More sketching

At the Academy of The Hague Gerit Noordzij is a semi-god. Although most of us never heard of him before, the moment you set foot in the Academy you’re not suppose to ignore the almost mystical teachings of Noordzij. I wont go over his theory which you can easily find out about by reading his seminal book The Stroke but you should know that the whole course at t]m is based around his ideas and theories about writing.

This means that we are spending a substantial amount of our time practicing calligraphy and sketching type. The sketching technique that we learn is interesting because it doesn’t focus on the outlines but rather on the relation of black to white areas. Drawing the outlines first is less practical because you are defining the edges of black areas you wont be able to see until you have filled them up. This particular zigzag technique might seem clumsy at first but with a little bit of practice you quickly get some interesting results.

An important advantage of the zigzag technique is that by modulating the kind of zigzags you make you can imitate any other writing tool like a broad nib or a pointed nib pen. With this technique you are drawing the shape, the contrast and the optical balance of the typeface all at once. It’s surprising to see how the outlines play a very little role in the overall design of a typeface. It reminds me of my drawing classes at school where our teacher use to tell how things in nature didn’t have an outline and that we should instead think in terms of light and dark areas.

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