Your Mission. Your Voice. Take a peek inside my process for creating, lettering, and designing these passion posters for Voice A Story Magazine.

Your mission. Your voice.

On creating visual passion statements for Voice A Story Magazine.

 

Just over a month ago, I had the pleasure of sharing some of my favorite hand lettering work to date with the world through Voice A Story Magazine. If you don’t know, I am lucky to be the Creative Director of this digital magazine, so in addition to creating it’s very first physical product to sell in collaboration with South Ranch Creative, I also design each quarterly issue, create marketing graphics and images, and keep the website looking sleek and up-to-date.

 

WHOAH, you’re thinking. She’s got a LOT of passion for this company. And you’re right. My work as Creative Director for this magazine is currently 100% pro bono because the mission behind this magazine, this movement, is both powerful and necessary. And that’s where this whole idea started. The mission statement of Voice A Story magazine is as follows:

 

We are a magazine devoted to telling worthwhile and relevant stories, conducting thoughtful interviews, and publishing excellent fiction, poetry, and art without the media biased lens of what is or is not "news." We think people should able to define their own news based on things that really matter to them, rather than what the media thinks is sexy, dramatic, or contentious. Our goal is to point people to news and stories that matter. But we want to do more than that. For every issue of our magazine that is purchased, we donate one dollar to a hand picked nonprofit that’s helping give others a voice or bringing a voice to an issue. It is our belief that the best stories are the ones that have not yet been told, and we promise to do our best to provide the most relevant content on things that really matter, whether it is mainstream news or not. - Voice A Story Magazine

 

We are a magazine devoted to telling worthwhile and relevant stories, conducting thoughtful interviews, and publishing excellent fiction, poetry, and art without the media biased lens of what is or is not “news.” We think people should able to define their own news based on things that really matter to them, rather than what the media thinks is sexy, dramatic, or contentious. Our goal is to point people to news and stories that matter. But we want to do more than that.

 

For every issue of our magazine that is purchased, we donate one dollar to a hand picked nonprofit that’s helping give others a voice or bringing a voice to an issue. It is our belief that the best stories are the ones that have not yet been told, and we promise to do our best to provide the most relevant content on things that really matter, whether it is mainstream news or not.

 

The idea.

 

I created this visual mission statement for Voice A Story because I wanted the mission statement to not only tell of our passion and dreams, but show it. A visual portrayal of emphasis, passion, dedication, and most importantly, flaws was built to prove to readers that we mean what we say and we mean. We are here to share stories that matter from people and charities that have something powerful to say.

 

Our mission statement simmered in the back of my mind for weeks, as I continued to feel empowered by its message. I thought to myself, why not bring this same message of empowerment to our readers, our contributors, our supporters? To our adventurers, our storytellers, our activists, and our dreamers? That is the heart and soul of Voice A Story.

 

Process shot of hand lettering Voice A Story Magazine's Mission Statement. I created this visual mission statement for Voice A Story because I wanted the mission statement to not only tell of our passion and dreams, but show it. A visual portrayal of emphasis, passion, dedication, and most importantly, flaws was built to prove to readers that we mean what we say and we mean. We are here to share stories that matter from people and charities that have something powerful to say.

 

Putting our mission into action.

 

I set out excitedly sharing this idea with Voice A Story’s Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Ryan. With the rest of the VAS team, we set out to collaboratively write four passion statements for the adventurer, storyteller, activist, and dreamer. It has a little bit of all of us in it, and we hope it speaks to you too. These missions are both utterly personal and globally understood. We find commonality in our deepest convictions, where we can acknowledge our differences but see the beauty and strength in this thing we both feel.

 

These passion statements were written entirely by hand, with minimal retouching for prints. Because for me, it is important to recognize the inherent power in our very fingertips. That, while they may have flaws or hit a few bumps along the way, have the incredible power to create and feel and build. That we don’t need computer and technology and money to be fulfilled. We need passion and humility and creation.

 

Inspiration is a powerful tool because it allows us to see that we are the masters of our life, and thus we have the ability to shift and shape it into something good, something meaningful, something better than what came before.

 

 

So which are you?

 

You may notice that the four pillars of Voice A Story relate strongly to the core of South Ranch Creative: create. dream. explore. act. So it was incredibly difficult for me to say that I am not every one of these things! Let’s be real, most of us are probably at LEAST two and I know that in my own way I AM all of these things and more!

 

The print that kept me coming back, though, was the activist print. I praise many of the wise words of my friend Sara in this statement, for she (and we) were able to touch on everything I care about in six little sentences. Because activism is about donating or volunteering for nonprofits. It’s about the deeply felt belief that you are an equal being to every other on this planet. It’s about the feeling of obligation to lift up those who are down, in trust that you will be lifted up when you need it. It’s about humility and service and using your voice. Creation, art, crafts, design. Those are all tools for me to act. To be the person I want to be and help others do the same.

 

The print that kept me coming back, though, was the activist print. I praise many of the wise words of my friend Sara in this statement, for she (and we) were able to touch on everything I care about in six little sentences. Because activism is about donating or volunteering for nonprofits. It’s about the deeply felt belief that you are an equal being to every other on this planet. It’s about the feeling of obligation to lift up those who are down, in trust that you will be lifted up when you need it. It’s about humility and service and using your voice. Creation, art, crafts, design. Those are all tools for me to act. To be the person I want to be and help others do the same.

 


Which are you? The activist? The storyteller? The adventurer? The dreamer? Are you all four or something else entirely? I’d love to hear your story and which poster resonates both with you. They are available for purchase here so check them out along with our latest issue of the magazine! For a limited time, you can bundle issue 04 (our most recent issue) with a passion print of your choosing to get the ultimate passion package deal! That deal is available here and you can feel great about your purchase because $1 of every current magazine purchase goes to our featured charity of that issue. Issue 04’s featured charity is Far Away Friends, a brilliant and youthful nonprofit that just put the finishing touches on a school they built from the ground up in Namasale, Uganda.

 

So my adventures, my activists, my storytellers, my dreamers, and my CREATIVES, never stop looking for your passion and working towards the reality of it. You may just surprise yourself when you make it.



Stay creative. Stay you.

-B

 

Your Mission. Your Voice. Take a peek inside my process for creating, lettering, and designing these passion posters for Voice A Story Magazine.
When I first started collecting leaves last fall, they were for props to use for my other listings, ornaments and coasters mainly. But the more I collected, the more I started to appreciate the colors, the shapes, the patterns, and the uniqueness of every individual leaf. It happened by accident, almost. One day I looked down at one of my flattened leaves and thought to myself, this would be a great canvas to paint on. And so I did.

New in the Shop: Framing Nature

When I first started collecting leaves last fall, they were for props to use for my other listings, ornaments and coasters mainly. But the more I collected, the more I started to appreciate the colors, the shapes, the patterns, and the uniqueness of every individual leaf. It happened by accident, almost. One day I looked down at one of my flattened leaves and thought to myself, this would be a great canvas to paint on. And so I did.

 

From there I couldn’t be stopped. It was actually strange to me how much fun I was having doing the same thing I normally do, just on a different surface. It was like nature’s coloring book, and I had to stay within the lines of the leaves. My only regret is not collecting enough leaves to last the year!

 

Though I’ve had a couple of my framed leaves in the shop for a while, I finished four new ones this week and am so thrilled with how they turned out so I wanted to share the whole collection with you, newest first. I was even bold enough to show myself in a few of these pictures. Looks like it’s time to start recruiting friends as models!

 

Wanderlust Framed Painted Leaf Wanderlust Framed Painted Leaf Wanderlust Framed Painted Leaf Explore Framed Painted LeafExplore Framed Painted Leaf Explore Framed Painted Leaf Explore Framed Painted Leaf Small Red Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Small Red Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Small Red Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Explore Broken to Pieces Framed Painted Leaf Explore Broken to Pieces Framed Painted Leaf Explore Broken to Pieces Framed Painted Leaf Large Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Large Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Large Geometric Framed Painted Leaf Multi Pattern Framed Geometric Painted LeafMulti Pattern Framed Geometric Painted Leaf

 

Hope y’all enjoyed! Everything shown above is (while supplies last) available in my Etsy shop that you can find here. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’d like to see painted on leaves next so drop a comment and lets chat.

Till next time,

Live creatively.

-B

 

When I first started collecting leaves last fall, they were for props to use for my other listings, ornaments and coasters mainly. But the more I collected, the more I started to appreciate the colors, the shapes, the patterns, and the uniqueness of every individual leaf. It happened by accident, almost. One day I looked down at one of my flattened leaves and thought to myself, this would be a great canvas to paint on. And so I did.
A lesson for beginners who have never tried calligraphy before on how to hold the pen, the basic strokes that create letterforms, and alphabet I use when doing modern calligraphy.

An Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Basics: Holding the Pen and Basic Strokes

Last week, I posted about the tools I use as a calligrapher and some of the tips and tricks I wish I had known when I was first starting out with modern calligraphy two summers ago. This week, I want to teach beginners who have never tried calligraphy before how to hold the pen, the basic strokes that create letterforms, and alphabet I use when doing modern calligraphy. If you don’t know what supplies you need or where to begin, you can check out part 1 of this introduction here.

 

Step 1: Holding the Pen and Nib Placement

 

Learning how to hold your calligraphy pen is a crucial step to modern calligraphy success that you might be tempted to overlook. Many times when first learning I would be having trouble with uneven strokes or the nib skipping on the paper and thought I was just using the wrong paper or nib or just needed more practice. In fact, it was my nib that wasn’t inserted correctly into my pen holder that was causing a lot of headache and not very pretty writing.

 

Anatomy of your calligraphy tools: Oblique pen holder and flex nib

 

First you will need to know a little bit about the anatomy of your pen. The tool you will be using for pointed pen calligraphy to hold your nib is called an oblique pen holder. The little doohickey coming out to the side at the end of the pen is called a flange, and that is what holds your nib and enables you to write at different angles so that the pressure and direction of your downstrokes are consistent and parallel with the angle of the nib. You may also instead choose to use a straight pen holder depending on your natural hand position when writing or if you are left handed you may find it more comfortable and natural to use to get the correct angle. Disclaimer: I am right handed and although I may point out some tips and tricks I’ve learned for left-handed calligraphers, you may want to seek out more specific lessons for how to hold your pen from a fellow left-handed calligrapher. Youtube is a great resource. You might check out this video here on left handed calligraphy. Once you’ve learned how to hold your pen, the instructions below for forming strokes and letterforms will be the same!

 

Now let’s talk about nibs. The nib is the metal piece that you dip into ink and write with. For pointed pen calligraphy, we will be using a point, or flex nib, which means that the tip of the nib comes apart when you press it to the paper, creating the thick downstrokes in your writing. Those two pieces that form the tip of your nib are called tines. They are tough but can break or come apart over time after lots of use or applying too much pressure on them against the paper. You can find stiffer or more flexible nibs that make it easier or harder to separate the tines to create thicker strokes. I prefer somewhere in the middle. You can check out my most-used nibs and a short description of them here. Now the other most important part of the nib you’ll need to know about is the vent hole or breather hole. That is the hold in the center of your nib at the end of the slit. This hole serves dual purposes. First, it gives your ink a place to collect and feed continuously to the tip of your nib as you’re writing. Without it, the flow of ink would be very inconsistent and it would too quickly come off the pen and dump out into a blob on your paper. The second, and equally important purpose of the vent hole is to reduce the pressure on the tines as they separate on the paper during downstrokes. Without the hole, the tines would be more prone to breaking or splitting.

 

Learning how to hold your oblique pen

 

Now that you know the pieces of the puzzle, we can start putting it together by preparing and holding your pen. First, insert the base of your nib into your pen holder. You want the convex curve of the nib facing up at you, so that the side of the nib with the imprinted nib I.D. is readable. From a point where the nib is parallel to the plane of the flange, you will want to rotate the nib slightly inward, turning to the right (see picture below). This is a crucial step and varies to every calligrapher’s individual hand position as they write. The reason for turning the nib is because when you hold the pen, the plane of the flange will very likely be angled downward horizontally as well as vertically vertically from the base of the pen. The horizontal downward angle of the flange causes us to need to rotate the nib in the opposite direction to offset that angle. That way when you’re writing, the tines will touch the paper at the exact same time to create straight, consistent strokes. You may notice a jagged edge or curve in what is supposed to be your straight downward stroke otherwise. I know this may sound complicated, but trust me, when you get the hang of holding the pen and practicing strokes, you will easily notice when the nib is out of line and be able to correct it accordingly.

 

Anatomy of your calligraphy tools

 

Learning how to hold your oblique pen

 

Step 2: Basic Strokes of Modern Calligraphy

 

Congratulations! It’s finally time to make a mark on paper. We will start by practicing some basic strokes that are used in almost every letterform you will make when writing pointed pen modern calligraphy. It’s important to practice these strokes often, until and even after they become second nature to you. It’s a good warm-up to any calligraphy session.

 

Learning the Strokes

 

I’ve highlighted eight commonly used strokes that I use when creating letterforms in this style of modern calligraphy. I’ve numbered them 1-8 so that later on you can see how I put the individual strokes together to form letters. Remember, the thick strokes are created when you are pulling the pen downward. The thin strokes are created with upward movements.

Learn basic strokes for modern calligraphy

Learn basic strokes for modern calligraphy

Learn basic strokes for modern calligraphy

Learn basic strokes for modern calligraphy

    • Stroke 1: This is your most basic downstroke. Practice making a perfectly vertical stroke that is a consistent thickness the whole way down. This will teach you sensitivity to the pressure you are putting on your nib and help you create consistent strokes throughout your writing.

 

    • Stroke 2: This is stroke, or a variation of it, is of the most commonly used strokes you will make. It is found in several of lowercase letters such as a, i, m, n, and u. Start by making a downstroke, then right as you get towards the bottom, start to release some of the pressure as you begin drawing your pen around and back upwards at an angle.

 

    • Stroke 3: This is the opposite of stroke 2 and also very commonly used. This time, begin with an upstroke, putting very little pressure on the nib so that the tines are still touching each other. Then as you round the top, begin to add pressure and do a downstroke.

 

    • Stroke 4: This is sort of a combination of 2 and 3. Create individual shapes to start, and when you begin to get the hang of it, try creating a continuous wavy line and see how consistent you can get it to look. Try to keep the angled upward strokes all at the same angle and the thick downward slopes all perfectly vertical.

 

    • Stroke 5: Stretch out your stroke 4 to create an approximately 90 degree angle between your upward and downward strokes. Again, try creating a continuous line of this and see how consistent you can get it to be.

 

    • Stroke 6: Stroke 6 is the shape I like to use to create the counter, or enclosed circular shape in a lot of my lowercase letters. Think about the a, b, d, g, p, and q. You can use this shape or stroke 7 to create round enclosed area. I prefer this slightly more funky shape to give my modern calligraphy a little bit of character.

 

    • Stroke 7: In addition to using this stroke in place of stroke 6 for all the uses listed above, it is also necessary for your o and a good way to practice consistent transitioning from upward to downward strokes.

 

    • Stroke 8: The final and most complicated of my basic strokes will help you get the feel for creating the ascenders and descenders of letterforms like b, d, or q. While you’ll never make this stroke exactly, it will help you get in a rhythm and practice your ascenders and descenders at the same time.

 

Applying the Strokes

 

Now that you have a bit of a sense for the pen and the motions your hand will be frequently making, lets combine a few of these basics strokes to make letters! I’ve added directional arrows to each stroke and labeled any strokes that are the basic ones you learned above (1-8) to help memorize the motions. If you only see one form, that means I created the whole letter without picking up my pen. If you get lost, start at the red dot and follow the directional arrows to understand how to create the form.

 

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase a, lowercase b, lowercase c.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase g, lowercase h.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase i, lowercase j, lowercase k.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase l, lowercase m.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase n, lowercase o.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase p, lowercase q, lowercase r.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase s, lowercase t. \How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase u, lowercase v, lowercase w.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase x.

How to create letterforms with pointed pen modern calligraphy. Lowercase y, lowercase z.

 

Awesome work friends! Now you know your ABCs of modern calligraphy! I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves, so in part 3 of this lesson, I will show you my whole lowercase alphabet together, and two variations of a capital alphabet. I’ll also go over some variations you can apply to your letters and talk briefly about flourishing! So practice your strokes and your lowercase ABCs once you get comfortable with that. Let me know what questions you have; I’d love to answer them!

 

Practice makes perfect.
Practice makes better.

-B

Quotes that Matter Monday | Charlie Kaufman | "People are starving. They may not know it because they’re being fed mass produced garbage. The packaging is colourful and loud, but it’s produced in the same factories that make Pop Tarts and iPads, by people sitting around thinking, ‘What can we do to get people to buy more of these?’"

Quotes that Matter Monday – People are Starving

This is important. This lecture and quote are supposed to be about screenwriting but it applies to everyone. It really does. It’s a necessary excursion from the hum of daily life that we find ourselves trapped in. I actually listened to twice back to back. And then later a third time to write down quotes. I reconize I am a little crazy for that, and I know I’m a little behind because it’s from 2011 but that’s okay. You can read a transcript of the full lecture here or listen to it at the bottom of this post.

Charlie Kaufman, Screenwriters Lecture (September 2011)

 

“Here’s a recent quote that I found: ‘We do not talk, we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests.’ That was actually written in 1945 by Henry Miller and I think it’s timely. I think what it says is that the world has been on its present course for a long time. People all over the world spend countless hours of their lives every week being fed entertainment in the form of movies, TV shows, newspapers, YouTube videos and the internet. And it’s ludicrous to believe that this stuff doesn’t alter our brains.

 

It’s also equally ludicrous to believe that – at the very least – this mass distraction and manipulation is not convenient for the people who are in charge. People are starving. They may not know it because they’re being fed mass produced garbage. The packaging is colourful and loud, but it’s produced in the same factories that make Pop Tarts and iPads, by people sitting around thinking, ‘What can we do to get people to buy more of these?’

 

And they’re very good at their jobs. But that’s what it is you’re getting, because that’s what they’re making. They’re selling you something. And the world is built on this now. Politics and government are built on this, corporations are built on this. Interpersonal relationships are built on this. And we’re starving, all of us, and we’re killing each other, and we’re hating each other, and we’re calling each other liars and evil because it’s all become marketing and we want to win because we’re lonely and empty and scared and we’re led to believe winning will change all that. But there is no winning.” –Charlie Kaufman

 

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Live intentionally,
-B