Christine FisherArtworks and Crafts in Progress

She’s no proper penman… yet.

School never taught me drawing or painting in any way other than “kids, just sit down and hush now, and go ahead and make a colorful mess. Try to keep it on the paper, ok?” We had calligraphy, some paper cutting, a lot of decorating bulletin boards, and the mandatory elementary gluing of pasta, glitter, and pinecones. What we never got was any drawing instruction, which would have been a lot more useful.

A few years ago, I took my first drawing class as a birthday present to myself. I had 3 main goals, all of which I’ve finally met: To illuminate my calligraphy without buying clip art after spending many hours trying to find just the right image, to draw my own embroidery outlines, and to be able to draw a decent rough map for garden and room layout plans and giving road directions. I’m proud to say I have ticked all of those initial boxes, but art goals creep upwards relentlessly and insidiously. I still spend just as much time looking for reference photos and doing composition thumbnails as I did scrolling through the internet’s clipart sources. *shrug* I still prefer drawing.

pen and ink grosbeak in a wire-bound sketchbook
What? I’m flying, here!

Which brings me to this grosbeak, my first not-just-drills attempt at pen and ink. It’s an exercise from Val Webb’s year-long class with seasonal subjects. I’ve been working through the drills in Alphonso Dunn’s excellent workbook on pen and ink as a foundation text, and I finally felt ready to try applying those beginner skills!

Decades of calligraphy led to a drawer filling up with fountain pens, blotting paper, and a rainbow of bottled ink, so pen and ink makes a good fit for my cache of art supplies and what my hands already know. I’d like to figure out how to combine it with color, either watercolor or changing ink colors, but that’s a distant Step Two, or maybe Step Two Hundred.

If you want to see some of my illustrated calligraphy projects, some of them are in my RedBubble store, where prints can be bought to frame or the designs can be printed on cards, device cases, mugs, etc.


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