Hand lettering the title of my next Dalesman article, it takes a few attempts to get the ‘S’ of Semerwater looking just as I’d like it. It needs to snake around in a relaxed manner but it shouldn’t slouch or look as if it’s putting on weight.
Getting the right degree of slope of the strokes of the A and the W also makes a big difference; my first ‘W’ ends up too wide, the second looks rather undernourished.
I try drawing the letters just as I’d draw anything else, for instance a plant. The serifs should look as if they’ve grown from the letter, rather than been stuck on as afterthought.
I’d like the letterforms to look as if it they’d grown naturally so I draw them as I would, for example, a winter hedgerow: I’d be as interested in the spaces between plants as I was in the shape of individual trunks and branches.
I decide that I’d like the main stems to taper slightly towards the base, as the stems of hedgerow shrubs often do.
So much for the titles; I’ve had a bright idea for the text too: I put the lined sheet that came with a Basildon Bond writing pad under my layout paper. That saves a lot of drawing parallel lines, then rubbing them out later . . . and often then having the clear up the smudges where the rubber caught the ink that hadn’t quite dried.
I’ve been drawing this outline lettering – and filling it in – with my Lamy Vista fountain pen, filled with a homemade mix of Noodlers brown and black inks.