I wrote a letter yesterday to a friend of mine. He and I write each other about once a week, sometimes more often, which works out to 50 or 60 letters a year, and we’ve been at it for four years. It’s an unusual and old fashioned epistulary friendship, as we’ve only seen each other in person maybe a dozen times. I use Japanese rice paper, which comes in handy 60-foot rolls and is quite beautiful. A letter is wonderful thing — the recipient knows that the writer spent (in this case) several hours thinking just about him. I like to illustrate my letters with pictures of creatures Kieran and I have discovered. For that I use colored pencils.

 

Anax juniusRana catesbeianaHydrophilus triangularis

I finished the letter late last night.

I finished the letter late last night. As a father, I have to tolerate water pistols and stormtroopers on my desk!

 

The letter was still there in the morning, ready to be put in an envelope and mailed.

The letter was still there in the morning, ready to be put in an envelope and mailed.

A C-3 or C-4 nib is good for envelope addresses.

A C-3 or C-4 nib is good for envelope addresses.

Carefully dipping the pen.

Carefully dipping the pen.

Writing the first letter of the address.

Some people measure and draw faint pencil lines to get things straight, but I just eyeball it.

Some people measure and draw faint pencil lines to get things straight, but I just eyeball it.

I learned calligraphy from  Alfred Fairbank's 1932 book, A Handwriting Manual.

I learned calligraphy from Alfred Fairbank’s 1932 book, A Handwriting Manual.

I leave the crossing of the Ts until the words are done.

I leave the crossing of the Ts until the words are done.

Ts can be crossed with a flourish.

Ts can be crossed with a flourish.

Again, I just eyeball the angles and position of the second line. I don't get out my protractor.

Again, I just eyeball the angles and position of the second line. I don’t get out my protractor.

I like larger initial capitals.

I like larger initial capitals.

The double F in "Office" gives a chance for a fun flourish.

The double F in “Office” gives a chance for a fun flourish.

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