It’s been a bit of a trial even to get back to the point of writing, here. Good points? 1) I found my old Japanese Pentel Brush Pen (the one with the ink reservoir as the handle and no English anywhere), 2) I did go out and just get the Uni-Ball Signo 207’s in Ultra Micro and Bold; 3) I cleaned out one of my desk spaces and found at least five in-progress paper journals, organized by theme.
I had started to play around with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen at work (this one was packaged for the U.S. but still has kanji on it that I can’t read), when I realized that I did not have an adequate amount of control over it as regards handling, to be able to be intentional about my marks, when drawing. Upon realizing that, I started trying to write in kana (Japanese syllabary), and found that this pen is excellent for writing in Japanese!
At that point, I went into the stacks to try and find materials with which to expand my (Japanese) vocabulary. What’s nice is that I can understand a good amount of this. The negative point is that I had been hoping to focus on calligraphy, not necessarily getting wholly involved in learning another language! I know it will give me skills lacked by others, but still: it wasn’t my intent to launch into learning Japanese language because I got a brush pen. 😉
Nor was it my intent to come home, start reading aloud, and have D switch the channel to NHK World so that I could hear native Japanese intonation…
At least he’s supportive, though. I guess that’s nice. 🙂
Finding the paper journals, though — that was kind of a trip. There’s stuff in there from at least five years ago. Because I found them, I was kind of wondering where to place new thoughts, at this point; but what I’m writing here is kind of on a meta-level; and my journals are themed. I do want to do something with my hands, though, and writing longhand counts as part of that. So does calligraphy, and drawing.
Speaking of which, it’s much easier to play around, when using pens or markers which make a consistent mark regardless of force, as versus using things which make marks which are dependent on hand pressure. Let alone hand pressure, while using an alternate and not wholly comfortable or understood grip.
I’m guessing it’s like trying to play piano or electric piano when one is used to a keyboard: pianos are sensitive to pressure when the keys are touched. Keyboards, aren’t. I still remember when I got together with one of my friends who made art exclusively on the computer, and she didn’t know how to make a pencil mark lighter by pressing lighter. The variation of pressure was something she hadn’t been exposed to, before. (This is one of the reasons I opted for training in Fine Arts as versus immediately going deeper into Multimedia Arts.)
I’m very good at achieving fine gradation with pencil, but even so, brushes — and especially this little soft Pentel Pocket Brush Pen — are much more sensitive to pressure than that! Also, from what I understand, the normal grip used with Japanese brush calligraphy is different from the grip I’m used to for writing in English.
I suppose it marks the third major grip position I will have gotten used to: in drawing, there is the normal pencil-grip position — like the way one holds the upper stick of a pair of “chopsticks” (hashi). I’ve modified this in a way which gives more control, in exchange for a callus on my middle fingertip: holding the pencil between the tips of the first two fingers, and thumb tip. Then there is holding material (like charcoal) on its side between the fingertips and thumb tip. With brushes, though — there is at least one more grip, and that is the one I’m trying to use now (from memory).
Here, I’m holding the brush vertically, and using the motion of my arm and fingertips (not my wrist) to make strokes. (To be clear, I’m not sure I’m supposed to be using my fingertips.) This involves bracing the handle of the brush vertically against three fingers with the thumb, and essentially hovering over the paper. Granted that this allows for much more freedom of mark than only having one grip position.
After I get it down, maybe I should make a tutorial…I suppose I can film myself, though I’ve never done it before. And, wait: I don’t know how to edit that. I’ve never taken a Digital Filmmaking class. I suppose I can just use photos, then… 😉
I have gotten to the point where this blog has become so large as to be unwieldy. There is the option of switching to a different Theme in order to make my much older entries available…or maybe I should only post here that with which I want to engage others. I have just found it relatively amazing to find these little books with my 29-year-old self’s writings. Not to mention that I can draw in a paper journal (though I may need to resort to things that won’t warp the paper or rub off — like the Signo 207’s). It’s just really tempting to go back to paper journals, but then the entire community engagement thing is missing.
Yeah, blogging is like an entirely different animal than journaling, huh?
I should be able to use calligraphy practice to teach me control over the brush…I just wonder about the possibilities of combining the media of calligraphy and art…