|Frequently Asked Questions
|Q: Is your work for sale?
I do sell some of my work. Prints of my work can be made available for purchase, and I take commissions for one-of-a-kind pieces.
If you would like information about how you can purchase my work, please contact me by e-mail or snailmail. I would appreciate hearing from you - it is a great help to me to know which pieces you're interested in, even if you decide not to purchase. I am considering having some pieces printed commercially in quantity, and I value your feedback on your favorites.
I hope eventually to set this site up with a capability for direct purchase over the Web.
Q: What tools do you use?
For the first ten years or more of my interest in calligraphy, I did all of my work using traditional calligraphy techniques: typically, using a broad-edge pen and ink, watercolor, or gouache. My favorite pens are Mitchell, Hiro, and Tape. My favorite everyday black ink is Pelikan Fount India, which is no longer available in the U. S. For more formal work, I use hand-ground ink; my favorite stick ink is from Boku-Undo (Japan). Most of my gouache colors are from Windsor& Newton, except for some metallic colors from Schmincke. For quick color work, I am very fond of ZIG calligraphy markers.
Q: But you use a computer in your work, don't you?
More recently, I've become very interested in combining traditional calligraphy technique with computer graphic techniques. The amount of work I do on the computer varies greatly. Sometimes the original calligraphy is done completely by hand, and I use the computer for "paste up," by scanning the hand calligraphy a word or a line at a time and reassembling it in different layouts on a computer drawing or page layout program, such as Macromedia Freehand or Adobe Illustrator. At other times I may use the computer (e. g., in Photoshop) to retouch a piece to remove blemishes or smooth a ragged edge, I may use the scanned original as the basis for a computer "painting" as in my "So Many Fish" piece (see the Gallery), or I may do the calligraphy entirely on the computer, using a graphics tablet as my "paper" and a stylus as my "pen."
Today, the majority of my work uses the computer to some extent. To me, the computer is just another tool; I find, however, that when I tell people that I used a computer to produce a particular piece, their reaction is often "Oh, well, so that's how you were able to do it," as though the computer did all the work and all I did was to select fonts and clip art. All the work you see here, whether the computer was used or not, is my own. In some cases, the amount of labor in a computer piece can be extensive. The "So Many Fish" piece in the Gallery, for example, took 30 hours or more of work.
For non-traditional lettering styles, I frequently will sketch my letters using a pencil, fill in the pencil sketch with ink, and then scan and touch up the inked sketch on the computer. I find this technique is especially well-suited to production of single words or short headlines for use in a graphic composition or a typeset page. The main logo on my home page, for example, was done using this technique. Another advantage of developing skill in pencil sketching of your letters is that you can sketch your ideas whenever they occur to you, without having to carry your calligraphy pens around.
Q: What computer hardware and software do you use?
I use a WACOM Intuos 9x12 graphics tablet and stylus for my computer-aided artwork. My workhorse programs are Freehand, Painter 6, and Photoshop 6. My computer is a Mac G4 with 704 MB of memory. I do my prints on an Epson 2200 printer, which uses archival pigment inks with excellent fade-resistant properties, and can take very heavy-weight art papers. For greeting cards and other less permanent pieces, I often use my older printer, a Hewlett-Packard 1220Cse, which gives very nice color and relatively high resolution on plain papers and card stocks, using dye-based inks.
Q: What papers do you use for prints?
I have used a lot Cone-Tech (inkjetmall.com) paper, Matte #3233, which is heavy weight, and gives very high resolution and color gamut, for my "art quality" prints. Since I got the Epson printer, I've been experimenting with papers from Epson, Red River Papers, and Inkjetart.com; the 2200 is a little picky about paper, but gives stunning results if you use papers specifically made for it. Red River Premium Matte and Polar Matte and Inkjetart.com's DuoBrite Matte papers all seem to work well. For casual prints and greeting cards, I use a variety of papers from Hammermill, Wasau, and Great White.
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