The concept behind Brian’s signature coloured pencil pieces was to express the meaning of words in visual terms rather than simply writing it calligraphically. This collection was so much more than just letter forms. Each piece focuses on structure, texture, shape, spacing, light, pattern, colour and lines. Brian used coloured pencils with ordinary pencil worked over the top to add shade and tone down the colour. He sometimes added other elements including gold leaf, gouache and ink.
Brian also enjoyed doing personal portraits including one of Master Penman Elmer W. Bloser, which he donated to IAMPETH one year for their Silent Auction. This particular portrait also featured on the front cover of an edition of IAMPETH’s The Penman’s Journal.
Letters were not intended to touch either the top or bottom line, but simply undulate between the ‘avenue’ thus created, but not in any contrived sort of way. ‘Wintertime’ was drawn rather than written using whatever shapes came spontaneously to Brian’s mind as work progressed from left to right. Letters were loosely based on block, skeleton or versal letters. However, the criterion was not simply to ‘do a piece of calligraphy’, but achieve a pleasing design of inter-locking shapes and related lines fitting well together, the whole hopefully expressing something of the subtleties of wintertime itself. In the process letter forms became fragmented, yet still basically legible.
Additional vertical lines were added to reflect the bareness of trees and branches. Prolific use of the plastic eraser faded out the colour at the top and bottom of the design suggesting snow below and pale skies above.
If you corresponded with or were mentored by Brian Walker, or if you would like to comment on his work or post a written tribute on the site, please get in touch. The Walker Family would love to hear from you.