Daily lettering – bookhand

Daily lettering: bookhand practice with 1.5mm Brause nib and a palette of leftover gouache.. Left side: x-height 5mm; right side: x-height 4 mm.

Lately I’ve been doing more bookbinding experiments and general studio cleaning and organizing. It’s good to get back to daily lettering.

My current reading stack is diverse. I’ve recently begun Daemon Voice, a series of essays by Philip Pullman. The sheer craftsmanship of his writing makes it a continual pleasure to read his work.

I just finished, finally, The 7½ Lives of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton. I’m not sure it was worth it, but every once in awhile I admired a good metaphor.

Decorative exchange envelopes

After a hiatus of some years, I’ve rejoined an 11-months-long monthly decorative envelope exchange. I’m enjoying it. We aren’t required to include anything calligraphic in the envelope — although we do have to include something. I’m putting calligraphy in mine.

My February envelope, using that palette of leftover gouache (that just keeps on giving).for the card inside.
My March envelope. The blurring kind of obscures the design, but you get an idea, anyway. All done in pencil, which is what I’ve mostly been doing in my studio lately.

Daily lettering: freely written capitals with leftover gouaches

Freely written capitals using that same palette of leftover gouaches and a 1.5mm Brause nib.

I’m thinking that the little meander book (2.5 x 3.5 in or so) in the corner may be how I got this leftover palette of gouache in the first place. The colors match. If so, then I began with three primaries (warm yellow and blue, cool red), and that’s it.

At this rate, I’ll be binding another journal of daily lettering soon.

Uncials – daily lettering

Uncial calligraphy practice, leftover gouache, on a 9in x 12in page of Strathmore Drawing 400.

Uncial calligraphy practice, x-height 6mm, 1.5mm Brause nib, leftover gouache, on a 9in x 12in page of Strathmore Drawing 400.
Uncial calligraphy practice, x-height 6mm, 1.5mm Brause nib, leftover gouache, on a 9in x 12in page of Strathmore Drawing 400.

The past few days’ daily lettering have been all about uncials, particularly one old exemplar that is unlabeled except for “late XII England”.

quick brown fox : minimum :: abecedarium : kerning

Speedball “C” nib and Pro White on unknown scrap of black paper.

As “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is considered to be the quintessential abecedarium, so “minimum” is the stock word for practicing letter spacing. Here the challenge was to change the style each line while keeping each line as consistent as possible. Difficult! Here were the styles/rules I had in mind on each line:

  1. foundational connections and proportions with flat base;
  2. foundational connections with classic two-part triangular serif at top and rounded exit strokes at bottom;
  3. gothicized italic with flattened horizontal-ish exit strokes (copy of Edward Johnson’s version);
  4. a rather softened style of blackletter;
  5. a hybrid of bookhand and italic which requires a pen-angle change on the branching, with exaggerated pen-angle stops at the base;
  6. italic with a very low branch point;
  7. uncial;
  8. springy italic with increasingly erratic um, unrestrained gestural strokes.

practicing one script : working/playing in this manner :: practicing a straight scale : improvising a Hanon exercise using a jazz scale and syncopated rhythm