If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with moments where you need to take a break from thinking. In those moments, I’ll admit that I indulge in screen time. I hold Remy and bounce on an exercise ball while we watch music videos — mostly in Spanish so I can sort of trick myself into justifying it as “cultural immersion”! (Hernán does talk to Remy in Spanish, but I figure the extra exposure can’t hurt!)
As we watched Daddy Yankee’s Dura, I couldn’t help but notice the colorful lettering on the cinder block wall in the background. And that’s when I came up with the idea to combine calligraphy and music. I think it would be so cool to complement contemporary popular songs with the age-old art of lettering!
Why I Chose to Calligraph The Star Spangled Banner
I have to admit that when I first considered writing out songs, I was thinking of something more … current. Something catchy that you hear on the radio; a tune by a well-known singer. Then, I went down the rabbit hole of copyright research, and I found that you can’t use popular songs without getting permission from the copyright holder. I have no idea how to go about contacting the likes of, I don’t know, Beyoncé, so I went to the YouTube Audio Library, where you can find copyright-free songs to use in your videos. Most of the songs are instrumental, but there are a few pieces with vocals — like, you guessed it, The Star Spangled Banner.
The Star Spangled Banner: Calligraphy + Lettering Edition YouTube Video
I received several pieces of positive feedback from posting Eine kleine Nachtmusik last week with a realistic writing speed. I promise that I’ll show you more of that real-life speed in future videos! For this one, though, I had to digitally speed up the writing significantly to match the pace of the lyrics. The effect is fun, light, and creative. So, without further ado, let’s give it up for The U.S. Army Band’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner … paired with calligraphy and lettering!:
In this video, you’ll catch a few TPK calligraphy styles! They include:
- Janet Style calligraphy (Lines include “O say can you see,” and “And the rockets’ red glare.”)
- Amy Style calligraphy (“Whose broad stripes and bright stars.”)
- Kaitlin Style calligraphy (Lines include “What so proudly we hailed,” and “That our flag was still there.”)
I used a Brause EF66 nib to write the calligraphy, and I used a Nikko G nib to make the block lettering. The ink is Walker’s Copperplate from Scribbler’s (affiliate link)! The block lettering doesn’t follow any specific styles — it just echoes the moods of the song lines.
I hope that you enjoy this fun little video! I had a nice time making it. If, by chance, you’re a famous recording artist, consider granting me permission to calligraph your songs? 😉 Otherwise, I’ll keep an eye on the YouTube Audio Library for more well-known songs with vocals.
Thanks very much for watching, and if you’re a subscriber, we’ll reconvene on Monday with the TPK newsletter (and the Janet Style Video Course pre-release)!