|Satomi's homework featuring Coco Chanel|
First we warmed up by writing at the 5mm x-height.
M – on the second arch, don’t get too diagonal
A – work on making a loop, then the vertical stroke. When the curve isn’t closed, it can look messy where it touches the vertical stroke.
L – shorten the horizontal bottom stroke; often it’s too long.
NOTE: don’t change the spacing based on the location of the carrot or the wavy lines – those strokes should be considered flourishes, not an integral part of the letter.
Then DeAnn had us write with pencil in the cotton comp pad at the 10mm x-height. Create an illusion of thicks and thins by changing the amount of pressure when making the strokes, thereby creating lighter and darker areas in the letter.
The pencil should be at least a #2 or HB, if not softer. A softer lead would be B, 2B, 4B, etc. (Harder lead is H, 2H, 4H, etc.)
She then passed out 11” x 4” pieces of Rives BFK paper. Rives BFK is a soft 100% cotton rag paper that’s sized so that ink doesn’t bleed on it. The assignment is to write the alphabet vertically on it, varying the size of the letters and the placement. We practiced in our cotton comp pads before writing on the Rives BFK piece.
|DeAnn's alphabet demo|
DeAnn demonstrated the exercise. She starts out writing the letters in different sizes, varying the placement artistically. Be aware of the length of the paper – you don’t want to run out of space before reaching Z. So practicing first on the cotton comp pad is recommended.
|Satomi's cut-out guide|
Satomi’s tip: because you can’t draw guidelines in pencil when working in pencil, she made a physical guideline on thicker paper with a cutout at the correct x-height. She writes in the cut-out space. The guideline is long enough that you could make small measurement marks at the edge of the piece and erase those later.
|DeAnn's completed exercise|
Once written on the Rives BFK, you can smudge the graphite artistically in places. Or brush a wash of color into the white-space.
You could also do this exercise in charcoal, water-soluble graphite pencils, or with watercolor colored pencils. DeAnn likes the Staedtler watercolor pencils for their bright color. Her favorite water-soluble graphite pencil is the Derwent Water Soluble Sketching Pencil in 4B or 8B.
DeAnn’s tip: make a sample sheet of the different pencils and label it. Add any notes that you observe.
You can write with the pointed pen on rough textured or soft paper, but not all nibs will work. For the best results, the nib shouldn’t be sharp. Nibs that will work best are Hiro 41, Gillot 1068, Brause Steno (with a light touch), and Nikko G.
|Marjorie's alphabet exercise|
Try today’s exercise in ink using the pointed pen. You can add a touch of color with watercolors or watercolor pencils.
HOMEWORK: Either on the good paper (Rives BFK) or on cotton comp paper, do a finished piece. Bring your alphabet exercise to the next class for critique. For practice, continue writing words and sentences in both small and large sizes. If you have other nice papers that you want to try, make a finished piece with a saying or poem.