calligraphy, lettering, type design, letter carving, sign writing, pixel pushing, etc

Julie Wildman

Abstract Marks

Marks made with broad-edged pen and watercolor, sumi and walnut inks. Metallic watercolors and powders dropped into wet marks.

Alphabet in Black

Letters made with a folded metal pen and sumi ink.

An Orchard Invisible

This piece was done with a monoline nib and walnut ink, then colored with Prismacolor pencils.

Arise & Breathe

This piece was done with a folded metal pen, walnut ink and watercolors.

Bonne Nuit

Proposed lettering for placement on product. Done with folded metal pen and sumi ink.


This piece explores the question, 'but is it calligraphy,' a question frequently asked by viewers at calligraphy exhibits when they see something that's more abstract or non-traditional. I like to think of letterforms as shapes with which we use to communicate, and I like to explore the question of what actually makes a letter a letter. Is it the 'positive' drawn line, or the 'negative' space inside and around the letter? This pieces acknowledges the interesting negative spaces by using color and dissecting lines to highlight those areas.

Like Dandelions on a Windy Day

This piece is from a quote by Kamand Kojouri. I did this in a workshop with Denis Brown, a calligrapher from Dublin, Ireland. We used special sumi ink dropped onto drafting vellum to create interesting ink blobs, then lettered directly on the vellum as well as paper placed behind it to create a soft, faded layered look.


Poem [in-just~] by e.e. cummings. One spread from a handmade book with illustrations and lettering.

Far and Wee

Lettering done with a ruling pen and sumi ink. This was an exercise done in a workshop with Stephen Rapp.


This piece was done with acrylics on canvas. The lettering was done with a Fineline Applicator filled with a white acrylic gesso mixture.


This piece was done in a workshop with Thomas Ingmire. Thomas had us making abstract marks to music, then looking at them to see if any looked liked letters. The letters in this piece were from that exercise and were done with a white acrylic gesso mixture in a Fineline Applicator.

Niente Senza Gioia

This is an Italian phrase that means 'nothing without joy'--a feeling I want my lettering to exude. This piece was done using drawn letterforms then filled in with watercolors.

Philippians 1:27

This piece was done with a pointed brush and white gouache on Arches Black Cover.

Psalm 117

A mixed media piece using a walnut ink wash, sumi ink, gouache and gold leaf. The abstract marks on the edges were done with a pointed brush and the lettering in the center was done with a broad-edged nib. This piece won the 2007 Newberry Library (in Chicago) Purchase Prize Award and is now a part of their permanent collection.


The illustration on this piece was done as a linoleum block print, then scanned into Photoshop and colored digitally. The lettering was hand-done then scanned and placed into the illustration.

The Letter 'J'

This decorated letter is a more traditional form filled in with watercolors in a not-so-traditional way.

An Alphabet Book

This alphabet book contains all 26 letters and the numbers 0 through 9. Each letter and number was done in a different style, using different tools. All were done in black sumi ink with a vermilion sumi accent.

Lettering Samples

This page shows a variety of styles. Some of these are commercial samples.