Tuesday, December 8, 2015

commonplace book

A commonplace book is basically a running record of things you pick up every day that educate or inspire you. Often it's like a scrapbook, or a card file, or just a collection of interesting quotes. Blogger Ryan Holiday has a pretty interesting post on his methods.

I have very messy notebooks where I record lists of books I like, quotes, errands and basically everything, but I wanted to collect some quotes to practice my lettering with. My commonplace book is an A6 Nocturnelle from Paperblanks. It's not very 'commonplace' looking, but I fell in love with this journal ages ago because it looks like a door in a Gothic novel. Paperblanks also has great paper for pen and ink. My calligraphy dip nibs just skate across this paper!

Copperplate Hunt 101 nib with Rohrer & Klinger Salix ink.

This is my first quote, dashed off in dip pen and framed with washi tape. Of course the aim of a commonplace book is to quote correctly - it's Kobori Enshu, not Ensho.

Same nib, with Noodler's Bulletproof Black.

Yogananda is a great guide for life. Concept designer Chris Oatley of the Oatley Academy is a great guide for work.

Copperplate nib and Mitchell 'script' nib, Bulletproof Black.

Listening to podcasts is a great source of inspiration for me. This quote comes from actress and comedian Aisha Tyler interviewing John Cho on her awesome podcast Girl on Guy.

Copperplate nib and Speedball B-5 lettering nib,
Noodler's Bad Blue Heron and Luxury Blue ink.

Jen Dziura's column Get Bullish gives 'aggressive lady-advice' for the go-getter gentlewoman.

Copperplate nib, Diamine Sherwood Green ink, and acrylic stamps.

Karen Healey is a YA author with a collection of pretty great quotes about writing...and some choice words of her own.

Copperplate nib with Bulletproof Black.

This post about Elizabeth Bathory was pretty terrifying, but it did make one important point. The online magazine The Gloss has a column called Shelved Dolls, a fascinating series on women in history, where I get a lot of inspiration and amusement.

Some other commonplace books I like:
The Journal Diaries - Ellina's Commonplace Notebook
Tolstoy's Calendar of Wisdom

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

new project - comic!

A friend of mine approached me with a proposal - he would write a fantasy comic and I would draw it. I can't say much about it just yet except that it pays well, I am very excited about it, and it involves a lot of research into the Baroque period.

Yup, I could not resist a silly joke stolen from Beauty and the Beast.

Some notes on the distinguishing features of the Baroque (not Rococo!) period.

With a slight, sloppy digression into a Benedictine abbey.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

brush pen sketches

Kuretake no.8 in Fabriano notebook.

Incidentally, if you haven't read the Rihannsu series by Diane Duane or The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua, do it. They are amazing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

two great tastes

This past year I've been struggling with my art: I want to move up to the next level but I also want to have a regular job that I also enjoy, with a steady paycheck. So it's been less a work/life balance issue than a work A/work B/life balance issue.

I'm finally finding that balance, and a few days ago I got some very cheap but inspiring tools!

The Kuretake Brush Pen no.8 doesn't have the stellar reputation of its high-end sibling the no.40 (which has sable hair like a real paintbrush), or even the slightly more expensive no.13, but it's a great workhorse and I started using it right out of the box. A few sketches:

The second tool I got was pretty unexpected! Like lots of kid-friendly museums, my workplace sold spirograph sets, but we've stopped stocking them and I was able to grab the last unit for £2. I started using them and found them weirdly therapeutic.

Note for grammar nerds like me: it's (im)perfectly, not (I'm) perfectly.

The best results come from combining the two - the light tone and mechanical symmetry of the hypotrochoids plus the organic black line of the brush make an intriguing combination.

It's the marriage of science and art! Or maybe the marriage of mechanical art and intuitive art, which I also enjoy.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

look to the stars

I am incredibly sad about Leonard Nimoy's passing. I already wrote about it elsewhere, but here is a small tribute anyway.

As his friend and companion icon of SF William Shatner said in his memory... 'love long, and prosper'.