Last week we talked about three kinds of calligraphy mistakes--fundamental design errors, typos, and pen slips--and looked at design techniques that reduce such errors. Today we will look at tactics for preventing, detecting, and fixing "typos".
Almost all typos are the omission or repetition of a letter, or a word. These are not the result of a drip or a mis-stroke of the pen but a break in attention. Here are some ways to prevent them before, during, and after you write.
- Recheck the original text at the end of your layout process to eliminate typos that may have crept into your pencil versions.
- Look up any words you have doubts about--the people who provide you with text are just a fallible as the rest of us.
- If you are lettering a list of names, make sure you pay attention to unusual spellings; it's all too easy to glance at something like Nielsen and write the more common Nelson.
- Keep your mind from wandering. I usually listen to classical music. On some repetitive work, such as the "Thousandth Time" calligraphy I just finished, I listen to audiobooks, often something familiar so I don't get too involved with the plot. Some people find white noise is soothing.
- Frequently check text. Don't rely on memory.
- Use a moveable item to mark your place in a list, so you don't mix lines of information together.
- If you make a mistake partway through, don't over-react. Stop. Consider how serious the typo is. It may be fixable. At least don't make it worse. (Next week we will look at how to remove small errors.)
Proofread. Authors have learned that this goes best with an assistant who reads out, in a droning voice, every word and punctuation mark.