Monday, October 5, 2009

writing carolingian with 5mm & 2.5mm nib. Spacing

October 5, 2009

Beverly Hills Adult School Class #3:


1. Come in and set up your work area

2. Tape down your ink well

3. Line your paper if needed

4. Put your drawing board into your lap

5. Write at the right level on the Board

6. Practice the pen angle & letters

7. Rehearse for the performance!

Today DeAnn discussed spacing for Carolingian. Unlike Italic or Copperplate, Carolingian does not have picket-fence spacing because the letters are so wide. Curved letters can be quite close together – think of Carolingian spacing as a pearl necklace. The overall look of the writing is round shapes placed close together running along the horizontal lines. Don’t place the stem strokes of the letters too close together; you don’t want to create dark spots.

For spacing between words, only put enough space to distinguish each word from one another. Too much space will make the sentence look like individual words in a list.

Archaic = old or ancient. In old manuscripts, the “long s” was used – it looks like a modern f but without the cross-bar. To create an archaic-looking manuscript, calligraphers will use the long s.

We began using the 2 1/2 mm Brause nib. For this width, line the grid paper with 3-2-3 boxes: 3 boxes from ascender to waist, 2 boxes for the x-height (waist to base), 3 boxes from base to descender; then repeat. Cut the 17” x 22” grid paper in half vertically (11 x 17) and line it as a landscape page (lines along the 17” length).

For practice, it’s OK not to put the beak serif in, so you can concentrate on the flow of the words and letters.

Pay close attention to the white-space of each letter form; this is called the “counter space.” Really examine and think about the counter space this week while practicing; this will help you form the letter correctly. Color in the counter space with colored pencils/markers and compare the colored shapes to the exemplar.

Tip: Let the left side of the nib slightly pierce through the base-line so that the strokes look the same length (e.g. the “i” or the 2nd stroke of the “n” where it meets the baseline).

Illumination Project

Start thinking about what text you want to use in the illuminated manuscript project for this semester. It should be about 50 – 100 words and can be from scriptures, classic poetry, or just pretty poetry that you like. Even if the poem or original text is too long, you can choose an excerpt for your project.

HOMEWORK: Practice writing text with the 2 1/2 mm Brause nib. X-height = 1/4 inch. Ascender/descender = 3/8”.

Interlinear space will have the descender meet the ascender. We will increase this in later assignments.

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