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, September 23, 2016

Lettering in a Circle

A few months ago, I taught the Triangle Calligraphers' Guild how to letter in a circle. It wasn't that easy! First, I needed to do my research. I looked through the 60 calligraphic books I have on my bookshelf. There was next to nothing on how to letter in a circle. I then went online to try to find instructions. Again, not real helpful.

So, it finally came down to putting on my mathematical thinking cap and figuring it out myself, in a way that made sense to me.

Above is the final pencil sketch of my idea. The large "A" is a Roman rendition. I think I might need to move it over just a tad to the left for the final piece. The smaller "a"s are Uncial. Inside the inner circle are round Celtic signs.

Below are some of the steps taken to make this sketch.

Use gridded pad and compass to draw a circle.

Using a protractor, lay out lines equidistant, radiating out from the center. Add other circles delineating x-height, ascender height, descender height, etc.

Lay tracing paper over your template, cross your fingers, and start lettering! It might take a few tries to get the spacing just right.

I hope you found this helpful! Now, go and make your lovely letters in a circle! I want to see them!

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