Saturday, May 29, 2010

a disappearing art

I added "learn calligraphy" to my list of things to do this year. I've always loved writing and coming up with different styles for myself, so naturally calligraphy is something I've always wanted to do. A quick little search proved that yes! I can learn it on my own online! Sweet!

I found a good website (finally) that shows you exactly how to hold the pen and how to make each stroke. I was using one a couple weeks ago that only explained it (in minute detail) and I found that to be terribly demotivating. I like pictures. I learn best by doing, not reading. (Here's the site if you're interested.) Also I suck at math and telling me to hold the pen at a 21 degree angle to the page wasn't helping.

I'm sure you noted the "a couple weeks ago" statement. Yeah. As usual, I got some crazy idea in my head, looked it up, then never looked back. So since I've also been procrastinating on writing a letter to a friend, I've since made that my short term goal. Learn and practice enough calligraphy to be able to write her address on the envelope. Kills two birds with one stone.

Since making that goal, I immediately felt super rushed. I wanted a shortcut, and I figured the best thing to do was to learn just the letters I needed. Naturally that didn't work at all, and it added another week to my procrastination. Big surprise.

I started to think back to when I was first learning how to print and handwrite. Do you remember that?We had to write pages and pages of only G's or S's (all the letters) over and over again to practice the shape. We also had to practice drawing waves and other little patterns just so we would get better at manipulating our pencils, too. (I can still draw some pretty sweet waves.)

I sucked it up and started with the first letter in the foundational alphabet (arranged according to how the shape is made, not alphabetically. An O in this case), and I wrote it over and over until I could do it as perfectly as my highlighter would allow. And you wanna know what? I've actually found that that's made my calligraphy lessons go a lot smoother! I can see my progress. I can see when it looks bad and I can figure out what I did wrong. Procrastination is replaced with motivation!

I also switched from that stupid dull highlighter to some smelly Mr. Sketches today since they're the only other pen I have with a chisel tip. And if that's not motivating enough well, I don't know what more I could do.

note to self: buy a chisel tipped pen

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