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November Artist of the Month...Risa Kadono

Meet our latest Artist of the Month...Risa Kadono. Risa started learning Japanese Calligraphy at the age of five! Her love for writing continued until she graduated from college. After taking a break she found calligraphy again in 2017. Read on to find out more...

What is your background and when did your passion for Calligraphy and Lettering begin?

I live in Kyoto, the historical city in Japan. My Instagram account is @risa_calligraphy.

I started learning Japanese calligraphy at the age of five, partly because my relative had the class, then continued till I graduate from university. I also loved writing with a fountain pen.

After that, I took a break from writing, but in 2017,I started taking Maki Shimano's Modern Calligraphy Class while preparing for my own wedding. Since then, I am enjoying modern calligraphy by expanding the range of my expression like iPad and brush calligraphy etc.

And this month - November 2021, I'm going to start working as a freelance calligrapher!


Who / Where do you take your inspiration from?

  I learnt and I am still learning calligraphy from the following: 

Manuscript's former Artist of the Month Maki Shimano for modern calligraphy.

Another former Artist of the Month Keshia Angelica for flourishing and copperplate calligraphy.

Another super talented former Artist of the Month Hideya Moto for Ipad lettering techniques. 

Oh So Pretty Letters for paintbrush lettering techniques. 

I get inspiration from many things such as sculptural patterns on buildings, flowers, clothing designs and materials, colour schemes in books and advertisements, and so on. I take pictures of things that I think are nice to save ideas (top tip!).

What in your opinion is the hardest and the most rewarding parts of working in a creative industry?

I feel that calligraphy is still not widely known in Japan. Creating collaborative products with clients are always very encouraging as they help introduce calligraphy to the public. I am also very happy when I am told that "your work is just as I imagined” from my client!

I never really worked in a creative field in my career until now, therefore it is very challenging to show my emotions, experiences and feelings sometimes. However, it feels so rewarding and I am honoured that I can express myself through my written word and artwork now.


Do you have a favourite style?

I like fine lines using pointed pen. The most important thing for me when writing calligraphy is the beauty of the lines. I also love adding flourishes to my work.

I would like to explore different styles and broaden my expression by using different tools, such as calligraphy with a brush or lettering with a paintbrush. I would like to continue my own journey in the world of calligraphy, respecting the different traditional typefaces.

What are the most exciting projects you have worked on and what are you working on at the moment?

The ‘Exchanging Calligraphy Envelope Event’ organized by Maki and Keshia in summer 2020 was so exciting. It was so inspiring to received beautiful letters from calligraphers who I respect from overseas. Since I live in Kyoto - one of the most famous tourist cities in Japan and also it was hard time to travel due to Covid, I made a design of Kyoto scenery to make people feel like they are on a trip.

The project I am currently working on is running modern calligraphy lessons. I teach about 50 students every month. The lessons are based on seasonal themes and creative project that can be used in everyday life. I hope that more and more people will enjoy calligraphy.

How does your work relate to your everyday life?

Calligraphy has broadened my interests and enriched my everyday life. I now have many opportunities to take photographs of my work and I have come to enjoy shooting.

I also started using flowers more and more for my styling which I also enjoy so much.

Finally, having time to write every day gives me mental stability and helps in improving concentration.


What are your favourite tools to use?

My favourite holder is Tom’s Studio holder made of brass and natural stones. Not only does it look lovely, but what I like about most is the little extra weight which makes easier to write.

For nibs, I use Nikko G and Leonard Principal Extra Fine nibs.

What would your advice be to people new to the creative industry and any tips on how to get started?

Remember to first try and see if you have something that interests you or that you think nice and something you would like to try.

My first step was starting calligraphy as a hobby since I had always loved writing from very young age. Then, the people and things I have met through calligraphy opened up a whole new world for me. You don't necessarily have to continue with the new challenge just because you started. Just feel free to knock on the door. Let's have fun together!


To see more of Risa's work you can follow her on Instagram. Remember to follow @manuscriptpenco on Social Media where we will be showcasing her work throughout the month.