31 May 2012

Letterpress Wedding Invitation

Don't you just love the look of letterpress!?! I think it is my favorite printing style. This spring I was able to create this invitation for a lovely young bride.

The mother of the bride wanted a little flourish to adorn the return address. I got a little carried away but she loved it.

To create the flourish, I drew half of the design with a pointed nib and sumi ink on white paper. I scanned this into Adobe Illustrator, cleaned up the image, and then mirrored it.

Pointed pen sketch

Finished flourish

The names on the invitation were also scanned and imported into Adobe Photoshop, where the remaining wording of the invitation had been arranged.

Detail of names.

24 May 2012

Ancient Prayer of Saint Patrick

Earlier this year, I received a commission to create a broadside of the Ancient Prayer of Saint Patrick.

The length of the prayer dictated that the calligraphy be written fairly small, at least smaller than I  am used to. Several different calligraphy styles and layouts were explored.

Just a few of the styles and hints of layout.

As the rough drafts were submitted to the client, we began to hone in on the style and layout she desired for the piece. The prayer was to be written on vellum, have some type of illustration, with a square format, not to be framed any larger than 12"x12", and to be flush on both sides. (The client greatly desired structure in the layout.)

The style of calligraphy that worked far better than any other was a hand similar to the calligraphy in the St. John's Bible.  The hand is compact and upright with a beautifully classic flow. I practiced and studied the hand for only 4 days before attempting the prayer, which is not near enough time to see it properly, much less, try to emulate it with any type of precision. But deadlines must be met. I would encourage anyone interested in learning a new hand to spend time studying the calligraphy that Donald Jackson created for the St. John's Bible.

This is the finished piece.

Creating a layout that is aligned flush on both sides was quite a task. I utilized the computer for this part of the process. A template was created with the calligraphy manually squeezed here and expanded there for each line. I was then able to fold this template above each line that allowed me to place the appropriate line of writing directly beneath my writing line. This way I was able to follow the spacing exactly as it was laid out on the computer.

Template for layout.

This project was definitely a learning experience. My client wanted three of these broadsides created, which gave me the opportunity to develop some new skills and to reinforce those skills.

Enlarged detail view.

17 May 2012

Abstract Occasion Cards

I have been playing today with painting tiny abstracts for occasion cards. What a fun stress free day in the studio!

Each card has an original abstract painted with sumi ink and watercolor. The sentiments are hand written in sumi ink.

 View my etsy shop, MillerLine, for more images.

10 May 2012

the haiku

My brother, Webster Miller, is a talented still photographer. In April of this year he embarked on a project of creating a short film for the Reduser 4k Portrait Competition. This was his first film undertaking ever! I was thrilled when he asked if I would help in the making of this film and provide the calligraphy. We brainstormed together and came up with the idea of basing the film around a one line haiku. (There is a great resource for the practice of the one line haiku here.)

The calligraphy in the film is an italic hand written with a Brause nib and sumi ink.

Please view the film by clicking the picture below.

The Haiku placed as one of the top ten finalists and received special recognition at the Reduser Party. The top 10 films were on display all evening in a venue similar to an art gallery layout. You can learn more about RED here.

03 May 2012


I love to create monograms! They are such fun and a challenge, especially a three letter monogram. Here are two commissions from earlier this year.



Each of these were created for wedding invitations and is something the happy couple can use for their entire married life. Now that's getting some bang for your buck.