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.
A collection of lettering design and calligraphy inspired by the colors of spring. Some of these examples are done for clients and some are personal explorations of lettering styles and watercolor. All work is created by hand with brush and pen, with watercolor or ink.
All work is copyright of Iskra Design and may not be used or reproduced without the express permission of the artist. See more expressive lettering by Iskra here.
From the Bard, for Easter, one of my favorite quotes about love.
Brush Calligraphy by Iskra.
Something in a lunar mode, in honor of the eclipse. Two versions, experimenting with media and techniques including rubber stamp, and hand-drawn type in Egyptian and wood-type styles.
Mizuta Masahide’s wonderful quotation about the moon in wild west style, hand drawn typography and watercolor. © Iskra Design