365 Days of Shakespearean Word Art

Anna Thursby in Brisbane, Australia is creating 365 Days of Shakespearean Word Art! She explains, "It's calligraphy meets illustration. Every day I'll be posting a Shakespearean coinage (a word now obsolete or a phrase now commonplace) drawn in ornamental lettering. Ideally in such a way as to reflect the meaning ... or at least that's the intention."

Why did you decide to do this project? You mean aside from the cliché of seeing 30 barrelling toward me like a runaway express train, and becoming suddenly desperate to accomplish something, anything, and having serendipitously found the Make Something 365 book in the library, and figuring that was as good a place to start as any?

Last year I surrendered to the weight of opinion insisting that my drawings are good enough to share with the world, and a no-pressure project like this makes it easier to start doing that. It's 365 baby steps; practice at putting my work out there for all to see, and because it's just a bit of fun and experimentation it doesn't matter whether people like it or not. (Plus these glorified doodles will probably make my "real" work look good in comparison :)

I'm hoping, too, that it will help me to detach myself from perfectionism. There's no room for it here: whatever I draw, I post, even if I'm not happy with it or I think of a better idea as soon as I've finished.

As for why Shakespeare ... you can blame Stephen Fry for that one. At the beginning of January I was desperately casting around for ideas when I caught a repeat of a Bard-themed episode of Q.I., which featured some Shakespearianisms which never caught on. Boggler. Carlot. Kicky-wicky. It was love at first geeky glance. I rushed to the computer, found http://www.shakespeareswords.com/, and dived straight in.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It's deepened my appreciation of Shakespeare. Everything of his which I haven't read had risen to the top of my mental list of Books I Simply Must Read, and half of those I have are now on my mental list of Books I Must Read Again Soon. A comprehensive list of his reputed inventions shows what a profound effect he had upon the English language, and is catnip to someone who loves words for their own sake. (I wonder if I could resurrect a few...?)

The need to set up a blog for all of this art-sharing has set me off on a self-directed crash course in HTML and CSS, which is something I would never have thought myself techy enough to manage; but I am managing. I'm teaching myself how to use GIMP, too - I've actually rather impressed myself. And art-sharing is actually much less nerve-wracking that I'd feared.

Most importantly, I'm creating every day, and learning how to take Jack London's advice and go after inspiration with a club. Or a pencil, as the case may be.

See all of Anna's words HERE.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I LOVE the word art! Well done to you, and Will. This is a great reminder of all that he added to the English language.