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How to Draw Slanted Calligraphy Compositions

Slanted Calligraphy Compositions by Jake Rainis

Most, if not all, of the traditional calligraphy work you come across is done on a flat (0º) baseline. From an economic and utilitarian standpoint, this makes complete sense. It’s easier to read and and makes the best use of real-estate on a page (which is almost always rectangular). As an artist, I like to challenge conventions and lately I’ve been experimenting with slanted calligraphy to add an entirely new dynamic to my compositions. In this post, I’ll show you how to do the same with your work!

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Pyrographic Calligraphy: An Introduction to Woodburning

Pyrographic Calligraphy by Jake Rainis

Back when I first got into calligraphy and hand-lettering, my mother gave me a woodburning kit as a gift. I unwrapped the gift and saw this strange apparatus. I had no idea what to do with it! I had never even heard of pyrography. When I first tried my hand, I found it frustratingly difficult. A couple years (and burns on my fingers) later, it’s something I’ve finally gotten the hang of and I really enjoy working with it. Today, I’m going to show you how to begin creating pyrographic calligraphy of your own!

Woodburning, also known as “Pyrography” (get it? pyro?) is an ancient form of art that dates back centuries. Quite simply, it’s the act of burning a mark into something in a controllable manner. Most commonly, wood is the canvas medium. However, it can also be done on leather or even hard-shelled gourds!

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Artist Spotlight: Dhellet

Artist Spotlight: Dhellet by Jake Rainis

Welcome to my 11th artist spotlight this year! I absolutely love having the opportunity to get a glimpse into the lives of these amazing artists. I hope you’re enjoying these as much as I am. Today I would like to introduce you to Dhella (AKA Dhellet).

Dhellet is an unbelievably talented street artist from Depok, Indonesia. I came across Dhellet’s work earlier this year and was blown-away by how sharp his work is (and not to mention the large scale in which he works!). Dhellet’s murals are breath-taking and it’s awesome to see how his background in graffiti has influenced his work

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How To: Opaque Ink in Pilot Parallel

Opaque Ink Pilot Parallel by Jake Rainis

Throughout my never-ending quest to make the Pilot Parallel do things it was never designed to, I’m fortunate to have found successes here and there. Most recently, I’ve discovered how to mix opaque inks and feed them rather effortlessly through the Parallel. If this is something you’re interesting doing, then allow me to save you some headaches.

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Pilot Parallel Hack: Ink Flow

Pilot Parallel Ink Flow Hack by Jake Rainis

If you’ve read more than 1 or 2 articles on this blog, you’re probably aware that I’m a big Pilot Parallel fanatic. Simply put, they’re my favorite calligraphy tool. They’re easy to use, fill, maintain, and modify. And they’re not even expensive! You really can’t beat them. So if you enjoy them as much as I do, you might benefit from this Pilot Parallel hack in regards to ink flow.

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Best Calligraphy Inks (2017 Edition)

Best Calligraphy Inks 2017 by Jake Rainis

At the time of this writing, it’s the second week of October and I’ve been participating in Inktober. 31 days, 31 ink pieces, shared using the #inktober hashtag. It’s a fun annual tradition that challenges artists to create and share their work every day for a month. That said, it seemed timely to post a review-style article about the best calligraphy inks I’ve come across.

I’d like to mention these opinions are simply my own and that I’m not getting paid to write anything positive about a particular brand’s products.

I’d also like to note that these inks are used in the context of flat pen calligraphy. Therefore, the criteria in which I’m judging on may or may not be relevant to your own work. However, if you’re into gothic or abstract calligraphy, then I highly suggest giving these a try!

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Artist Spotlight: Simon Teigeiro

Artist Spotlight Simon Teigeiro by Jake Rainis

Welcome to another artist spotlight! I can’t believe we’re coming up on a year of these. They’re so much fun. Today I would like to introduce you to Simon Teigeiro.

Simon Teigeiro is an incredible fine artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA). I met Simon through a mutual friend Skyrenia, who I had the pleasure of interviewing back in August. Simon’s calligraffiti style work is stunning and there is no question his broad artistic background has enabled him to develop his own signature style of the artform.

I’m stoked to be able to share this interview with you today. Simon is a textbook example of how discovering the “why” in your artwork will inevitably lead to success, as it has for him.

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Finding Inspiration in a Niche Art Form

Finding New Inspiration in a Niche Art Form by Jake Rainis

There will be many more tutorials to come in the near future… But today I want to write to those of you currently feeling bored, stagnated, unmotivated, or uninspired when it comes to your calligraphy endeavors.

These ebbs and flows are something every artist deals throughout their creative journey. It’s normal, and as much as it sucks, it can be overcome. As artists, we must constantly search for new inspiration to drive our pursuits. Today, I’ll be sharing some ideas to help relight that spark and get you out of that rut.

Buckle up, this one’s a bit longwinded, but it’s packed with some encouraging insights and reflections.

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Turning Your Calligraphy into Hand Lettering

From calligraphy to hand lettering by Jake Rainis

Before I decided to focus more exclusively on calligraphy, I was actually a hand lettering artist. There was nothing like finishing a big, polished hand lettering piece. However, the one thing I struggled with when it came to hand lettering was the lack of immediate satisfaction. This was an aspect of calligraphy that I really enjoyed. I was able to see my results in a matter of minutes.

If you’ve ever felt this way — or if you’re a calligraphy artist who has never done actual hand lettering, this post is for you. Today, I want to show you how you can easily turn your calligraphy pieces into hand lettering works.

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Descenders – Blackletter Calligraphy Recipes

Descenders by Jake Rainis

When you study an alphabet, you generally encounter a couple of types of descenders. You know, the parts of a letterform that descend below the baseline. In the context of a typeface, there are generally one or two different descenders that were designed to be part of that font’s cohesive design system.

However, in the context of calligraphy, this nuanced aspect of a letterform can (and should!) be explored in more depth. With blackletter calligraphy, diversifying your arsenal of descenders can breathe new life into your calligraphy compositions.

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