January 12, 2015 – Sinai Temple Class #1 – Fraktur

DeAnn will be teaching the hands Gothic Fraktur and Rotunda this semester using Parallel Pens.

Fraktur originated in the Middle Ages after Gothic Textura developed. Gothic Fraktur was used mostly in Northern Italy, France, England,  and Germany. “Fraktur” means “fracture”, as in fractured letters made up of both straight and curved lines, unlike Textura which only has straight strokes. Fraktur is very decorative.

Today’s handouts were:  Gothic Fraktur lowercase and capitals exemplars, 4 guideline sheets for the 4 sizes of Parallel Pen – 6.0 mm, 3.8 mm, 2.4 mm, 1.5 mm.

parallel pen

We’ll start with the 6.0 mm pen, writing on bond paper using the 6.0 mm guidelines. For practice, use any 11” x 17” copy paper that won’t bleed. Most should be thin enough to see the guidelines underneath. You can also use marker layout paper, which is more expensive, but is more translucent and suited to ink.

DeAnn suggests using a drawing board to write on instead of writing flat on the table. Sit so that the angle of the board in your lap isn’t too high. The ideal writing area of the board is slightly above table level where it’s the most stable. So adjust your chair accordingly. If you’re right-handed, the clips of the board should be on the left so they don’t interfere with the movement of your arm as you write. Remember to use your left-hand as an anchor. Clip several sheets of paper to the board or use a blotter sheet for some padding. The sheet you’re writing on should NOT be taped down or clipped; instead, you should move it as needed so that you’re always writing in the same area of the board and not stretching or hunched over.

Use a document holder  (like a PageUp) so that it’s easy to see your exemplar or whatever sheet you’re looking at. Place it so that you don’t have to move your board to see it.

Pen angle:  The Parallel Pen is a chisel-point fountain pen, able to create thicks & thins within one stroke, based on the angle of the pen. Using a protractor as the reference, a pen angle of 0-degrees equates to holding the pen so that the nib is parallel to the horizontal lines of the grid paper.  A vertical stroke at this pen angle is the thickest; a horizontal stroke is the thinnest. If the pen angle is 90-degrees, then a vertical stroke is the thinnest and a horizontal stroke is the thickest. For a 45-degree pen angle, use a box as a reference and place the pen so that you’re placing it on the diagonal of the box. At this angle, both a vertical stroke and a horizontal stroke should be the same thickness.

x-height: is the height of a letter with no ascenders or descenders, like x or n. Each hand has a specific x-height measured in pen-widths. At a pen angle of 90-degrees, draw short horizontal strokes to measure by pen widths.

Gothic Fraktur has a pen angle of 45-degrees and an x-height of 5 pen widths (for the 6 mm pen, this is 30 mm which is equal to 1 3/16 inches). The ascender and descender are 2-pen widths (about ½ inch). A 45-degree pen angle goes from corner-to-corner (see exemplar for a diagram).

Explanation of the guidelines sheet:
The line you write on is marked by an “x” and is 5 pen-widths high (the x-height), which is the space between the base and the waist.  2 pen-widths above the waist is the ascender line. 2 pen-widths below the base is the descender line.

DeAnn went over the Gothic Fraktur lowercase letters.

Fraktur strokes

DeAnn’s TIP: Once you start writing (practicing), go to the end – don’t cross-out, crumple-up, stop & start elsewhere. Even if you feel like you’ve made a bad mistake, continue writing and don’t dwell on it. Don’t waste paper and don’t throw out your practice sheets. You’ll see improvement when you compare your older practice sheets to your newer ones.

HOMEWORK:  Practice the lowercase letters. Start at the top left of the paper and fill the sheet. Write your name and date in the lower right hand corner. Turn in a sheet or two at the next class for DeAnn to review and correct.