Wednesday, 3 August 2011

ZIG Calligraphy markers: The Basics!

ZIG Calligraphy pens are part of the ZIG Memory System, a premier line of markers manufactured by us in Japan.


Any Kuretake pen that has the ZIG Memory System logo...

Is a Pigment Ink marker - a type of ink that is light fast, waterproof, fade-proof and non-bleeding. Anything written with a pigment marker is going stand the test of time and won't harm your photos as they're Photo safe and Acid-free!

The ZIG Memory System was originally designed for scrapbooking and crafting and have been staple items in many crafters kits for years. Due to their unique blending and archival properties, they're used on a huge range of other artwork and we'll be featuring some different artists on the blog over the next few weeks.   

A few facts about ZIG Calligraphy pens...

  • They're available in 48 colours
  • They're double ended with 2mm & 5mm tip
  • As with all double ended pigment markers - they must be stored horizontally! This is to keep the ink flowing nicely from both ends. Been storing them upright?! Tut tut. But no worries, just lay them horizontally again, leave them for a few hours and they'll be good as new!
  • They also come in metallic and pastel colour sets that look amazing on black card!

Some simple ideas to try with ZIG Calligraphy pens

Blend the tips...

All ZIG Memory System pens are blendable, which means you can add colours from one pen to the other, directly onto the tip to create amazing two toned effects.

To blend your pens, hold them vertically, and without applying any pressure, allow the ink to flow into the pen below.  The longer you hold the pens together, the longer the 2nd colour will last on the tip! 

Try it on one side of the tip to create shading, or both sides for a ribbon effect.  You could even blend a couple of colours onto one tip.

Want the pen to go back to its original colour? Simply use on some scrap paper until the pen returns to it's original colour, (which it will, completely!) or you could dab a tissue on the tip to soak up the added colour.

And...the pigment ink of ZIG pens is SO intense that you can even blend light colours onto dark ones!

Tip! You can blend any ZIG Memory System pen with the Calligraphy tip, so you can mix and match your colours across the range.

 Click to watch our blending tutorial!

Create simple flowers...

Flowers are one of the cutest and easiest things to create with ZIG Calligraphy pens, and all you need to master is one simple stroke.  This stroke is a very subtle "S" shape.

  • Holding the pen at the 45 degree angle, draw downwards with a slight "S" movement of the pen.
  • Rotate the paper and draw a 2nd petal, continueing until you have a flower!

Tip: You're more likely to get a good looking flower if you draw the petals from the inside out. It just makes sure that they all meet in the middle!

Why not turn your calligraphy flowers into a project like this one from Kuretake Design Team's Emma Williams....

 The flowers shown above are the easiest for beginners, but there are more advanced ones. Like these...

We've got some practice sheets on our website that you can download and print out

Learn to write with them...

Learning calligraphy is a great skill, it will add something special to your scrapbooking, journalling or simply letters and invitations to friends.  It's also known to improve your own handwriting!

There are many different styles of Calligraphy and it is a personal preference which style you go for, but Italic is a good starting place. 

The Kuretake A-ZIG book is a great way to start, and is how I learnt to do my calligraphy.  

The book breaks down the strokes of each letter and also teaches you some of the more advanced flowers.

 Tip! The A-ZIG book comes with worksheets to practice on but a good learning tool is to use a sheet of vellum, lay it over a page of the book and trace over the letter with a Calligraphy pen.

Martha Lever has some excellent ZIG Calligraphy tutorials, check them out here

Add layering to your lettering...

You can really get creative with your calligraphy by layering colour, here's how...

Create flourishes...

We're proud to work with talented Calligrapher Jane Farr, who is based in the US. I came across Jane's work and was thrilled to see that she was a huge fan of ZIG pens! She creates beautiful lettering, borders and some wonderful flourishes.

The main strokes of this flourish uses the same "S" shape stroke as the flowers, it's just more elongated.

Use the ink to create backgrounds...

Kuretake Design Team member Kim Dellow has some great tutorials on her blog using her "scribble" technique, which involves scribbling ZIG Calligraphy pens onto acetate, and picking up the ink with paper, you can check out her tutorial here

Get creative with ZIG Metallics!

ZIG Calligraphy pens are available in some amazing Metallic colours which look incredible on black card.  Here is another of Jane Farr's fantastic creations!

 Have you thought of any other uses for ZIG Calligraphy pens?  We'd love to hear them!


Want some Calligraphy tips from a professional? Check out the ZIG Blog interview with Calligrapher Jane Farr!

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