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Behind the Scenes Archives - Plurabelle Studio | Calligraphy & Graphic Design

Instagram Lately: May 2014



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In Behind the Scenes, Calligraphy, Teaching, Wedding, Work in Progress, Workshop


Clockwise from top left:

• Photography studio Vera in August applied the logo I recently designed for them onto wooden USB drives. (Photograph by Vera in August.)

• A peek behind the scenes: the process of envelope addressing from a pile of handwritten lists and Excel sheets to a neat stack of calligraphed envelopes.

• From sketch to polished calligraphy: lyrics from a client’s wedding song calligraphed in black with shimmering gold accents

• A snapshot of my May 17th boston workshop

• White on black – my all-time favorite combination!

• A passage by my favorite author, Virginia Woolf, from her book The Waves. When I took the snapshot of it outside on my porch, the railing cast a beautiful — and oddly appropriate — shadow across the paper.

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Behind the Scenes – Instagram Lately




In Behind the Scenes, Calligraphy, Color Inspiration, Graphic Design, In Pencil, Invitation Design, Letterpress, Rubber Stamps, Stationery, Wedding


Snaking down from top left:

• Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent Copper Plate Gold ink drying on a navy place card

• An invitation suite I designed for a Bahamas wedding, letterpressed in turquoise ink and gold foil with a custom return address stamp

• Wet gouache in my studio’s evening lighting

• My sister’s favorite Leonard Cohen line calligraphed on a Moleskine notebook card.

• Bleedproof white on craft paper with one of my favorite vintage stamps

• A packet of Plurabelle samples headed out the door to a stationer in Virginia

• White on turquoise!

• From my sketching desk: refined logo sketches for a wonderful event company and an ex libris stamp in Spanish

• Precision light pad work

• Custom-mixed burnt orange gouache

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Cozy Evening Workshops at Alfred Coffee + Kitchen



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In Behind the Scenes, Calligraphy, Events, Food, Workshop

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A week ago I led a small calligraphy workshop at Alfred Coffee + Kitchen, in the heart of Melrose Place. It was my first evening workshop (7:30 – 10:30 p.m.) and also one of the most fun. Outside it was a chilly fall evening and, in usual Los Angeles style, traffic around the city was a nightmare. But once we all gathered inside, my 14 new pupils and I relaxed into a calligraphic oasis! The café was closed to the public so as we practiced the bowls of our lowercase a’s, we also sipped on complementary cappuccinos and chai lattes (prepared by our own personal barista who stayed all night just to fulfill our every caffeinated desire!) and indulged in a pastry case freshly stocked with everything from bagels to chocolate muffins to ham & cheese croissants to bacon-cheddar scones. (That last part was pretty much a childhood fantasy come to life: “I’ll take as many croissants as I can eat, please!”)

The whole evening was so fun that I’ve decided to host not one but two more workshops at Alfred in December. One will be for beginners while the other will teach writing with paint and on dark paper. Read the details and purchase your tickets below. As with all my workshops, I’m only booking these for very small classes (which means lots of individual attention!), so I expect the spaces to fill up quickly. If you’re unsure which of the two levels is right for  you, just email me about your experiences with calligraphy so far and I’ll be able to tell you!

Early Intermediate Level Workshop at Alfred Coffee + Kitchen
Are you comfortable using the pen but want to learn new techniques like writing with gouache and on dark paper? Sign up for this one!
Thursday, December 5, 2013 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
$200.00  |  
More details here.

Beginner Level Workshop at Alfred Coffee + Kitchen — UPDATE 11/21: SOLD OUT!
Never picked up a calligraphy pen? Tried but still can’t get the hang of it? Then this one’s for you. 
Thursday, December 12, 2013 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
$150.00  |  
More details here.

Sign Up for Beginner Level Class  Sign Up for Early Intermediate Class

{ Pictures by Malktime Photography }

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A Grand Opening: 826LA at Mar Vista



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In Behind the Scenes, Calligraphy, Work in Progress


Back in November I had the special pleasure to calligraph a scroll of donor names at the grand opening event of 826LA‘s Mar Vista location. I’d been a volunteer at 826’s after school tutoring program for awhile and when I heard they were looking for a creative way to showcase the names of their new location’s founding donors, I leapt at the chance. At the evening’s event, those donors who made sizable contributions to the organization watched me calligraph their names onto a delicate, yellowing scroll. To be precise, it was a vintage player piano scroll of a Greek traditional song, bought for me at the Rosebowl Flea market way back in 2011 by my dear calligraphy friend Mara of Neither Snow. Mara bought an identical one for herself and we vowed to each other that we would save them until the perfect, most unbeatably-awesome excuse to use them arose. I considered this such an occasion. I used a Brause EF66 nib and walnut ink I’d mixed from crystals, which lent the calligraphy an aged, vintage look.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the 826 program, it’s a nation-wide, free tutoring service for kids K–12. From

826 National is a nonprofit organization that provides strategic leadership, administration, and other resources to ensure the success of its network of eight writing and tutoring centers. 826 centers offer a variety of inventive programs that provide under-resourced students, ages 6-18, with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. We also aim to help teachers get their classes excited about writing. Our mission is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

Since its founding in San Francisco in 2002 by award-winning author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 has sparked students’ imaginations. Fanning the sparks into full-blown creative wildfires, 826 centers across the country offer free programming for students. Our celebration of writing, learning, and arts education engages under-resourced youth, enabling them to flare up and rise to their full potential. (Read more…)

+ You can read more about the event and my contribution to it on the 826LA blog, here.

+ Learn how to volunteer at one of the eight 826 locations around the country (LA, Chicago, Brooklyn, San Fran, DC, Seattle, and Ann Arbor).

+ Visit 826LA’s Online Time Travel Mart. Proceeds go to the 826LA program.

{ Calligraphy by Plurabelle | Photography by Malktime | Special Thanks to 826LA }

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Seven – A Video




In Behind the Scenes, Calligraphy, Videos, Work in Progress

My new demonstration video is live! In this video I calligraph the word “seven” — one in a series of 22 table number signs I was creating for a wedding in St. Louis. This extra-bold lettering style of mine — which uses double-thick downstrokes and touch-ups with a small paintbrush — is one I call Bunny. (See more of my styles here.) Enjoy!

For those of you learning calligraphy, tell me: is this sort of video helpful? Would you like me to make more? If so, are there any particular techniques you’d like me to share?


Supplies featured in this video:
  • Brause EF66 nib
  • Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White Ink mixed with a little water
  • A very tiny paintbrush
  • Black bristol paper
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Behind The Scenes: Hue Matching




In Behind the Scenes, Color Inspiration, Work in Progress

I’m often asked to do calligraphy in a specific color to match an existing ink. I love using gouache for this, because it’s so easy (and fun) to mix from just a few basic colors, not to mention that it dries to the most beautiful finish and opacity!

{ Photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy }

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