Friday, May 24, 2013

121 D x 6 ItalicLine contrast

This alphabet uses my favorite pen point, from the Speedball D series.  The thin part of the stroke is only about ⅔ the weight of the thick part, giving the letter a pleasing contrast without overstatement.  [comment on availability?].  Because this pen was popular with sign-card letterers in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, the nib adds period flavor of its own.
The D nib, by the way, went out of distribution for a while.  Now it seems to be available again.  Check online sources, and start with the D3 or D4 medium size to get acquainted.  It's versatile and easy to use, so it's worth tracking it down.  

I discuss and illustrate "line contrast," a term I coined, in the Italic chapter of Learn Calligraphy .  I like this alphabet because its line contrast is in the middle between broad-edged nib and monoline.  



  1. The D type is really hard to come by. Is Brause Ornament a reasonable substitute?

  2. Sort of, though I think it's still got too much line contrast. But I do see the Speedball D nibs now and then on eBay and Etsy. I have a good supply on hand if you come up dry. Mostly I'm not a purist about what exact pen to write with as long as the "footprint" is right, but that footprint is so evocative of the period that I recommend going to all the trouble.

  3. Thank you Margaret. I really, really like the look of this alphabet. I tried the Brause Ornament, the Mitchell Script Pen, and anything else I could find in my box, but nothing give the line variation of Speedball D. I will just have to keep an eye on eBay. Meanwhile, I will work with this as a starting point and my beloved Ornament nibs to try to make a humanist-ish interpretation using only the round forms.
    I guess what I am saying: your site and examples are inspiring. And that is not a bad thing. Thank you again.

  4. Thanks. I'd be happy to drop a nib into the mail for you. Check out my website for contact info.