Thursday, March 4, 2010

Work In Progress

Now that I've decided on a layout, I need to determine how big this piece will be. Since the cost of framing can be quite expensive, I try to work in standard sizes ( 8" x 10", 11" x 14", 16" x 20") Since I'm going with a round layout, the frame will end up being custom made. A square frame with a mat with a round hole in the middle.

Another factor to determine the size will be the hand or script used. I'm familiar with four classic, broad-edge hands. Italic. Standard go to hand. Easily read. (Look at Lucida Calligraphy in your computer fonts). Uncial (Un-shell (USA) or Un-see-ell (GB)) also called Celtic. Nice rounded shapes. Blackletter. Think Gothic. Closely spaced, angular letters. Would give a nice, medieval feel to the piece, but sometimes difficult for modern readers. Carolingian. What eventually became our lower-case letters. Copperplate which uses a pointed pen and what most people would recognize as cursive penmanship. There are also variations of hands and variations using different tools.

Since I want to write the quote in a circle, I think I would like the very rounded Uncial shapes. Uncial is generally written at 3 nib widths in height. Think of a screwdriver blade as a nib. If you have a large screwdriver, you'll end up with a large letter. And a tiny, jeweler's screwdriver will give you an itty bitty letter. Looking at my pens, I'm going to use a 2.5 mm Brause nib. At 3 nib widths high, this will give me a letter approximately 1/4 inch tall.

To figure out how big a circle I will need, need to write my quote out. I'll rule up a piece of scrap paper, pencil in the quote and then using pen and ink will write over the pencil lines. The pencil lines are a bit of a guide for me. One of the drawbacks about being lefthanded is writing across the writing line. If I'm not patient, I will put my hand in wet ink and smear the writing. So I have to write a few letters and wait for the ink to throughly dry. What happens is when I come back to writing, I have lost the rhythm that righthanders have because they write away from their writing.

With my quote written out, I'll measure the line. This will give me the circumference of the circle I will need. The length is 15 inches. This number divided by pi (3.14) will give me the diameter. Because I spent most of my time in math classes practicing my penmanship, I'll divide the line length by 3 to make the math easier. I will need a circle with a diamter of 5 inches. This is actually a tad larger than using pi, but the extra room will give me some wiggle room I may need. Add an extra 1/4" for the size of the writing.

With a 5 1/4 inch diameter circle, I'll want enough room outside the circle to leave enough space to mat the piece. Just to be safe, I'll work on a 10" square piece of paper. The piece can always be double matted if there is too much "air" between the outer edge and the mat. Any artists or framers out there with suggestions?
All this work, and I've yet to put pen to paper. How much preparation do you?


  1. That sounds just like the process I go through when designing a cross stitch pattern. So much work before even getting started. But all the planning done ahead of time always pays off when it all comes together.

  2. Amazing how much work goes into the prep, work that an outsider amature can't really appreciate.

    I have lots of 'composting' that goes into writing a novel. Then lots of editing because I didn't compost enough. :D