I received a request recently to write on a cut photo mat. I have done quite a few of these over the years and I almost always dreaded it because I never knew how the mat board would react to my writing fluid or my pen of choice. And it was always a “one shot deal”; really not conducive to fixing if I were to make a mistake or even just get a smudge on the surface. Often these are “just a few words” so I think I approached them as quick and easy jobs, thus overlooking my usual preparation.
This most recent job was a real pleasure. I think it is because I finally took all of my own advice in how I approached it. I didn’t even consider using ink – used gouache instead. This advice was given to me by several seasoned calligraphers who have done book inscriptions and other “one shot deal” type jobs. Even if you are using black – mix black gouache. Yes, ink might be easier or faster but once you touch the tip of your pen to the paper and it soaks in your screaming and running away hoping it was just a bad dream doesn’t change anything!
After getting a quick sample approved to determine style of writing, I then wrote and re-wrote several times on good paper to insure desired, size and placement. I made sure my nibs were nice and clean and honed so they wouldn’t catch on the texture of the mat. I lightly lined on the mat with a good quality but erasable pencil. Basically I did what I should do with EVERY job – prepare, prepare, prepare instead of diving right in. Sometimes diving is fun, but when it is a “one shot deal” no so much.
I then embraced the sweet. I suggested in my samples that maybe some small hearts might be in order. I often find myself trying not to be “too cute” with writing or embellishments. Thinking somehow it was cheating or not “classical calligraphy” or something! “I am a calligrapher, not a crafter“…but you know what? I can do both! It took this seemingly simple job to open my eyes to having more fun. Prepare, prepare, prepare, but when it comes time to put pen to final product – loosen up! and ENJOY! Thanks, Christa, for this opportunity!