Through the years Gail and I have done many a Bible’s dedication page. This was done for the tiny church in Oklahoma where we were married almost exactly 30 years earlier. Wilson Griggs, Sr., one of the pillars of the church and a long time friend of both Gail’s family and mine, was honored with the gift to the church of a beautiful Bible. We volunteered to add the Calligraphy and illumination to the dedication page; the Bible remains at the church.
I used a #3 from the C Series of Speedball chisel dip pens and india ink for all but the line above the name; that was done with a #4 C. Gail shadowed the letters in gold ink, then added the borders and scroll work in the corners with fine brushes and Winsor Newton watercolors.
My long history in Calligraphy, that began 31 years before this page was done, gave me a giant head start in translating the pen and ink letters, in the style you see above, to what I now do with the drill. The drill was to come into my life 10 months after this page was done.
As many of you know, my trip to Pasadena, California, in October, 1992, was when I met the gentleman who eventually gave me a dental drill and complete system. He was a Utah dentist who knew me from Public Television and the many books and videos I had produced for this style of lettering. He was so convinced I could translate this form and approach to the system I now use for engraving that he came to take an introductory, 2 hour class in basic Calligraphy at a huge consumer art show that weekend in California.
After I got the engraving system, as a gift from the dentist, Dr. Lew Jensen, it took me a full 11 months to make that leap from pen and paper, to drill and almost anything! Once that transition was made, my professional life was transformed. Following 8 years of events and countless thousands of engraved fragrance bottles, wine bottles, knives, guns, vases, cremation urns, and one crystal dildo, I was called by an executive at the New York corporate headquarters of Estee’ Lauder. They had hosted dozens and dozens of my engraving events all over the U.S. and Canada during the 4 previous years; I engraved their broad line of fragrance bottles and mirrored compacts. They asked me, “Where are the other Ken Browns?,” and I told them I was the only one doing exactly what I was doing…combining professional-grade Calligraphy with a dental drill. Eighteen months later I had created a 3-day Professional Engraving Workshop to teach my skill to anyone. The method I use requires NO artistic talent and your handwriting does NOT matter.
Estee’ Lauder and many of the other major fragrance manufacturers and distributors now use my students for their events across the land. As of now, a few over 300 individuals have taken my course. From as far away as South Korea, Dubai, and Argentina. Several are scattered across all the Canadian provinces. Most are sprinkled across the U.S.A.
Now, people who come to my Engraving Workshops (the stuffy, stodgy SEMINAR word is being jettisoned!) learn the process and my method quickly. They become proficient enough to accept paying commissions the day they arrive home. As they become more proficient, they earn handsome fees, far beyond what they’d ever imagined. Those who complete my optional Ken Brown Certified Engraver program, after the 3-day Workshop, are the most successful engravers who come through my training.