Archive for the Category » Gods with Snow – Vertical Lines Exercise «

Gods With Snow – Finished

After I noticed that the joining strokes between the verticals to form an N or M were placed so that they ran just over the top of the diamond of the second vertical (as I was talking about in my last post on the Gods with Snow quote) I also noticed that the diamonds at the foot of each vertical was also extended. And, of course, there are ‘ticks’ on each diamond, top and bottom.

Talk about doing a script analysis backwards!

I haven’t incorporated the larger diamond feet or the ticks into my work on the quote.

I’ve reached a stage where I’m happy. The point of me practising this quote was to

  • get my verticals straight
  • get my verticals evenly spaced (with the width of one vertical between each one)
  • get my diamonds crisp
  • get my diamonds ‘hanging’ from the x-height line, and ‘floating’ from the baseline.

I feel that I’ve achieved all of this and I’m happy to move on.

Of course, the scan isn’t straight. My scans are never straight.

Here ’tis.

Gods With Snow – Diamonds, Quadrants and er –

I’m practising the verticals using only diamonds (no quadrants) and joining them together – long lines of them without attempting to write the words of the quote, and I’ve noticed something.

The top diamonds are of the same size.
I’m running a line between the top diamonds on two adjoining verticals to join them together – like you would to form an N or part of an M.

Look at where the line hits the diamond on the second vertical.
It doesn’t actually hit just inside interior of the diamond or along the edge! It runs just above the top edge!

If you run the line right to the top of the second diamond, you get a slightly thickened second diamond.

This is a blow up of part of the original quote :

See how the top diamonds are all a bit bigger on the left hand side?

The extra stroke on top of the diamond either joins to the vertical before it to form an N or part of an M. You can quite clearly see in the blow up that the line has been placed on top of the diamonds.

With I and U, and the ends of M and N the diamonds have ‘ticks’ on them. It looks like the line to form a ‘tick’ is extending the edge of the diamond in the normal way, giving it a slightly different angle – you don’t want the verticals to be joined in this case.

I’ve always done my joins by extending the edge of the diamond, not adding extra to the top!

So the diamonds are ending up just slightly thicker than a normal diamond, but certainly nowhere big as a quadrant (which is about 1/3 again the length of a diamond).

What this does is explain why I have had such bad luck tracing the original quote.

Also – this way of running the joining lines may be perculiar to this particular form of Gothic Textura Quadrata. But now I’ve noticed that it is done, I’ll be on the look out for it in the future.

Gods With Snow – By Jove, I’m getting there

I’ve been practising verticals. (gee, what a change)

Remembering that I discovered that historical Gothic scripts have even spacing between the verticals – rather than ‘kerning’ (specific and individual spaces between particular letters) to make the letters more distinct and legible.
I learnt to do it with the modern spacing, so I’ve been re-learning to write it with even spacing between the verticals, and at the same time improving the quality of my verticals, using the ‘Gods of Snow’ quote from Drogin’s book.

Meisterin Katarina Helene pointed out the other day that only diamonds were being used in this version of G.T.Q. script to make M, N, and U – no quadrants (ie extended diamonds) so I’ve needed to incorporate this change.

When I went from doing just verticals (I’s) to joining them together in M,N and U’s just using diamonds, as per the quote, I discovered that they were too close together.
If you look at the scan below, you can see that the diamonds are touching at the bottom all of the time- they should be just slightly apart and only joined in the case of at the bottom in the case of the U by a tiny extending stroke.
I’m used to using quadrants which provides a longer ‘bridge’ between the verticals.

Anyway, after banging my head on the desk for awhile and wondering if I was ever going to get this right, I tried doing two verticals, and THEN joining them to form an N. And – it worked!

It isn’t ‘legal’ – in the ductus, you do one vertical, then the stroke to join, then the second vertical.
But I reckon I’ll keep up doing it this way until I get more of a handle on the spacing.
Because the spacing is SO tiny, it’s so very easy to go either too narrow, or too wide.

Here’s what I got :

Apart from the fact that it’s not scanned straight, and the x-height differs between the line – that looks heaps heaps better! I’m still a bit variable in the spacing between the verticals, but it looks so much more like the original quote! *happy dance*
And yes, that spacing in “volunt” (the final word) is correct – look at the original quote. It’s got even spacing between the verticals – so it looks weird. That’s the whole point of all of this.
(and going onto letters other than M, N, U and I should be lots of fun! – will I end up perverting the whole ductus?~!)

And – not only have I been talking about the wrong manuscript the whole time (I was wondering if anyone would ever notice), made a fundamental mistake in measuring the x-height, which means that I’ve had to re-do all my script analysis work so far, …..
but Meisterin Katarina Helene explained Reggie Ezell’s answer to me in words of one syllable. And I said it was a fairly generic answer! Let me writhe in embarassment!

By “

My general response to any lettering is not to squeeze letters between the lines. Iusually prefer to pierce through them--more freedom."

He was talking about 'hanging the diamonds' from the waist line. It's a bit of a subtle thing - only to be appreciated if you spend a lot of time staring at the script. It means that the diamonds should only just, just be touching the lines (hanging from the top and floating from the bottom). So I've been working on that as well, with some success.

More practise, to get the spacing even and make sure my diamonds hang nicely. And then have a go at doing the letters in the proper stroke-order. I'm hoping that by getting this quote right, it'll really help me in the future. It'd better! *grin*

Gods with Snow – Verticals

I’ve had a go at writing out the Gods with Snow quote with a pen width that matches the one shown in the copy of the quote shown in Drogin, and at the same x-height. My Brause nib matches the nib width (a bit smaller) – yay – I love my Brause.

I’m pretty drugged at the moment – been mainlining coffee but it hasn’t had much effect, so I’m not proud of this writing, – there are some non-straight lines when I know perfectly well that I can do better – but it does show something interesting.

Part way through, I was disappointed about the shape of my verticals (not being evenly shaped and edged verticals lines) so I raised the height of my chair a bit, sat up straighter and made sure that I was holding my pen upright. I’ve marked the point where I did this with a purple pen.

Have a look at the improvement in the shape of the verticals it made! (See it better viewing at a larger size by clicking on the image).
Many more of the lines are crisp and less likely to bow.

I know that the other important thing in getting straight lines (rather than ones that bow) is remembering to move the elbow when drawing them – tho these lines are so short at an x-height of 1 cm that it’s hard to get any movement going

I’ve written it out again – more crisp verticals this time.
However, there are still problems. I’ll whip the page out of the scanner and mark them up and then put it back in …….

No, I’m not being too hard on myself. I need to know where and what the problems are in order to fix them! :-)

I forgot to mark on the page where I’ve bowed the tops of Ms and Ns.

On the spacing front, as usual I’m putting my I’s too close after the last vertical, and my width of my N’s is a bit variable. All the counterspaces of the M’s are even, which is some kind of miracle. Spacing the words a bit far apart.

I’m very happy with some of the letters ….

Gods with Snow – Spacing

The LC2 Speedball nib is a bit of a bugger. I have to use (comparitively) a lot of force to drag it down on the verticals, which is making them wobbly.
However, I’m happy with the evenness of the spacing.
And I was happy with the of the spacing with the Brause nib the other day.
So I reckon I’m ready to try to reproduce the Gods with Snow quote exactly as is shown in Mark Drogin’s book

- same nib width, x-height as shown in the scan above. Including the ticks on the diamonds which can create a challenge. You want the spacing of the verticals to be one pen width, but also have enough space to have discernable ticks on the top and bottom of each diamond without them crashing into the ticks of the diamond next to it and looking like a join instead.

Gods with Snow – Spacing

I had a look at the spacing between verticals on some Bedford Hours pages. In real mss size terms, there is a variance of 0.5 mm, given a 2 mm pen width.

I actually noticed that there was variance on real mss pages (as opposed to the Gods with Snow quote in Drogin, which is ‘perfectly spaced’ to give the illusion of illegibility) back in
and the two posts before that. So I already knew there was a tiny bit of variance. What memory?

I killed my last W.M. 0 nib yesterday (I kill nibs frequently).
I like to work with a large x-height when I’m working on a script, and consequently like to use a wide nib so the letters don’t look too out of proportion – too tall and skinny.
I tried using a large speedball but it was too wide – just killing my hand with the amount of real estate necessary to cover in order to form a letter.
So I used my little Brause nib this morning (about the size of a W.M. 2) – and the spacing was really good! I’m pleased.
I’ll have another look at the other nibs I’ve got and try and find something sized between the large Speedball and the Brause and practise with that, and see how I go.
Varying the nib is a good idea anyway – so I’m looking at doing the spacing according to the width of the nib I’m using at the time – rather than always practising with the same nib. I don’t want to accidentally learn to space by a particular nib’s pen width and carry on with that spacing when I change to a different pen nib width.
That was a problem I had with The Second Coming piece. I was used to using a W.M 1.5 and when I changed down to a W.M. 3 to write the piece, my writing went a bit kerfluey, because it’d been a very long time since I’d written Gothic Textura Quadrata with anything BUT a W.M. 1.5.

Gods with Snow – Spacing

I still haven’t got the spacing of one stroke’s width between each vertical right. It’s close, but it isn’t perfect and I want it to be perfect. But how many more times am I going to have to write the quote out? !!
I’ve gone back to marking in each space with a ‘/’ with the idea of ‘getting my eye in’, and then dropping the ‘/’ part way through writing the quote and seeing how well I do judging the distance by eye.
I’ve noticed one thing – I was trying to judge the distance by looking at the last vertical, imagining an ‘invisible’ verticle placed next to it and then marking the spot where the next vertical was to go. But if I look at only one point near the top of the verticals, it’s much easier to judge – only looking at the width from the last to the about-to-be-drawn-vertical in 1 dimension, rather than looking at width and getting distracted by looking downwards towards their feet as well.
I think that I should sit down with a page from the Bedford Hours and mark out the spaces between the verticals with a pen of the same nib width – and see how well the scribe placed the verticals. I do want the spacing to be perfect, but I’d like some input on how well it really was done as well.

I’m also working on the Script Analysis document offline. Robert of Stonemarche is currently providing part of my brain.

Spacing – Gods with Snow

I’ve been practising. In between reading review comments of my paper from the lovely Randy and Tetchubah.

The whole idea of the “Gods with Snow” quote, to recap, is a sentence in Latin that is just about illegible because it is composed only of m,n,u and i’s (it’s got a few ‘v’s, written like ‘u’s for the point of the exercise and o, l, t at the end). Because these letters are only straight lines with a few joins (ie 1 each n and u, top and bottom respectively, 2 for the m at the top) the joins are the only way to distinguish between the letters and hence read the sentence.
When I first started practising this quote for a bit of basic skill practise I discovered that my spacing wasn’t right and that led me onto noticing the difference between modern gothic textura quadrata script, and historical g.t.q. script spacing.

So here’s my practice -= with spacing between the verticals. It’s looking pretty illegible, as it should! I’m pleased. I still have a way to go – I’m hopeless at spacing right between the words (2 pen widths)
This was done with a William Mitchell nib size 0. The x-height is 2 cm (2.5 cm = 1 inch)
Purple pen to mark problems. Virulent pink that I’ve cut off from when I was writing in pink and making spacing marks in black. (actually Magenta, sorry Sal)
I went weird with my ‘u’s – the last stroke. Dunno why. Just did for the day.

It actually says
mimi numininum nivium ninium nunium vini muninum iiniminiu vivi minimum volunt
(not that I know it off by heart,. but I can read it from the above now i know it fairly well – scary!)

And this was done with a Brause 1 1/2. I really like the Brause. It’s one of John Neal’s especially ground for left handers. It’s very smooth. Have to keep it clean tho – once it clogs, the line goes. (which is no problem).
You can tell I was getting tired -a few crooked lines in there. Same x-height as before. It’s easier with the W.M. – I’m a lot more used to it.

Later : Another thing I’m looking at is the little isoceles triangles formed by the edges of the diamonds within the same letter, and between letters. It’s really helping keep my diamonds crisp and my lozenges at the right angle.
It’s very hot tonight. More coffee and practise :-)

Confusion – Straight Lines

Akiko, I’m not suprised that you said that you were confused. I certainly have been.

I’ll try and explain …..

The ductus books (ie all the books showing how you write the gothic script, of which there are a million) state there is 1 pen width between each letters within a word. And also 1 p.w. as the counter space within a letter.

I’ve always known this, but I never noticed the ‘picket fence’ effect this achieves before. (and I’m wondering if it’s a bit more complicated than that in the actual historical writing)

I’ve noticed the issue because I’ve been looking at pages from the Bedford Hours (and other examples since, to check it out further, such as the Luttrell Psalter – looking at textura precissus is a bit easier because the writing is clearer.)

By “picket fence” I mean that if you take a piece of gothic writing and cover over the top half of the writing, you can see ‘a picket fence’ effect of the bottom half. – all that equal spacing between the VERTICALS, whether they are from within the one letter, or within the entire word.
This is much more of a ‘textual’ effect. The verticals take up a lot of real estate on the page, so having them even makes the whole thing look even.

Have a look at these words, taken from the Michelle Brown example I scanned in entirety in the last entry

Here is “oderunt” :
o to d - the spacing between is 1 p.w, and the same whether you measure the space between the letters, or measure the distance between the last vertical of the o and the first vertical of the d
d- e – this is a ligature. This is just a paleographical rule that the scribes used for various combinations of letters. The two letters share a vertical.
e -r – look what happens here! That ain’t no 1 p.w. between the e and the r! But there is 1 p.w between the verticals of the two letters. And this makes it a textual pattern – nice and even.
r – u – again, they are right up against each other – no 1 p.w. between the letters, but there is 1 p.w. between the verticals of the r and the first vertical of the u.
u – n – now we’re back to 1 p.w. between the letters, which is also 1 p.w. between the verticals.
n – t – are just touching. Not 1 p.w. between the letters, but there is 1 p.w. between the last vertical of the n, and the vertical of the t.

Now have a look at ‘gratis’ :
Can you see the same thing happening?

The thing to do seems to be to equally space the verticals, NOT finish a letter, move along one pen width distance and start the next one. The latter will work for some letters, but moving along one pen width from the last vertical to the next vertical is ALWAYS true

I can say one thing – having a constant one pen width between the letters (not the verticals) would make the writing a lot more readable.

To document my journey of confusion along the way :
: At the beginning of all of this, a couple of weeks ago I discovered that :
In my writing, I was altering the space sometimes for 21st century readability. I discovered this when I first wrote out that “Gods of Snow” quote with all the n,m,i,u’s and my spacing was nothing like that in the exemplar in Drogin.

: Then, I talked here in the blog about equal space between DIAMONDS. Because I was thinking only about n,m,u,i,’s because that was in the quote.
Then (days later) I realized that it was the spacing between the verticals that was relevant, not the diamonds. It’s only in n,m,u,i that the letters are simply vertical (for i), vertical…vertical (for n,u) (and more verticals for m). With all the other letters it gets more complicated – a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h, and so on have more construction in them. I needed to look at the verticals, not the diamonds.

I hope that explains what the last couple of weeks of posts have been about.

Gods With Snow

Here you are Akiko dear.
This is from page 67, Marc Drogin, Medeival Calligraphy – It’s History and Technique – a book I could not survive without.

The quote is not from the Bedford Hours – it’s just a quote manufactured for the qualities of it’s letters, same as an abcdarium.

Note that space between the points, both top AND bottom is exactly the same.

In the reality of using other letters as well and more normal sort of writing : :

Below is an extract of the B.H. that Stan Knight chose to blow up (Gothic Scripts – Textura Gothic – D4, which is the page id, from the book Historical Scripts”)

If you choose a picket fence sequence (m,n,u,i,) – I’ve been going for “minus” of the dominus, and part of the “humiliatus”, you’ll see that the spacing is very close to regular (4 or 5 mm, I forget) between the points, top and bottom. (well you’d hope it’s the same at the bottom, with straight verticals!). The m, n, u – that’s where they do get a bit bigger here, even tho they didn’t in the Gods with Snow quote above.

Noticing this (why did anyone TeLL me!) has changed my script enormously just in yesterday’s practise. It’s much better.
Maybe someone did tell me, but I wasn’t listening.