Saturday, 8 December 2012

Renaissance Italic Style

This variant of Italic Calligraphy appeared around the 16th Century, and the letters were printed from carved wooden blocks.  This style is commonly used for wedding invitations, place names and greeting cards.  This style looks great with tinted ink colors or gouache.

The letterforms are characterized by long, sweeping ascenders and descenders and the letters are slightly narrow and tilted to the left and the letters are not joined up. Ascenders and descenders are usually about 4 nib widths long. You can experiment with the ascenders and descenders though.  You can make nice elegant sweeping strokes to the letter tails, and make them as long or fancy as you like.  This would give a nice, pleasing appearance to your work.  You need to use a nib width that is not too wide but wide enough to see the thick and thin strokes of the writing style.  The x height of the letters is measured in nib widths and the nib angle should be held at about 40 to 45 degree angle.

The letterforms look slightly elongated, especially when you look at the letter ‘o’, and other rounded letterforms.


Practice Writing Renaissance Italic Style

You will notice that the letters are slightly narrow and the lines are nice and straight but leaning slightly to the right.  It is quite easy to get the hang of writing this style, but try to practice writing the alphabet several times using layout paper.  You can trace on top of the letters to help you get familiar with the letter shapes.  Ensure you write the letters smoothly and take your time.

Once you have written your calligraphy, leave your work to dry, then gently rub out the guidelines using a soft rubber. 

Experimenting With Color

Renaissance Italic calligraphy is great with using color washes and gouache.  You can write in different washes and tints and gradually fade out a color and introduce another color.  You will need to mix some thin gouache with water and then feed into the reservoir of the nib using a soft paintbrush, then introduce it into your calligraphy writing.

You can also prepare a very faint background wash on some stretched watercolor paper.  Leave the paper to dry, using gum tape to tape round a work surface or a firm board, then once the watercolor wash is completely dry, draw some guidelines and start writing calligraphy using calligraphy inks.