Meditating Through The Rhythm of the Script: Tina Benavides

1. ​What’s your name and title/business name? Where are you located, city, state, country location?

Tina Benavides, Avon Lake, Ohio
Artist/Calligrapher – Little Red Dress Calligraphy

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2. What’s your educational and professional background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?

I studied Fashion Illustration Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I apprenticed at Robert Casey Studio in [Pittsburgh] until graduation. They offered me a job after graduation, but graduation night at the portfolio review American greetings offered a position as an artist. I took it and worked my way up from the board into various management positions. I retired in 2017 as a Creative Vice President. It was a fun and wonderful career, but after being in management positions for so long, I was ready to be creative again instead of watching everyone around me create.

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3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?

For my copperplate:

Oblique Holder (my favorite is by ink me this). Their pens are individually made and are fatter around the flange area to reduce hand fatigue.

Nibs:

I like Hunt 101, Nikko G and Brause EF66. For work on handmade paper or more textured stock I use a Blue Pumpkin (Brause Steno)nib. Inks -Moon Palace Sumi for black, Dr. Martin’s White, Finetec Metallics.
I have been recently combining my work with drawing (my first love) where I use Graphite and Nitram Charcoal and combining with copperplate or Modern Calligraphy for a vintage feel.

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4. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?

For me I find being lost in the rhythm of a script as a form of meditation. I recharge my batteries in many ways. I like seeing other artists Instagrams and conversing with them on methods and materials. I enjoy art books and museums. I love taking workshops. Last year I went to LetterWorks which was wonderful. I got to take classes from Barbara Close, and the iconic Sheila Waters who wrote Foundations Of Calligraphy. This Summer, I am going to attend the IAMPETH conference to learn Spencerian. Just learning new things inspires me. I took a charcoal workshop with Casey Baugh a couple years ago and loved it. Later on, I decided to experiment combining that with my Copperplate and modern calligraphy. I would like to give a shoutout to my good friend and lettering mentor, the talented Martha Ericson who taught me foundational and italic and advised me to learn those first before I learned copperplate because it would help me later. She was right. My personal preferences are scripts, but I learned so much about spacing, rhythm and observation. Martha is a great teacher and she still inspires and encourages me.

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5. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.

My studio business, Little Red Dress Calligraphy got its name because my mother named me after the brand of her favorite little red party dress Teena Paige Dresses (she changed the spelling of Tina). I still have the dress hanging in my closet.

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