Friday, November 30, 2012

Work from Mike Gold's Workshop – PART 2

More student work from the workshop.

Work from Mike Gold's Workshop

Mike Gold—lettering artist/teacher/American Greetings artist—came to Chicago on Nov. 17 & 18 to teach a two-day workshop on Contemporary Scripts for the Chicago Calligraphy Collective. It was an amazing time! His work is spectacular and he's also a great teacher. (Check out his website at He led us through some challenging exercises to get us to look at the letters as shapes, and to see everything we put on paper as a composition. Here's a look at some of Mike's work, as well as some of our class work.

This is a student piece. It's an exercise that Mike had us do on Day 1 to loosen up. We then went back in and filled in spaces with a wash or solid black.

Same exercise, but adding color. This piece was done by my friend Luce.

This is one of my pieces for the same exercise.

This is one of Mike's demos to show us how to start spacing the letters out in unusual ways.

This is Mike demonstrating 
how to write a quote 
in a pleasing composition.

On Day Two, we branched out with white on black, and adding color to the design. Here, Mike demonstrates white
on black, using pastels to
make the quote "pop."

One student's work, adding color with pastels.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Study Group Project

Today was my play date with the Chicago Calligraphy Collective study group. We meet once a month to share what we're working on and perhaps do a demo or small project. This month, Mary shared her jewelry-making skills by showing us these little books and earrings that can be made from calligraphic scraps that we all have laying around in our drawers. Here's a sampling of what we all came up with. VERY FUN STUFF!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sketching Day

I've been trying to sketch a bit more often, and while on a recent two-week vacation, I was able to get a few sketches done. I particularly like this one of my husband sleeping on the ferry ride from Victoria, BC to Anacortes, WA. It's a very close likeness of him, but there's something in the lips/nose area that just isn't quite him. Very frustrating! I worked on that area for close to an hour and just couldn't get it.

New Piece

This piece was done for the Chicago Calligraphy Collective's 2012 All Members' Show held through October at the Skokie Library in Skokie, Illinois. It's a John Clare quote: "The soul lies buried in the ink that writes." I took a Monica Dengo workshop this past summer and, afterwards, was trying one of the exercises I learned. This was the result.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Upcoming Workshop at the Morton Arboretum!

I will be teaching a class titled "Illustrating Nature in Text and Art" at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL on November 10 & 11, 2012, so if you live in the area, I'd love to have you in my class!!!

On the first day, students will be introduced to the Italic hand, learning the basic strokes and proper letter and word spacing. On day two, you will learn some simple illustration techniques—using colored pencils and watercolors—and combine that illustration with the lettering for a finished piece. 

For more information, please go to the Arboretum's website at or click on this link for the class description: Illustrating Nature in Text and Art. All registrations are handled through the Arboretum.

Monday, July 30, 2012

New Art!

Hello Fellow Bloggers and Visitors! Hope you're all doing something creative this summer.

Aside from the myriad of Little League games and AllStar games we've attended, I have been able to get into the studio for a bit. A friend and fellow Chicago Calligraphy Collective member, Timothy Botts (see his beautiful work here), invited me to submit a piece for a traveling exhibit sponsored by Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA). Well, much to my delight, it was accepted!!!

The exhibit is titled "Scribes of Hope" and will travel around the U.S. for approximately 3-4 years. The CIVA site says, "This new exhibit will feature 25-30 works across a wide range of approaches including: traditional lettering and illumination; artist books and letterpress work showcasing fresh directions in calligraphic design; and letters created by hand and then scanned in the computer for further alteration. Veteran CIVA member and internationally known calligrapher Timothy Botts will curate this exhibit."

For more information, or to find out how you could get this exhibit to come to a location near you, please click here.

I created the piece on a sheet of Twinrocker watercolor paper with sumi ink and a folded pen; then used Dr. Martin's Radiant Watercolors and Holbein Brilliant Gold gouache for the color work. It's 14" x 10".

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


My friend Cathy Feeman (see her blog here) has taken up the challenge of doing open-air sketching once a week. So, I thought it would be fun to join her. Two weeks ago we did our sketching at a local restaurant because it was raining outside. This was my first sketch of a patron at the counter.

This week, I was able to get two done. This pine-cone thingy (don't have a clue what it is) was done during a creative play date at my friend Luce's (see her blog here). Luce had a box filled with all kinds of natural stuff like dried branches, leaves, twigs, and these weird thingies. I did this in kind of an elongated perspective because of the way it was facing me.

And the final sketch was done last night, just before my son's baseball game. (I don't sketch during HIS games. :-) This little boy was out there practicing his pitching and he looked a bit lonely on the mound. So I decided not to draw anyone else on the field, to keep that lonely feeling. Pitching is such a tough job with lots of responsibility, and it's even tougher when you're just nine years old!

I did this one very quickly in ink.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Papermaking Workshop at Twinrocker

This past weekend I took a papermaking workshop at Twinrocker Handmade Papers in Brookston, Indiana. I highly recommend a group field trip/workshop at Twinrocker! You will have a wonderfully messy, creative time.

And guess who joined me there? None other than fellow blogger and calligrapher Jane Farr, from A Place to Flourish! It was nice to be able to meet up with Jane and her sister Kathy, from Tennessee, along with some of my Chicago Calligraphy Collective friends.

We learned how to dip the screens and get the pulp to lay just right on the surface. (That's me with the master papermaker and owner, Travis Becker.)

We also learned where NOT to put our thumbs!!!

We watched as the master showed us how to "couch" (pronounced "cooch") the wet pulp/"paper" onto the felts. Make sure to rock onto your toes and place your weight forward. Rock your weight from right to left and lift the frame off the felt.

We also made some smaller, 8.5 x 11 sheets 
and got to "paint" with colored pulp. 
Here's Jane's sister, Kathy, 
with one of her beautiful sheets.

And then it was time to load the stack of wet sheets into the large press. This double stack was just slightly too high, so Travis and CCC member Sandra Wagner (a blogger, too!) used their weight to press the stack down just enough to fit into the press.

The fruit of our labor being pressed by 30,000 lbs. of pressure to squeeze out the 
excess water and flatten into sheets.

Here's Jane gently laying each finished sheet 
on top of another. The whole stack will be dried 
and then delivered to us in about three weeks.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Quote Job - FINALE!

I finished the quotes on my hair salon walls yesterday. Took about 7.5 hours up on a scaffold. Can't imagine painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling on one's back!!! Came home with sore knees from bending and kneeling in weird ways. :-)

My client is very happy with the finished product!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Fun Part of My Job!

The owner of my hair salon commissioned me to paint some quotes about beauty on the salon walls. (Actually, we decided to barter because I wanted free haircuts!!!)

He chose two quotes by Coco Chanel and I just finished a preliminary sketch of the first one (seen here). This one will be about 4 feet wide by 3 feet high.

Will post some pics of the finished work in a couple of weeks. I start painting some time next week.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Baby Gift

Just finished this piece as a baby gift for our dear friends.

Monday, March 12, 2012

So, Here's the Beyond

I titled my previous post "Monoprints and Beyond" because I used one of my monoprints in a different way later on.

Someone asked me to make a bunch of bookmarks as gifts for friends, and one of them was to say "Hope" on it. I thought the green image with the reverse of the flowers was a nice background for the word "hope". Sort of reminded me of spring, with it's new life, and green colors. So I scanned the whole image that you see here:

Then had to condense it to fit the 2.5" width of a bookmark. I didn't want to squish the flower image, so I used the selection tool to "grab" the flowers and put them on their own layer; then I filled in the white space left on the green layer and condensed the vertical shape so that it would fit the narrower width.

Then I dropped the flower layer back in and just ever-so-slightly condensed it to fit in the new background.

Finally, I lettered the word "hope" in black on white paper and scanned it in. I colored it the same color as the cream background and put a drop shadow filter on it. I then had a bunch printed at my local printer, using their high-res color copy machine and printed them on 100# cover stock. I trimmed and laminated them at home. Punched a hole and added a ribbon. Here is the result.

Monoprints and Beyond

A couple of weeks ago I got together with the usual group of creative friends for our quarterly play date. This time it was to do monoprinting at my friend Luce's wonderful studio. Luce is one of those people that is always trying a new technique or experimenting with different media and her studio is a treasure trove of interesting items and art. So, we brought our plexiglass plates, printing inks, brayers, and Luce supplied us with an odd assortment of dried leaves, twigs, plants, etc. and set to work.

We tried a variety of monoprinting techniques, which included painting on the plate surface (which yielded THIS mess!!!);

Then I tried braying the ink on the plate and "scoring" squiggles into it. I kind of liked how this one turned out.

The one I liked the best was this next technique. I brayed the ink on the plate and laid a stem of dried flowers on top. Then placed my paper on top of that and sent it through the press. The result was this image AND a very cool emboss of the dried flower stem!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Launch of New Wildman Designs Website!

Hi Friends!

Well, now I have a great excuse for not posting here in a while. :-) I've been designing (on and off for the past year-and-a-half !!!!) my new website. DISCLAIMER: I am not a web designer!!!!! I was working with an easy, but clunky, web program on my Mac called iWeb. Well, I hit it hard the last couple of months and got all the bugs worked out, thanks to some technical help from an actual web designer, and lo and behold it's READY!!!!

So here's the link:

Check it out and let me know what you think. Constructive criticism is VERY HELPFUL, so take a run-through and let me know if you find it hard to navigate, or it's clunky, or whatever.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baby Gift for a Friend

I was told by the parents that "Hazel Joy" meant "the one whom God sees rejoicing," so I decided to put that as a banner over her name, like a prayer that she will, indeed, be one who rejoices in our God!

The spatters are gold gouache and the diamonds on either side of the name, as well as the dots at the front and back of the arched type are done in gold leaf. The lettering was done in a dark brown gouache with a pointed brush.

Some Recent Work

I found this quote a while back and thought it was a great one for a calligrapher. I tried this numerous ways, different layouts, etc. Finally wound up with this one.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Calligraphy Classes in Chicagoland/Northwest Indiana

Don't let the winter doldrums get you down! Do something creative and come explore the "art of beautiful writing" with Julie Wildman. Here's a list of my winter classes! Classes will be held in my home studio in Highland, Indiana. I am also available to travel to other locations for half-day and full-day workshops for groups or schools. Please email me to discuss details.

Introduction to the “Art of Beautiful Writing” 
6 weeks, 3 hours per week - adults (12 yrs. and up)
6 weeks, 1.5 hours per week - students (9 yrs. and up)
One-day workshop (adults)
$135 / $75 / $75 (fee includes all materials)

This is like Calligraphy Appreciation 101! In this class, students will get an overview of the fascinating world of calligraphy, from historical manuscripts to the modern-day lettering arts. We will be inspired by different calligraphic hands found in the many works we’ll view, and then we’ll get to experiment with the tools that the masters’ used to create those works.

There will be plenty of demonstrations and one-on-one instruction. Students will get to try new tools, different hands, all sorts of beautiful papers, and various media. Our time together will be fun, informative and not at all threatening, and maybe even a bit messy!

Rather than producing a finished piece, students will come away with a variety of samples that will help them begin exploring ways to create new works on their own time. This is a great class to whet your appetite for the world of letters! And that world is going to blow your mind!

Basic Italic
6 weeks, 3 hours per week - adults (12 yrs. and up)
$120 (materials list will be supplied upon registration)

A hand that every calligrapher should have in their repertoire! We will begin by learning basic strokes and how they apply to the Italic form, then putting those strokes together in a sequence that creates the letters.

From there, we’ll move into writing sentences, learning about proper letter and word spacing along the way. Many samples from various historic calligraphic masters will be shown throughout the class, as well as modern samples from some of the cutting-edge lettering artists out there today. The student will come away with a strong, working knowledge of the Italic form.

Using the Principles of Art and Design 
to Create a Finished Calligraphic Piece
(Previous experience with any Basic Lettering class required)
6 weeks, 3 hours per week - adults (12 yrs. and up)
$120 / $60 (materials list will be supplied upon registration)

Line. Shape. Texture. Negative Space. Thumbnails. Roughs.  What do these terms mean and how can we use these basic skills from the areas of art and graphic design to create a beautiful, finished calligraphic piece?

Find out as we walk through a series of exercises that will put these skills to use. Using a favorite quote and image, students will learn how good design is important in achieving a well-balanced, pleasing result.

We’ll use simple illustration and painting techniques, along with a photo-transfer process, to create whatever image you choose to accompany your lettering. Not an “artist”? No fear.  You don’t need to be an artist to put an image with a piece. The simple techniques we’ll learn will give you the confidence you need to embellish your lettering a bit further.

In the first part of the class, we will all work together on various exercises. The second part of class will be more individual instruction as each student begins to develop his or her specific piece.

Class Schedule and Registration Information

#1 ~ Introduction to the “Art of Beautiful Writing”
6-week (adults)
Date: Thursdays, February 23–March 29
Time: 10 am–1 pm
Fee: $135 (fee includes all materials)
Registration deadline: Feb. 9

#2 ~ Introduction to the “Art of Beautiful Writing”
6-week (students)
Date: Wednesdays, February 22–March 28
Time: 10 am–11:30 am
Fee: $75 (fee includes all materials)
Registration deadline: Feb. 8

#3 ~ Introduction to the “Art of Beautiful Writing”
One-Day Workshop
Date: Saturday, April 14
Time: 9 am–5 pm
Fee: $75 (fee includes all materials)
Registration deadline: Mar. 31

#4 ~ Create a Finished Piece
Date: Mondays, February 27–April 9 (off April 2)
Time: 10 am–1 pm
Fee: $120 (supply list given at registration)
Registration deadline: Feb. 13

#5 ~ Basic Italic
Date: Tuesdays, February 21–March 27
Time: 10 am–1pm
Fee: $120 (supply list given at registration)
Registration deadline: Feb. 7