Monday, 9th August 2004
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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Last night, according to the local weatherman, was the hottest in living memory and today it rains most of the day, making writing my Norfolk Sushi sticky work. But I keep at it, turning down the opportunity to draw an enormous caterpillar, probably an elephant hawkmoth, that has turned up on a neighbour's doorstep.

After reading my diary for Saturday, my artist/journalist pal, Danny Gregory, suggests:

I wondered why you don't do you first draft in a handwriting-like font and save yourself the trouble of writing it all out twice? You can see how it generally fits on the page and do you re-editing on the PC. Then, do the handwriting as the final step.

one of Danny's pages from Everyday MattersI find I am working this way most of the time when it comes to projects that will be printed. When I am happy with everything, I print it out (sometimes at 150%) and then throw it on the lightbox. The typeset words are a rough guide but I feel free to embellish or deviate, knowing that the finished lettering will fit properly. I also find I can zone out while doing the lettering and not have to worry about missing words or misspelling. The only draw back is that it can get a little boxy as crude computer design can be. I just have to remember to make it organic as I go.

Then I scan the hand-lettered layer, bung it into photoshop and Robert is your mother's bro.

The Comic sans typeface gives the impression of hand-lettering but it's too regular to sit comfortably with the pen and ink drawings in my sketchbooks. It would serve as a quick way to block out the text areas when designing the page.


Just the way I was thinking too, while I've been re-writing my Norfolk text again and again. I shall try setting up the text on the computer first when I start writing my next title.

But there has been an advantage in spending hours and hours on the lettering; I've developed several rather different styles of handwriting:

Hand-lettering Styles

field notes normal

1. The notes I make on location.

2. My normal hand-lettering.

narrow relaxed

3. A narrow upright style for the tall narrow spaces that I'm sometimes left with when I paste an illustration onto a square page.

4. A more relaxed, rounded style. I think this is the one I'd like to develop. It's legible and, being more rounded and open, it seems to have a friendlier feel. Next Page

Related Link

Danny Gregory

Richard Bell, richard@willowisland.co.uk

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