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When you Cross a Dental Drill with Calligraphy?

Question: What do You Get When you Cross a Dental Drill with Calligraphy?

Answer: An Unlikely Career


It is hard to find someone like Ken Brown. I don’t know if I have ever met someone with such enthusiasm, charisma, or energy in my life. He is truly a go getter, a man of actions. He never seems to amaze me at what he gets done in a day – and how hard he works to further his artwork and his training classes.

You have probably heard Dr. Lew talk about taking action – do something. In today’s busy world of information, it is very easy to get bogged down – and do nothing. The bad part is – if you do nothing, the results are (you guessed it – nothing.) We have surely all fallen victim to these circumstances at one time or another. It is sometimes hard to pick one or two priorities from the list and take action.

Ken has been working closely with a publicist lately and I thought I would share this article – soon to be released…


McKinney, Texas – Ken Brown found a clever use for the dreaded dental drill. He writes with one.

“I’ve done traditional calligraphy since college, but it’s more exciting with a lettering pen that spins at 300,000 revolutions per minute,” says Brown. Author of numerous books teaching calligraphy and host of the “Calligraphy with Ken Brown” public television series (1984 – 1996), Brown is no stranger to penmanship. But his epiphany came in 1992 when a Utah dentist, Lew Jensen, urged him to try calligraphy with a dental drill. Within 11 months he translated his skill from pen to drill, and his canvass from paper to hard surfaces.

Brown now teaches others how to engrave calligraphy onto crystal, metal, glass and wood objects of all shapes and sizes at engraving seminars in McKinney, Texas, near Dallas. “Learning engraving opened a whole new world of confidence, friends and opportunities,” said Ken’s student Mary Warlick, from Taylors, S.C., who now engraves in stores in four Southeastern states. Brown’s apprentices live across the U.S. and Canada. All emulate his style, some as a part-time business and others who work full time engraving for the public. (www.kenbrown.com)

Why engrave calligraphy as a career?

No artistic ability needed – anyone can learn the strokes

Great earning potential: $50 to $100 per hour to personalize gifts; $300 to $800 per in-store engraving event

Home-based business with little overhead

Seminars teach marketing techniques

“My handwriting is nothing to write home about,” laughed Brown, “but beautiful writing always fascinated me.” The hand-lettered poster he was assigned in architectural design at Oklahoma State University sparked his love of lettering. “It was my defining moment,” Brown remembers, “but it’s also why I flunked out.” He was so captivated by lettering that his studies suffered. Totally self-taught, Brown developed a 14-stroke method to form a calligraphic alphabet. From that came his books, television series and thousands who learned his method.

After mastering the drill in 1993, Brown landed a job engraving calligraphy into perfume bottles, and has since done engraving events throughout the U.S. and Canada at stores such as Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Market Street, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. His single-day records for engraved wine and fragrance bottles are 260 and 626, respectively.

Few people singly pioneer a skill. Ken Brown did.

Editor Note: Brown is available for interviews. Multimedia is available from the Press Room at www.kenbrown.com.

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2 Responses to When you Cross a Dental Drill with Calligraphy?

  1. Juanita Young March 22, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    thanks Russ…this is what I was looking for…wish he made more detailed instruction videos….

  2. Ron Snayberger March 23, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    Juanita, as one of Ken’s certified engravers I encourage you to take Ken’s course. The personal small setting will help you learn faster. Just doing events for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the Christmas season in November and December For Nordstrom, Bloomingdales , Sacks, and others, I earn an income that rivals others working a part time job for a full year.