I grew up in Raleigh at a time when the nuns taught at Our Lady Of Lourdes. They lived out back of the school and wore those imposing yet Holy Habits that commanded your adoration, attention, and, quite frankly, your fear. So, when they asked you to "sit up straight" with your "feet flat on the floor" and compose your letters properly according to the Palmer Method of Handwriting, you did just that! I believe it was at that impressionable age that I became infatuated with the formation of letters. When I was introduced to calligraphy in 1978, it was no wonder I fell in love with this beautiful art form. My first taste of the calligraphic world lasted no longer than one hour. The instructor turned a piece of chalk on its edge to form calligraphic works of art from A to Z on the chalkboard. That was that! But it was all I needed to fire the embers that had been sparked in elementary school. Watching the slow, rhythmical shaping of those letters was like listening to classical music. It was not until 1997 that I enrolled in my first formal calligraphy class. Boy, were my eyes opened! I knew I had a lifelong road of learning ahead of me. It's been 38 years since that white piece of chalk was laid on its side. I am still learning. Come learn with me!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Process: Details of Step One

You have seen the gridwork for Step One of The Process in my previous post. I thought I would now explain how it became what it is.

The client wanted a design for a 3"x5" Bookplate. There would be lots of lettering in this small space. So, how do you do work in such a tiny area with so much lettering? You don't! You make it bigger, and once the design is finished, it is scanned and resized to fit the 3"x5" as requested.

Here is where graph paper comes in handy. It has little squares all over it that are equal in size. So, I drew out a 3" by 5" rectangle on the graph paper, lining up the top and bottom of this rectangle with the squares of the graph paper. To make this rectangle bigger, I then increased each corner of the 3x5 by 8 squares and connected the corners. It's kind of like Zooming Out with a camera.

In other words, what started out as 12 squares by 20 squares (3"x5") became 28 squares by 36 squares (7"x9"), and that bigger rectangle is much easier to work with!

Now, you are wondering, if the client wanted something that is a rectangle, how come there is a circle in the template?

Good question!

As I thought about all of the lettering that needed to be a part of this Bookplate, I remembered the client wanted a border. Why not put some of the lettering inside the border and that would free up space within the rectangle? My next thought was, a circle with lettering in it is beautiful. Why not make the border a circle instead of a rectangle?

So, I took out my compass and made a circle that would fit into the size of the rectangle, and now part of the lettering will be in that circle border. Some will be inside the center circle. And now the corners of the rectangle are freed up for more input.

When I was finished with this graph work, I showed it to my husband. He said, "That's a lot of geometry!" I said, "I don't know what it is, but it is now the template for my design!"

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