Author Topic: wanted to clear up a subject  (Read 4655 times)

Offline Brad franklin

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wanted to clear up a subject
« on: January 18, 2015, 04:49:26 PM »
A lot of people when putting the size of their calligraphy say it's a certain size. I don't think sometimes they are correct. Now keep in mind I am a Land Surveyor and drafter so I have drawn and laid out huge buildings on paper and on the ground. We however use engineers scales which are in Tenths (i.e. .1, .5, .10 of an inch and so forth). So if I am wrong about this I will feel really stupid but I do not think I am. I have questioned very popular calligraphers on their measurements and they say they are right. So  out of respect I do not want to argue my point. A ruler in the USA and I think the UK has the same measurements. Some rulers say mm and some say cm and some say both as the example in my picture. I have drawn a 1 inch line (not to scale) a 1 CM line and a 1 MM line. Some have said they write at 1 mm size and even half that. I do not see how that would even be readable. Basically what I am saying is even if the ruler says mm does not mean the numbers 1 , 2 , 3 and so on are 1 mm 2 mm 3 mm. They are actually 1 cm 2 cm 3 cm or if you want to be technical 10 mm 20 mm 30 mm. There are 10 mm in 1 cm.  If I am wrong please feel free to correct me and please back it up. I am not saying no one can write 1 mm I am just saying put the right x height. Just a lesson if I am coming across snooty I don't mean to.

Offline Scarlet Blue

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2015, 06:32:54 PM »
When people say they're writing is 1mm, I assume, and I could be wrong, that they mean the x height of the letter... so the ascender might be 3mm and the descender another 3mm... so overall the lettering would be 7mm... but this is just my guess.
I agree that the lettering including ascenders and descenders @1mm would be a bit silly in normal situations  :)

Offline Scarlet Blue

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2015, 06:37:13 PM »
*their
Sorry, past my bedtime.

Offline Brad franklin

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2015, 06:53:08 PM »
Yes Thats what I mean. 1 mm x height would be pretty small. Take a look and see how big 1mm really is.

Offline AndyT

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2015, 07:31:47 PM »
Spooky.  I've just been discussing the origins of the centimetre in an unrelated context.  My opinion is that they're something the devil came up with on a slow day, to sow a little extra confusion and consternation amongst mortals.  And I have some heavyweight backing for that from the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures, who regard the cm as a "non-preferred" unit.  No engineer will have anything to do with them.

British rulers are a bit different, or at least there's quite a variety.  Tenths of an inch are seldom seen outside of an engineering context, and the commonest division is into eighths and sixteenths.  Good steel rules generally have hundredths for part of their length.  However, Imperial length measurements are rarely used in industry, and the standard units are metres and millimetres: metric steel rules usually have whole mm along one edge and 0.5mm along the other.

How this relates to calligraphy: well my usual x-height is 2mm simply because I generally use Brian Walker's guide sheets and that's the size he likes, with 12mm between baselines.  This is not unduly small for Spencerian - 1/16" (1.6mm) is common in old examples and Michael Sull suggests this is a sensible size to work towards for business writing - but it's probably a good deal smaller than most copperplate writers would care to use.

Surely nobody has suggested writing at 1mm including ascenders and descenders - I thought we always talked in terms of distance between base and waist lines?  Anyway, 1mm x-height is certainly doable, but not a whole lot of fun for anything more than a return address on an envelope.


Offline Brad franklin

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2015, 07:43:38 PM »
Funny Andy,
Someone  famous, I won't say who told me they did a piece of importance of of an x height of half a milliliter. Said it was difficult to show the think and thins. I can image so. 2mm x height is to small for me as of yet. I go 5 and above for best results for me. Your right I learned nothing of metic system until calligraphy ( a little in school because they said in the future that's what everyone would use) boy were they wrong. enginner rule is what I am used to from 15 years of engineering stuff. Good to know foreign rules are a little different I did not know that. I think my favorite said to start off with 1/4 inch then work down. So that's what I try to do most of the time. Now I will step off my soap box.

Offline Moya

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2015, 07:49:27 PM »
I got down to 1mm x-height during the 'writing very small' challenge, with a Hunt mapping nib and a magnifying glass - fun for a few words, but you could not pay me enough to do a whole set of envelopes that way!

I did do a whole set of envelopes at 2mm x-height the other day.  It's small for copperplate but not unreasonably small - just a touch on the small side.

Here is a foreign point of view for you ... I have zero concept of how big 1/16" or 1/8" or 1/4" is at all. I can't make my brain hold on to them. Inches to me are fairytale words ... they mean nothing.  I have to go to Google every time to translate how big something actually is into real measurements - mm or cm! 

(Don't even get me started on why America can't get on board with ISO paper sizes.  The number of times we have had to order an entire A3 ream just so we can cut it down to "letter" size to print an American contract, ugh.)

(oh, and don't get me started on people posting things with a US coin pictured for scale ... talk about things that have no relevance to my life!)

Okay, I'll go sit in the cranky Australian corner now ... carry on, everyone ;)

Offline Brad franklin

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2015, 08:04:19 PM »
Lol Moya
I measure a penny tonight to see. I got about 2 cm. I am not big on 1/8 and 1/16 but I do know 1/2 and 1/4. I just could not do 2mm x height. 4 mm is hard for me. If I don't know a measurement I ask Siri.

I have no idea what your talking about paper sizes. All I know 8x11, 11x17, 17x22, 24x36 and 30x42. That's what we used in the engineering field.

Offline Moya

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2015, 08:13:34 PM »
Engineers here definitely use mm and cm :)  I think America is the holdout from the metric system ... but you guys have the economic power to get away with it and force everyone else to conform.  You are definitely the holdout when it comes to international paper size standards:  everyone except the USA and Canada officially uses ISO 216 paper sizes

(Although I believe that some countries only use the ISO standards 'officially' and use American 'letter' sizes more often in daily life.)

It's only really a difficulty when it comes to printing documents, really ... and most calligraphy guideline generators offer an A4 pdf option, so it doesn't bother me ;)

Offline Brad franklin

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2015, 08:28:59 PM »
Moya do you not like America? No I'm just kidding. I definitely never ever used cm or mm at work. Interesting seeing how other parts of the world operate. But I do like the show Jonah from the Tonga. I think I heard Australians hate that show

Offline Linda Y.

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2015, 08:47:44 PM »
The US Congress enacted the Metric Conversion Act in 1975, and it failed miserably! The law was supposed to take the course of 10 years for it to fully take hold, but it was met with such resistance they made it "voluntary" ::)

I grew up learning the metric system in Asia, so when I moved to the US with my family and entered middle school, I was SO confused by the inches and yards and feet and miles, not to mention ounces and pounds... why not count in Powers of Ten?! It's so much easier!!

/Jumping off soapbox as a metric-turned-english Asian-American ;D


Offline Brad franklin

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2015, 08:53:50 PM »
The US Congress enacted the Metric Conversion Act in 1975, and it failed miserably! The law was supposed to take the course of 10 years for it to fully take hold, but it was met with such resistance they made it "voluntary" ::)

I grew up learning the metric system in Asia, so when I moved to the US with my family and entered middle school, I was SO confused by the inches and yards and feet and miles, not to mention ounces and pounds... why not count in Powers of Ten?! It's so much easier!!

/Jumping off soapbox as a metric-turned-english Asian-American ;D

My head is spinning after that video!

Yes I remember sitting in the library in elementary school and them telling me the world would be using the metric system so we needed to learn it.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 08:03:49 PM by Erica McPhee »

Offline Moya

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2015, 09:13:17 PM »
Moya do you not like America? No I'm just kidding. I definitely never ever used cm or mm at work. Interesting seeing how other parts of the world operate. But I do like the show Jonah from the Tonga. I think I heard Australians hate that show

Haha!  I love all the Americans I've ever met - you're such a warm, generous, giving group of people! 

... but maybe I give your country, as a whole , the hairy eyeball ... just sometimes. 

Not any individual people of course, but the government, and the policies ... sometimes it seems as if America doesn't think any other country really exists.  So we little Aussies huddling at the bottom of the world like to poke fun at you for it.

Also, you spell 'colour' funny, and put Z instead of S sometimes, you poor things  :P ;) ;D

(That Jonah show is just not for me, I think.  Too offensive to be funny in this case.  Unlike ... poking fun at Americans?  Sorry Americans! I love you, I just like to tease  :-* :-* :-*)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 09:24:57 PM by Moya »

Offline AmyNeub

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2015, 09:44:59 PM »
As a former math teacher, I hate America's system of measurement too. Metric is so easy.

So I would have to teach kids in ft. then meters. Then convert degrees of temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Oh and cup, pint and quarts for liquid measurement, cra cra. So basically kids don't really know either one well, because books are full of ft, next to a meter, next to an inch and they don't know the differences.

Nice thread. I like colour too.

Offline Ergative

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Re: wanted to clear up a subject
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2015, 10:38:33 PM »
Brad, could it be that when someone says he was lettering at half a millimeter, he was referring to the nib width?
Clara