Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Abecedary to color: R

Click here for a high-res, 
full-page printable to color in.
When calligraphers start learning letters, they deal with only with two dimensions, letting the pen lay down a flat trail of ink on a flat page. But the minute they start drawing the capitals, it's hard to resist exploring the third dimension.  
Each of the designs here creates the illusion of depth: the robed people kneel in a crowd; the plump angels hover; and even the flat strip seems to curl up off the page.  You can let them fool the eye without extra help, or add to the effect by shading your colors.  

This letter R starts with a simple outline, but is looped with twisted cord, draped with little pearl drop earrings, and adorned with one large gem. It makes you think that at least parts of it stick up from the page, even if you can't actually walk around it.  (You might try coloring that cut gem with several colors to suggest its shiny facets.)  


  1. Question: I have seen movies where a page is sprinkled with a powder; what is this powder? Is it to help dry the ink? What is it made of? Thank you. I look forward to your emails.

  2. You got it. It is very fine sifted sand, which was commonly used to dry ink before the modern era. Thoreau describes bringing some back from Provincetown "to sand my pages." It travelled in his shoes!