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Pencil Warm-up

Thursday, 24 February 2011

I have work to be done. Lettering for a couple of people & projects for myself... stuff to list on etsy (i've a stash of handmade paper cut, packed & photographed ready to go)... but i keep putting it off. Adamant that 'today was the day' (that was on tuesday) I dug out my calligraphy gear & set things up. But... no black gouache, which meant another root around. So, with the excuse that I needed to warm-up (after all i've done no real lettering for a few months... doesn't normally bother me, but...) I rummaged through my pencils...


I just picked one up & started to write the first thing that came to mind... i'd just posted about 'grey days' at spirit whispers, and the silhouettes of branches reminded me of pencil lettering. So I just continued the theme... picking up one pencil or the other with varying hardness... 2B, charcoal, 6B, 2H etc... more an exercise in procrastination to get my hand in than anything else...


I soon realised that my application of pressure was a bit haphazard and really could have done with my glasses on and the pencils really, really needed sharpening.... but i was enjoying the movement of pencil over paper, the forming of words, the build up of texture... just 'doing'.

Hmmm... what did I say to my students when i was teaching? "Always warm up, even if only for a few minutes, before you start writing". And so I did... next!


The idea of the "pressure & release" technique is to apply more pressure to the ends of straight strokes & the sides of curves. That's the simple explanation 'cos there are exceptions & variations etc etc. And it's supposed to be a gradual transition between hard & light pressure. It really does add another dimension to lettering.

One of the best ways to practice is to begin with lines(no pressure to get the right letterforms to begin with).... vertical... horizontal... diagonal... then curves... then move on to words when you're relaxed and more consistent. Also, a tip is to gradually increase the length of lines or size of letters.... going back to 'normal' size then seems much easier! (the last couple of words shown were a couple of inches or so).

So.... now, in theory at least, I am ready to get started.... just gotta go & find that box with my paint in!

2 comments:

Barry 3 March 2011 at 10:50  

S-the last couple of lines made me laugh. Got the pencils working - and all would be good - if only I had my paints. Guess you are settled into your new place and now find the time to create. So go well and create well. B

Suzi Smith 3 March 2011 at 12:15  

lol B... found 'em... in a box in the 'tardis', just had to move stuff to get to the right box!

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