Monday, October 27, 2014

One Year In

October marks the one year anniversary of my starting this blog. Taking a queue from Ian the Green and his blog, Scribe Scribbling, I decided it would be a great time to examine the past year. What have I accomplished, where can I improve, and what do I want to work on in the upcoming year?

Why did I start this blog?

There are several reasons: to attempt to help provide teaching materials for those who learn better at their own pace; to push myself to experiment more and document that process; and to document my scribal works so I have an archive of my progress.

What have I accomplished?

In the past year, I've posted roughly 10 lessons, 10 projects I've worked on, and 5 interviews with other calligraphers.

My control panel says I've had almost 13,000 page views, so at least a few of you are reading what I'm posting! By far my most popular posts and pages are instructional in nature. My post on how to use the AMES lettering guide has over 2,600 views; sadly, the videos I made for it have a much lower count than I had hoped - 74 for the primary AMES guide video, and 24 for the versals & guidelines. My alternate ductus for gothic textura quadrata has over 2,100 views. These two posts on their own account for 36% of my page views to date!

Next highest is my lessons page with almost 600 views, followed by practicing with the pen at 350, my gallery at just over 300, an interview with Giles de Roet at 300, and calligraphy books at 275.

Where can I improve?
  • More frequent/regular updates! I haven't posted as much as I wanted to, nor have I kept to any sort of schedule. 
  • More instructional posts. It's obvious from the numbers that they are the most popular posts.
  • More study, experimentation and documentation - I still want to focus on improving my own skills and knowledge.

Future plans

Detailed book reviews - I've started building a nice library of calligraphy books. I'm working on creating a page with short reviews of each book, as well as a detailed review post for each book in my library.

Quills! - I've played with quills, and completed one assignment with them, but I'm still not comfortable with them as my primary writing tool. I really need to practice with them more frequently to become comfortable and improve my pen control.

Calligraphy Boot Camp - This group was founded to create a place for calligraphers to learn and improve their skills. It focuses on a new hand or technique each month. I plan on one post a month to go along with the planned lesson. 

More Lessons! - Beyond the boot camp, I want to continue to write lessons around the aspects of SCA calligraphy that mostly seem to be learned by experience: page layout, fitting text into a pre-defined space, left-handed techniques, medieval punctuation, and anything else I can think of or am asked about. Maybe one well developed lesson post every two months?

Paleography (the study of historic handwriting) - I find the most joy in calligraphy when I'm attempting to copy period hands as accurately as possible. I want to spend some time examining and comparing the ways different scribes interpreted the same script. These are going to be intense and time consuming studies, so I don't expect to post more than one or two in the upcoming year.

More interviews - I started a little strong and fast with the scribal interviews. I have one more in queue that I haven't completed editing. Once I post that, I'd like to continue posting these at a rate of one every couple months.

Updated tools & materials reviews - Similar to how I plan on updating my book review page and adding detailed reviews, I'd like to break out my tools and materials reviews the same way, allowing easier updates as my experience and knowledge improves over time.

Calligraphy related projects - I have plans to create a penner (a medieval pen & ink case, carried on the belt) and a medieval style writing slope. I also hope to make some of my own ink. These and other projects related to calligraphy will be documented here.

Project/Gallery posts - I've completed several scrolls in the past few months that have not been posted to the blog. I really need to work on getting them posted, even if it means spending less time critiquing and writing about my process.

Your feedback...

As much as this blog is for me, the reason I chose a blog and not a journal is in the hopes that some of what I write is helpful to those who visit and read it. I welcome feedback and requests.

Thanks for the past year, I look forward to the next!

-Alexandre Saint Pierre

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