Hi, I’m Ken Brown.
It was never my plan to become a professional Calligrapher, with pens, ink, and markers, but I did. Years later, that morphed into becoming a professional Engraver of Calligraphy with a dental drill! Through high school I never held a lettering pen. Had never heard the word calligraphy. No art classes were offered in my Hugo, Oklahoma, high school. I worked part time after school with an old gentleman in a department store. He could make pure magic with a flat brush and red tempera. His hand-lettered price signs for shirts, shoes, and sox…suits, dresses, and denim…were works of art to me. I never held his brush or asked to try it.
No art talent got handed down to me. There was none to inherit! I know nothing about drawing, sketching, painting, sculpting, whittling, or playing a guitar, horn, or piano, yet I have a great appreciation of each of those. Given time and passion, I’m certain I could learn and excel at any of them. But my calling happened to be beautiful script, done by hand, using a variety of tools.
I got to Oklahoma State University and became fascinated with my roommate’s architectural projects. It was semester #4, year #2 when I made the leap from boring engineering studies to making pretty letters and simple drawings in Architecture 144. After a first-day, one-hour lecture on letterforms from a crusty old professor, the assignment was to go get pen, staff, ink, poster board, and “Letter something…see you tomorrow.” I did that and the next day when mine got a grade of a B minus, and was tacked upon the cork wall board with the others, I was enchanted beyond words. My rather crude attempt at hand-lettering that cold January night in 1961 literally set the path of my life’s work. Our alphabet is a magical thing when you can make them beautiful and in just the right order!
I’ll spare you all the ups, downs, bumps in the road, and other parts of the journey, but will say my lack of attention to my other studies got me a pink slip at semester’s end. I never returned to college.
Suffice to say that I was so focused on being the best I could be, that I devoted countless hours to honing my skill. I still haven’t had a lesson. Figured out all I know with hard work and failures laced with many more successes! The harder I worked, the luckier I got. It wasn’t all easy but it was all fun, gratifying, and often generated fees that astonished me, realizing people would pay for my self-taught skill.
Now, here you are with enough interest to get this far into discovering what’s involved to learn this marvelous thing called Calligraphy. It’s a proper noun in my life, so it merits a capital letter for me!
In my Workshops, I always give a little talk about it all evolved to where it is now. Here, I will tell you this: If you have an ounce of doubt about your being able to learn hand-engraving with a dental drill, banish it! What took me years to develop in becoming a pro, you can learn in far, far less time. You’ll be on that proverbial fast track to putting all the pieces together to be productive the day you get home from the Workshop I teach. You’ll have a far better teacher than I had!
Whether you aspire to making a full-time business out of it, or want to keep it as a handy talent to use for your own amusement and gifts, you CAN learn and become successful. I can put you through the paces quickly and effectively in 3 fun, laid-back, focused Workshop days. We’ll touch on every possible angle in the Class, but YOU have to make the commitment and do the work. Even southpaws succeed at this! One in Massachusetts has become one of my most prolific and successful students. One in Oklahoma and another in Texas amaze me daily with the quality of their work.
Remember Henry Ford’s words: “Whether you think you can or cannot, you are always right!”
Call me and I’ll be glad to answer your questions if you have an interest.