Serifs at a Stroke

Following the advice of Quentin Crisp and A.F. Stuart, I’m getting bolder; here’s another version of my heading after I’d spent an afternoon hand-lettering the captions for my article.

In Versal Letters, as Stuart & Crisp point out in Lettering for Brush & Pen, the serifs are drawn with a single stroke, which I think works well for a sketchbook heading.

I’ve read that serifs should appear to grow naturally from rest of the letter, rather than looking like something stuck on later but my tendency to draw them with the same care that I’d take in drawing the thorns on a rose or a hawthorn can make them look fussy.

I think the single-stroke serif works just fine.

Outline Lettering

In the first version, I filled in each letter as I went along; I think that I can build up a better rhythm if I stick to outlines only first.

I’m trying to get more of a rhythm going by drawing the outline of my lettering first, then going back to fill the gaps. I noticed when I took a close look at a Georgian print recently that hand-lettered headings don’t have to be drawn with pixel-perfect precision.

As A.F. Stuart and Quentin Crisp wrote in Lettering for Brush & Pen (Frederick Warne, 1939):

“The outlining should be done boldly, and not in a painstaking manner, a certain amount of irregularity being permissible owing to the individual effect of the style.”

They were talking about medieval Versal Letters, but the same thing applies to the sketchbook headings that I’m drawing for my July Dalesman article. Hopefully the more lettering that I do, the bolder I’ll get.