20 June 2010

[art] Artists Trading Cards and Adventures In Precise Handrwiting

One thing I do better than anyone I know is handwrite.

This is not mere smug pride. I have had people come to me to handwrite notes and rewrite lists in the workplace so that they are more readable. I have hired myself out a couple of times to do calligraphy, which I take to with very little need for models.

It's something I just do. I've never understood why it comes so easily, but I don't stop to wonder. I enjoy the pure creative act of writing. Sometimes I simply write out the alphabet just to feel the pure joy of creating letters. Herewith some examples of what I sometimes just do for sheer joy. I'm no Lisa Ridgely, but I think I do quite well.

I have a package of Bristol-board Artist Trading Cards that I got as Muse a few weeks back. I figured a good way to prepare them would be to write my name and blog URL on the back, then draw or do whatevers on the front.

Most of the way through, though, I wondered how structured I could make it. The result was this:

The top's my normal handwriting. The bottom was my attempt to give it a "typewritery" feel but putting in serifs and making it all formal and very straight. It didn't come out exactly as I expected, but the space between where you aim and where you actually get is where creativity happens sometimes, and this was very visually pleasing to me.

I tried again, experimenting:

Even better! How about the two-storey type-style minuscule g's, huh? Nifty. That top line of glyphs is my name in Shavian, the dots preceding each word being the so-called "naming" dot. Since there are no such things as minuscules or majuscules in Shavian, a dot prefixed to each proper name or noun is used to indicate such.

Well, I thought, let's go for the gusto and just lay one out totally that way, and here's how I got:

This is approaching business-card territory, and how about that? It's keen. And I drew these lines of type without any guiding lines at all, using the the x-heights to visually extend imaginary guides, taking each glyph most carefully as I go.

This was all done with a fountain pen, because on Bristol fountain pens just leave this beautiful crisp line.

Now, I did have this stack of ATC's almost all labelled, but just was having so much fun creating these letters that I went back and am in the process of adding these carefully-drafted letters to the ones that already have a looser, sloppier handrwriting on. Like this:

The result is a stack of contact cards which are unified by look but within which each is a unique thing. I let the drafted letters be imperfectly balanced and wrote things off the beam to make it all look especially ... well, handcrafted ... each one as unique as snowflakes.

Looks like Ima need more Artists Trading Cards.

Feedback is welcome, ya know.

You can also post these about the intartubez. I won't complain too much.

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Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but notice your use of Shaw Script (aka "Shavian") in the post above.

If you are interested in Shaw Script, you might want to examine it's successor, Quikscript (also known as "Read Script" or "Quickscript").

The Shavian alphabet was created without a lot of testing. As a result, when Shavian was actually adopted by a wide range of individuals, several issues concerning letter design and usage began appearing. Kingsley Read then resolved those issues with a new alphabet, Quikscript.

I will admit that I started out with Shavian but have since moved on to Quikscript as I have found it more practical to write in.

Enjoy using Shavian and good luck with it's use.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Marvelous! I'd heard of Quickscript/Second Shaw before but hadn't yet endeavored to check it out. It does seem to address some of the obvious shortcomings of Shaw in a logical way, and is worth taking a go at.

Thanks for the well-wishes and encouragement, and thanks as well for the suggestion to examine QS.