Monday, 13 March 2017

Nib and Ink: AWESOME Book Review!

Let's take a look at one of my favourite Modern Calligraphy books: Nib and Ink (published by Peguin RandomHouse). I cannot even explain how much I love this book! I totally credit the author Chiara Perano with teaching me the basics of Modern Calligraphy and then some! If you want to learn Modern Calligraphy for yourselves, to stop playing along bit by bit, drooling on Pinterest, and actually learn how to do it for real from an expert, then Nib And Ink is the one to get.

This is the Modern Calligraphy book that I devoured from beginning to end. And I have filled in every bit of blank space!! Really!! Each page has oodles of my writing!

Nib And Ink is split into four outstanding sections...Chiara Perano starts off at the very beginning, taking you through the materials needed, and then starting you off on how to make the marks on the page....

Then, we move onto Letters....

...where we learn how to form each and every letter, the Capitals and the littlies, one by one, slowly and thoroughly. Please don't skip this part. It's only by forming those letters over and over again that your hands will gain the muscle memory they need, and your body will understand the new movements required to form Modern Calligraphy letters properly.

 {Now, a side note: if you go to Amazon and read the reviews, you might be put off but DON'T BE!! The reviewers complain that this book is taken up with a lot of empty pages but this could not be further from the truth. Those parts have a very real and essential function

Yes, there is plenty of room for practice alongside the expert guidance but, honestly, I've found its the practice that is absolutely the best way to learn: to have the example of beautifully formed letters right there and to have a legitimate excuse to scrawl next to it on, gasp, the actual page, rather than having to get a notebook each time you're struck with inspiration!! I've written all over my copy from beginning to end and I LOVE it!! It serves as a written record of my very steep learning curve.}

Next, joy of joys, Chiara Perano lets us move onto Words!! We learn how to link those letters together in strings. This is where the magic really starts. You'll find yourself amazed at that awesome moment when everything comes together and you find yourself producing what could almost pass as Modern Calligraphy itself!!

And, finally, Projects! Woohoooo
This is where you can actually start putting your new skills to good use and bombard all your friends and family with cards and letters!
{They'll love it!}

To all my Modern Calligraphy-loving cuties, if this is something you're serious about getting better at, do yourself a BIG favour and buy Nib and Ink right now!

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Thursday, 9 March 2017

Creative Lettering And Beyond: Book Review've decided that you want to learn more about lettering?
Next question: where do you start? There are so many routes to take, so many of areas of expertise to follow, so many skills to learn. It can be pretty overwhelming, am I right? What we all need is a book that touches briefly but thoroughly on a whole host of those different options and, whaddaya know, I have just the thing!!...May I introduce Creative Lettering and Beyond by Gabri J. Kirkendall (published by Walter Foster Publishing, £12.99).

This book will help you see the wood for the trees. Creative Lettering And Beyond teaches four quite distinct writing skills: Modern Calligraphy, Illustrated Lettering, Chalk Lettering and Lettering Crafts. It's got rave reviews on Amazon and I can totally see why: it's BEAUTIFULLY presented, full of great ideas and good advice.

Throughout each chapter, four different authors take you firmly by the hand and then lead you gently, knowledgeably, through the maze of new skills.

Lets' start with Modern Calligraphy.....this was already a definite in my mind and Creative Lettering and Beyond confirmed without doubt that this was a skill I most definitely wanted to learn. The author Laura Lavender (and who wouldn't want to be called Laura Lavender?!) does well at emphasising that, whilst Modern Calligraphy is based on traditional calligraphic fonts, the aim is to find your own unique style. She calls her own style Modern Vintage, which is a little different from the look you might have come to expect from seeing other Modern Calligraphy. Laura Lavender has given it her own special twist.

The Illustrated Lettering chapter takes those incredible images of inspiring quotes in beautiful scripts that you must have seen on Pinterest and breaks them down into simple, achievable chunks. 

creative lettering and beyond - how to illustrate lettering:

Each of the chapters actually gives a slightly different take on 'traditional' Modern Calligraphy, so don't stop reading at chapter one!

The Chalk Lettering chapter will get you reaching for tools to create your own blackboard before you reach the end of the first page. So many possibilities!! And the best bit? You'll feel as though the gorgeous examples are in your reach!

Image result for creative lettering and beyond

And, lastly, Lettering Crafts, brings it all together, giving lots more examples of each craft to make every part of your life beautiful!

Reading Creative Lettering And Beyond left me sure of precisely the skills that I wanted to begin learning, whilst also being able to put aside other areas that appealed to me less. After finishing, I was ready to get going......

So guess where we'll be heading here on Modern Country Style....?

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Absolute Beginner's Guide To Modern Calligraphy: YouTube Resources

Let's kick of this li'l series on The Absolute Beginner's Guide To Modern Calligraphy by looking at some of my most-used teaching resources. There are lots of books and videos floating out there at the moment, so I've scoured through LOTS on of the information out there on your behalf and picked out for the very best, that I've found invaluable along the way to help me learn.

There's also a couple of YouTube videos that I want to show you. Please bear in mind that some of the best YouTube videos are sometimes overlooked because they're not professionally look past the background noise and the lack of gimmicks or finesse and focus on the content! 

This first video was the one that made me start to think that Modern Calligraphy was something I could get the hang of, and certainly taught me that you could learn to fake it till you make it (for the record, not nearly as satisfying as the real thing but a lot less effort)! It really gets going from about the four minute mark.... 

The second video is the one that really gave me the kick to start for myself. It made me think, not only this is something I can actually do, but also that Modern Calligraphy would be a hobby that I'd LOVE!

Take a look....

So, now we've established that Modern Calligraphy is a totally achievable skill, let me give a little caution. This is not a skill that you can just magic up with a couple of glances at Pinterest. IT does take time, and learning from people who've trod the path before you is the best, and most enjoyable way to learn, as they beckon you happily forward.

With that in mind, I'll be shortly sharing some of my favourite books and tools that I hope will completely inspire you to get cracking with Modern Calligraphy!....

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

I have a new obsession. I say that as though it's a recent fad but I've been crazy about it for months now. What is it?

Modern Calligraphy...

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

If you haven't heard the name itself, you will most definitely have seen Modern Calligraphy at a wedding near you. This gorgeousness gets everywhere! Just take a look at some of these examples and tell me that you're resisting falling in love....

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

And the very best news of all? It's totally doable! This isn't a craft that you have to stand back and watch the experts at work. 

Yes, it takes time, yes, it takes a little equipment but you and I can do it!
{And, anyway, since when was buying stationary a bad thing?!!}

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

In December, I decided I was going to set to it and learn Modern Calligraphy for myself. Then, unexpectedly, for Christmas, I got lots of beautiful bits and pieces to help me on my way, which I've added to over the past two months. Some bits were UH-maaaazing, others not so much.

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

Modern Calligraphy: The Modern Country Craft You'll LOVE!!

So over the next few posts, I'm going to be here sharing my journey so far in learning Modern Calligraphy, and how you can come along with me too...

Images via: etsy, etsy, style me pretty, the lane, umkmown, buzzfeed, etsy, a fabulous fete, elli, unknown

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Monday, 6 February 2017

Modern Country Favourites: Picture Britain

I came across a new company recently that I love, Picture Britain....I adore both the concept and the products themselves. I'm very proud of being British and, particularly at the moment, I think any opportunity to remind ourselves what a beautiful country we live in is not to be overlooked.

The first thing you'll see when you go to Picture Britain's website is the following words: Beautifully Photographed, Beautifully Framed. I love the idea of turning the stunning views of around Britain, that many of us are so lucky to experience, into works of art. 

Picture Britain pride themselves on their production process, using only the very best materials: high pigment inks, thick mounts, solid hardwood frames, heavy papers.

Drawing from a group of exceptional photographers from accross the country, Picture Britain is able to offer an astonishing variety of photos, from the urban....

The Dome of St Pauls

to the rural....

Photography Print of Fields of Lavender, Hitchin by Matt Freestone  - Picture Britain

to the wild.....

Photography Print of Ingleborough by Matt Smith  - Picture Britain

You may recognise some of the scenes....

Photography Print of West Pier Brighton by Matt Freestone  - Picture Britain

....but others will be new visual treats...

I chose Dark Hedges in the largest size:

Photography Print of The Dark Hedges by Chris Humphreys  - Picture Britain

I've always had a secret thrill passing under tunnels made by trees.....we call them Fairy Tunnels in our family. I can't imagine a better image of such a tunnel. It looks somehow enchanted, eerie and inviting all at once. This is definitely to be treasured.

Every part of the picture oozes quality. Take a look and see which you'd choose...

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