Journal: How Calligraphy combats Stress – let’s take a look

POST 12 // MINDFUL CALLIGRAPHY

How mindful calligraphy combats stress - let's take a look

CALLGRAPHY VS. STRESS

by Lucy Mellor

30/07/2019

How Mindful Calligraphy combats Stress with Mellor and Rose // Mellor&Rose

Today, we’re talking about stress. Stress, mindfulness and calligraphy - how can mindful calligraphy combats stress.

Mindfulness has to the capability and research evidence to ‘combat’ stress - whether to reduce your levels of distress or to switch up your negative emotions (distress) into eustress; our more positive form of stress. In the world of mindfulness, there are practises we use to feel balanced - there are activities we can do; either in a more formal setting (legs crossed) or on-the-go/ more relaxed environments.

Today, we’re talking about stress. Stress, mindfulness and calligraphy - how can mindful calligraphy combats stress.

This is where calligraphy comes in - the art of calligraphy possess naturally mindful qualities, ones we needn't consciously acknowledge when sitting down with our pen in hand as the core elements of mindfulness occur organically; such as slowing our breathe, appreciating ourselves and self-satisfaction in what we accomplish, allowing us time for ourselves, focusing on one thing at a time to give us space from the everyday.

For a little more context; in calligraphy, we slow down to achieve those dense, consistent and SUPER satisfying strokes on the page, our hand needs to take the pace off and get into the rhythm of things. Calligraphy gives us all permission to take it down a notch - we gradually let go of whatever we have whirling around and begin to focus on one thing at a time. If our pressure strokes are too quick, the nib scratches along the page resulting in a broken stroke - if we start to slow down, the ink flows naturally without us forces anything.

This slows our whole body down - our breathe begins to slow and our body loosens as we delve into all the letters of the alphabet. We don’t make a concentrated effort to achieve this ‘relaxed’ state - it all happens rather organically. And when we smash that “coffee” (eek, double letters!) we feel self-satisfaction in doing something new and also something pretty good looking!

What is stress?

“You may notice that your heart pounds, your breathing quickens, your muscles tense, and you start to sweat. This is sometimes known as the fight or flight response.” (NHS, webpage). Stress is both psychological and physical - we can feel the effects. These effects may dampen our mood or heighten our senses.

Is stress always bad?

Not always. Stress usually has a negative connotation attached to it and something we may identity easily however stress can always be this unknown thing we can’t see nor feel. The magnitude varies from person and person along with the way we ‘deal’ with it. We experience both distress and eustress - eustress is the more ‘positive’ form of stress - the type of stress where we feel challenged - challenged in a way where we feel relatively confident of the outcome (school exam), or a task at hand of value (job promotion). Our even one where we’re more anxious but excited but also nervous - a total mixture of emotions! (your wedding day!).

How to combat stress: Make more time for your interests and hobbies

Things which may help (according to the NHS, link down below): • share your problems with family or friends • make more time for your interests and hobbies • take a break or holiday. Hobbies, interests and generally things which bring you joy - all lead to reduced stress, according to studies. They all provide us with perspective - looking in from the outside - giving us space to think. Taking time from your day - or maybe making time to enjoy those things can bring you some perspective and in a nutshell - take you mind off things or allow you to come at it from another angle. That one thing (or even multiple things) bothering you, may not be as big as we first thought. We find there genuinely is a way around it, you’re not stuck, there’s a way out and you can figure it out.

What is calligraphy?

Calligraphy is much more than having traditional ‘neat’ handwriting. Instead being more like drawing in the sense that there is an element of movement and precision in each letter. There are 2 main pen styles we teach; the modern calligraphy style with a metallic dip pen and a pot of ink which creates delicate but incredibly versatile hand lettering. A second style is a looser and bolder style with brush pens which can go much larger (a great one for wall art) where we use Tombow ABT pens in our workshops to get that brilliant characteristic thick and thin dense stroke.

How Mindful Calligraphy combats Stress with Mellor and Rose // Mellor&Rose

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice is acknowledging yourself; slowing down, showing kindness to yourself and others whilst passing no judgment. We can practice mindfulness in a more formal setting; on the go, as a group or in own space. There isn't necessarily a rulebook - there’s a core goal and with a few suggestions, one or even a couple of activities could be your own way of practising mindfulness. All without fully acknowledging or focusing too much attention of getting to *that* place of solitude. This article could give you a couple of ideas and calligraphy may be your casual and relaxed version of mindfulness - so let’s dive in!

What does it do?

Mindfulness aims to give us perspective - acknowledge ourselves; both physical (our breathe), emotional and psychological. Being in the present moment, can sometimes bring us back from the things distracting us/ pushing us too far ahead so we don't appreciate whats happening right now - taking a step back to get that perspective back can be the only thing we do to feel in the moment.

How does it work?

Whether in a formal setting (crossed legged, sat on the floor - more like mediation we all know of) or in a casual setting/ on the go type practice, which is what we’ll be talking about. One way of combatting stress is by practising mindfulness and our more specific activity is calligraphy. Practicing more frequently is suggested by multiple sources as this develops our everyday routine, integrating new activities more easily, to include some more time for ourselves - heck, that’s not a bad thing.

How Mindful Calligraphy combats Stress with Mellor and Rose // Mellor&Rose

MINFUL CALLIGRAPHY VS. STRESS

Mindfulness has been shown to have an effect on our levels of stress and we've started to delve into how mindful calligraphy combats stress. One way of practising mindfulness can be calligraphy - quite literally practising your calligraphy skills every once in a while. Getting out your materials and dedicating some time out of your day to take care of yourself. Even if you feel you’re having an absolutely brilliant day, consistency and greater frequency all lead to new routines being developed much more seamlessly.

Here's a scenario...

We’ve had a big day - lots of things going on, some thing’s have gone our way and others… not so much. It’s been ‘one of those days’ - yep, they come around a lot but they never have to get the better of us. Find a space your comfortable in; home, coffee shop, pals house, wherever - grab a drink (of your choice) and pick up a pen. Dedicate an amount of time and keep that time for calligraphy - bring back our wandering mind if we notice if drifting off to the laundry etc.

We start from the very beginning; choosing our pen, sitting comfortably, plant both feet on the floor, feel the ground pushing against you - you’re stable. Sit up straight keep a good posture, don't let our head sag forwards, get a good perspective of the page - nice birds eye view, elbow on the table, keep that lower arm stable. Stable. Start steady with a couple of light upstrokes and thicker downstrokes - aim to get each the same width to give a relaxed goal - a little challenge keeps us motivated and mind focused. Now, go wild. Have a go with a couple of letters if you please then delve into words - try scaling them up or down - stretch each letter or condense - mix up lettering styles, bring some colour to the page - try a block shadow or blending to get a gorgeous flow of colour.

Now, go wild. Have a go with a couple of letters if you please then delve into words - try scaling them up or down - stretch each letter or condense - mix up lettering styles, bring some colour to the page - try a block shadow or blending to get a gorgeous flow of colour.

How Mindful Calligraphy combats Stress with Mellor and Rose // Mellor&Rose

The sole idea of simply sitting down, dedicating some time for our wellbeing in a comfortable setting and doing something nice to do is what this short post is all about.

CALLIGRAPHY

by Polly Mellor

WORDS

by Lucy Mellor

Journal: How to draw a calligraphy banner

POST 11 // BRUSH LETTERING

How to draw a calligraphy banner

SKETCHY & FUNCTIONAL

by Polly Mellor

09/07/2019

How to draw a calligraphy banner with Mellor and Rose // Mellor&Rose
The humble calligraphy banner is a must when it comes to lettering, being such a versatile decorative element. The banner can be used to add a bit of contrast in hand-lettered wall art, to break up the layout or to help not ‘over-do’ your lettering. The decorative banner is also perfect for any planners and journals and can be used within titles or as decorative elements - allowing a release of creativity into your planning, which can potentially be sometimes seem as an arduous task. A simple banner can go a long way to (as the Spice Girls would say) ‘spice up your planner’. All you need to draw this decorative is your brush pen, so let’s crack on with it!
How to draw a calligraphy banner with Mellor and Rose // Mellor&Rose

STEP 1

Roughly find a central point of were you want to draw your banner. For example; as a title at the top of the page of your planner. Start by drawing two thick downstrokes vertically down from top to bottom. Make sure to keep these lines nice and thick as these will become the foundations of your banner.

STEP 2

Now, time to fill in the rest of the focal box shape that your lettering will sit in. Draw two lines horizontally across above and below to create a box shape. I myself find it easiest to draw from left to right, but, whatever floats your boat.

How to draw a calligraphy banner with Mellor and Rose // Mellor & Rose
How to draw a calligraphy banner with Mellor and Rose // Mellor & Rose

STEP 3

Now it’s time for the underneath that will become the shaded shadow section. This can be done two different ways. The first is a curved underneath that curves round from the bottom corners round to around a third in from the corner into a straight line. The second version has the same idea, yet instead of a curve, takes a more triangular shape, with the line coming in straight from the corner to a third across.

STEP 4

Next, we need to shade in this section to give the effect of a shadow. To do this, simply draw some diagonal lines across the inside. You can also entirely fill in with colour to give a dense block shadow, but this hatching effect is my favourite.

Now you can add any extra details you fancy: filling in, hatching or even outlines!

How to draw a calligraphy banner with Mellor and Rose // Mellor & Rose
How to draw a calligraphy banner with Mellor and Rose // Mellor & Rose

CALLIGRAPHY

by Polly Mellor