Sunday, November 27, 2016

11/14/16 Sinai Temple Fall 2016 Class #3 - Italic

DeAnn reviewed spacing and the shape of monoline italic letters. Then she demonstrated writing with the 2.4 mm Parallel Pen or equivalently, the Brause 2 1/2 mm chisel point nib. She explained pen angle and how it affects the thickness of the strokes.

Review:  make sure the triangular shapes of the a-family and branching-family are the same. If you're going to err, err on making it too pointy than too round.

Italic with the chisel point nib:  To start, we used the 2.4 mm Parallel Pen and the 1/2-inch guidelines with 5-degree slant. If you have the Brause holder that’s flat on one side, insert it toward the right side (when holding it) of the wooden nib holder. If you’re looking at the holder head-on, the nib will be toward the left edge.

Pen angle:  A chisel-point pen is able to create thicks & thins within one stroke, based on the angle of the pen. Using a protractor as the reference, a pen angle of 0-degrees equates to holding the pen so that the nib is parallel to the horizontal lines of the grid paper.  A vertical stroke at this pen angle is the thickest; a horizontal stroke is the thinnest. If the pen angle is 90-degrees, then a vertical stroke is the thinnest and a horizontal stroke is the thickest. For a 45-degree pen angle, use a box as a reference and place the pen so that you’re placing it on the diagonal of the box. At this angle, both a vertical stroke and a horizontal stroke should be the same thickness.

x-height: is the height between the waist and base. Each hand has a specific x-height measured in pen-widths. At a pen angle of 90-degrees, draw short horizontal strokes to measure by pen widths.

Italic has a pen angle of 45-degrees and an x-height of 5 pen widths, which equals 1/2-inch for the Brause 2 1/2 mm nib or 2.4 mm Parallel Pen.

In class we practiced writing downstrokes & cross-strokes at 0 and 90 degrees. Practice making straight lines with the Parallel Pen. You need even pressure on both sides of the nib. Not a lot of pressure, just even pressure. The ink will flow better to begin with if you give a little side-to-side "rub" (like an ice-skate) with the nib. Or touch the tip to some wet ink on a previous stroke. As you draw the stroke down the page, EXHALE. This helps give a more controlled stroke. Also, set your opposite hand near the work so you can give slight pressure as you start down. These tips will help you have success quicker.

Writing vertical strokes at a 45-degree pen angle:  set your nib corner-to-corner and don’t move until you achieve that angle. Watch the left side of your nib and pull straight down. Keep the angle steady and constant; don’t turn the pen holder in your fingers. The angle at the top of the stroke should be the same at the bottom; look at the triangle shapes – they should be the same.

The chisel point dip pen doesn’t push well, especially at the larger sizes like 5mm. So you can make a “pull” stroke at the end of the “b”, for example (similar to top of the “a”). The Parallel pen is a fountain pen so you may be able to "push" a stroke more easily.

To achieve the thicks and thins with the chisel point nib, you must keep it at the same angle. Don’t turn the pen-holder in your fingers as you make a curved stroke.

The first line of the exemplar is the sans serif (i.e. “no serif) Italic lowercase. We started with the i-family. Note that when you end the stroke at the baseline, the left-hand edge of the downstroke touches the baseline at a 45-degree angle, creating a triangle-shape. On the "t" the crossbar is longer on the right side. Similarly on the "f", the crossbar is longer on the right side and should be about even with the second stroke.

o-family:  the "e" should connect horizontally in the middle of the first stroke.

branching-family:  the width of the "n" should be the same width as the "o". The "r" should start to branch closer to the waistline instead of midway.

a-family:  the "u" is an upside-down "n". The counterspies (white spaces) of these letters should be similar to those of the branching-family and o-family letters.  For "d", once you make the loop, look at the left edge of your pen and draw your eye up to the ascender for the start point. Then keep your eye on the baseline where you will end your stroke as you pull down. Don't overlap the third stroke into the counterspace.

diagonal family:  when writing at the 5-degree slant, the first stroke of the v and w will be straighter than the second stroke. For the "x" flatten the pen nib slightly on the second stroke to thicken it.

Once  you’re comfortable with writing the sans serif letters, try adding serifs to the letters. Because DeAnn recommends rubbing back and forth slightly to start, the letters already have a slight entrance serif. To add an exit serif, continue the downstroke instead of stopping and exit upward with a hairline. Don’t flick the stroke.

close-up of the exit serifs on t and h

When practicing the lowercase letters from the exemplar, write a letter about 3 times, then move on. Compare your letter to the exemplar and really look at the shapes.

Remember:  write with even pressure, not too hard. Then less pressure on the upstrokes.

Homework:  Practice the sans-serif Italic lowercase letters. Write words and alphabet sentences.

Next week:  capitals!

11/7/16 Sinai Temple Fall 2016 Class #2: Monoline Italic

Today DeAnn reviewed letters that students had problems with and explained spacing for monoline italic.

o :  think of an olive shape, overlap beginning and ending of second stroke when joining.

z :  draw a parallelogram to practice

s :  if the "stomach" is not out far enough, the "s" will look like it will fall over.

v, w :  when writing these letters at a slant, the first stroke is straighter than the second stroke.


Picket Fence spacing:  for Italic monoline, Italic and Copperplate, picket fence spacing means that all the counterspaces, or negative spaces, match. The positive spaces (i.e. the strokes or the “pickets” of the fence) are equidistant. The counterspace is the inside space of the letter. This will be the basis of flourishing that you’ll learn later. If the picket fence foundation isn’t strong and steady, the flourishing will look weak.

Think volume:  Imagine the counterspace as water. When writing the next letter, the space you create between the letters should be able to contain the same amount of water that was inside the first letter. DeAnn’s mantra is:  Look at the space you just created, and make the next one be similar.

When you first start writing Italic monoline with the correct spacing, the letters may look too far apart – but we need to train our brain & eyes. Letters are spaced too closely in advertising, so our eyes have grown used to this squished spacing in words. But picket fence spacing is the basis of Copperplate and Italic, so understanding it will also help in writing those hands.

As a general rule, the space between letters is the space of the counterspace of an “n”, which should be similar to the counterspace of an “a”, “o”, “b”, “u”, etc. For letters that aren’t composed of vertical lines, you need to use optical or visual spacing.

Every hand has a "color". Italic is grey. Squint your eyes and look at the word written in Italic – the “color” should be grey, meaning that the positive and negative space is about the same. Copperplate is light while Gothic is dark. Gothic is called "blackletter" because the black strokes are greater than the white space. In Italic, if you see a dark spot in your word, then the letters are too close together.

Spacing rules:
Vertical + vertical = farthest
Vertical + curver = closer
Curve/diagonal + curve/diagonal = closest

The worst combination is “rt” – think of the “r” as an open “n” and place the t where the downstroke of the “n” might go. It’s OK if the r and crossbar of the t touch.

Spacing between words is the space of an “n” from outside to outside stroke. Between sentences, place a period, then the width of an “n” before starting the next sentence.

Remember:  Spacing is more important than the individual words.

HOMEWORK:  Write words and sentences on the 1/2-inch x-height guidelines with the 5-degree slant, using either 2.4mm Parallel Pen or dip pen with 2 1/2 mm Brause or Speedball C2/LC2 or Mitchell 1 or 2 nib.

Remember to put your name and date in the lower right-hand corner. DeAnn will review all homework and make corrections where needed.

Next week:  chisel point Italic

Monday, October 31, 2016

10/31/16 Sinai Temple Fall 2016 Class #1: Monoline Italic

This semester DeAnn is teaching Italic, starting with Monoline Italic, then chisel-point Italic, and then helping students develop their own style of Italic.

First DeAnn explained the proper posture for writing so that you can move your whole hand. Sit at a slight angle to the table so that your right arm can rest on the table. User your left hand as an anchor. Left-handed folks should do the reverse. Use several sheets of paper underneath the sheet you're writing on for some padding. We'll be using a pencil on regular blank paper and use the 1/2-inch guidelines.

DeAnn explained the guideline sheet - we started with the 1/2-inch x-height guidelines. The x-height is the height on the letter x (or n, a, c, etc. - any letter without ascenders or descenders), waist is its height and base is the line on which the letter sits. The ascender-line is the height of the letter l and the descender-line is the length a letter like g dips below the baseline.

For monoline italic, the ascender and descender are the same height as the x-height.

The 1/2-inch x-height guideline in the handout has a 5-degree slant, which is the slant for Italic. All vertical strokes should be written parallel to the slant line. However, the Italic Monoline exemplar has no slant, so you can practice on the grid-paper and not worry about the slant line yet if you prefer.

First DeAnn had us write an i from the waist to the base, parallel to the slant. Then we practiced the l from ascender to base. For the "t", the crossbar is longer on the right side. For the "f", start slightly below the ascender.

o-family:  For the "o", start slight below the waist for the first stroke, then overlap the second stroke at the start and end. The "e" loop ends with a horizontal stroke, not a slanted one.

branching-family:  for the "n", go down, back up halfway, branch out, hit the waist line, then go down. Be aware of the distinct triangular shape made by the branching-out stroke of the "n"; it's not a Roman arch. The "b" is like an "h" except start to curve slight above the base, then connect to the first stroke along the base. For the "r", branch-out above the half-way point, as you don't want to make the letter too wide. For the "p", after pulling the first stroke down to the descender, lift your pencil and start at the base to form the branching-out stroke.

a-family:  the "u" should be exactly like an upside-down "n". For a, g, q, and d, start at the waist and curve slightly before making the "u"-shape. Then connect the top.

diagonal family and s:  if you're using the guidelines with the slant, for v & w, make the first downstroke straighter and the second stroke more slanted. This gives the impression that the letter is parallel to the slant.

For the "s", practice on the 8x8 grid paper by drawing a 1/2-inch rectangle that is 4 x 2 boxes. Draw a line at the midpoint and sketch a circle in each square. Then the main stroke of the s follow the curves and the top and bottom ending strokes are straighter than the circular curves.

Don’t move your wrist when writing – for long downstrokes, move your whole arm. Remember to use your left hand to anchor the paper. Using the other hand also helps to keep you from clenching your writing hand too tightly.

Picket Fence spacing:  for Italic monoline (and Italic,),picket fence spacing means that all the counterspaces, or negative spaces, match. The positive spaces (i.e. the strokes or the “pickets” of the fence) are equidistant. The counterspace is the inside space of the letter. This will be the basis of flourishing that you’ll learn later. If the picket fence foundation isn’t strong and steady, the flourishing will look weak. DeAnn says "look at the space you just created and create one that's similar."

HOMEWORK:  Practice the Monoline Italic alphabet with pen or pencil on regular paper or 8x8 grid paper. Trace the letter on see-through paper or tracing paper. DeAnn's mantra is:  quality of practice is more important than quantity of practice. Slow down and really study the exemplar.

Remember to put your name and date in the lower right-hand corner. DeAnn will review all homework and make corrections where needed.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Fall schedule, Copperplate, Italic

4032 Marcasel Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066 
(Mar Vista, West Los Angeles)
Private Lessons available during the 
week and weekends. Email for an 
appointment. Beginning Sept.13, 2016

$300  9 students max.
Copperplate: Beginning and intermediate. Elegant and formal style that's so fun to write, just in time for the holiday season. 
Tuesday 7- 9pm 10 weeks. 
Sept.13 - Nov.22, 2016
Roman capitals and variations including some simple book binding projects. Wednesday Sept. 13(?) 10 weeks This is an on-going intermediate class that anyone can join that has intermediate skills and wants to do a variety of calligraphic and book arts projects. Really fun!

Sinai Temple:  October 31- December 19, 2016
10400 Wilshire Blvd, LA 90024 10:30-1pm 8 weeks
Italic letterforms, then make it your own personal style. Writing in watercolor and using colored papers fun design arrangements.
Beginning through advanced students welcome
Register 18 student limit

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring Classes

4032 Marcasel Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066 
Private Lessons available during the week and weekends. $40 per hour for up to 2 people studying the same subject same level. $50 per hour for 3 people same subject. $100 per hour 2 hour minimum for me to teach at your location.
Email for an appointment.

Tuesdays 7-9pm, 6 wks May17– Jun 21, 2016
Beginning through Intermediate BRUSH CURSIVE
$180.00   9 students max
Wednesday night class
April 27-June 29, 2016 7-9 pm 10 weeks
$300  9 students max.
Ongoing Intermediate calligraphy
10400 Wilshire Blvd, LA 90024175   April 18-June 27   10:30-1pm, 10 weeks $175
Gothic styles, making our own books with simple bindings, carving rubber stamps.
Beginning through advanced 
Beginning students welcome
4 weeks $99  Tuesday 7-10 p.m.
Classes begin April 19- May 10, 2016  Copperplate
See the blog for material lists. Supplies are for sale the first day of class for all classes. Don’t buy materials not on the list, wait to see the explanation of supplies. Many materials and inks don’t work well so don’t waste your money.