Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Coloured Inks
Life doesn’t always go according to plan, so when a good friend’s husband committed suicide and then another good friend’s husband was killed in a truck accident, the rails on my road got a bit wobbly and I needed to focus on providing support to those in need.
It’s just a reality check - sometimes you feel like being creative and sometimes you don’t, which is all ok. I ran out of my creative inspiration for some time and wondered whether it would come back. Of course it did - it just needed time and space for when I was ready. What helped me along the way was reconfiguring my office space so that my roll top desk is now just for lettering and calligraphy, with all the pens, inks etc within easy reach. Sometimes just creating a really nice space to write in, is all it takes to get you wanting to pick up those nibs or pens.
There are loads of misconceptions around calligraphy. Here are a few.
- You need to have good handwriting. - This is untrue. Calligraphy is an art form and comes with practice to build up that muscle memory in your hands and arms. If you have good cursive handwriting, that may be helpful, but Calligraphy should be slow and intentional. That’s why it isn’t like cursive handwriting. Calligraphy requires you to lift the pen to create letters and flourishes, not to join them all together.
- Dip pens and fountain pens are the same. - Not really. Dip pens have interchangeable nibs that you just pull out and push in. Some fountain pens with interchangeable nibs require a little more effort to change the nibs. Fountain pens generally are for writing notes, letters etc whereas dip pens are for creating pieces of art.
- I’m just no good. - Again untrue. It’s important to find the style, that you like. You don’t have to adhere to any particular style, if you don’t want to. Play with the nibs - see what strokes they do and work out what you like. The ‘Calligraphy’ word that I embellished was just to show the different nibs, the thick and thin, and things you can do with them.
In this blog I was trying out another four Winsor and Newton inks. I had Winsor and Newton Emerald, Cobalt, Crimson and Apple Green to play with. I have to say that all the inks are good to work with and have a good flow. Some nibs that you can get, are quite large and the small ink bottles can be a bit challenging. It’s important not to plunge your nib into the ink so that it hits the bottom of the ink bottle as this will damage the nib over time. You may, as the ink goes down, have to tip the bottle on its side somewhat to get a good dipping of the nib.
When you have various nibs, you can interchange the nibs as you go, as long as you don’t mix the nibs and colours that you are using and remember to wash the nibs when you are finished or if you want to change the colour for that nib, making sure you dry the nibs well in between. This will avoid rusting, when you ensure that the nibs are completely dry.
With nibs, once you have trialled them, you will find you have developed a preference for one or two or several. It’s like what flavour ice cream you like, or don’t like. We can’t all be the same, and there will be some nibs that you prefer writing with, and some that you struggle with. So go with what makes you feel good about what you are doing - after all, you have to enjoy doing Calligraphy otherwise you wont keep at it.
If you find your hand or fingers start to ache, make sure you are taking regular breaks and it also may be that you are holding the pen or nib holder too tight. There are differences of opinion on the internet about how you should or shouldn’t hold calligraphy pens. The main thing to remember is that if it is hurting your hand or fingers, then maybe it’s the grip you have.
One of the ways I practice lettering is to write out family names, or days of the week, or months and then start to write lyrics to a song or a poem. Whatever gets you wanting to write. Then when you get more confident, start embellishing with other strokes, colours, lines.
I struggle with patience, I have to admit it - I write something and then I want to embellish it straight away as I have ideas in my head. But these inks are wet, and need time to dry - because embellishing over the top runs the risk of you smudging words with your hands.
So perhaps have several items on the go - so that you can change from one to the other, going back over ones that have already dried. The important thing is to try, and don’t give up. Everyone gets better with practice - just keep at it and have fun with the nibs and inks that are available.