No, I didn’t do an extreme makeover goth edition for my learning project this week (although that could be a sweet learning project). I did, however, learn a new style of calligraphy and when I wrote my title this week I couldn’t help but think of Jude from 6teen (did anybody else love this show?)
This week for my learning project I made my first attempt at one of the oldest forms of hand lettering around. The style of lettering I tried is known as Gothic Calligraphy and it was a style of calligraphy that was common in medieval manuscripts. I am a little bit of a history nerd and found a great website that explains the history of the style of script that has been around for over 500 years and was championed by Charlemagne. The website also shows examples of beautiful examples of this style of calligraphy in the Gutenberg Bible.
While my attempt at Gothic or Blackletter calligraphy wasn’t as elaborate or beautiful as the examples you can see on the website I don’t think it turned out too bad.
Some points about this type of calligraphy:
- It is a much slower process than some of the other forms of hand lettering and calligraphy I have tried so far. Where the brush lettering was a flowing and free form this type is far more finessed and takes much more focus.
- In this type of calligraphy, you have to pay special attention to the way that you are holding your marker.
- I would hate to be the poor monk in a monastery somewhere having to copy pages and pages of text in this intricate calligraphy form.
In order to learn this style of calligraphy, I had to find a different YouTube account to follow because the Julie Turrie Calligraphy account I used over the last week or two did not have a tutorial of the Gothic Style. I was nervous to try finding a new video because I liked the fact that in the ones I have used so far that there was no voice over, it was just relaxing acoustic guitar. The video I found does have a voice over but I actually enjoyed listening to it and hearing someone else affirm my feeling that calligraphy is actually quite hard. The other thing that I really liked about the video was that there was a level of honesty in the video that I haven’t encountered previously. Instead of cutting and splicing the video to hide the mistakes the guy made he left them in to show that it isn’t possible to create the perfect letter every time.
On a side note, I also looked into the possibility of using apps on my phone to supplement my learning project and I was hugely disappointed. I thought it would be really cool to find an app that had a variety of practice pages or even lists or examples of different lettering styles all in one place. If you are willing to pay for such things there is a fair amount of selection for apps you can choose. But as far as free apps there is barely anything. So if you are the type of person who is techy enough to design and launch an app my million dollar idea is that there should be a free app where calligraphy and lettering artists can share their work and then people can select from a variety of styles and use their phone or tablet to practice forming letters.
Next week I think I will try to experiment a bit more with incorporating images and writing in different shapes. I still struggle with spacing the letters and forming words so I think that will be a good next step to challenge the basic skills I have built so far.