All Will Come Right

Last week, I did a piece that was part of a Churchill quote. This week, I have done the second half! The two pieces are designed to fit in a square shaped layout, and be displayed next to each other. Eventually (perhaps not next week, but at some point) they will be joined by a third piece which will fit beneath them, being twice as wide as it is high, so that the whole ensemble creates a larger square to complete the whole quotation.

All Will Come Right

I’ve inverted it here to give it a nice chalk board style look. It’s visually very similar to the piece last week (of course, that’s the point!) so to create a little contrast, I thought it would be nice to see it in white-on-black. It’s so simple to make it a negative, and it almost feels like cheating, because you end up with something that feels so different. Sometimes I see work done by others and I can’t tell if they’ve done it on black paper with chalk or or some other white medium or whether it’s a simple inversion, so it’s interesting to finally get round to doing so with a piece of my own.

Here are the two pieces in the same photo so you can compare:

Lift Up Your Hearts, All Will Come Right

The goal was to make these pieces resemble each other as much as possible. The obvious choice is to have them structured the same, and to used the same styles. Of course, the similar sentence structure is not only useful as a tool of great rhetoric, but also helps with keeping the two pieces the same. It’s simple enough to see that the styles are the same, and that the banner in the middle is the same shape with the same Tuscan font, but there are also a few other structural similarities that I’ve worked into the pieces to keep them consistent. For instance, the underside of the first line swoops down, then up, in order to match the banner beneath it. Both pieces also have a semicircle in the centre at the top, and have a similar shape at the bottom with the leg of the H/R respectively.

Lift Up Your Hearts

Following on from last week, this week has seen a lot of broad nibbed calligraphy practice, which means burning through paper at an alarming rate! The good news is that I bought 20 nice A5 Rhodia notebooks a few weeks ago, half of them with a dot-grid pattern and the other half plain. The dot grid is great for sketching out ideas without having to worry about marking out boundaries and guidelines; unfortunately, the spacing between the dots don’t quite match the width of any of the broad nibbed pens I bought, so it doesn’t help too much with calligraphy practice.

Lift Up Your Hearts

This piece is the first in a two (maybe three) part series that I’m going to do. The plan is to have them structurally as similar as possible. This one is half of a sentence spoken by Winston Churchill on June 12, 1941 in his speech to the Allied Delegates. I first heard it when it gained some popularity due to being auto tuned into a funny little song, but the meaning of the message stuck with me. The full phrase is “Lift up your hearts; all will come right.” It’s then followed with “Out of the depths of sorrow and of sacrifice will be born again the glory of mankind.” It’s stirring to think of the context in which those words were spoken. The Second World War had been going for two years, and would continue for another four. Knowing what we do now lends a feeling of gravity to the words, but I feel it’s a message that holds meaning in many contexts.

Here’s a shot that is a little closer and shows the banner and the Tuscan style lettering of the word “your”.

Lift Up Your Hearts Detail

The piece has quite bold and simple shapes on the top and bottom, so I kept the banner from being too detailed so that it doesn’t distract from other elements, whereas usually I like to include a bit more detail. The main reason I’m keeping it as simple as it is, however, is that for it to work side by side with the next piece in the series, being too detailed could make the composition look too busy. I may make a 3rd piece with the phrase “Out of the depths of sorrow and of sacrifice will be born again again the glory of mankind,” which would be a wider piece to fit beneath the first two above.

Don’t be Afraid to Dream

This week is another New-Pen-Week! Last time, I got some Rotring Rapidographs, which I use pretty much the same as the old fine liners I started out with. Not much changed in the style of work I produced, but for me, the process was changed a little. This time, however, I got some Pilot Parallels, which are a kind of fountain pen for broad nibbed calligraphy. I’ve been wanting to start practising some broad nibbed calligraphy for a while now, so that I can further my understanding of Gothic/Blackletter styles, and this week allowed me the chance to give it a go!

Don't be Afraid to Dream

I found a wonderful image that displays a style of Blackletter that I haven’t seen reproduced quite the same anywhere else. The title of the image is “Williams Style of German Text”, which doesn’t seem to bring up much other than the original image, so I don’t have much more information than what you see there. I’m sure there is much to learn in exploring the style, and I’m going to spend the next few weeks trying to understand the intricacies of what makes the letters function in the way they do, but in the mean time, I took some inspiration from the style, as well as several other styles I’ve seen around the web, and came up with the piece above.

The pens came with two inks, which was unexpected, but it provided me with the opportunity to experiment with a bit of colour, which is something I’ve been purposefully avoiding in other works in an effort to focus on form. After all, restrictions are what give us guidance, and having too many directions to explore often leads to little progress. That being said, it’s sometimes refreshing to allow yourself a little deviation. These inks are black and red, though refills are available for all manner of colours, so I’m interested in getting some more in the future. In the mean time, I found neat feature on my camera that replaces individual colours in a photo for others, no photoshopping required. Here, I’ve replaced the red ink with a green, blue, and brighter red. Look how each colour creates a different feel for each piece. Colour matters!

Don't be Afraid to Dream Colours

The speckles that surround the letters were made by pulling on the tip of the nib, and letting it go, which flicks the ink on to the paper. Unfortunately, it also flicks it everywhere else, so I ended up with some red fingers, pens and surfaces. Before I did the speckles, I first drew out some guidelines for the word “Dream”, then wrote in the red parts. Once they were dry, I went over in black to complete the bottom part of each letter, then added in the Copperplate above with a brush pen. The speckles came in last because I didn’t want to get my hands so messy if I ended up making a mistake and discarding the paper!

The art of war (a rapidograph experiment)

This week I received some new pens which I hope to use in place of the Unipin and Micron fine liners that I’ve been using up until now. These new pens are Rotring Rapidographs, which are a kind of technical pen. What that means is that I won’t have to go out all the time to buy new fine liners, (though of course they will need ink refills,) and I won’t have to worry about the slow blunting of the tip. These pens have a mechanical tip that never dulls, unlike the felt of the fine liners, so barring them being stamped on, they should be just the same in 20 years!

The greatest victory is that which requires no battle

This piece was my first with these new pens aside from a few test scraps to get used to the different feel. I wanted to do a piece that would test out a few different uses for them, including hatching and filling in large sections. In all, they worked out really well, giving very consistent line thickness. The ink seems to be better than that of the fine liners, too, creating a much better matte surface that doesn’t seem to suffer at all from reflecting camera flashes or other lights, leading to great straight shots.

The piece itself is a quotation from the Art of War by Sun Tzu, which seems to contain a lot of wisdom. Though the quote is about victory and battles, coming from a book about war, it has quite a pacifist sentiment to it, which I found quite interesting. Of the quotes I found, this one suited my needs well. I wanted to continue to explore into the world of Gothic lettering, which is something I haven’t examined as closely as other styles, my main areas of study being Roman and Copperplate calligraphy. In this piece, there is a combination of all three! This being my first real quotation piece in a long time, I also wanted to do something with an interesting visual hierarchy so as to make it the kind of thing you might see on a poster.

Take a look at a few progress shots:

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Sketching out the top half after the space was measured out.

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Pencil version complete.

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Half way through inking.

Wednesday

Day 3! Well, in real time, it’s week 3, not day 3, but this is the third day of the Days of the Week series. This one, as you can see, is Wednesday, as I’m still going with the whole chronological approach.

Wednesday

Last week, we had an ambigram, which was great, but I didn’t want to continue with that theme, because while it’s fun, the point of this series is to try to deviate as much as possible from each of the other pieces. The main talking points of this piece are the stippling and the difference in style between the W and the rest of the word. First of all, the stippling, which is shading using lots of little dots. When I was first sketching the piece in pencil, I shaded it so that it was darker at the top, which, of course, is easy when you’re working with graphite. However, it’s not so easy when it comes to ink, when you have the choice of either black or not black. The challenge, then, comes in tricking the eye to think that between the solid black and white there exists something else. Having some experience with stippling, I was keen to put it into practice again to see if it would do the trick. The effect is certainly different from the pencil, and while it’s difficult to exactly imitate the way pencil strokes can be used to shade a piece, I think that the darkness that you can only achieve with ink makes more of an impact.

With the W, I wanted to create the feeling of a drop cap: something ornate and eye catching. However, last week’s piece was in a Gothic style, so while I was content to have the W in a similar style, I’m glad it turned out quite differently than Tuesday did. This style is much more fancy, which was something that wasn’t an option to me when making the ambigram last week, which has a functional side that restricts it in many ways. I also like to imagine the W in colour in the style of an illuminated letter from old Gothic texts, in this case in red and gold. However, I am more concerned about keeping this project purely black and white to focus on the form, but once I have finished the series, perhaps it’s something I will revisit.

Here’s a close-up of the stipples getting done:

Stipples

About the specifics of the pen: it’s a 0.05 mm fineliner, though I couldn’t tell you if each stipple is truly 0.05 mm in diameter.

Check back next week for the next in the series, which will be Thursday, uploaded on Monday!