masgrimes masgrimes

177 posts   205,697 followers   49 followings

David Grimes 

“All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last...”
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My practice in this art has been the leading cause for self-reflection over the last five years. I look at myself on a regular basis and ask “Are you living as the person you want to be?”.
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There are times, often late at night, when I have been working for hours and hours, trying to get some design to a degree that I’m happy with, and things just don’t seem to want to work. No matter the amount of practice, planning, or strategy employed it seems my effort is doomed to fall short on these nights. I look in the large mirror in the corner of my studio and mouth the words “you’re hardly an artist at all.”
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I tended to look for ways to cater to that hunger for validation, and I believe that resulted in some amount of influence over my work that kept me ‘safe’. If I don’t venture outside of the shade of the forest, nobody will realize im a leopard with no spots. That self-doubt was a stronger motivator than the curiosity that compels exploration. Why is that?
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A few years ago, amidst a particularly painful break up, I called a good friend while laying on the floor of the Las Vegas airport and asked for his advice. He told me to detach myself from expectation and realize that all circumstance have positive and negative potential. If you can accept the best that something can go AND the worst that it may end up, then you’re prepared to participate in that aspect of life. It’s when we allow ourselves to develop expectations that we end up disappointed.
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I’ve taken that idea and turned it towards myself on these nights with the mirror in my studio. Some days are good writing days, others are bad. I know what both feel like by now, and I know that I’ll welcome many more of each across my calendar. I’ve accepted that all artists, probably even prolific ones, experience moments of dissatisfaction with their work.
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It’s the temperament to see that dissatisfaction as a necessary frame for fulfillment that urges the spirit onward to such great heights and pushes those of us seeking our passions to bury our doubt in hard work, diligence, and eternal optimism.
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#calligraphy #lettering

The Brave.
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There’s a moment—one definitive moment—when we find ourselves at the crossroads of doing what is right and doing what is easy.
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We convince ourselves that these fights aren’t our own...but who should carry the guilt of ambivalence?
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These lives are engineered to keep us in narrow lanes. Waiting at stoplights. Our feet hovering just above the floorboards.
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We could drive if we wanted to.
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——
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I received two different text messages from strangers this weekend, asking if they could ‘count on my vote’ for certain candidates for local offices. Both assuming that because of my voter registration that I was likely to fall one way or another on an issue.
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These types of messages always leave a sour taste in my mouth. My vote is my own. I will cast it based off of the research that I do into the issues that are important to me. I will not follow an individual whom I’ve never met because of the color of their sticker, or the wealth of their sponsors.
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Voter ambivalence is prevalent among my generation in the communities I’ve been a part of. The lack of infrastructure to provide non-biased educational information about which boxes to tick based on your beliefs and the larger butterfly effect of such gestures is a huge reason that so many people believe that their voice doesn’t matter.
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We need a cultural shift in the United States. We need to make it okay to disagree on politics again amongst friends. We need to make it okay to discuss and debate and to hold different beliefs and still embrace our loved ones at the ends of these discussions.
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If I could ask one thing of you this election season (and I know that I have no right.) I would not ask that you vote for a color, or a direction, or an individual. I would ask that you vote with your mind and your heart. I would ask that you research at least one topic in depth, and attempt to understand the implications of your stone on the scale and its reflection of your morality and vision for the future.
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With that—whatever way you decide to go—you would have my respect and my friendship.
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#calligraphy #lettering #typography #frenchroundhand #oddlysatisfying #asmr #vote

Here's a small glimpse into a personal project spanning a few hours last night. The lines and letters were sketched and inked one at a time, before being watercolored to add the bevel highlight. I then used a straight edge to drop the shade to the bottom right and outlined each of those shades in pencil before inking. I used a common pointed pen for all of the work except the watercolor which was done with a 00 round brush.
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This style of heading was popular in memorial albums from the turn of the 20th century, but would occasionally make its way into trademarks of the time. I've designed it with the intent of having some stationery printed with the design in the top right for letters and correspondence with friends.
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The video is a bit different than my normal process, making use of the more expensive camera and lens. I've been really interested in visual storytelling, lately, and was hoping to show enough of the process to present it as accessible to those of you who aren't lettering artists/engrossers, as well as making it technically informing for those that are. I think it walks the line, but the design is more legible when viewed straight on
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The editing feels a bit overdressed, but I expect that might be my self-consciousness about it. What do you think?
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The music track is a @hvettermusic track called 'Small Steps', and if you like this melodic style of guitar, you might like his Youtube channel or Spotify page.
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#calligraphy #lettering #typography #engrossing #masgrimes #whataboutzeke

When you wake up and the sky is already as gray as though it has resolved itself to remain quietly on the edge of dance floor, watching the rest of nature twirl jolly onward into the winter months. When the rain falls steadily on the awning outside your window keeping pace a thousand to one with your resting heart rate—the excitement of Summer long gone and the vibrancy of Fall laying defeated in the gutters of neighborhood streets.
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When the paper stretches out in front of you, asking what you’d like it to be today. What happy song should it sing for a hundred years? What cautious lamentation?
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Where do you turn for inspiration when the well has run dry? What pushes you on, towards your hopes and dreams and moments of ingenuity felt through the small metal point dragged cautiously across the paper?
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Without friends, who should we write for?
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#calligraphy #penmanship #dreaminginscript #asmr #oddlysatisfying
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Beautiful track played by new friend @seananguswatson. I’m sure you’ll hear more of him in the near future. 🖤

From “The Vacuum”, an essay by Harlan Eugene Read.
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“Crowd out a bad habit with a good one...Nature abhors a vacuum...Never simply resolve to be rid of an evil...it leaves an empty space.”
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I’ve spoken a few times about the qualities becoming of a Penman, but I haven’t had the right moment to write them down, here.
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So much of my study the last year has been into the character of the men and women whose strokes have launched a thousand pens like mine. I’m enamored by the idea that right writing rights character. That the dissolution of the self through the deconstruction of a script is a skill to be honed with increasing perfection each day that I continue along my quest towards better Penmanship.
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I spoke recently about how the redirection of energies into constructive habits is a large part of how I’ve found the time to pursue this art. I truly believe that. One of the most common questions asked is “how long does it take to master this art”? I have to confess, I wouldn’t know. But I do know that I’ve gotten to where I am on the moments between moments and stolen hours of seasons slipping by—periods of time i could have spent watching Netflix, playing video games, or any number of other leisurely pursuits.
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In fact, the idea of ‘leisure’ itself has been a pivotal keystone to my ability to focus on my work in this field. I’ve never once felt the work itself was tedious. It is always rewardingly cathartic and simple, so long as the goal is the same: to grow, slowly but surely.
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And so the construction of a Penman might seem to me to be based on the conscious pursuit to select the parts of oneself that might be carried forward along this journey, and which to leave behind—not for shame, but strategically. Carefully replacing each with a same-shaped quality and an intent to write better and to BE better than yesterday.
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#calligraphy #lettering #penmanship

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how a person is really just the total of their actions and words. How I regularly dream things for myself but fail to put them into action. How hard it is to regain trust in yourself when you can’t even keep your own word. As I struggle with hyperactivity and superficiality in my relationships, I write a lot about the person I want to be, and in many instances, I feel him taking the reigns and steering me towards a better, more honorable future.
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But there’s another driver inside. And he isn’t motivated or distracted by my concerns for self-improvement. He prefers to take the familiar road—the one more travelled. He knows the signs along the way and the place where the cops hang out to bust you for going too fast or rolling a stop sign. It’s easy when he drives. It’s business as usual.
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But I’m ashamed of him. I’m ashamed of the way he is content to allow us to live a half-life. When I find myself around those from whom I desire respect, he fades into the backseat, and the better driver takes the wheel.
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How does one go from ‘being who they want to be some of the time’ to ‘being who they SHOULD be all of the time‘?
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Is that a part of growing up? Does everyone struggle with their nature and find themselves disappointed to slip from the standard that they should hold themselves? Is character something that can be fostered, consciously, at all?
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“The greatest way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be.” -Socrates
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#calligraphy #lettering #typography #dreaminginscript #engrossersscript

Still alive. 🌿
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I’ve been spending some time working on a few different things that have been hard for me to find the time for with all of the different projects on the table. Keeping up with Instagram had me running in the same little hamster wheel. No time to improve, gotta churn out another post.
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It’s so strange to feel a resistance to being a novice with something, but it’s an important part of pushing myself as an artist. Sometimes, I feel like because I’ve spent so much time on certain script styles, that I expect myself to have improved across the board. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the idea that it’s okay to be good at some things and not-so-good at others. I’ll figure it out.
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Here’s a little design that shows a very distinct style of penwork in tribute to a Mr. Edwin Leslie Brown—one of my favorite historical penmen.
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I’ll be in Concord, NH to give a talk in just a few days at White Mountains Community College about redirecting addictive tendencies into productive pastimes. After that, I’ll be heading up to Rockland, Maine to see the town in which Brown lived, worked, and contributed to the Penmanship profession for a half of a century.
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I hope one day to be able to mimic his effortless style with a bit more grace, but for now, I am still learning!
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Talk soon, friends! If you’re in New England and want to meet up, I’ll be there most of next week. 👍🏼
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#designingandengrossing #ELBrown #calligraphy #textlettering #engrossing #penmanship #momentswithletters

Morning everyone! Happy weekend. :)
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Im very excited to announce that I’ll be attending CalligraFair 2018 in Monrovia, CA, On October 13th and 14th as one of the speakers this year alongside @drjmvitolo, @piecescalligraphy, @logos_calligraphy, and other incredible artists and vendors like @yokepencompany and @paperandinkarts.
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Tickets are $10 to register (it was free last year, so be warned and tell your friends!) which should help cover the costs of tables, chairs, and other small event costs. One registration gets you a spot for both days. Thank you @smittenonpaper for lending us your beautiful shop space again this year!
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My demo will be on Saturday morning, bright and early, but I’ll be hanging around the event for the next two days in the study room and doing what I can to help the incredible, wonderful, talented organizers (@anintran, @piecescalligraphy, @bypriscillalee) with whatever they need. So YOU should come say hello and let’s talk about script!
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I’ll be talking about Broad Pen Title Designs and going through some basic techniques around selecting an exemplar, shading and filling styles, ornament, layout, and Engrosser’s Text. I hope you’ll stop by and say hello!
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Info can be found at http://bit.ly/CalligraFair
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#calligraphy #calligrafair2018 #textlettering #engrossing #adart

“What nib is that?”
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One of the most common questions I get asked, and I almost never reply...
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Some of the other calligraphers on Instagram have taken up arms against the nib pricing epidemic, and I’ve mostly kept myself quiet on the subject. For those of you who don’t know, calligraphers sometimes like to use vintage nibs that aren’t in production anymore, and the prices for those have been skyrocketed by a couple of influential people saying these were ‘#dreamnibs’. Nothing malicious, but the effect was much the same and now there are fewer to go around to professionals that prefer them and that upsets some people.
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I don’t much care what anyone wants to spend on a nib. There are times when I would have gladly paid $20 for a nib, there are other times, when I’d rather use a $2 alternative. I don’t think we should shame people for buying nibs they can afford. I spend money on all sorts of stupid stuff. That’s the nature of the market. There are almost always affordable alternatives.
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But the other edge of the argument is that “no nib is going to make you write better”. To which I’ve always scoffed. Some nibs are better for different things. Some are great for their spring, some for their flexibility, some for their bluntness, and others for their sharpness. Each unique calligrapher likely has a nib that they write best with, and it takes some experimentation to find what that is. It DOES matter, but it’s kinda a path you have to walk yourself.
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In a call with my good friend Marcus, we were discussing the topic and he said that he’s taken to replying to the question “what nib is that” with “seven years”. Because in actuality, most people asking the question are asking because they like the effect of the nib, which is a product of the penman (and his/her skill), and not the qualities of the nib itself.
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All that so say, I feel off when I see people advocating that no pen point will make you a better calligrapher. That’s simply not the case. You just need to find the point that works best for you. 👍🏼
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Cheers @ritchiewei for the stylish new pen case. Now we match blue and green from across the Pacific! Can’t wait till the leather breaks in a bit.

As the last of my summer guests is here for a few more days, I was very excited to put this little video together.
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@ritchiewei has been a white whale for me for the last several years. I kept hearing about how good this guy was at Engrosser’s Script, and I knew if i was going to take my study seriously we had to meet. I knew I needed to be pushing myself, and Ritchie has quite the rep for being very skilled with his pen. I’d say he’s one of the best, and not lose any sleep.
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I’m so glad that it came into reality this last week, because I’m learning so much about myself and about Script. It’s very nice to be around someone as thoughtful and hardworking as he is, who maintains his humility. We’ve been speaking candidly about our work and laughing when we practice things we aren’t so good at.
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This exercise, where the pen is traded from one person to the other is favorite of mine in workshops. This time, it was me who was trying to adapt my style to match Mr. Wei’s. I think it came out pretty well, and you can certainly see the effort being put to forge our two distinct tastes into one.
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Thanks again, @ritchiewei! Glad to call you a friend. 🤙🏼
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Music by my other buddy @justice_der, seriously cant get enough of his vibe lately.
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#calligraphy #engrossersscript #dreaminginscript #asmr #masgrimes

Headphones recommended. 🙃
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I’ve been working on a lot of projects lately that I haven’t felt are ‘instagram worthy’...which is such a silly notion.
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I ve been itching to post something, to write something, to connect with you guys, but I’ve felt this writers block pressing into me like some overdue bill. I went to several of the creators that I follow to see what they had to say about creativity on demand, and growing as an artist, I wanted to understand how to overcome this pressure to build each new thing better than the last.
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What I found was that many people think that being good at what they do is the product of them doing it over and over. The most common advice given to beginners in everything from painting to playing the guitar is simply to “get started”. There’s a dozen famous talks on YouTube about how everyone ‘sucks at the beginning, but you get over it’.
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I’ve said these same things to students and friends hundred, maybe thousands of times.
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But what if the secret to becoming better at something isn’t ‘just getting started’? What if it has more to do with asking yourself WHY you want to do this thing. What if intention outweighs sheer repetition? Which is better, in the grand scheme of things? Which creates a craftsman, and which creates an artist?
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I don’t attribute my successes to a long career as a calligrapher. I attribute what little I’ve gained to a thoughtful approach, and consistent, enthusiastic effort. Repetition has its place, but it falls after strategy and motivation.
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#calligraphy #lettering #typography #asmr #create #criticalpractice

I’ve been a bit more quiet than usual, as I’ve been working with the students from Dreaming In Script to make our way through the various strokes of Engrosser’s Script. It’s been nice to focus on writing and interacting with individual people as they figure this stuff out. It’s not hard, but it does take dedication. :)
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Here’s a little technique I’ve picked up in the last two months regarding the connection point for a lobed r. I’ve always struggled with wanting to use this form, but hadn’t decided on a ductus that worked well for me until I started to look more at the artistic writing of C. W. Norder. I feel that this exit stroke is an elegant solution to a complicated problem, and it’s quite easy to comprehend from a spacing standpoint too.
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This is the first time I’ve shown a time lapse of ink drying either! I think it’s quite fascinating to watch it fall into the page before I return to add the ruled crossbar for the T.
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Guitar track is a cover by @justice_der , who I can’t seem to get enough of lately. 🙏🏼 .
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#calligraphy #dreaminginscript #engrossersscript #roundhand #gaplife #oddlysatisfying

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