Quietfire Design's
Techniques Gallery

Rough Edged Letters*
©2007 Suzanne Cannon

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This article first appeared in the September 2001 issue of byhand

This is some lettering that I did at the calligraphy conference in 1999 at Lethbridge in Carl Rohrs class. (I apologize for the quality of the picture. It did not scan perfectly and I would be the first to admit my photo editing skills need some enhancing... can you see the little ferns growing out of the foot of the R?) The class was experimenting with different tools and this was one of my experiments!

Rough edge lettering is nothing new - check out the Kettle Creek Chips logo - but it is fun. It works best on rough watercolour paper with a very broad tool.

However, this piece was done on a fairly smooth paper and a similar effect was achieved by intermittently lifting the left edge of the nib as I made each stroke. When I say it works best done with a very broad tool, I mean outside the normal nib sizes (which go up to about 5 mm).

These larger tools start at 1/4" width and go up from there. Some of the names are: Automatic Pens (although there is nothing automatic about them!), Coit pens, Techniquills or they can be made at home, with a little ingenuity. A member of the Warmland Calligraphers (Duncan, BC) makes a very respectable version at a very reasonable price, called the Qualley Quill. They come in three sizes and Barbara (Qualley) tests them all before they are sent.

Anyway, large letters are FUN.
The above lettering was done with an Automatic Pen, on Canson Mi-teintes paper, using Walnut Ink. The "R" is approximately 2 1/2 inches high.

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© 2007
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