A friend and I were talking about that timeless movie The Crow and remembering how many really good lines it had. As we tossed lines back and forth over email, I realized that they would make great calligraphy fodder. So that’s what I did.
Over on Reddit, we’re doing a little consistency challenge to practice that which all calligraphers need, and I thought I would pick the lowest-hanging fruit I could and do this word.
“Minimum” is kind of a shibboleth amongst people learning calligraphy, as it is a word which, in many scripts, requires very similar strokes for all the letters involved. It’s great for practicing spacing and letter shapes, which we all need from time to time.
I did this in Textura Quadrata so that I could practice my “diamonds” – the start and end of each vertical stroke. Some of them look good, some of them less so. My goal, of course, is for them all to one day look good. I also learned that over-loading your pen with ink will definitely affect the spacing. You can see on the fourth line, second word that the m is very heavy, and that pushed the word out of alignment.
So, there is work to be done, but I like how this turned out. I also did an Italic practice sheet, using color as an inspiration:
I’m actually quite pleased with how this came out, lack of a yellow ink notwithstanding. The spacing worked, thanks to the guidesheet I used – the next challenge will have to be doing this without vertical guidelines to rely on – and it is pretty consistent overall. The ks need a little work, though. Hmm.
What made me happiest, though, was when I walked past the sheet later and saw it upside-down:
My first thought was, “Hey – I didn’t write any hs…” That’s a good practice sheet right there.
Anyway, this was a good exercise, and I’ll have to do more of them in other scripts as time allows.
I did this by request from user srg_gnz on Reddit about making a short video writing out the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. It took longer than I wanted, mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to set up my phone to actually record what I was writing. By the time I did, though, I had also managed to make improvements on my italic. It’s a win-win, really.
Try to ignore my bitten-down nails and the chipper sound of Japanese TV in the background. If you can.
My work is about as non-controversial as it gets without being about babies dressed up as kittens (and I’m sure PETA would somehow find a way to object to that). Nevertheless, I wanted to add my voice to the millions that have already sprung up against those who think that the best way to silence ideas you don’t like is to murder the people who are voicing them. As we can see, all that does is allow those ideas to spread.
I don’t know if a lot of people outside of France knew about Charlie Hebdo before this incident – I sure didn’t – but we sure as hell do now. Whatever these fanatics were trying to accomplish, they failed.
I thought I’d do some practice with Roman Capitals – letterforms that form the basis of most of the Latin Alphabet that we use today. Understanding these will help improve other calligraphic scripts, especially in terms of letter proportions and spacing. So, Given that this is one of my Resolutions this year, I’ve been making time to practice. The good thing is that they are best practiced monoline – a pencil or a fine-tipped marker will do, and I have plenty of those.
So, here we go. For this exercise, I made an Abecedary of fictional companies. See if you know where they all come from…
It doesn’t look all that bad, right? Well, it could be better. It helps that I used a 5mm grid as a guidesheet underneath, which made it easier to put everything on a straight line. But there is still some wonky spacing going on in places. Not to mention, I need to make sure my straight lines are actually straight. There are some wrinkly lines in here that need to be ironed out.
Let’s look at some letters, shall we?
The letter A should, in Romans, be about 2/3 the width of their height. In this case, 1 centimeter. For this activity, I took all the As out and checked them against a 1 by 1/3 cm rectangle and…
Yeah, that didn’t work so well.
How about O, which should be 1 cm by 1 cm. How’d I do?
A little better, but not great. Finally, let’s try E – which should have the width of half the height.
Again, a little better, but not nearly consistent enough. I could do this with the rest of the alphabet, but I’ll not burden you with all that. Next will have to be letter spacing, but I’m barely ready to start on that…
I’ve always liked this quote. It has a very special truth to it.
I’ll probably end up doing it again at some point, because there are some little spacing issues that nag at me. Someday, when I have the hang of proper spacing and proportions, it’ll look truly wonderful. I’m reasonably sure the ink is Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue, but it’s been a little while. I could be wrong.