Artist/Owner, Wasserman Design
Joanne Wasserman has been professionally engaged in original art, custom art services, and graphic design since 1979, when she opened Wasserman Design in Washington, DC, as a studio business. Joanne was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design
Calligraphy, drawing, painting, and graphic design are bedrock art realms that Wasserman uses interchangeably to explore diverse subjects material and create original formations of content and imagery. Her intention for every work of art is the same: to communicate what is most intensely meaningful about the circumstances which shape a subject's identity.
Over the years, Wasserman has produced a singular body of works for business clients and individuals whose interests are focused on serious issues of life in today's world. Her testimonial art honors statesmen and leaders for their career achievements and dedication to public service.
Recently, two exemplary works of calligraphy and illumination were composed for Senator John Warner, of Virginia, and Former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Atlantic Council of the United States commissioned both of these works of art.
Wasserman's mural painting for the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is a visual tribute to the school's educational mission across the entire field of nursing practice; the mural was named after an alumnus: The Leona Bowman Carpenter Center for Community Health Nursing.
Other works include several drawings and watercolors that were made to express the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation's advocacy on behalf of all countries in which landmines have been used against innocent civilians, causing the destruction of lives, homelands and national economies.
Wasserman's interests in current events, American history, and the development of writing systems and art traditions of peoples throughout the world are frequent catalysts for her choice of topics; moreover, through her work she cares to express the endearing aspects of living that are all around us.
Change Agents of Culture is an ongoing series of 27 works that address creativity and invention in American society from the late 19th through 20th centuries. The first seventeen of these calligraphy-paintings were exhibited at the Embassy of Japan's Information and Culture Center, in Washington, DC, where the artist gave a public talk about writing systems in the world, entitled, "Picture Writing Then & Now".
Ruling the Page for Calligraphy
Calligraphy expert Joanne Wasserman demonstrates how to rule the page to get perfect proportions for your calligraphy.
Joanne Wasserman: Hello! I am Joanne Wasserman and my company is Wasserman Design and I am teaching you how to write in calligraphy, the script Chancery Cursive. So, we are ready to rule our lines. I can show you I have taped a piece of paper onto my drawing table with just a piece of tape on the top and a piece of drafting tape at the bottom and then we need to use our ink. So, I am taking the small bottle cap and with the piece of the drafting tape, that I have torn off, I am going to put it at the bottom of the cap and stick it to my practice surface, my platform.
In this way, the bottle cap will stay steady in case I would get up from the table and actually bump it and spill the ink and I do not want to do that. So, I am securing it to the platform. So, then I will pour a little bit of ink from the bottle and also replace the lid on this, so that whole bottle of ink is risk free from spilling by accident. We take our pen and I am using a Speedball, that's their brand name, C-0, it is a flat pen and it has been placed inside the pen holder. To begin ruling our lines, I dip the pen and one more thing is we have a scrap paper that I put on next to the drawing paper I am working with.
When you dip your pen into the ink, you want to scrape on this tester sheet, I call so that you get -- you take away some of the excess ink and you get an absolutely sharp edge to your writing. Okay, then over here on the left side of the page, not write at the edge, but close to it, I am going to make five marks, so that our writing height will be five pen-widths. So, I am going to make one, three, four and five. You can see five squares each one on the pen-width wide touching right at the corners and that happens to be the width of our letters.
So, then I will put just a little pencil mark here at the edge and a pencil mark here and you can see the width and then I will take another sheet of scrap paper and I will take it right here by -- it is still wet, so I am going to go on the other side where I have made these pencil marks and I am going to take a little pencil mark at the top edge of the fifth mark that I made and at the edge of the first mark that I made and that is the width of my letters or the height of my letters.
So, then I will slip in around like this and I will make one more, so that I have two and I will make one more. So, I have four pencil marks for three spaces and then what I do is, I just go right down the page that I am writing on and I make a little tick onto my writing paper surface all the way down the page there and I have come right down the page with a mark. When I am done with that, so I take out my T-square and pick up the pencil again and this is pretty much dry. So, I will just -- what I need to do is line the T-square up on the edge, the straight edge of a table or drawing board that you may be writing on and then where I have made that little tick mark and I take my pencil and just rule the line and it is actually goes straight across the page in a nice straight line.
This T-square is 24 inches long because the paper that I have chosen to do my practice on is 24 inches long also. That just makes it efficient and it means that I am going to be ruling fewer pages because I have a bigger sheet on which to practice a lot of letters. Then we just go straight down the page at each tick mark that I have made, I am just going to run the T-square and these lines are showing it parallel. Each of these lines is five pen-widths high and the pen that I am using is the C-0. If I would use a smaller width of pen, a smaller pen size, I would actually get five pen-widths and they would be much shorter. But each time we are going about writing, you want to choose the pen tool that you are going to use and you rule your lines according to that pen tool.
It is taped at the top and the bottom and it is really easy and it goes pretty quickly. Sometimes you might want to rule two or three or four pages, so that when you have time to process you can just write. But it is very calming and soothing to rule your lines. It relaxes you from whatever activity you just were doing to the writing that you are going to be doing next. So, we have ruled the page of lines and next we are going to do warm up exercises to get our hands loose and to practice with the wet ink.