Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Calligraphy again.
I got quite obsessed with calligraphy yesterday. It got me thinking though - when does calligraphy become 'hand drawn type'? Know what I mean?This writing is so freestyle and wacky(which I love) but is it calligraphy or hand drawn type? Maybe it's always called calligraphy if you are writing an address in an envelope ? I seriously would love to know how to do this. I have pretty good drawing skills and a good eye - I wonder how long it would take me to learn how to do this - any of you tried? This fabulous work is by Queen Quill - amazing talent.


Katharine said...

Hello Fiona!

It's so nice to find your blog. Beautiful pictures and also a great introduction to your stationery range which I'm pleased to see is available not too far away from me in Tunbridge Wells UK!

Re the question: 'calligraphy or hand-drawn type?' it's one I've wondered about myself as an amateur calligraphy. I think most of what you picture is calligraphy, because the layout has been chosen for the aesthetic impact of the whole page -- it goes beyond 'pretty writing' into artistic composition which would be impossible to achieve with a typeface.

The place-cards are more limited in space and the same effect could be achieved with type -- so whether something is 'calligraphy' or not depends partly on the layout opportunities, perhaps.

Anyway if you are good at arty lettering you could produce a script like that by using a copperplate nib (a very pointed, flexible nib which produces thick lines by pressure, not angle), a thickish writing ink, a slanted writing surface, good paper (no problem there) and a few hours of practice. It's a copperplate-style script, especially in the height of the ascenders and the elaborate flourishes, but written vertically instead of heavily slanted, and with some irregularities built into the letter sizes for a bit of 'wackiness' -- as you said!

Unfortunately I haven't got any pages up about copperplate writing yet but there are some very good books out there: Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy by Eleanor Winters might give you just the right inspirational boost to produce your own flourished scripts.

Again, thanks for the lovely blog, which I'll be recommending. And I am very pleased to have discovered your range of cards. There is going to be a shopping trip soon for some upcoming family birthdays, I suspect.

Fiona Cartolina said...

Hi Katherine - what a great "comment".
I am so interested in what you have written.
I should have got you to write the piece!
I think I will get a couple of copperplate nibs and give it a shot.
Thank you so much for these details - I really appreciate it!

scatterbox said...

These calligraphy posts are so very yummy. I had a small felt pen calligraphy kit when I was little and was obsessed with it. It was that little kit that was the catalyst for my life-long love affair with typography. I don't know all the technical or mathematical ins and outs, but I do know that it all makes me very happy.

Lara said...

Ooh! It makes me happy, too. When I was young I would write pages and pages of fake notes just to practice the swirly, loopy flourishes. Of course it was complete gibberish but I think that's beside the point.

I can't wait to give this a shot--maybe with actual letters this time...

fanciful devices said...

oh i knew it had to be the nibs! b/c i doodle w/pens and marker and i can never get anything but the same old goofy styles.

Gwen said...

Hi Fiona!
Your question got me thinking, as I have dabbled in both calligraphy and what I consider hand drawn type. I have been wondering lately what the difference is as well, when does calligraphy specifically become "calligraphy". Here's my take:

Calligraphy is a style of hand drawn type. Hand drawn type has little nuances that make each letter different (ie not a font). Calligraphy typically uses certain tools - ie nibs or brush (Chinese calligraphy) - and drawn a specific way. While calligraphers all have different styles, from the classes I have taken (hs and college) in the subject, there is still a certain approach with tools and angles. The thick to thin that is created with a nib. Creating beautiful calligraphy takes practice though, for sure. I can easily adapt my own handwriting easily, but calligraphy can sometimes be a challenge!

Hope this gives you another angle on how to look at caligraphy vs. hand drawn type. Keep up the great stuff on the site. Love the beautiful images :)

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