June 2021 meeting

Mark your calendars! Our next meeting will take place on Monday, June 14 from 2:15 to 4:00 PM.

I will present a program on Bister inks and Ben Shahn lettering. If you don’t have Bister inks, no worries! There are a number of scribes who are willing to share from their supply. I myself bought 4 or 5 jars of the powdered dye in Bruges, and will never be able to use it all in my lifetime.  Email me to be hooked up with some Bister ink. At right is an example of the Ben Shahn lettering that we’ll be studying. This was done with gouache. 

You will need to have on hand:

  • a broad-edged dip pen about 1mm wide (Mitchell #3, Brause or Tape 1mm, Pilot Parallel 1.1, Speedball C-5)
  • a small container of two or more Bister inks, dissolved in distilled water
  • white practice paper, couple of sheets
  • small pieces of watercolor paper (like mixed media paper, Arches Text Wove)
  • brush(es) for loading the pen
  • water
  • paper towel

How to mix your Bister inks: With a palette knife or salt spoon, put a small amount (1/4 tsp or even less) in a small container. Add distilled water with an eye dropper or pipette, and wait a little for the crystals to dissolve. The crystals will not all dissolve on their own, so stir it with your mixing brush to help it along. Add more powder if it’s too weak, but it probably won’t be. I cover my solutions to keep the dust out, but because it reconstitutes with water, you don’t have to worry about it drying out.
I like to use tissue culture plates because I can mix small amounts of colors and they come with a lid. Here is one at John Neal Bookseller, but it’s available elsewhere.https://www.johnnealbooks.com/product/24-well-disposable-palette

I will have an exemplar handout and guidelines sheet ready for those who attend the Zoom meeting on June 14.

I’ll send out a Zoom invitation a week before the meeting. If you’d like to attend and are not being included in the regular group emails, write to me (callibeth@gmail.com) and I’ll include you in the invitation.

Here are a couple of additional images of lettering done in the Ben Shahn style:

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