Gothic Lesson Sequence
class by De Ann Singh
1. Pen Angle is 30º-35º. No letter slant. X-height= 5 pen widths or nib widths
Ascenders = 2 nib widths Descenders = 1 1/2 nib widths
2. Learn the vertical stroke. The square stroke and the rectangle stroke. The square goes in a 30º-35º direction or cant. The rectangle goes in a flatter 20º direction or cant. The square is generally considered a ‘serif’ or decoration. The rectangle is usually an integral part of the letter. (If the letter can stand alone without the stroke, it’s probably a decoration stroke, which is a square.)5mm Brause = 1” x-height asc =2 boxes desc = 2 boxes (on 8x8 grid)
Write vertical strokes side by side. The space between strokes should be equal to the width of the vertical stroke. Practice several lines of this spacing. Practice many squares and rectangles.
3. Combine the strokes to make an i. Combine the strokes to make an o. When you make the square serif let it pierce the waistline, and baseline. When making the o shape, start a little below the waistline to make space for the second side of the letter.
4. Write: i, n, m, l, h, j, b, k, f, p, r, t, u, y. Write: o, c, e, d, g, q, s, a. Write: v, w, x, z. The counter- space should be the same width as the vertical stroke. “True picket fence spacing”.
5. Leave 3 boxes (3/8”) between asc. and desc. Next x-height or line begins on the next 1” down.
6. Write each letter 2 or 3 times. Look at the example sheet carefully.
7. Write alphabet sentences. Use the “picket fence” spacing.” When ever there is a letter that has a “hang over” stroke, let the next letter exclude the beginning square. The “hang over” letters are; c, e, f, r, t.
8. Write out a poem or text. We are still writing with a 5mm nib. Now practice using smaller and smaller nibs, until you are using a 1 1/2 mm nib. Check the size of the x-height by measuring your nib widths. Record your finding’s in your notebook or exemplar, for future reference.
9. Capital Letters. Write each letter 2 or 3 times, look carefully at the exemplar.
10. Write flower names or proper names or lists of some kind, A-Z. Use the capital letter for the first letter and lowercase for the rest of the words. Never use all Gothic Capitals together, it’s too decorative and chaotic. They’re not meant to be used this way, even though you see it both historically and on walls all over town!
11. Now experiment with the x-height. Stretch them taller then make them shorter. For example, try writing the lowercase with 6 pw, 7pw, 8pw, 10pw. Generally the ascenders and descenders still stay short, but try them taller and shorter. Label them clearly so you can see what you’ve done and can duplicate it. Write some of them into your sketch book or notebook.
12. Write text in one of these “modified” versions.