Author Topic: Shade thickness in copperplate  (Read 439 times)

Offline Vipul

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Shade thickness in copperplate
« on: March 28, 2018, 01:27:51 AM »
Hi,

Been at copperplate for about 7 months now and have been trying @Salman's patience  ;D

My query is regards the proper width of the shades or swells. Is there a guideline or rule which governs how much it should be?

The thinner ones look elegant and the thicker ones look really dramatic, though they eat through nibs :P

Have written the following to bring out the point. (Written on 100gsm paper with walnut ink and Gillott 303) Which one is a better way to approach the whole thing? (Critique, suggestions and ways to improve would be welcome)

Thanks and regards

Vipul
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 01:29:33 AM by Vipul »

Offline Scarlet Blue

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2018, 03:40:44 AM »
In my view the top version looks more like copperplate should look... the bottom one looks like someone pressing too hard  ;D But who doesn't like a little drama every now and again!

Offline Diane Bennett

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2018, 05:12:50 AM »
Hi Vipul,

I am still very much at the beginning of my learning but my personal preference would be the top one.  I think the thick strokes take too much away from the elegance of copperplate.  If you look at the word STILL in the thick one,  all I see are the three thick down strokes of the T & LL, the S and I are lost due to the boldness of the other three stokes.

Diane





Offline Starlee

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2018, 08:49:31 AM »
When it comes to calligraphy, I like to know the rules, but I also like to bend them. A lot. Shade thickness is a matter of preference. Most will prefer the top because it is more pleasing to the eye and more legible. The bottom has its moments, like @Scarlet Blue alluded, when you want drama and/or emphasis, but in general, should be used more sparingly, like a bold font. The key thing is to be even with the shading and to have consistent, smooth transitions between thick and thin.
Star

Offline Jenafer

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2018, 12:31:16 PM »
Beautiful work!!! I started learning copperplate last month :) I am in awe of everyones work that has been doing it for awhile.

Offline KristinT

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2018, 02:31:42 PM »
In Eleanor Winter's Copperplate manual, she mentions that shades should be executed at half the width a nib is capable of opening to.  I suspect there's a particular ratio of shade : x-height, but I haven't seen that particular information anywhere.  It may depend a lot on whose example you're looking at, but the most classic examples are probably pretty close.  I'll be curious to see what answers you can get from the scholars here....

Offline Vipul

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2018, 12:49:49 AM »
My thinking exactly @KristenD ....Rules that say that the letter width should be about half the x-height. I'm wondering if this includes the swell width too. If so, then we are limited to the top one, and as mentioned by @Starlee, its to be limited to dramatic usage or titles.
Thing is, I find that easier to execute :P
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 12:51:29 AM by Vipul »

Offline Vipul

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2018, 12:50:52 AM »
Beautiful work!!! I started learning copperplate last month :) I am in awe of everyones work that has been doing it for awhile.
Thanks...but miles to go.
Keep at it.....this is a wonderful community to help you on your way. :)

Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2018, 03:56:52 AM »
I prefer the shade thickness as exemplified in the Copperplate 'bible'  "The Universal Penman".

I hasten go add that this is an example of my Copperplate and not from the above book!

This is followed by an enlargement from the UP clearly showing the size relationships.

Finally a small exercise which I developed to maintain shade  thickness  as the size of the lettering changes.

BTW It's easier to control moderate shade widths with a slightly stiffer nib.


« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 04:21:53 AM by Ken Fraser »

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2018, 09:34:28 AM »
I prefer the shade thickness as exemplified in the Copperplate 'bible'  "The Universal Penman".

I hasten go add that this is an example of my Copperplate and not from the above book!
@Ken Fraser
This example may not be in the UP, but it could be. Your work in this script would have been welcomed by Bickham, is my guess. You were just born a few hundred years too late to be included. Beautiful.
Quote
This is followed by an enlargement from the UP clearly showing the size relationships.

Finally a small exercise which I developed to maintain shade  thickness  as the size of the lettering changes.

BTW It's easier to control moderate shade widths with a slightly stiffer nib.
Agree with the nib suggestion. I find the Gillott 303 (vintage), with its very sharp point and a little stiffer than the best nibs for Spencerian (like the Gillott 604ef) to be of good use in English Roundhand.
You were using a Hunt nib? Which one?
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 09:47:12 AM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2018, 04:32:01 PM »
Thanks for your comments - much appreciated. The nib was a Hunt 101.

Ken

Offline Vipul

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2018, 12:54:23 AM »
This is followed by an enlargement from the UP clearly showing the size relationships.
UP and your writing appears the same to me...so guess the warning is needed :P

However, my question remains, is there any rule stating the swell width?
And more importantly, how do I practice it, and check it with varying heights, like you have done.
I would do it all by visual feel, but I think that would take a me a few more years to develop.

Regards,
Vipul

Offline Estefa

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Re: Shade thickness in copperplate
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2018, 05:45:25 AM »
I think in Bickham's UP or in the other, smaller book (Clerk's assistant? I'm not in my studio so can't look in my library) it says "cut the nib to the desired width of the stems of the letters you wish to write" or something similar (Roundhand was written with a square cut quill back then) so I think, originally there were no absolute rules. You looked at the examples and tried to match them (or change them, if you didn't like them). Also I think, a measurent like "make the width of the stem one eighth of the hight of your letters" wouldn't be very helpful. In the end, I'm afraid, wether you prefer slimmer or fatter letters, it comes down to learn to judge their appearence by your eyes making aesthetical judgements, not mathematical ones

You could just measure up one of the historical exemplars, one that you like preferably, if you like exact rules ;).
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