December 2, 2013 – Pointed Pen Styles Class #6 at Sinai Temple

DeAnn demonstrated the Copperplate capitals. First she went over issues she noticed in the homework.

General feedback from DeAnn’s homework review:
The lowercase k needs work.
The o is way too round; it should be more hot-dog shaped than hamburger.

Strokes #2, #3, and #4 are too sharp; they should be rounder and more symmetrical. Don’t wait too long to make the curver, or the stroke will be too square.

Stroke #8 should be completely closed for letters a, g, d, q.

g:  the #8 stroke should just kiss, not overlap, stroke #6 so that the whitespace of #8 is still oval. Similarly for a, d, q.

c:  the dot should be on the inside, not like a cherry.

O:  exit stroke should come out at 3:00

K:  the upstroke should end with the dot not too much below the waist line. The modified #3 stroke should not go horizontally, but downward.

S:  end just slightly above the baseline with a dot

R:  DeAnn prefers the same amount of white-space inside and outside the letter.

Y:  the #6 stroke should be to the side of stroke #4 so it doesn’t crowd the inner whitespace.

Alternate y:  use for better spacing within a word.

Z:  the loop should be horizontal along the baseline. It’s okay if the bottom loop comes out beyond the upper stroke #2.

RATIO:  is the Rule of Pointed Pen. In Copperplate, pen width doesn’t determine x-height (height of the letter “x”) like it does for chisel-point nibs. Instead, the ascender and descender length depends on the ratio  and x-height being used. Currently, we’re using the large ¼ – inch guideline sheet. ¼-inch refers to the x-height, the space between the waist and the base. These lines are indicated by the black box on the left margin (i.e. the highlighted areas). The line above the waist is the ascender, the line below the base is the descender. Write 3:2:3 at the bottom of the guideline sheet to indicate the ratio of the spaces between the horizontal lines. 3:2:3 is the same as 1:1.5:1. If the x-height (base to waist space) is considered 2 units of space, then the ascender & descender lengths are 3 units of space. So if the x-height is 1/4” (= 2/8”), then the ascender is 3/8” from the waist and the descender is 3/8” from the base. The 35-degree slant lines are there as guides for the angle of writing, not for spacing.

The ratio of 3 : 2 : 3 is normal.  DeAnn addresses envelopes in this ratio, as this ratio provides better readability. 2 : 1 : 2 is elegant. This ratio leaves more room for flourishing if you’re creating an invitation or writing  a poem. 1 : 1 : 1 is simple. This is like writing in a spiral bound notebook.

Copperplate Capitals:  the size is from the base to the ascender. For demonstrating them on the board, DeAnn didn’t write in the waist guideline. See the handout.

When writing the capitals, think OVAL for the strokes. Many of the letters can be visualized as a combination of ovals.

Primary Stem Stroke: No pressure – Pressure – No pressure – Terminal Dot. This stroke should be slightly thicker than the other lowercase downstrokes and goes with the slant line. The terminal dot is there to stop your eye from continuing to move. Think of the primary stem stroke as the spine or backbone of a letter.

Secondary Stroke: should be the same or less than the thickness of the Primary Stem Stroke. This stroke should curve into the letter so that the eye doesn’t travel away from it.
Remember: Flourishes should be BIG!

Detailed notes on individual Copperplate capital letters:

Alternate capital Zs:

HOMEWORK:  Practice writing Capitalized words. Never write Copperplate words all in capitals! See DeAnn’s website for alphabetical Flower Names.