Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Technique - Gothic Textura Quadrata: An Alternate Ductus

Gothic Textura Quadrata is an absolutely gorgeous script, dense and architectural it is a wonderful example of how letters can be art in their own right. It's also very difficult to write well, especially for a beginner. There are two details about this variant of gothic that are extremely important to get right: perfectly vertical strokes and precise spacing between those strokes. Oddly, the calligraphy books I've read focus on how to draw each letter with the minimum number of strokes. Their method helps write faster, but it is harder to be precise and get those critical details right.

For a beginner, that can make this script extremely frustrating. So I'd like to present alternate instructions for drawing Gothic lettering, hopefully making this script easier to learn for the beginning calligrapher.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Project - Songs of the East - A.S. XLVI

The inner Title Page. I'm extremely happy with how the flourishing on the S and E came out. 

Project: A gift of thanks to Duchess Jana von Drachenklaue V, commissioned by their Majesties Gregor & Kiena: a book of Songs of the East.
Words: By many Eastern songwriters, compiled by Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge.
Binding: Master Iheronimus Br├╝ckner.
Cover Painting: Mistress Carolyne de la Pointe.
Paper: Strathmore 300 series Bristol Board.
Pens: Multiple... I know I used different sizes of Brause, Mitchell and Hiro Rond, as well as a few different pointed nibs. The most interesting was a special lining pen for the 5 line musical staff. I purchased a lining nib as well, but could not get it to work reliably.
Ink: Sepia, red and a yellow-sepia mix of Winsor & Newton calligraphy ink.
Size: The paper was 16 x 9 folded into four pages, margins for the usable area on each page were 6 3/4" by 8 3/4".

In the summer of 2011 I was asked to help on a large project - the creation of a book of songs to be given as a gift by their Majesties Gregor and Kiena to Duchess Jana upon their stepping down on October 1st. One reason I was asked to help is I have a background in music. I know enough about musical notation that I was comfortable calligraphing it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Technique - Practicing with the Pen

A Rotring 2.3 mm ArtPen held flat against
10 square per inch graph paper with a 45° twist.
So you've picked up your first calligraphy pen. Before you start trying to learn to write a specific calligraphic script, get comfortable with the pen. I'm going to start this post by discussing how and why using these pens is different from modern round-tipped pens, and then suggest some practice exercises that will help prepare you for calligraphic scripts.

Getting used to the pen

Using a calligraphy pen is very different than using most modern pens. In many ways, the techniques you use are more like using a wide paintbrush. While getting used to the pen, concentrate on:
  1. keeping the writing edge of the nib flat on the paper.
  2. moving the pen from your shoulder and elbow, not your wrist and fingers.
  3. keeping the angle of the nib consistent.
  4. getting crisp lines.