Archive for the ‘Sketching’ Category

The never ending exercise

December 31, 2006

The five letters exercise is coming to a close. I still have to adjust the high contrast and I should be done. This has been one of the most enlightening thing I’ve done so far. It taught me to look at letters or more precisely what I should be looking at in letters. It frightening because now I can’t look at type without analyzing it and it makes reading subtitles of a movie a whole new experience.



sadness.jpg“sadness” is what we feel having concluded this exercise



November 30, 2006



From the original drawing I did a couple of weeks ago of the word “andes” I had to create a high contrast and a low contrast version. Although most of the drawings form the whole class look more or less the same you can gather that everyone came up with it’s own definition of what low and high contrast means. Even the normal wheight is a completely subjective notion. I have the impression that almsot everyone found the high contrast the most difficult to make. On the photos the high contrasts examples are not as black as they could be.

To create a low contrast from the normal weight you must add more to the thin parts and to get the high contrast from the normal weight you must keep the thin parts and add more to the thick parts. With the low contrast the serifs become problematic. You must either get rid of them or turn them into slab serfis. With the high contrast the serifs get less important but the real problem is to remain true to the original shapes. By pushing in as much black as possible it becomes difficult to keep the letters consistant with the normal weight.

More sketching

November 19, 2006

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.



November 15, 2006

Early sketches for a “contrast” exercise.


Same drawing where I tried to improve the shapes with ink and tipex