Review:Annie Barnhardt’s Pencil Lettering

I want to once again thank Linda for providing the pictures and Norma for doing the review. Thanks girls!

June 9-10, 2007

by Norma


The class was full and we looked forward to learning all about the “lowly” pencil. Annie started the class by going through the handouts she had provided and asking us to pull out certain pages to use later. She also had us look at what was in the kits she had provided. She had us begin by learning some basics such as cushioning our paper, what kind of erasers work best, that pencils have different degrees of softness and hardness, to keep your pencil sharp, to slow down when doing lettering, to use a light touch – lighter — lighter — a little lighter, to do pressure/release with a pencil, oh yes, it can be done, and to pierce the guideline when making straight-stroke letters. We talked about brands of pencils – Annie’s favorites are called Towbow. These may or may not still be available, but another brand she uses is Staedtler-Mars.
Then it was time to begin to work. As Annie wrote the letters on the board, she explained exactly how she got thicks and thins by using pressure/release. Now it was our turn so we got out the pages we had removed earlier and began to do some writing using the tools Annie had provided. Some of us soon learned that we needed a softer pencil while others preferred a little harder one. We also learned the value of an eraser! Yes, erasing was allowed and even encouraged if needed.
Annie showed us a variety of papers that work well with pencil. She explained that we needed to try several kinds to find what works best for us. Some of the papers mentioned were Arches Text Wove, Parson’s Diploma Parchment, Mohawk Superfine, and Arches Text Laid. We also looked at a variety of black papers. At this point, we all took colored soft pastel dust, a torn piece of paper and a piece of black paper. We used the torn paper to act as a shield and we dusted the black paper with the pastel dust. This created a quick background for working on later. When we returned from lunch, we got out our silver pencils, picked a quote and wrote on the black paper that we had dusted. Very quickly, we had a lovely piece.
On Sunday, we learned how to draw letters with our soft pencils and clean up with a hard mechanical pencil by sharpening up the tops and bottoms of the letters. We learned that mechanical pencils have various hardnesses of lead also.
We began to work with Verithin colored pencils and learned to layer color over graphite. We also worked with Prismacolor pencils which are softer than the Verithins.
When doing reproduction work, Annie showed us that 100% cotton vellum is so much easier to work with than tracing paper. We learned some easy tricks for writing in a circle and also got to try pencil lettering on canvas.
Annie is a wonderful teacher and we learned so much about the pencil and how much you can do with it. If you don’t like it, you can ERASE it! Thanks, Annie for two great days.


More workshop pictures can be found here and be sure to click on images for a larger view.

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One Response to Review:Annie Barnhardt’s Pencil Lettering

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