When I ask a client if they have a favorite lettering style, they often answer “I want calligraphy”. As I have learned, calligraphy is the umbrella word for lettering created by hand. It is defined as “the art of beautiful writing” and it encompasses many different lettering styles. That said, when a new student comes along and wants to learn ‘calligraphy’, I ask them, do you want to start with the pointed pen or the broad-edged pen. Many don’t know how to answer. They didn’t realize that there are two different basic types of pens that they can start with.
Pointed pen lettering looks something like this….with many variations!
The broad-edged pens that I use are in the picture below. I love to use the wooden double-ended holders because the Mitchell pens that I use are labeled 0, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, and 6. I can use 5 holders which keep all 10 pens at the ready for me to use daily.
Finally, I have a wonderful turntable pen/brush holder, so that I can easily find my pens. Note that I have labeled the sizes, for easy retrieval while I’m working. May God bless your life and I hope to see you in an upcoming workshop!
He was a great Dad and I will miss him! Ninety-four productive years and the second generation calligrapher in our family. He mastered the art of engrossing and shared his heart through the words that he penned plus so much more. His was a life well-lived. A life of purpose, excellence and industry. From a loving husband and father, to a calligrapher, a career with the Boy Scouts, classically trained vocalist, dedicated to his faith in God, and a life of service.You can read his obituary here: CLICK (we forgot to add he was an active Rotary Member)
But this is a CALLIGRAPHY blog, so let me share some memories of my father as an engrosser (aka calligrapher) as I saw him. Cliff, grew up in Philadelphia. His father and my grandfather, Walter, was a teacher of shorthand, penmanship and business courses at a local high school. In the years 1943-1947, Walter was taking a correspondence course at The Zanerian College of Penmanship, Columbus, OH. In a 1946 letter to E. A. Lupfer, Walter asked Earl about their summer Courses. Can you believe! Six weeks of instruction was only $30. So once out of the Navy (age 19), Dad journeyed off to take 2 months of intense study at The Zanerian. Later he completed the Engrossers’ course and worked on the Ornamental Penmanship correspondence courses. Can you believe he practiced 10 hours a day back then!? He became quite good and was even asked to become a White House calligrapher (which he declined and went off to the Wharton School, U of Penn and a career with the Boy Scouts). You can read detail of his Zanerian experience here: http://www.heirloomartists.com/blog/?tag=bound-lettered
Once on a family vacation, Dad took us to the Zanerian College (mid 1960’s) and I recall meeting E. A. Lupfer and receiving a Zanerian pen and pencil set. The college seemed to be phasing out at that time. In the article (link above), Cliff/Dad shares some of the companies that he freelanced for. I do remember when the IBM certificates would arrive at our door. I was in Junior High at the time and Cliff trained me to use a T-square, to draw the pencil lines on the certificates and when he finished the names in Engrossers’ Script, I would erase the lines. A penny a line! Those were the years that my bedroom was right next to Dad’s studio. Late at night he would often be completing a resolution, testimonial or certificates and I would look over his shoulder and watch as he formed the letters and beautiful vine work. These were special bonding moments with Dad. He specialized in Engrosser’s Script, Old English and some other styles from the Zanerian Manual. I sure remember his ink, Gillott nibs, oblique pen holders, his large bottle of Arnold’s Ink, shell gold and agate burnishers.
In 1974, my Senior year, Dad tutored me for a season in the lettering styles that he knew and loved. Then he pushed me to take on some paying projects. Ohhhh! I wasn’t very good, but he insisted. The next year, when I went off to college, he said, now, you can go get a job at McDonald’s or you can work on your calligraphy skills and look for ways to make money with it. He taught me how to find clients and sure enough, I landed some work! To this day, I still work for one of the organizations.
During the late 1970’s the calligraphy world had a revival and national Conferences soon began. Dad and I enjoyed going to the calligraphy conferences together. We attended a few IAMPETH conferences in Ohio, where the penmen would dazzle me with bird flourishes and gifts of pen nibs. Later we met in cities from East to West Coast and Canada for the International Conferences. A great father-daughter shared interest, we sure had fun comparing workshops, meeting new friends and learning how to lay gold leaf together. Dad was an enthusiastic member of the Portland Society for Calligraphy, a very active guild. I would fly out and visit him for the conferences.
When he retired from the Boy Scouts, he and my mother enjoyed a second career with their home-based calligraphy/art studio, creating designs for hospitals, colleges, businesses and individuals. Words have meaning and Cliff always found deep and profound words to pen. He expressed his heart through his words. Always purposeful, he wanted to build character in young men, so Dad sold his designs and started a fund to keep Chaplains in the Boy Scout summer camps.
Cliff and Jean in their Lake Oswego Studio, a picture that appeared in the newspaper.
I’m sure I can think of more, but for now, this brings me up to Cliff’s last several years. As mentioned, he went to Wharton ’51 at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoyed going to the Alumni meetings and every August, they would host new students from the Portland area. Ben Franklin was the founder of Penn, so Cliff created reproductions of The Virtues and Precepts of Benjamin Franklin (above) and took them to the picnic. Even at 92, Cliff gave a history lesson about Ben and gifted the students with the design, encouraging them to ‘put it on your dorm wall’. 🙂
My mother had dementia and Dad lovingly cared for her. It broke his heart, when Jean Hollingsworth Mansley passed away in March 2019. Then Cliff had his own health struggles. While in assisted living, he set up his calligraphy table with pen and ink and would letter the names of his caregivers. In the last year, he attempted one last undertaking….I had recreated all of the Founding Documents of our country – the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. www.Patrigraphica.com Dovetailing with that, Dad attempted to start a speaking contest in which kids around the country would focus on an aspect of one of these Docs and learn what our great country is all about. He was not able to see this through. He fell on April 30th, 2021 breaking his clavicle and 2 ribs and just could not recover from this. He passed into Eternity on May 25, 2021. He loved the Lord and loved serving others.
If you would like to see Cliff’s work or purchase reproductions go to Cliff’s website www.HeirloomArtists.com (go to Portfolio and SHOP) or contact Holly at www.HollyMonroe.com and set up a studio appointment to see a broader range of his originals and reproductions.
What a nice surprise! Last Friday night I was awarded Best of Show at the Oregon State Fair 2017, Calligraphy Division. The cash award made it an even sweeter win.
To submit an entry to the Oregon State Fair, the calligraphy has to be created within the last 2 years. That is always a challenge for me, since so much of my work goes directly to my clients. My assistant, Heather Barton (who is also a calligrapher and prize winner), remembered that I had the ‘Achiever’ original remaining…..scroll down….
‘Achiever’ was a piece that I completed for Mason, Ohio, client Dawn Shiver this past winter. She and her husband own Shiver Security Systems, Inc. in Mason and were looking for some special awards for their top salesmen. Dawn commissioned me to rework the wording and create the artwork, which was later scanned, retouched, color altered and finally high end reproductions were printed one at a time from my Epson R3000 printer on Entrada digital paper. The original was created on D’Arches black 140# paper, with tinted Dr. Martin’s bleed proof white to help the capitals pop. Brown gouache was added to my gold Winsor New metallic gouache to give the script more of a bronzed look. Fabulous Frames in Cincinnati, enhanced the awards with beautiful frames. DesignSource in Oregon, framed the winning original.
Achiever – Best of Show, Oregon State Fair 2017, Calligraphy Division
Have you ever kept a diary or a journal? You write your thoughts and experiences in a notebook in an effort to keep a record of your life…often to look back and marvel at the journey God has taken you on, or to pass down to the next generation. Bible Journaling is similar, only, as you read Scripture you pull out the phrases that are most meaningful to you, creatively illustrating and lettering them on pages of your Bible. The emphasis is definitely a memorable way to accent what God is impressing on your heart through His Word. (You can even purchase a new Bible that actually leaves space for your creations…if you don’t want to mark up your current Bible.)
Their new book offers ‘how to’ instructions for design, illustration and lettering a Bible verse. They take you step by step, so whether you are a beginner or advanced, you have tips for making your pages meaningful, as well as attractive. Included are sample pages from over 40 dedicated journalers, showing the diversity of artwork styles while offering inspiration for your pages. Below, see one spread from Karla Dornacher’s lovely section.
Friend and colleague, Joanne Fink decided to include some images from my collection, which expands the books’ focus from within the Bible pages, to lettering Scripture verses ‘Outside the Bible.’ In the section below, Joanne takes Proverbs 3:5-6 and compares the way that numerous artists, calligraphers or journaler’s have designed the same verse. See the book for the variety!
Two page spread of Holly Monroe’s calligraphy in new Bible Journaling book.
Lastly, I’m showing you the back cover of Joanne and Regina’s book, showing not only hand-created Bible pages from other artists, but also a list of the multitude of items included in their generous book. I believe this book will be an inspiration to adults and children, to artists/calligraphers/journal keepers who care about their walk with God, through His Word.
Journaling has always been around, but artistic Bible Journaling is a new emphasis. I first encountered a similar type of this activity with friend and colleague Tim Botts, who would calligraphically illustrate a section of Scripture each morning, as he read his Bible. His sketches turned into his 20+ books, starting with “Doorposts” through Tyndale Book Publishers. Tim has certainly been an inspiration to me in my calligraphy career. Take a look at his work, if you haven’t discovered him yet!
It’s Easter, and I’m late with this news, but last November 2015, just after I moved from Ohio to Oregon, the Centennial Edition of the Speedball Textbook, A Comprehensive Guide to Pen & Brush Lettering, 24th Edition, finally hit the market! Yah! My father Cliff Mansley, Sr. and I are both honored and grateful to be included among so many accomplished and inspiring lettering artists. I snapped a photo of our pages below and offer you a brief description, plus links to purchase the book.
Holly Monroe and Cliff Mansley, Sr. showing off the cover of the 2015 Speedball Textbook, 24th Edition in which they are both featured.
For a little $15. book the Speedball Textbook, 24th Edition packs a big punch. Students of the written word can see a wide variety of lettering styles as well as fabulous finished examples from contemporary calligraphers of today. The added bonus in this edition, edited by Angela Vandalis and Randal Hasson, is that it salutes lettering throughout the last 100 years.
Love bears all things from I Cor 13. Cliff Mansley’s calligraphy in the Speedball Textbook, 24th Ed.
In the front you’ll find a fold out page featuring the covers of 24 past editions of the Speedball Textbook. It moves on to Tools, Tips and Techniques, lettering styles through the ages (pointed pen, broad-edged, brush, hand drawn, etc.), commercial lettering and so much more. If you’re a lover of letters you’ll want a copy! Order from www.JohnNealBooks.com or www.PaperInkArts.com two small businesses that cater to the Lettering and Book Arts community.
Bottom right: Flourished title of a poem about Scout Leader’s Wives. Lettering/Flourishing by Cliff Mansley, Sr.
Holly Monroe’s mini-course in flourishing appearing in the Speedball Textbook, 24th Edition, 2015, page 55. For a more comprehensive weekend workshop, FANTASTIC FLOURISHES, contact Letters@HollyMonroe.com.