How to Use the Umbracast for Calligraphy

When I first saw the shadow caster concept, I was so incredibly excited! Drawing guidelines for a calligraphy project is just about the most tedious thing I can think of. Enter the Umbracast! Keep reading to see how this gem works! * This is an unsolicited review of a product that I wanted to try out!

The History Behind the Umbracast

In brief, the shadow caster concept was first developed by a man named Milton Ferrari to aid calligraphers in their work. Often, it is very difficult to write on dark paper, thick paper, etc. As calligraphers, we often use light pads or light tables, but these are often insufficient for the aforementioned types of paper. Keeping this problem in mind, he invented a shadow caster, which uses a light source to project guidelines on top of the paper itself. Drawing guidelines can often be time consuming and problematic when it comes to erasing when the project is complete. In addition, many calligraphers do on-site events and this device is very portable to take on the go.

The “Umbracast” an adaptation of the shadow caster, now available from Telmo Nunes. You can read more about it on his website here.

The Setup

Could not be more simple.

Take a quick peek at the process here:

Setting it up!

Using the Umbracast

Getting ready to use!

The key to using the Umbracast is a good light source- which I am still searching for myself. But I wanted to share my engineer husband’s hack to use this while we search 🙂 And hey, just as a little props to me– who is not an engineer or creative in these matters, I modified it a bit! Telmo discusses light sources here with the main points being that a single bulb LED works the best. I’m having to search the interwebs to find one, but in the meantime, the hubs suggested trying this. It is a Milwaukee M18 Stick Light, with 3 LED bulbs.

Milwaukee LED flashlight with painter's tape on part of the bulb- optimized to use the Umbracast

I tried this initially, but the guidelines blurred, so my genius kicked in and I used painter’s tape to cover 2 of the bulbs, and voila! It works! Enter the dollar store container that happens to be the right height to project it, and I have my setup 😉 ** The plastic box is 5 inches tall, and the light is about 15 inches from the table. I placed the whole setup 2 inches from my Umbracast.

Milwaukee flashlight on top of plastic container shining light on umbracast preparing to write calligraphy

And Now To Use The Umbracast!

So So Simple!

The Umbracast Really Is Amazing!

The Final Product!

I’m just so excited to keep using this! Y’all let me know what you think in the comments!

Again, Telmo’s website is here if you want to check out this product!

And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out the shop for prints and notecards! You can always contact me to talk about getting a custom pointed pen calligraphy piece as well.

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