I have a strange relationship with names. They have a sort of a grip on me. Even when I was kid, before I even knew what calligraphy was and I was experimenting with all sorts of weird and wonderful letters, I'd be drawing girlfriend's or boyfriend's names for the other kids. I'm quite capable of doing larger, more interesting projects, but a simple name? I love it!
I do a lot of it but I never get sick of it, and its always a challenge.
The best explanation I can come up with is that it feels like designing a logo / wordmark. The challenge is to get that unique combination of letters to really sing together in somespecial way.
Doing a larger body of words can be easy: you just get a formula going and follow through with it. It doesn't matter if a few letters aren't marching quite in step with the rest because there are so many, but given just one or two words and all the details come to the fore for me - the flow from one letter to the next, the spacing, the shape of the word as a whole, the tension, the harmony - keeping a family resemblance between the letters.
This last point is especially a problem given that I seldom ever write or carve in exactly the same way. I do have a "comfort zone" style but I usually can't stop myself experimenting with different forms and different movements and if you do one or two letters different, you're always going to be faced with how the other letters need to fit in with that. Anyone who has tried to design a font must know: its like a Rubics cube and you can't change one minor detail on one letter without working out how its going to affect the relationships between all the other letters.
I often carve a name over and over again before I'm happy with it. Sometimes I'm happy to have it taken by a wave before I can get the shot.
Its not that I'm simply a control freak. Its still a matter playing with the thing, and I hope it shows. I guess its just that I like to play with it until all the pieces fall into place.
I like it when the wind and water work on a piece:
This one had a blade of grass blowing around and cutting an arc into the sand:
This one was cool: It had water seeping into the letters and running out the top, while a gale force wind carried sand onto the wet letters, gathering it on the edges and slowly closing them up from the top.
R E Q U E S T S
As of 1 September 2009, I am accepting requests for names carved.
* Price: $100 for a single name, $200 for a couple's name. You can place your order at
, but preferably contact me first.
* You get at least two options to choose from and are supplied with the signed, high resolution file which you may use for any purpose except resale. My current equipment, a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 14-24mm G, provides a 12 Megapixel professional quality image which can be used to make very large canvas prints - over 1m / 37".
* Printing and framing is up to you, but I will be happy to facilitate and advise. Of course, if you prefer, I can see to everything down to having it delivered to your door. Just ask. Either way, the printing and framing will probably be done at a service provider near you because that is quicker and cheaper and more environmentally friendly than my doing it here and shipping it to the other side of the planet.
* Turnaround time is 2 to 7 days depending on the conditions. 24 hours is also possible.
To order, or just find out more, contact me via Behance messaging or beachcalligraphy(at)gmail.com or Skype: writtenword1.
Alternatively, you can just go to and look to see if the name you're interested in is there.