Author Topic: Counter width related to X height?  (Read 338 times)

Offline GretchenC

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Counter width related to X height?
« on: February 24, 2018, 11:12:44 AM »
Good morning!

I am self-learning Copperplate (and diligently searching for a workshop so that I can have a critical eye / suggestions re: my work).   I find it so relaxing to disappear into my office and just work on overturns, underturns, ovals.  :)

As I work on forms, I'm wondering if there is a preferred ratio of how wide a turn/oval is relative to the x height?   My focus is currently on balanced counters in letters like m, n, u and connected letters (using words like minimum, miniature), as well as being sure that my i's return to baseline on the underturn portion (I often find that underturn floating just off baseline).   I found the Zanerian manual online and plan to work through their drills this afternoon.  :)

Thank you!
Gretchen

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Counter width related to X height?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 10:53:30 AM »
Hi Gretchen,

You should check out Salman's tutorials here on Flourish. You won't be disappointed.  :)

I have found the best material on spacing to come from Recueil Méthodique de Principes d' Ecriture "A Methodical Collection of Principles of Writing", P. Meyrat .

While it is slightly different in style from the Engrosser's Script in the Zanerian, its principles are strong. In terms of spacing between letters and the understrokes and overstrokes, Meyrat's explanation is the only one I have found with any sort of method to it.

All measurements are relative to the x-height. So the width of letters is roughly 1/2 of the x-height. This is also demonstrated (although not explained) in the Zanerian manual (see image below). However, Meyrat measured the width at an angle.

This is where it gets tricky... in reviewing much of the old texts and newsletters, the general guidelines are for equa-distant spacing. Lupfer specifies, "spacing between the shades" making note of two exceptions, from v to i and from i to x. However, that isn't as helpful for curved letters and over/under turns.

Meyrat's guidelines are:
1. For two straight strokes such as in diagram A (my version attached below), the space is 1/2 he body (x-height).
2. For a straight stroke to an oval, slightly less then half (B).
3. For an oval to oval (C), it is even less than B.
4. For an underturn/overturn, it is about 3/4 of the body.

Also on that example, is an example I measured from Lupfer and one from F.W. Martin.

I hope that is helpful!  :)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Counter width related to X height?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 11:00:11 AM »
P.S. In the Zanerian examples, you can see the width of the letters is roughly half of the x-height.

In the first picture, the m is 1/4" tall and the width of the first overturn is 1/8".
In the large picture on the right, the w is 1/2" tall and the width is approximately 1/4". (Measured from the middle of the downstrokes).
In the o, the width is about 1/4" as noted in the diagram.
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline GretchenC

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Re: Counter width related to X height?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2018, 09:41:13 AM »
Oh this is VERY helpful!!!    My analytical mind that needs "details on everything" just relaxed at reading through your post, THANK you! :) :)   

This is making me think that graph paper might be helpful, though I worry about the quality of the paper.    My practice time is often at a premium, and I'm trying to think of an efficient way to regularly gauge my lettering as I draw it (along the idea of having guidelines for slant and height).   

Does Rhodia make a suitable graph paper that is pointed pen ink friendly?  I'm working mainly with Blot's Iron Gall and Moon Palace Sumi (and have tubes of W&N Gouache waiting for my writing to improve  ;D  ).

Thank you! :)

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Counter width related to X height?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 11:26:03 AM »
I'm glad it is helpful!

Both Paper & Ink Arts and John Neal Bookseller  offer Copperplate Practice pads:

Paper & Ink Arts: Item #cprpad Copperplate Practice Pad
John Neal: P92-8. JNB "Mastering Copperplate" Practice Pad

The link is to our supply page.  ;)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Angelica acosta

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Re: Counter width related to X height?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2018, 09:54:52 AM »
Hello erika can you tell me what is the standard or traditional x height width for copperplate? thank you so much! I have loved reading so many intresting things in your forum. I have learned so much. Best, Angelica
Angélica Acosta
IG calligraphybarranquilla
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Counter width related to X height?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2018, 01:11:48 PM »
Hi Angelica,
Do you mean the typical height of the X -height? Because the width is described above and shown in the first photograph as about 1/2 of the height.

In terms of the height, it depends on what you are working on. It can be anything you want it to be. The practice measurement in the Meyrat book is 1 cm. That is really large. In the Zanerian manual, it is 1/4" to 1/2". I like to practice an x-height somewhere in the middle, about 7mm.

Hope that helps.  :)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook