Wednesday, June 12, 2013

137 Coopy

I am an avid fan of the Speedball D Nib;* it adds extra flavor to every alphabet it touches and evokes American signcard lettering of the 1920s and 1930s.  Here it makes simple Roman capitals into warm, funky, down home letters for almost any practical purpose: posters, logos, place cards, and name tags.  I’ve named this style Coopy because of its family resemblance to Cooper Black type, which was popular for decades, through the eras of metal type, photo type, rub-on type, and now digital type.  
The height of the letters is just 3 times the width of the pen; heavy!  The serifs are 1 ½ times the width of the stroke. You can write most of the letters with the pen held at flat 0° angle. You'll have to turn the pen to 90° for all the strokes and serifs shown here in outline, and you'll probably want to use a 45° angle for the strokes in M and W and W shown with cross-hatching.  Just WATCH OUT; if you’re in the habit of easing your pen onto one corner to make thin lines in Roman letters without a change of pen angle, the layered D Nib can give you a surprising splat! when it re-aligns itself on the next flat stroke, as it did here in W.  
*Note on availability: try eBay or other sites, as the D nib was discontinued by Speedball for a while.  


  1. I love these! I agree, they remind me of 1930's cartoons and the letterings in them.

    I have such a trouble with Speedball nibs. Granted, when I first tried them it was years ago and I was much more of a perfectionist (read, unwilling to let myself be a beginner); I'll have to give it another shot and be willing to play.

    I have to say, I love the daily entries in your blog. I do a lot of work with Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way and have facilitated workshops for many years now; what I love about your blog is its pure exuberance in the process of the artform. You really live by the maxim, "show up at the page." Brava!

  2. I'm happiest any day I can put ink on paper. And Speedball D is the friendliest, funkiest way to do it. I've come to the conclusion that if you do serifs, keep the pen at 0° [flat]. I like the rounded ends of sans serif, too.
    I love "show up at the page." Thanks for commenting.