Hi, everyone! It’s Ana … though you may not recognize me because I’ve changed a lot since my last blog post. How? I can now create dip pen calligraphy! I recently had the privilege of taking Lindsey’s Sunday, June 9th, Beginner’s Modern Calligraphy Workshop, and I’m going to give you a look into my experience.
Welcome to the Workshop!
I feel like it would be a crime not to start with the venue. From the moment I walked into the Riverside, I was mesmerized. The rush of the Boulder creek just outside the window, the warm sunlight spilling onto the hardwood floors, and the exposed brick interior all make it feel like you’ve entered a rustic, riverfront cottage. It’s a serene setting that caters to relaxation. The room is elegant, with a long table punctuated with touches of greenery. Each participant’s place card is flourished with metallic ink that plays with the light from a wall of windows. Treats like herbal iced tea and homemade cookies grace the table near the windows, and Lindsey’s gorgeous cauliflower cake is the star of the refreshment show.
Lindsey is warm and welcoming upon introduction. She wants to know where you’re from, how your travels were, and what you’re looking forward to during your time in Boulder. Her smile is infectious and her positivity is even more so. I felt excited and nervous as I nestled into my seat at the table, set with the best-of-the-best calligraphy essentials.
Similar to a dinner place setting, the calligraphy supplies are laid out neatly on the table, consisting of:
- (Beautiful!) name card
- Workshop packet (printed on #32 laserjet paper)
- Cup of art water
- Jar of white ink
- Jar of sumi ink
- Tightly-woven cotton cleaning cloth
- Straight pen
- Oblique pen with a specially-adjusted flange
- Brause EF66 nib
- Nikko G nib
- Ballpoint pen
Let’s Begin, Shall We?
If you’ve ever taken one of Lindsey’s online courses — or learned a calligraphy style with a TPK worksheet set — you’ll recall the attention to detail in the learning process. In my first blog post, I learned Janet Style calligraphy with brush pens. That background knowledge of the exemplar and teaching style was wildly helpful on Sunday! Many participants came in with no calligraphy experience and did great, but I did feel like I had a leg up because I have dabbled in calligraphy before.
In her workshops, Lindsey begins with the fundamentals of calligraphy. First, she teaches us how to make faux calligraphy by writing in cursive with a ballpoint pen, which helps us to understand stroke variation (and gives us the intellectual tools to practice on the go!). We learn about the nibs that Lindsey has provided for us, the technique behind making different strokes, and tips and tricks for ongoing success. All the while, she guides us with demonstrations and illustrations on a whiteboard.
Once we’ve gotten an introduction to the calligraphy tools, we delve into the workshop packet! Like any other TPK worksheet set, each stroke is guided. There’s resounding giggles from around the table as we all struggle to make our first letters, splotching and spitting ink with the nib. It’s a warm environment, and comforting to know that most of us are all starting from square one.
The Calligraphy Styles
The packet begins with Amy Style calligraphy: the darling of the TPK worksheet collection. It’s an upright style that caters to beginners. The flourishes are minimal, and strokes easy to identify. Slowly — with patience, laughter, and fueled by Lindsey’s famous chocolate chip cookies — we start to make progress!
After we finish writing Amy Style calligraphy with a straight pen, we move on to the more challenging Janet Style calligraphy. Lindsey teaches us how to use an oblique pen in order to make the Janet. I found Janet Style calligraphy to be much more intimidating than Amy Style because it is riddled with gorgeous flourishes that seem to begin and end in the same place. I figured out that the trick is to relax and not take the letter formation too seriously! After all, the goal of the workshop is to build a calligraphy foundation, not to master a specific calligraphy style.
No, no — we didn’t all get matching TPK tattoos, if that’s what you’re thinking. Instead, Lindsey taught us how to use various gorgeous inks (this part was personally my favorite). Watercolors, Finetec paints, and white ink filled both our Sunday and black cardstock with extra pizazz. Working with special inks via Lindsey’s encouraging shoulder-side guidance was a comforting reminder that even though calligraphy is challenging, the way we practice can always be fun.
By the end of the workshop, I was feeling very comfortable using a dip pen. I loved what I’d learned! This made opening up the little brown goodie bag we each got all the more exciting. Do you remember being eight years old and going to a friend’s birthday party? More importantly, do you remember the thrill when you and your friends each got a goodie bag to take home? Well this is it, folks!
The TPK bags open to reveal travel-friendly sumi ink, the neatest gold-capped glass ink jar you ever did see, and a homework packet (with Kaitlin Style calligraphy practice).
Not to sound mushy, but I think the best take-home is the experience we all shared with such an impassioned artist. There is a newfound confidence in me and a passion to conquer the art of calligraphy, and I owe that to Lindsey. As people trickled out at the end of the workshop, it was neat to see how many students stopped to personally thank her and share a story of how her work changed or inspired their lives. At the end of the day, you’re investing in not only the skills and the experience, but also a supportive instructor.
Attending this workshop was truly a privilege and an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. Furthermore, I know I am not alone in this; TPK’s workshops are a true testament to how much Lindsey cares about calligraphy and the TPK community. This post really doesn’t do it justice, but hopefully my description helps to shed light on the value I found in the workshop, and encourages you to attend one, too. I know you’d love it! You can check out TPK’s Instagram Stories for more workshop photos and videos!
Click here to reserve one of the last three spots for this summer’s workshop series! If you can’t make it this summer, feel free to contact Lindsey for a heads-up when next year’s workshop sign-ups are available.
For now, I must go practice some more of the Janet Style! I’ve got heaps of B’s and R’s to perfect! 😉