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    Cathy Andronicou

    Make Stained Glass Letters to Celebrate Your Name

    Today we are joined by the talented Phwanda Moore to show us how to get creative with letters.


    Hi, I’m a calligraphy and mixed media instructor in Northern California. Most of my students want to learn lettering for personal projects, so I enjoy trying new pens like the Chameleons. I’ve discovered they’re a great tool for making chunky letters ~ those hand-drawn letters, often fashioned from a variation of 4 - 8th century uncials. We artists have been reinventing them lately with colorful shades, sketching, and sparkle!

    The Chameleon Pen with its built-in shading is perfect for our project today: Celebrate Your Name. I happen to have an unusual name (it’s Cherokee and pronounced “Fonda”) but I think everyone’s name is interesting! Here’s a card I made for my friend, Viktoria.


    Supplies: 2B pencil, eraser and graph paper, 4-8 squares to the inch; a Chameleon pen (or two, in neighboring colors: yellow/orange, red /violet, blue /green); a Chameleon Detail pen or several black micron-type markers in a range of sizes, 03, 05, 08, to make both fine and bold lines; a very fine-tip colored pen in the same color/s as the Chameleon marker, such as the 0.25 Pentel Slicci gel pen, for sketching techniques and heavier copy paper or mixed media paper for alcohol markers.

    How to Design Stained Glass Letters: You can download my templates from the Chameleon store or draw your own letters. To draw, choose capitals like uncials, Neuland type, or even block letters. Sketch the outline freehand with a pencil on graph paper, evaluate, and erase when necessary.

    Next, imagine a stained-glass look and draw sections inside the outline. Keep it simple, aim for about 3 - 9 areas. Make them all different sizes and use the letter’s shape to inspire you.
    Once your letter is complete, outline it with the smaller end of the Chameleon Detail pen or a 05 black micron.


    With the Chameleon pen bullet tip, color and shade the sections of your letter. Choose a direction for your light source (think of the sun) and make those areas lighter. (After you fuse the pen, test it on a piece of scrap paper.) Also aim for contrast. For example, if you have a darker shade down, add a lighter color next to it.

    Drawing / sketching techniques are fun and add interest to your design ~ short lines, cross-hatching, scumbling, dots, diagonals. With the Chameleon’s shading, these little marks are even more enhanced when you layer them on the lighter areas. Scumbling is my favorite, where you just let the pen tip meander rather aimlessly over a section. Try it! Leaving some spaces white will help create interest and contrast. Take a final look at your letter, and smooth the rough spots with the bullet color tip or a finer black pen. Sometimes making the outline a bit bolder (Detail pen) is a perfect fix.



    Look up the meaning of your name (via book or online) and print it below the initial. Celebrate who you are with Stained Glass Letters, and then show us what you make!


    Phawnda Moore is an award-winning editor / designer with decades of experience in corporate communication, special events, and educational publications. She studied design at UC Davis, class of ‘92, and loves exploring creative techniques. Her art has been featured on the cover of Bound & Lettered and in numerous professional publications. Phawnda teaches lettering and mixed media workshops by blending modern tools with traditional design principles. For more information, contact her via: www.journalismdesign.net
    Visit her on Facebook: CalligraphyAndDesignByPhawnda

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