my secret trick for pointed pen calligraphy on handmade paper

kestrel montes

You really can't get any more breathtaking than pointed pen calligraphy on handmade paper! But, how do you deal with all those fibers (the very thing that makes the handmade paper so yummy) getting in your nib and totally ruining your calligraphy day? Here's my super simple trick.

Ready? HAIRSPRAY! Yep. That's it. You see, just like hairspray is meant to hold all your hairs in place, we can use it to hold all the paper "hairs" in place. The hardest part about writing on handmade paper is that the fibers (paper hairs), have a tendency to catch on the sharp nib and lift off the paper. Our nib ends up with a big glob of gunk in the top and our beautiful, clean strokes become blobby messes.

Here's all I do:
1) Use aerosol can of hairspray because it sprays in an even mist.
2) Apply even coat to entire surface of paper. 
3) Allow to dry.
4) Apply second coat if the paper is extra fibrous like this yummy Farmette Press paper.
5) Use a very light hand when writing. I'll explain...

You may notice me lifting in rather odd places as I write (by "odd places" I mean not the normal stroke break-down places I would normally lift). This is because, while hairspray is a fricking life saver, it's not 100% foolproof. I pay extra attention to the feel of the nib on the paper. At the risk of sounding hippie, you need to be in tune with your hand. Any time I feel the slightest possible catch of my nib, I lift off the paper. When I put the nib back down, I am inevitably not on the exact same paper fiber and can continue the stroke without that little catch I felt turning into a full-blown snag.

In this video, I'm using a Hunt 22B. But that's just because it happens to be my favorite nib at the moment. 

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