Tuesday, November 6, 2018

An Abecedary to Color: M

Click here for a high-res, 
full-page printable.
The English language gives you many, many chances to put M to use in your calligraphic life: the first letter for eight of the 50 states in America; Mr., Mrs., and Ms; and all those girls' names like Mary, Megan, Martha, Mariana, Malia, Maureen, and of course Margaret.  

AND, as a bonus, if you rotate them 180° many of your M designs can do double duty to serve as W s.  Or rotate them 90° to turn them into E s . 

Historical note: the last M on the page above seems to show you a scribe at work.  Don't believe it!  In the middle ages, pages were lettered on single sheets of calf vellum and illuminated, and only then were the finished pages bound into a book.  BUT it's just possible that he is a scholar making annotations in the margins.  

The drawing does include one an authentic detail, however. While he writes with his right hand, this scribe holds the page steady with a flat stylus, probably of bone or ivory, that keeps his left fingers from touching the surface of the page.  Oils from human skin would darken parchment or paper and make the ink bond less tightly.  

Mary holds her book in a linen
cloth to keep it clean (detail,
Annunciation Triptych)

Devout readers, also, were careful not to touch their most precious holy books.   In The Nun's Story, Sister Luke describes being told to keep a small square of paper under her fingertip that touches the page as she reads, to keep the pages from being soiled. 
Like many calligraphers, I avoid letting the heel of my hand rest on the writing surface, to ensure that the ink will adhere evenly to the paper.   

1 comment:

  1. On the last comment, I don’t think that that is a linen cloth to keep the book clean. You can see along the top that it is bound to the cover creating the straight line. This looks more like one of the combined covers with the leather extending down so when her devotions are done, it could be looped over her belt. A girdle book (like the Voynich manuscript)