Tuesday, February 26, 2019

An Abecedary to Color: Z

Click here for a full-size page
to print out and color in.  
Z* is for ZoĆ«, Zack, Zelda, Zappa, and zowie!  
And Z is for ZOO.  So here are a group of animals who are happy to pose on your last page of letters.  You can color them in with natural colors or choose some outlandish combinations. Try contrasting colors that make the zebra stand out or pick related ones that help him disappear.  

Thanks for taking me along on this colorful journey from A to Z. Time for a nap.  

This letter reminds me of a family story.  My father was born in England, naturalized in Canada, and finally  became an an American citizen.  He used to describe how border agents liked to trap people like him--for no particular reason--when they crossed over.  They'd ask the suspect to spell something out loud, and catch them up when they pronounced Z as Zed. He had erased everything British from his speech while a teenager, then cleared out his Canadian "eh" and "hoose" in his twenties, but this one always tripped him up.  

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.