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Pen Technique: Stroke Twisting

Pen Technique: Stroke Twist by Jake Rainis

At the time of this writing, we’re in our third month of #52Letters; just in between the “i” and “j” weeks. If you’re into blackletter like me, you might be thinking that these two weeks are going to be a little less challenging. Let’s use the simplicity of these letters to our advantage and try out a technique that you might not be familiar with… stroke twisting.

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The 2018 #52Letters Challenge

The 2018 #52Letters Challenge by Jake Rainis

I know I’ve already made an official announcement about the 2018 #52Letters Challenge, but I wanted I wanted to write a more in-depth post about it. Specifically, I want to touch on why I think it’s the best way for you to bring your understanding and execution of the alphabet to whole new levels. And of course, if you haven’t started it yet, I wanted to invite you one last time to join the movement for 2018. Obviously, you can begin this challenge at any point in time, but it’s always more fun when there’s other people involved!

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New Year… and a New Challenge!

New Year New Challenge by Jake Rainis

I have just completed a goal that I set out accomplish two years ago: publishing a blog post weekly for 2 years (and I never missed a week!). I’m can’t believe it’s been 2 years. It’s an incredible feeling. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I’ve learned more about commitment (and calligraphy!) than words could ever […]

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My 2017 Year in Review

2017 year in review by Jake Rainis

At the beginning of 2016, I decided to start taking my goals *very seriously*. I didn’t want to look back on another year disappointed in what I hadn’t accomplished. I know too many people that just live their life year-to-year without doing anything to improve their skills, lifestyle, or overall happiness.

I promised myself I’d close my 2016 calendar with a 2016 Year in Review. In that review, I listed off the biggest highlights and accomplishments from the year. It’s hard to believe yet another year has passed since then… and on the other hand, it feels like it was forever ago.

But like it or not, it’s almost 2018!

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How To: Gradient Calligraphy in Photoshop

Today, I want to show you how you can create gradient calligraphy in Photoshop with just several easy steps. This is a great way to colorize your work digitally with a nice realistic gradient overlay. I’ve seen a number of artists do this with their work on Instagram. I thought it looked really neat so I figured I’d give it a shot myself. Turns out it’s quite easy, so I wanted to share the steps so you can do it too. The only thing you’ll need is Photoshop, a camera, and the piece of calligraphy you want to manipulate.

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Artist Spotlight: Dark aka Darksnooopy

Welcome to my final artist spotlight of 2017! I can’t believe it’s been a year. I was just looking back at all of the amazing artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. It’s been such an honor to get a glimpse into their lives. Today I would like to introduce you to Dark (AKA Darksnooopy).

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Procreate Calligraffiti Brushes

Calligraffiti procreate brushes by Jake Rainis

I’m excited to announce the launch of my latest product — an extensive set of calligraffiti brushes for the Procreate iPad Pro app! For the past several months, I’ve been building and refining a versatile set of brushes that enable you to create expressive blackletter-inspired calligraffiti.

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Creating a Marble Effect with Ink and Water

Creating a Marble Effect with Ink and Water by Jake Rainis

Lately, I’ve seen a number of cool videos where artists put an invisible layer of water down in the shape of a letterform, then drop ink into it. When the ink hits the water, the pigment spreads out rapidly and creates a neat gradient effect. It’s also incredibly satisfying to watch! I’ve been experimenting with this approach and I’ve discovered a clever series of techniques that will produce nice marble effect in your letters. I’ve been looking forward to sharing it here on the blog.

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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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