Mark making with Monica

After a critical examination of my early attempts at calligraphy, my Japanese homestay ‘mother’ was able to say that the ‘tail’ of one my my kanji was ‘quite good’. I think at that point I decided that it was unlikely I would ever take up the formal discipline of calligraphy. And yet I still remain attracted to the calligraphic mark.

I hoped that I might somehow jump the gap to achieving wonderful marks, without the hard work underpinning formal training. So when artist and calligrapher Monica Dengo‘s current online course A Bridge between Drawing and Writing, floated past me on a social media platform I saw an opportunity to develop my skills in another way.

We started with some familiar drawing techniques, such as drawing without looking at the page.

Then we worked through a series of exercises to explore the possibilities of written forms.

Playing with letter forms.

We combined these two sets of marks in more finished works.

Adding colour boosted the energy of the work.

The final stage of the workshop was to display our finished pieces in a simple book structure, that allowed various combinations of work to be displayed.

Working on compostional combinations across my book.

Monica provided clear outlines and supporting material for the workshop. The 3 × 2 hour sessions flew by and participants were also offered a feedback session on their work after the class finished.

Three pages in my book.

I really feel that this class has opened up new possibilities for my work. I can certainly recommend Monica’s classes to anyone interested in exploring text and mark making.

Monica has told me that she will be running another online class, with times suitable for people in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, from 4-7 June. Please see Monica’s website or contact her for full details. Monica also presents online classes with times suitable for people in Europe and America.

You can see Monica’s work on her Instagram account @monica_dengo

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