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Interview: Amanda Miller, the Chalkboard Lady

Art comes in all forms.

It can be a pen-and-ink drawing. Or a watercolor painting. Or a delicate pencil sketch.

Or sometimes, it can be a simple chalkboard menu written in a flowing hand.

Meet Amanda Miller, known as the Chalkboard Lady to her clients.

Please tell me a little about you.

I live in the East Yorkshire village of Cottingham with my husband and two Labradors.

Please tell me a little about your work.

I produce chalkboard art and wall-art for businesses and homes across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. My clients range from major pub chains to small independent shops and cafes. I trained as a ticket writer in the artroom of a supermarket chain producing all point-of-sale by hand. This eventually lead to me writing chalkboards. I've been doing so for 18 years now! Wall-art is very popular at the moment and I do quite a lot of that from family trees to favourite quotes, all written freehand.

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What are some of your favorite writing and drawing pens/markers?

For drawing I love Sharpies because of their wide colour range but for fine line drawing I like the Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.5. For my chalkboard work, I only ever use Uni Posca paint markers. They have great coverage and blend really well; they have an extensive range both in size and colour.

How do you discover new pens and markers?

I usually find out about new pens online but also by talking to other artists. We tend to swap ideas and advice. I recently bought some of the Stabilo EASYgraph pencils which are perfect for me as a left-hander.

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What factors do you consider when choosing pens and markers?

The most important thing in a pen is the nib; it (can't) be too soft and needs to keep its sharpness. Every artist has their own favourite; it's down to comfort as well. I like a pen that blends well, that's why I like Posca – you can produce nice shading. They are also waterproof which is essential for chalkboards!

Which one pen or marker do you use most frequently?
My most-used pen is the Posca 15mm extra broad in white. I can get a nice crisp single stroke with it but also a perfect fine line by using the corner of the nib. It's the most versatile.
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Which pens and markers do you recommend to others doing similar work? Do you recommend differently for beginners vs. more experienced?

I would recommend a bullet tip pen for the beginner so they can perfect their letter shapes easily before tackling a chisel point which is a completely different technique. I have trained a few people to ticket-write and getting the angle right with a chisel is one of the hardest things to master.

Imagine you designed the perfect pen. Please describe it.

My perfect pen...it would never run out! So maybe one that is easy to refill would be good. Other than that it could have a wider nib but the pen itself be thinner for comfort. More colours are always on my wish list too. A double-ended nib so that when one end starts to fray I can turn it round.

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Which pen would you take with you to another planet?

A pen to take to another planet...assuming there are chalkboards on the planet then I would say one that can write at zero gravity! I can imagine floating around a chalkboard, never having to use ladders again or lift a heavy a-board! That would be the life!

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Want to know more? You can connect with Amanda on her Facebook page, or by visiting the Chalkboard Lady site.

A big thanks to Amanda for answering our questions!

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