This is my calligraphy notebook. I started it in 2013 right before my first IAMPETH, and since then I’ve been using it for any calligraphy-related study. I think it’s quite important to have such a book, because it makes me record stuff down that I know I will forget later on.
The book is very simple, just a Rhodia Webnotebook. I like these hardcover notebooks because they can take a beating, and I can just toss them in a bag or wherever without worrying about foxing or folding a soft cover.
The Rhodia paper is good enough that it works great with dip nib and ink, and I’ve used all kinds of pens and ink on it, all with no problems.
Usually with a new book, I get nervous and try not to ‘mess it up’ or anything, and eventually abandon the book. Not with this guy.. this is the equivalent of my old bedroom slippers, comfortable and practical and I can do whatever I want with it with no remorse.
I brought this book with me to IAMPETH, and used it to record whatever the teacher was saying. As they demonstrate, I would copy down immediately in the book and note down any little thing they say. People learn different ways, some sit and watch, some listen and memorize.. well I’m the kind that has to write it down immediately or else I’ll forget the next day.
This gets a little hectic because I have to keep up with the teacher as they talk, but now that I look back through the pages, I am glad I did so because I never would have remembered all that.
In a way it is also a visual journal, by copying down what the teacher is saying, I can recall the moment and context. And you know what they say, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
It is also where I test out new ideas and things, and a simple place to record it. On the left is an experiment with gradient and on the right are some flourishes copied from the Bickham book. If I had done these on loose pages of paper, I would have lost them and forgotten them, but as long as it is in this book, I can refresh my memory and revisit these ideas in the future when I need them.
One of the problems I encountered was drying. When I am copying down what a teacher is saying, I have to work fast and use up pages really quickly, but if the ink is not dry then it will smudge. Alas, many times I decided to just take my chances and let it smudge.