It's been a little while since I touched on this theme but the emails I am receiving are calling me to comment. I am so thrilled at the enthusiasm and passion I see in the calligraphic world. I see young people who are becoming enthralled with pen and ink and passionately practicing. I get a lot of emails asking how to progress to the next step of their journey or how to "level jump" quickly. I would respond by recalling how one of my mentors responded to me in my penmanship journey. I credit Brian Walker as the penman who brought patience to my penmanship journey and gave me discerning eyes to really see my work. Practice is great. I believe in it whole heartedly. Early in my penmanship journey I often devoted 3 hours a day at least to practice. But the practice was not necessarily intelligent practice. I needed to step back from the practice time and really devote equal time to study. So the pen was put aside for equal time spent in truly observing letterforms. I made this a daily ritual until the letterforms were so clearly in my mind that I could see them before writing. After devoted time to study and practice, I would save time for reflection. I would look back over my daily and weekly practice papers and cast a critical eye over the work. Where did I need to improve? What was strong? What was weak? Were my forms consistent? It was through this three pronged approach that I finally saw improvement. There was no level jumping or quick progress that I could easily discern but there was steady progress. Occasionally I would hit a plateau and need to call in other eyes to look over my work. I can't recommend this process highly enough. It still helps me develop instincts and an eye for detail. As I continue to study new techniques, I never depart from what Brian instilled in me. Study, Practice, Reflect. As autumn settles into my area of the world with its vibrant colours and cooler air, I am finding myself very reflective of changes that are happening in my work. I will keep you posted.