Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mistakes in your calligraphy project, and how to handle them. Part One of three.

People often look at calligraphy and ask “What if you get all the way through and find you have made a mistake?”  The answer is, I do make mistakes, lots of them, in lots of different ways; how I deal with my mistakes might help you deal with yours. 

I think there are three kinds of calligraphy mistakes:   Fundamental design errors, typos, and pen slips.  This week we will talk about design errors, because when you don't get the layout right, from the very beginning, there's no way to patch it up.  You should start over rather than go throw good time after bad.  

I think Dorothy L Sayers got it right in Gaudy Night, when one woman don says,"I'm quite sure that one never makes fundamental mistakes about the thing one really wants to do. Fundamental mistakes arise out of lack of genuine interest...”  

How not to make fundamental design errors.  Basically, make three kinds of pencil drafts.  
  1. Start with a "thumbnail" concept sketch about 3" square. Make several and just play around with the simplest aspects of the overall design.  Think about color and saturation.   
  2. Next, establish the line breaks and spacing of your text.  use a word processor if it speeds up this process, changing margins, line spacing, and letter size freely.  
  3. Finally, make increasingly exact renderings.   I work with pencil and markers, to keep it loose and reversible.  Don't put too much labor into any one version yet.  I lay a new sheet of tracing paper over an almost-right design to build on what's good in it, rather than starting over each time.    

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this one! Comforting that I am not the only one who makes mistakes. And I am looking forward to the other two posts as well.
    As always: thank you for sharing.