Telling the truth behind the skill to learn calligraphy. With conviction you can achieve the skills it takes to create beautiful letters.
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between hand lettering and calligraphy? ... While other calligraphers and hand lettering artists may have different definitions and opinions about these, as an SCA scribe I'm sharing mine here.
Whether you're new to calligraphy or have used cartridge pens for a time here are my info and tips to using them.
Recently Marie had the day off from work and we went to Omaha‘s Old Market. We began our walk-about with lunch at Wheatfields and too much tasty food. While I snarfed my Nutella crepes looking behind Marie I spied this wall calligraphy. It wasn’t graffiti but German letter art. It reads “Essen and Trinken halt Leib und Seele zusammen”. Google tells me in English it reads “Eating and drinking keeps body and soul together”. Something we all strive to do. And what better place to find this than in a cozy bakery restaurant offering fruit covered crepes, buttery croissants and fresh brewed coffee. Whoever painted the huge Fraktur letters on the wall gave the room its charm. The beautifully executed thick and thin script style was readable even if you didn’t know German. Heck, I was able to type the letters into Google to find out the translation. Germany continued using Fraktur script for printing and writing until the 1940s. In Bavaria when I last visited in the ’70s you could still find similar calligraphy on quaint shops and “gastehaus” beer pubs. So the artist brought that old world charm to visually tantalize the guests. Wheatfield’s keeps its dinners nourished by its scrumptious food thus keeping it a fan-favorite. And the calligraphy wall painting provided the artist sustenance when the restaurant was originally decorated. All keeping body and soul together. Related Prior Post: 10 Top Calligraphy And Illumination Artists
Last year about this time I gathered together my prior posts I’d written about scroll creation. The post was Easy Does It: SCA Scroll Creation. Though I didn’t plan it, the posted links round-up made a scroll creation how-to table of contents. And it’s been a very popular blog post. Since then I’ve added more, In case you missed any, you can see them below. Beginning SCA AoA Award Painting Tracing Uses Illuminated Diapering Guide To Blank Border Scroll Creation The Secrets Of Black And White Gouache Testing – Which Gouache Brand Rewets Best? Why Are Vellum And Parchment So Expensive? Secrets Of Artist Brush Repair Tips To Preventing Rusty Dip Pen Nibs How To Sharpen Your Broad-Edge Calligraphy Nib Tips To Drawing More Period People The Best Beginner’s Paint Making Post Tips And Tricks To Making A Neat Scroll Tips For Saving Money As An SCA Scribe Between last year’s list and this one, there’s a lot to take in. Please realize my offerings are not the only way you can do things. Create your art with your style and skill while striving to make it appear as a long lost page from a medieval illuminated manuscript. And take joy in what you create. Related Prior Post: Easy Does It: SCA Scroll Creation Post Round-Up
Luna protesting. Oh no. I’ve done it again! I know calligraphy nibs are not made from sturdy, tough metal. And you can’t expect them to remain looking brand-new forever. But I wanted to keep using my favorite nib. The one that makes the fine strokes just as you like. So how can you prevent your favorite nib from rusting? Is […]
I learned scribal illumination long before I pursued calligraphy. I tried calligraphy, but I wouldn’t do it on a scroll. My problem was I detested drawing the guidelines. I still do. You have to be so accurate for the page to look its best. But I’m not the only one like that. Do you like ruling up? 15th Century French Book of Hours Recently I went searching and found another way to solve that problem. It’s an online guide that will help, and especially good for practicing because it’s quick. It’s Scribblers’ Guideline Generator. This is a snappy approach to creating the distances between your lines with a click of the button. Once you generate one page you can print it from your browser. The best thing is the space between your text-lines doesn’t have to be the same as those for your script. You can suit it to the spacing that’s more like your inspiration manuscript. Scribblers is a store that stocks a wide range of calligraphy supplies and equipment. Unfortunately, it will be years before I get to it. It’s based in North East Suffolk, United Kingdom. While you’re on its website have a look at the many articles it has to help you learn calligraphy. I’m always looking for ways to improve. Theirs are the best. Related Prior Post: How To Draw Calligraphy Guidelines With A Pencil And Ruler
Does your metal broad-edge pen nib give your calligraphy hairline strokes? Or does it have a burr that hangs up on the paper? Don’t throw it away. Sharpen it. Nibs aren’t sharp like knives. But sharper nibs give narrower strokes. You want a slope or bevel on your nib edge to reduce the amount of metal that touches the paper. But if it’s too narrow it dulls easily or burrs. To sharpen my nibs I use the flat side of a hard small white Arkansas stone. I also don’t use it with oil. You want to create a bevel that is about 45° for larger nibs, less for the smaller nibs we use in the SCA. The smaller angle for narrow nibs is to retain the edge’s strength. Strength is more important than extreme thinness. I’ve also done this to my cartridge pen nibs. Even my Rotring. Works wonders for me. In my opinion, this video “Calligraphy – sharpening nibs” by Patricia Lovett, published on YouTube Aug 19, 2013, is the best current video showing nib sharpening. This will help your calligraphy; it did mine. Tip: If you’re having trouble getting your nib to start writing, give the nib’s back a few strokes to restore its lost crisp edge. It’s easy. You’ll be able to make hairline strokes that are cat’s-whisker-thin. Related Prior Post: 17 Scribal Insights Of Patricia Lovett 10 Top Calligraphy And Illumination Artists
Mini Scrolls Prior To Illumination Have you ever had calligraphy practice come out of nowhere and fall into your lap? That’s what happened to me recently. With the new Baron and Baroness, Augustin and Aleit, came renewed inspiration for calligraphy and illumination. Their wish was to have a small 5″ x 7″ hand done scroll to go with the first […]
New Year’s Eve I spent time considering what I wanted to do with this blog. One goal is to be more organized and focused on my post topics. That should make the topics easier for you to follow. Scribal Art Collection Display To begin, I ferreted out my prior instructional posts. Previously they related to a project or class I was doing. That’s […]
My first italic script scroll lettering. I have a new script I’ve done on my current scroll. It’s fun but confusing because it doesn’t seem to fit the common calligraphy rules. Sometimes you even push the pen nib, because it’s somewhat cursive. It’s italic, a late SCA period script. Italic lettering is not detailed in “Drogin“, the SCA scribes’ calligraphy Bible. Although […]
When I was looking at the Scribes of Meridies Resources and Exemplars web page I clicked on their link to a Scribal Pattern Book at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. This is a fascinating complete scribal lettering manual on parchment by Gregorius Bock. It’s Beinecke MS 439 from 1510-1517. And the great thing is I can access this manual online from my couch. This image of the manual is from the Public Domain Review This historic scribal book has two parts. The first has multiple hand-lettered script style pages, many preceded by text lettered in that style. Most of these sections display large decorative initials with white floral designs on black grounds. But also the initial on page 1r has a swirling leafy border with red and green paint. And folio 4r includes heraldic arms. The second section includes alphabetically ordered large decorative initials. This 500-year-old imposing manual has few a stained and rubbed pages, but the great thing for me is I can easily read and study its pages myself at home. Plus! There’s a PDF of it. There’s more. The bottom of the Beinecke Digital Collections’ web page includes clickable links and images to similar manuscripts, just like an online shopping company. You can also seek their manuscripts by its search page. It’s an easily accessed notable 15th-century hand lettered complete scribal manual. Nothing’s sweeter. Related Prior Posts: Why Is The Ramsey Psalter Important To Modern Calligraphers? Wow! Scribal Research Has Changed
I am not a leftie, so I’m challenged by coaching calligraphy for people who are. Even so, interested left-hand writers want to know what to expect if they try calligraphy. What should a left-handed person learn? Left-handed calligraphers use various writing styles. They approach the text line with their hand from above and below it. They write uphill, horizontally, and downhill with results that vary from a right-handed writer in quality thick-thin stroke results. And often different from other lefties. Most calligraphy books, articles, and Youtube videos only have a small section for lefties. There’s only limited published information on how lefties hold the nib to the writing line and the angle required to make a pen stroke. What can you do about that? Where can you go for help? Unless you find a left-handed instructor, most answers will come from within you. Since each calligraphy style has a specific nib-to-writing-line angle that controls its thick-thin stroke production, anyone using a different angle won’t make letters appear as intended. Since you approach the page from a different direction than a rightie, you must find your own best writing angle. The way you comfortably hold the pen and its nib to create the appropriate angle for your intended calligraphy style. Also, don’t be afraid to change the way you letter from that described for right-handed students by right-handed teachers. Cramping your hand and arm for lengthy periods to get the nib to make the correct angle, as do […]
What’s the difference between script, hand, and font? I’ve heard these terms used almost interchangeably. There is a difference. A script is a handwriting form used as a model, the writing style a calligrapher scribe has in mind to create. In general, they have names like “Uncial”, “Carolingian”, and “Gothic”, to name a few. Researchers identify a script by collecting thousands of individual examples and analyzing them for a similar look. The hand is personal to the individual scribe.It’s what I actually put on paper or vellum, with any imperfections. I may intend changes because I don’t do a certain letter well, or they may be due to the pen I use. I may choose to tweak certain letters because I think they’re prettier that way or to fill more space. Those differences make up my hand. The word font comes from the Middle French term “fonte” meaning something that’s been melted or cast. It next referred to the set of metal type used in a printing house. This term now applies to a digital letter system such a “Veranda”, “Arial”, or “Comic”. Today’s digital font has numerous variations due to the many people that like designing letters. These terms also have categories and subsets. I won’t go into them all. I’ll leave most of them to the paleographers. A few are important for scribes. A majuscule script has only same height letters and no slant. It’s similar to using only capital letters to […]