Calligraphy

Italic blackletter by Jake Rainis

I’m always experimenting and trying new techniques to make my calligraphy more interesting and unique. Recently, I was playing around with putting my composition on angles and I had the idea to try tilting the vertical axis of my letterforms to create an italicized effect.

If you look up italic calligraphy, you’ll find examples of Chancery and bookhand style scripts. You’ll also see a lot of Copperplate and Spencerian calligraphy. However, you won’t find much in the way of gothic blackletter.

Blackletter is known for it’s strong and rhythmic vertical uniformity. In researching its history, you’ll find that much of its evolution revolved around legibility and writing speed. Tilting the vertical axis of a blackletter letterform looks cool — but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier to write. This is likely the reason italic blackletter calligraphy isn’t “much of a thing”.

Chances are you’re not writing blackletter out of a utilitarian need — you’re doing it for artistic purposes! So if you’re interested in italicizing your blackletter calligraphy, then read on.

Read This Post

Artist Spotlight: Shay Calligraphy

Artist Spotlight: Shay Calligraphy by Jake Rainis

Welcome to another artist spotlight! In an effort to shine more light on some of the talented calligraphy artists out there, I’ve been reaching out to inspiring artists I look up to and asking if they’d be willing to answer some interview questions. Today, I would like to introduce you to the talented Jessica Duff (AKA Shay Calligraphy).

Read This Post

Easy Color Blending with a Pilot Parallel

Color Blending with a Pilot Parallel by Jake Rainis

Lately, I’ve been using a different technique to achieve color blending with a Pilot Parallel. This method involves dipping your Parallel in an ink well of pigment while the cartridge within the Parallel is loaded with a different pigment. If you’re a Pilot Parallel superuser like me, you need to give this a try!

Read This Post

Canvas Layering Techniques

Canvas Layering Techniques by Jake Rainis

In the previous post, we talked about how forgiving canvas is. It’s for this reason canvas is now my favorite surface to work on. If you mess it up, you can use canvas layering techniques to cover your work and start over again.

While experimenting with abstract calligraphy on my first canvas, I found that when I began covering up my first layer with black spray paint, that layer was showing through. Of course, I could have kept applying more spray paint to mask the base layer entirely — but I thought it looked cool.

The black layer on top was thin enough to let the work underneath shine through. However, it was dark enough that I could still apply a new layer on top without visually muddying up the composition.

From there, I went crazy layering my canvas over and over again and was able to achieve some excellent results. In this post, I’ll share my process in hopes that it helps inspire you to develop dynamic canvases of your own.

Read This Post

From Paper to Canvas

From Paper to Canvas by Jake Rainis

Used to working on paper, but looking to try something bigger and more forgiving? This post is for you. Learn how to translate your work to canvas.

Read This Post

Artist Spotlight: Josh Yelle (Pencilmancer)

Artist Spotlight of Josh Yelle by Jake Rainis

Welcome to another artist spotlight! In an effort to shine more light on some of the talented calligraphy artists out there, I’ve been reaching out to inspiring artists I look up to and asking if they’d be willing to answer some interview questions. Today, I would like to introduce you to the talented Josh Yelle (AKA Pencilmancer).

Read This Post

Centering Your Calligraphy Compositions

Centered Compositions by Jake Rainis

One of the most frustrating challenges of lettering and calligraphy is producing a nice, well-balanced composition.
Have you ever wanted to throw your pen out the window when you try to center two different words on top of each other and it just doesn’t feel balanced?

If so, this post is for you.

Read This Post

Adding Depth to Your Letters

Creating Depth by Jake Rainis

Before I began focusing exclusively writing calligraphy, I spent many hours practicing hand-lettering. One of my favorite aspects of hand-lettering are the countless techniques you can use to embellish your composition. Sure, it’s about the words themselves, but I loved adding features like flourishes, ornaments, and illustrative elements.

One of my favorite things to work with was light and shadows. Giving a piece depth really seemed to make the work pop and feel more polished.

It appears to be less common in calligraphy, but with a little effort, it is possible to achieve the same stylistics effects in your own work. And hey — why not try giving your letters something more once you’re done writing them?

Let’s take a look at 4 simple ways to give your letterforms some depth.

Read This Post