Saturday, May 23, 2009

Copper Plate Course

Class of Copperplate for May 18, 2009 at Beverly Hills.
Today DeAnn covered writing with watercolor and decorative capitals and addressing envelopes in fun ways.
 Decorative Capitals:  look at the handouts of different styles of capitals.  For the primary stem stroke and terminal dot, envision an oval in the curve.
The flourish of the capital should be at least as wide as the distance to the terminal dot on the left (e.g. T). Don’t finish the flourish close to the primary stem stroke, it creates a dark area. Most of the letters are pretty skinny, it’s the flourishing and slant that make them wide (e.g. the space within the H isn’t wide).
Analyze the decorative aspect of a capital. For example, on a T, the primary stem stroke and the horizontal cross bar are the main elements of the letter.  The terminal dot and flourish on the cross bar are decorative. So you can create your own flourishes in these areas. Think of slant, thicks & thins, ovals, figure 8s, circles, proportion. A more interesting flourish than two ovals within each other (a spiral-like shape) are ovals on different axes (more of a pretzel-shape).
Be careful of where you end the flourish – instead of finishing the stroke so that it points outward, finish the flourish so that it points back into the direction of the letter. This draws your eye back into the letter, not away into space.
Be aware of overlapping flourishing – the top & bottom can overlap but should not create a dark spot or be too busy.
TIP: Cross with thin over thick but NEVER thick over thick.
Be careful how wide you make the flourish on the right side of the capital – the rest of the word needs to be written there.
Another flourish accent is the carrot – set, press & release.
Remember: Flourishes should be BIG!

Writing with Prang watercolors: 2 water containers (1 for dirty, 1 for clean); Royal #3 brush, rag. Put a few drops into the watercolor pans to soften them. Load brush with color and put into a clean palette space; add water to ink consistency.  If you use the watercolor pan itself as the palette, the ink will get thicker and thicker.
Feed pen nib with brush away from your work, not over it, to avoid splatter. Initially, brush color on top and bottom of nib. Then feed by just brushing the top of the nib. Hold the envelope or paper with your left hand holding the brush pointing away from the work.
For envelopes, pull the flap out so that it’s easy to tell which way is right-side up.
Start with one color and add a 2nd color to the nib before the first one is completely gone so it blends. When switching colors on your brush, first rinse it in the “dirty” cup, then in the “clean” cup. Wipe off excess ink or water on rag. Be careful of colors on opposite sides of the color wheel (e.g. red & green), the blend may be brown/gray. This look can be organic though.
If the color changes too abruptly, go back and touch some of the 1st color into the still-wet strokes for a smoother transition. As long as it’s still wet, the color will continue to migrate out.
Tip: Red-violet and yellow-orange make a good combo
 When addressing envelopes with copperplate & watercolor, look at the overall look to do your flourishing. Try to balance top and bottom.
 Ergonomic Tip:  if your shoulders ache from writing, try writing at a slant with a board against the table so your shoulders are relaxed. Write at table-level to keep your shoulder from becoming raised.
 Reminder: no class next week, 5/25, Memorial Day)
 Homework: Look at all the capitals handouts & put a check mark next to the ones you like. Practice those. Then make an exemplar of all the capitals you like so they’ll be on hand when you need them. Practice with the medium guidelines and small guidelines. Write out text on the small guide (1/8” x-height with 2-1-2 ratio). DeAnn uses the 1/8”, 2-1-2 ratio size the most.
Nibs for writing small: EF 66 (very sharp but also very flexible, so use very light pressure); Hiro 40 (blue pumpkin); Gillot 303 (also very flexible so use light pressure); Gillot 1068 (sharp but stiff); Mitchell Copperplate

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