CalligraphyAn Introduction to the art of Beautiful Handwriting.
In todays high tech world, we treasure the codices, scripted by scribes of old.
Luckily our high tech world has enabled us to preserve and view these works of art via the internet.
Our sofisticated computer fonts even enable us to emulate uncial* scripts in seconds.
However in my opinion nothing can replace the hand crafted item when skillfully executed. I get a real thrill when I receive a beautifully hand
crafted greeting card. I also get great pleasure in creating and giving them.
I am no expert in Calligraphy and have never dedicated the time necessary to become really proficient in the craft. However I have gleened a lot of
pleasure in my dablings and hope that the information here may encourage you to take pen in hand and give it a go.
When I was a kid in school we learned to write “running writing”, first with a pencil and then with a nib pen which was loaded with ink through dipping
the nib into an ink well. Blotting each word as I wrote, to avoid ink smudges, writing was a rather slow process. In those days we had never seen a “ball point” or “felt” pen. A fountain pen was a luxury which few students could afford.
My grandfather fashioned several quil pens for me from goose feathers and demonstrated the different effects created by cutting the quil at various
angles and widths. I was far more interested in the bow and arrows he made for me and the calligraphy lesson was over.
Several years later at age nine, my mother asked me to label a packing carton with the word “Kitchen”. I grabbed a builders pencil from the floor and
quickly wrote “Kitchen” in big letters on the carton…
I stood back and admired my handy work in awed amazement. I didn’t realize it at the time but the tip of the builders pencil was cut flat like the nib in the image below. Accidently the position of the carton must have enabled me to scribe just at the correct angle to effectively use the flat edged pencil.
At any rate this little accidental writing incident was enough to whet my appetite for Calligraphy as a kid. In hindsight I am happy that it did.
Margins and spacings are important to the appearance of your Calligraphy design.
To work out the correct height of your letters, you can create a template. The blue squares above represent the width of your nib size x 10.
Depending on the font style of your Calligraphy, you can divide the ten sections with lines to determine the size of the ascenders, descenders and the body of your letters.
You can rule faint lines in pencil which are easy to erase once your work is completed. Or rule black ink lines on a separate sheet of paper and lay it under the sheet you are working on.
Leaving one letter space between words is the usual rule. Try and keep your work evenly spaced – too tight a spacing makes the script look like it has dark patches through out.
Generous margins usually look much better and give you space for decorations if you choose to include them.
In general Calligraphy refers to a style of writing in which the the width of various parts of a letter differ.
When normal pens, pencils or brushes are used these varying widths are the result of varying pressures – light on the up-stroke – heavier on the down stroke.
With flat or commonly termed broad pens, pencils or brushes, the variation in thickness are controlled by the variation of the angle at which the pen is held in relationship to the direction of the stroke.
The idea is to keep the angle of the pen constant in relationship to the base line for consistent lettering. On occasion it is necessary to change the angle of the pen to obtain thinner or thicker strokes. The degree of the angle will determine the result. Never push the pen , always pull the pen towards you.