1Ï1 / nwprrase letters nf a sans serif even- ■'
121 Lowercase letters of a sans serif even
ä b cl eg h
122 Ductus, or stroke sequence and directions.
123 Poor letterforms.
Minuscules were developed from majus¬
cules over a long period of time. Several
form changes took place which can only
be appreciated when the historic context
becomes clear. We are turning our at¬
tention to lowercase letters at this point
because they make up the vast body of
printed and written material in our time.
Long texts made up entirely of capital
letters are difficult to read.
Figure 124 shows the proportions of
stroke width to height: the x-height is
about six and a half times the stroke
width. Capitals of the same type should
have a height of nine stroke widths. The
ascenders are somewhat taller than the
capital letters, which would otherwise
appear too big and cause optical holes in
the page design. Mark the waisdine, which
defines the upper end of the x-height,
with a pencil line. Ascender, descender,
and cap heights are best estimated.
Lowercase letters are grouped differ¬
ently from capitals. Practice m, n, h, i, u,
and о first, and tune their widths to each
other. Write your m with smaller in¬
terior spaces than n. Do not represent о
with a circle, and practice related forms
along with it: b, d, e, g, p, and q. Keep
writing m, n, h, and u, and add the
newer letters to your repertoire. The
letters k, v, w, x, y, z, s, c, and l should
not pose any new challenges, since they
correspond closely to the capital forms.
The last group consists of a, t, and j.
Make the t with a flat bottom arch; treat
j in a similar way, and place the crossbar
of the t somewhat below your auxili¬
ary pencil line. Common mistakes are
shown in figure 123. With some practice
the lowercase even-stroke roman letters
can be made easily with a flat brush.
Special attention is required at the spots
where arched forms meet straight lines.
Avoid blobs of ink at these points by
thinning the lines before they meet. To
nib edge too flat
nib edge too steep
achieve this effect, simply lift the brush
off the paper slightly (Figure 125).
Sans Serif Roman with
Figure 126 Different Stroke Widths
Capitals made with different stroke
widths are subject to the same consider¬
ations of proportion as the even-stroke
letters. The angle of the pen is of utmost
importance, however: it determines the
character of the letter (Figure 12 6).
After you have decided on the stroke
width and letter height, proceed in the
same manner as for the sans serif (Figure
127), and practice the basic strokes (Fig¬
ure 129). Try to give each stroke a defi¬
nite beginning and end. Touch the pen
nib to the paper with some pressure and
lift it slightly to form the stroke, but
make sure that it always remains in con¬
tact with the paper. Increase the pres¬
sure slightly again just before you lift the
pen off the paper (Figure 128). All hori¬
zontal lines are formed in this way. Too
much pressure will result in black spots
at the end of the stroke and should, of
course, be avoided. Corners look better
if the horizontal lines slighdy overlap
the verticals to which they are attached
(Figure 130). Where two diagonals
meet, the wider stroke can also overlap
Figure 130 the other one.
For round shapes hold your pen as
you would for a horizontal stroke, but
make the widest part of the stroke in the
middle of the movement and end the
stroke in a point. A diagonal axis will
Figure 131a result.
Practice separate shapes by combin¬
ing them in rows of ornaments, and add
further interest to the exercise by using
red or blue ink for some rows. For a be¬
ginner, this new challenge of using and
distributing different hues is of great
Figure 131b value.