An Interview with Paul Antonio – Master Calligrapher & Spellbinders Deisgner

An Interview with Paul Antonio – Master Calligrapher & Spellbinders Deisgner


Hi I’m Paul Antonio how are you good
thank you you having a good show so tell us about
yourself and your background um I trained as a calligrapher Gildan
heraldic artist I went reading and study a letter from history of reading so have
a very strong academic background in writing and then I went to I get to
study calligraphy gilding an erotic painting and I specialized in historical
materials and techniques I then went on to a book back and studied manage manage
trip history English manuscript history and archaeological illustration and then
from there I went and worked in a pyramid drawing hieroglyphs which is
always fun I am also one of the four crown of the scribes so I write some of
the laws of the Queen signs when people become lords and ladies keeps me a
little bit tied up and that’s fun you know I get to see some really beautiful
documents I started working with spell binders last year they asked me to
headline on the new glimmer hot foil system so this year we’ve added a bulk
of new plates so we call these plates as opposed to dyes just to keep the
distinction so these falling plates are really beautiful and they use my
calligraphy and my illustration rather than typography or font or anything so I
handwrite all the work and digitize it and then we turn it into these plates
and we’ve done some really great stuff this year I’ve also had my first line of
stamps art and some dies and one of the dies makes a little booklet so you can
it scores and punches the holes for the paper and you fold it and then you just
stitch it together with three through three holes and you have this really
beautiful booklet and that you know it sort of shows why I designed the way I
design you know I I trained to subscribe and my mind is always about how to get
people to use what I designed as writing as a
writing system what is that writing work why does work
the way it works how do people get it to to the point where they can embellish it that’s me and how are you finding
transitioning to the paper crafting industry I’m not so sure if I’m
transitioning into the paper crafting industry you know I designed the stuff I
design but you know I teach classes all over the world
I teach calligraphy classes all over the world and so I meet a lot of
calligraphers and it’s about talking to the calligraphers we do crafting to see
how to get them to use more calligraphy in their crafting and a lot of
calligraphers who do crafting they don’t use calligraphy in their crafting
because they can do the writing themselves when they have writing of a
different order to add to their crafting a little bit changes the way they
interact with it and there is a lot in this industry to this industry it’s a
huge industry it’s not really my industry and I’m very conscious about
the fact that you can’t do everything so I only do the little bit that I know you
know I’m very good at what I’m very good at and that’s it so to now have to learn
a whole new industry and of course you know being obsessive-compulsive
I just can’t learn a little bit of something I have to throw myself at it
so I had I’ve had to be very conscious about not letting all of this stuff
overtake my life and you know Spellbinders been brilliant they’ve
given me a platinum six to play with and I have my own hot foiling glimmer plates
to play without because I need to see how my plate slow and it’s it’s how do I
use my specific understanding and knowledge and technology and apply it to
this industry rather than really sort of letting the industry sort of
drive me a little bit crazy because there’s so much here I mean it you could
really go crazy here I’m buddy crafters fine calligraphy and
hand lettering and those kinds of things very intimidating I mean do you have any
suggestions or tips for how they can kind of get started and get over that
kind of I think the first problem with calligraphy is people try to do
something that is too difficult for them to do because they pick up a pen and
they want to write with it well you can’t even do that with a pencil so what
makes you think that you can get away with it with a pen then of course you
struggle with the tool because you don’t understand how the tool works on the
surface you don’t understand how the Tool Works you have no concept of of a
letter form in your mind because every time you write a letter it’s it’s
different so you have no tools to actually make writing work with a
difficult tool so I always tell students you know how to start simple pick up a
pencil spend some time at the pencil writers your alphabet and you will find
whilst writing out your alphabet in separate letters that there are letters
that you have to think about if you have to think about a letter there is no way
you can write it easily because it’s not in your mind so you then you just spend
the time rewriting your alphabet and getting to terms with it again you know
if for instance during the course of this conversation I keep saying to you
write a name write a name if I did that 10 times your age would be 10 different
A’s and they really should be the same a because writing should be an unconscious
thing so if your letter forms do not naturally come to you unconsciously and
you’re working with a difficult tool and you probably haven’t even tested the
tool to make sure that that tool works well on that paper so you’ve done all
this beautiful work and then you pick up a tool and you think oh it’s ink it’s
paper it’ll work and it doesn’t work see there’s a lot of free prepping it’s not
even it’s really quite amazing how you you know trying to get people to see the
simpler things that they have to approach before they try the more
complex it don’t pick up a pen and try and write it on a piece of paper get
some sample sheets get some test sheets and just see what the tool can do see if
you can remember what the tool can do you know if you’re making an A and
you’re using a slightly flexible brush can you reproduce that shape
consistently now some people prefer to have a little bit more and inconsistency
in the way that they write the letter forms and that’s great but if you like
that that you know brilliant I’m happy for you but if you if you prefer
something a little bit more accurate don’t assume that the tool will do the
work for you because you’re just going to set yourself up for disappointment
take it slow breathe while you’re writing some people are writing and it
turns out their mouth and you want them you want to be relaxed you want to sit
up and sit away from the table if you’re down on the table like this you you
can’t see what you’re doing you can’t see the surface and more importantly you
can’t see where you’re going to so being away from the work gives you the ability
to write smoothly to breathe to relax and writing is all about being relaxed
if you’re not relaxed it shows in the writing so excited so happy about that
so we’re just working on releasing an e-version of a manual and as we’ve been
working on the e version of the manual I’ve had to go through the manual and
I’m going through the mind and I’m like alright so we need 10 more pages here
and maybe seven pages here and or we could do with two more pages on this
particular things of the money or sort of growing as I’m going through it so I
know we will do a second edition but that’s not going to be for maybe another
two years two or three years so and the manuals great I’ve had some amazing
feedback on it lots of people who have gotten copies and message me to say you
know that it’s really changed the way they approach copperplate script and and
you know coupled with the manual we have the manual on the PS grab us site and we
also have ton of free guidelines so you know you
download the guidelines and you slowly work through the structure of the
guidelines and each type of guideline assists you in a slightly different way
so you know I looked at the script the same way I think about how people should
learn you by looking at increments that’s that’s been fascinating it’s been
really wonderful to see something you know in print changing the way people
work I’ve had lots of beginners message me to say they’d never picked up a pen
and I had one guy send me an image of a picture that he’d done and he’d never
done calligraphy and in three months what he did from a book was it was
pretty impressive it was it was really heartwarming I was I was really touched
well thank you so much for spending some time with us not at all thank you very
much

18 thoughts on “An Interview with Paul Antonio – Master Calligrapher & Spellbinders Deisgner

  1. That's one of the most interesting interviews I've ever seen on YouTube. Paul Antonio is so talented and obviously is passionate about his craft. Thank you for doing this!

  2. I loved that interview….gained some insight to calligraphy and had go look at what he has designed for Spellbinders….
    AMAZING!!! Thanks for showing this.

  3. He is easy on the ears and eyes and his work is to die for. Thanks very much for this wonderful interview.

  4. Next time you have a chance to speak with Paul Antonio, would you ask him if it is possible for a "lefty" who writes with their hand over their previous lines of writing to be a good calligrapher? The side of my hand always has pencil or ink from the writing utensil. I love to watch him write.

  5. Thank you for sharing this interview. I grew up using a fountain pen at school, first with Marion Richardson handwriting style. Later I started learning some copper plate. But that was years ago. I now am learning brush lettering but have been dying to get my pens and bibs out to reacquaint myself with copperplate. Your interview of this amazing artist has really got me thinking about doing more. So…. I just purchased his book and will get out my Rhodia paper and start relearning.

  6. This is lovely. I have always enjoyed playing with my lettering – it's good to hear his tips for how to approach it! Excellent interview!

  7. Love Paul Antonio! First saw him online at Creativation last year for Spellbinders. Bought a lot of his hot foil plates. Then started following him on Facebook. He is a gifted Scribe! Will be getting his manual soon. Highly recommend!! Great video.

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