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Drawing Typography A Beginners Guide to Illustrating Letterforms

Renee Lohmann

Drawing Typography A Beginners Guide to Illustrating Letterforms

Drawing Typography A Beginners Guide to Illustrating Letterforms

Renee Lohmann

Drawing Typography A Beginners Guide to Illustrating Letterforms published by RRP $0.00 GST inc 40 pages, hard cover First published in 2015 Text copyright Š Renee Lohmann 2015 Written by Renee Lohmann Cover illustration and illustrations by Designed by Renee Lohmann All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any way or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Renee Lohmann. Printed in Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication Data Author: Lohmann, Renee. Title: Drawing Typography A Beginners Guide to Illustrating Letterforms/ written by Renee Lohmann Edition: 1st ed. ISBN: 0000000000000 (hbk.) Target Audience: All ages. Subjects: Typography--Education. Dewey Number: A000.0

Acknowledgements To Aurelie, Dominique and Jacinda, without the three of you and your knowledge in the ields of design, this book would not be possible.

Contents Introduction What is Typography Chapter 1 : History of Typography Trajan’s Column Gutenberg Bible Chapter 2 : Type Classification Anatomy of Typography Serif Sans Serif Script Decorative Chapter 3 : Exercises Double Pencil Exercise Use of a Nib Digital Work Bibliography

1 2 6 8 12 14 16 18 20 24 26 28 30


Introduction This is a handy little book for anyone who is interested in starting to learn about the history of typography and how to plan and draw letterforms. It will provide you with guides on how to illustrate letterforms and inspiration to experiment with design.


What Is Typography? Typography is, quite simply, the art and technique of arranging type. It’s central to the work and skills of a designer and is about much more than making the words legible.

Good typography is partly down to creative intuition, but it’s impossible to become skilled in typography without understanding the basic rules of the craft – even if you mean to break them.


Chapter 1

History of Typography


Trajan’s Column Trajan’s column is a Roman triumphal column in Rome, Italy, It was erected in 113 AD to commemorate Roman emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian Wars.

For typographers, the inscription that lies at its base the most famous example of Roman square capitals. Hence, many typefaces are based on these letterforms.


Trajan’s Column Inscription




Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible was the irst mass produced book to be printed with metal movable type in the west. Before it was printed in 1455, books were either copied by hand or engraved wooden blocks.

Chapter 2

Type Classification


Anatomy of Typography By breaking letters down into parts, it is easier to understand how each part works in correspondence to make letterforms. 1. Aperture 2. Apex 3. Arc 4. Arm 5. Ascender 6. Axis 7. Beak 8. Bilateral Serif 9. Bowl 10. Bracket 11. Counter (Open) 12. Counter (Closed) 13. Crossbar

14. Crotch 15. Descender 16. Ear 17. Eye 18. Finial 19. Foot 20. Hairline (Stroke) 21. 22. Joint 23. Leg 24. Ligature 25. Link/Neck 26. Loop

27. Overhang 28. Serif 29. Shoulder 30. Spine 31. Spur 32. Stem 33. Stress 34. Tail 35. Tittle 36. Terminal 37. Vertex




Serif The serif font is believed to have originated in Ancient Rome. The serif refers to the ‘feet’ on the letterform that may have been used to make carving the letterforms easier. Styles of serif fonts include:

• • • • • •

Old style Transitional Neoclassical and Didone Slab Clarendon Glypic


Sans Serif The irst sans serif font was developed in the 18th century, but it can be argued that sans serif typefaces have been around since ancient times. Styles of sans serif fonts include:

• • • •

Grotesque Square Humanistic Geometric




Script In typography, script fonts or type mimic historical or modern handwriting styles that look as if written with different styles of writing instruments from calligraphy pens to ballpoint pens. Typical characteristics of script type are: connected or nearly connected lowing letterforms and slanted, rounded characters. Styles of script fonts include:

• • • •

Formal Casual Calligraphic Blackletter and Lombardic


Decorative This is the largest category and also the most diverse. Rarely used for lengthy blocks of text, decorative typefaces are popular for signage, headlines and similar situations were a strong typographic statement is desired. They frequently relect an aspect of culture – such as tattoos or grafiti – or evoke a particular state of mind, time period or theme. Many

– such as psychedelic or grunge designs – are time-sensitive and fall out of fashion. Styles of decorative fonts include: • • •

Grafiti Psychedelic Grunge


Chapter 3



Double Pencil Exercise The idea behind this exercise is to teach the correct way of holding a nib when drawing letterforms. Firstly, get two pencils and tape them together. Secondly, on a plain piece of paper, measure four lines similar to the picture shown on the right. These lines will mark the base line, the x-height, ascenders and descenders. Lastly, have fun drawing the letters. for the best result, don’t rotate the

pencils, this should give you the thick and thin strokes. Remember the thickest strokes should be vertical and thinnest should be horizontal, but it is good to experiment with the forms. This can be seen in both blackletter and the more lowing script letterforms. It is a good idea to practice each letter to feel comfortable with your abilities. After this you can start practicing with a nib and ink.





Using a Fountain Pen A nib and some ink is all you need to transform letters and words into works of art. With the right tools and some practice you can take your writing from mundane to spectacular. However, there are many types of nibs, such as an italic nib and a lex nib, that it might be hard to start practicing. It is a good idea to start of with a cheap set of fountain pens and nibs,

you don’t want to spend big if this isn’t what you expected. When you start to get better, you can start saving for a better set of fountain pens and nibs. Practicing with the fountain pen is very much like the double pencil exercise, just experiment, allow yourself to go with the low and see what happens. But be warned, ink does stain, so watch out.


Digital Work Ideally, you would want to draw and scan in an image of what you want to digitize if your creating custom work. But you can edit existing fonts for an easy customization. For instance, the titles on all the pages are an edited version of Gill Sans, which is called Split Gills.

To actually make your custom typeface usable, you will need type tool or any similar program. These programs are very useful and are easy to use.



Bibliography https://skybambi.iles.wordpress. com/2011/01/tie-typography181b.jpg http://www.creativebloq. com/typography/what-istypography-123652 Herrera, Jer贸nimo Do What You Love, 2012, Digital. https://www. Do-What-You-Love-TypographyPoster (accessed May 19th, 2015). Unknown, The Trajan Inscription, 2011, Digital Photograph. typography/images/ancient/ trajan_inscr_lg.jpg (accessed May 22, 2015).

Sherman, Nick. Gutenberg Initial, 2009, Digital photograph. uploads/2009/09/gutenberginitial.jpg?lbisphpreq=1 (accessed May 23, 2015).

Silvertant, Martin. Anatomy of Typography, Digital. http://martinsilvertant. (accessed May 23, 2015). basic/g/script.htm learning/fontology/level-1/typeanatomy/type-classiications


Grant, Bill. New roundhand alphabet, Digital scan. http:// category/calligraphycalligrafitilet tering-how-to/ (accessed May 23, 2015). post/117617568790/morningpractice-calligraphy-typography calligraphy-pen-basics/pt/689 post/119779104538/betypeitzroy-murals-by-zender

Typography for Print Assessment 3 - Printed Typography Book  
Typography for Print Assessment 3 - Printed Typography Book