KEN BROWN REFLECTS ON 50+ YEARS WITH LETTERS

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At NORDSTROM, around 1998, engraving an Estee’ Lauder compact.

 

TO THE LETTER!

Part 1

A SHORT HISTORY HOW A FIFTEEN CENT PEN LAUNCHED A CAREER OVER 50 YEARS AGO.

Before I show and tell what this is all about, I hasten to add an astonishing fact.  Almost ANYONE can learn what I do.

Many who know about my skill salivate to learn it but have an unmovable notion that it takes already-pretty handwriting, some unlabeled natural talent, or a streak of in-bred  artistic ability to be one who ‘writes pretty.’  Some are convinced it’s inherited. Most are convinced they could never learn it.

They’re all wrong.  It’s an acquired skill.  I cannot play the piano, but confident I could learn if I wanted to.  People who cannot play a tune or vocalize a note can learn to be great pianists and singers.  Many acclaimed and accomplished individuals have been taught their skill by someone who had perfected the technique and was qualified to share the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

So it is with Calligraphy, be it with an ink pen and paper, a marker, a reservoir pen, a wood chisel in wet cement, or a dental drill used to make elegant script on a piece of crystal or stainless steel.  It is an acquired skill.

People who have a burning desire or pressing need to learn what I do and teach become amazing artisans because they applied their passion and determination.  They learn the method, memorize the letters, and know them like the back of their hand.  They develop the muscle memory that is a vitally important part of the process.  That takes time and I’ve seen people blossom and become what they visualized and dreamed about. Those who do believe, put on their best attitude, and slog through the unpaved road of practice and the associated bumps and blundering, turn out work that changes their life like it did mine.

My story has 26 characters.  Each is an individual.  Some short.  Some tall.  Some thick.  Some thin.  They’re quite involved with each other and weave their own magic under my direction.  They are part and parcel in all our daily lives for millions across the planet who speak and write in English. The alphabet and how I interact with it is the core of my livelihood and activity every day. And more than you may think, it is with you as well.

to be continued…….

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