Modern Calligraphy and Ink Swatches

Following on from my participation in Inktober 2018, I was contacted by Ethan Lodics, a gifted composer, artistic director and guitar player living and working in North Carolina, USA.

As a self confessed ink geek he asked if it might be possible to create a visual identity and a style for him using nothing but fountain ink to use on his sheet music covers and also be utilised for his forthcoming website. He wanted something sensitive, abstract and creative that embodied what he was doing utilising the chromatography, serendipity, sheening behaviours and expressive qualities of fountain pen ink.

I started the ball rolling by abstracting his name using automatic pens and Chinese brushes with Parker Quink Black ink. I decided to develop the automatic pen versions as the brush versions had too much of a far eastern look to them. I quickly spotted that by turning his name in a vertical position and adding 6 marks to the tail of the ‘n’ I had what looked like an abstract guitar shaped script with all the freedom and movement that visually describes what he does.

Still using the Quink fountain pen ink I created a series of swatches on various paper surfaces. As it happened, cartridge paper worked best as the white paper texture was more subtle and less pronounced than rough surface of the Bockingford watercolour paper. The colour and tonal range of the chosen swatch just works beautifully.

I then photographed both pieces of ink art at hi resolution and imported into Adobe Creative Suite. With some simple adjustments to the hue of the swatch I created a couple of options for the swatch backgrounds. I used minimalist typography to create a design tension with the abstract calligraphy which Ethan can update as he composes and releases more music.

I’ve created countless abstract scripts over the years but this is the first time I’ve utilised the full chromatic and sheening behaviour of fountain pen ink in a design job. I’m very pleased with the outcome.

Ethan is currently serving as artistic director for a group of young music professionals who will be playing at the Carnegie Hall June 2019 followed by a 4 concert tour in France. If you wish to hear some of music click here for his youtube channel:

If you’d like to know more about creating modern calligraphy with automatic pens and creating ink swatches, I will be posting a series of videos and tutorial videos in 2019. If you want to know when they’re posted,  subscribe to my YouTube channel now by clicking:

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