Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Abecedarium to color: Y

Click here for a full-size page
 to print out and color in.   
The letters on the Y page span at least a thousand years, from the Book of Kells to Art Nouveau.  Each one has had its own moment, with its own special materials and colors and context.  
  
The Celtic Y I have colored in here is adapted from an upside-down A, with coils added along its ends and its central join. You can keep an eye out for letters that can take on a new identity with a simple flip or rotation.   

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Get Y s for Valentine's Day

Yesterday's post showed happy X and Y chromosomes finding each other.  Here's a different Y reaching out to another letter.  Just in time for Valentine's Day, it's a sweet message for you to print out and color in for your favorite person.  

The alphabet says everything!  ❤️

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

And MORE X s. With a guest appearance.

We are still not quite finished with X.  To me, everything looks like a letter.  I see the alphabet everywhere, from stars in the sky to the DNA in our bodies.  Clearly, the scientists who named these microscopic chromosomes also saw them as letters.  Now, these little Xs really are everywhere.  
Here at left is a crowd of little X chromosomes. I haven't rendered them in outline for you to color in, but I just wanted to inspire you with their colors.  And their soft, fluffy squeezable shapes. 

To preview next week's letter, here is a picture of an X who has found her soulmate, Y.




See more of these
irresistible little X s 
at my Pinterest page. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

An extra X

Click here for a high-res, 
full-page printable to color in.
To help you copy the early Renaissance colors of this XI have outlined it in the reddish-brown color of the original.  Many illuminators used to dilute their outline inks to keep them from overwhelming the solid color within. 

I've given you a version in black, too, so you can try a variety of ways to combine outlines and colors.       


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Abecedary to color: X

Click here for a high-res, 
full-page printable to color in.
 X , this week's letter, lets us think about symmetry.  Many letters, especially the Versals based on Roman capitals, are symmetrical along their vertical or horizontal axis.  Or both, like the letters I, H, O, and X.  
This illustration comes from Learn Calligraphy,
by Margaret Shepherd, Random House.  page 91. 

If you are fascinated by symmetry, you can did deeper here.  Just as M C Escher's work [see V and W above] left people disoriented about the visual experience, Arthur Loeb's lifetime of study restored order to the many different kinds of symmetries.   






. 



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Abecedary to color: W


Click here for a high-res, 
full-page printable to color in.
The last W on this page, and the fourth V* on the previous post, are from a fascinating genre, where the artist seems to follow the rules of perspective but doesn't.  Your brain knows the structures can't exist but your eye keeps trying to find a way.  And coloring the image in doesn't help make it any less impossible.  You have to let go of trying to make sense of the image and just admit that you can be baffled.  

*That V is made of children's blocks to heighten the riddle.  (If you look carefully, you'll find that each picture shows something that starts with V.)


Enjoy the mental puzzles without worrying about solutions.  As R. Crumb said in one of his cartoons, "It's just ink on paper, folks!"  

The idea of impossible letters was first explored by type designers who were inspired by the work of M C Escher, a one-of-a-kind artist who changed forever the way people look at positive and negative space.  In the first half of the 20th century, he pioneered the study of tessellation, perspective, and the depiction of impossible objects. His work prefigured the concepts of fractals and forced perspective. 
Enjoy this excursion into the third dimension--and beyond.   

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Abecedary to color: V

Click here for a high-res, 
full-page printable to color in.
This page offers six different takes on the very simple letter V.  It is an old letter from the earliest Latin alphabet, where for centuries it stood for the numeral 5 and also was used for the sound of U. Then it doubled itself to create W for the Germanic and English languages.    


Backwards V.  
V from same address, down underfoot and right way around. 








You might assume that a letter V based on Roman models should have a wider stroke on the left than on the right [see lower right].  Calligraphers know this contrast comes from holding a broad nib at a right-handed pen angle.  But once in a while you will see a typeface that reverses this order [see upper right], for no reason I've ever discovered.  
I'm adding this letter U, to show how easy it is for people who are unfamiliar with the realities of the broad-edged pen to get the thicks and thins wrong with U and V.  



 You'll also enjoy coloring in the grapes, once you've decided what color grapes actually should be.  Check out your grocery store [or your back yard, if you live in Chile] and compare.  

Above: two of the many grape colors, from my upcoming book Song of Solomon, to be published in 2020 by Paraclete Press.