Expressive lettering quotation by Iskra Design
Working in the studio today on a project my hand started getting tighter and tighter, so I took a break to remember where the life energy in calligraphy comes from.
A little post script: just in case you were wondering, the word “free” here does not refer to “free fonts.” I create bespoke typefaces for clients, but this is one-of-a-kind free form lettering, and is not a font.
Watercolor,unique lettering and collage © Iskra Johnson
Our meme-maker in chief has ensured that this little word duo remains current. From an abstract design perspective, it is always helpful when words are the same length and lock up with an interesting positive-negative charge. By flipping a few backwards it added even more interest. Watercolor, hand lettering and collage.
If like me you have been reading and watching news obsessively for far too many months, you may want to go rogue for a minute and just think about pleasure. Cake, for instance. Maybe you are planning your wedding, or someone else’s. Maybe all you want to think about is frosting, and satin kitten heels, and how many bubbles you can fit in a champagne flute before it just becomes air. Maybe you want to feel giddy and strew ribbons around the room and you don’t want anybody telling you otherwise.
I stumbled upon this wonderful quote by Nigella Lawson and it made me unreasonably happy. Experimenting here with new styles of calligraphy and hand lettering and lots of color. Yum.
Pleasure the British way, dapper and a bit buttoned down.
Or maybe better in French? Luxurious. Plush. Of course if you are going to obsess about cake, that leads inevitably to champagne, and going a little bit crazy with pink.
There are so many ways to work with color in custom lettering design. Each color twist gives a different feeling to the words, elegant, playful, a cheap date or something luxe. It’s all in the subtle detail.
More new work in the pipeline, coming soon! To see the latest you can always follow me on Instagram, or Facebook. Drop me a note if you have a project in mind.
Thinking with Ink
I have been returning lately to the art of quotation, the heart of calligraphy and lettering design practice. Here are looks at a little fragment of wisdom from a book I read that wasn’t a self-help book but a collection of stories. This ladder could be your career, or your love life. The missing rung could be a missed opportunity, or a missed deadline, or a missed letter from someone you love. It could be a missing bit of faith in something greater, or a missing parent, or even the bus on the way to a job interview. And about the ladder? — who’s holding it anyway? I like quotes that give you some room to imagine.
When I find an inspirational quote that I like I can’t just do one version. I have to try quite a few, and see how the voices sound. How does ti change if it is all lowercase? What could be capitalized? What shape should it take? Freestyle brush writing is one of the hardest styles, because there is no manual that will tell you just exactly how it should look. It’s art: it’s abstract, dark and light and how things interlock. And most importantly, do you hear a voice coming through? Nothing tricky here, no ten different styles in one piece of illustrations or drop shadows, just the words offering a bit of quiet encouragement in the day.
Ingredients: One book, “God’s Gym,” by John Edgar Wideman. One brush, one ink, three papers, and a full wastebasket. Practice . . . . .
(Yes, the first line of this quote really was about love, isn’t nearly everything? This is love month after all. The wording is not a typo, it was written that way.)
Working with an inspirational quote by writing it again and again changes you. The student of life gets schooled by letting words sink in deep. This is one of the great blessings of calligraphy practice.
I read the news, every day, from many sources. It makes my heart and head hurt ten different ways, but I have always felt like part of being a citizen and a human is to know what is going on. To stay open — and not-quite-numb. One of the ways I deal with the craziness of this world is through my lettering. I had really hoped that “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” was a phrase that would fade and be irrelevant in a short time. It doesn’t seem like it will lose its relevance anytime soon. Rest in peace Dontre.