Calligraphy Funny?

hrant's picture

This piece was done in 1975. Does anybody see anything strange about it?

And Eben, don't ask me to spill the beans, OK? :-)
The beans will spill when it's time to make the burrito.

hhp

typerror's picture

Before you even go there Hrant... think how many have confused calligraphy for type! And what is wrong with combining the two?
Even in 1975 the lines were being blurred. Had been since the 50's. Hayes, Nemoy, Chappell, Dwiggins, Zapf, Poppl, Ogg, Simons, Spemann, Abrams, Baker and I am just getting started!

Simply put, they work together and it is in this case a tag along.

Michael

hrant's picture

You're losing me...

That work is all calligraphy. Anyway you can ignore the alphabet
around the border. I'm wondering if anybody here experienced in
calligraphy smells anything funny about the large text in the middle.

hhp

typerror's picture

Which text Hrant? The Art of the Scribe is fairly standard for the times.

Michael

typerror's picture

This should be interesting Hrant. Bring it on!

Michael

hrant's picture

> The Art of the Scribe is fairly standard for the times.

OK.

And if you (or another proficient calligrapher) were to pen that,
could you match it exactly, without doing anything funny?

hhp

Theunis de Jong's picture

Just guessing. The pen's nib on the 'T' is clearly visible, but not on the swirl of the 'A' and the 'h'. You'd have to rotate your pen anti-clockwise for the 'A' swirl with quite a difficult manoevre, and even more so for the clockwise one on the 'h' (unless your wrist joints are disjointed).

typerror's picture

Most of us in our sleep. A bit of touch up would help to keep it clean. Manipulation as well as a 45 degree angle are pretty standard. I do not see anything dramatic here.

If you are referring to the variation of line weight I would imagine that is a matter of cut, "stat it down in size" and paste.

Michael

Theunis de Jong's picture

It has been quite a while since I last tasted ink...

crossgrove's picture

Verticality?

typerror's picture

O.k. Carl. I'll bite but why would that be strange? A simple reorientation, right? Nothing in any way earth shattering... been done a million times. Hell, I've even killed a couple of calligraphers for backslanting the letters : )

Michael

hrant's picture

Hmmm, I'm seeing a faint light, people... Keep it up!

hhp

typerror's picture

I''m fresh out of my "edge of the seat" energy for the day. Looks to me like you are trying to make something out of nothing : (
Michael

hrant's picture

Possibly. But if it's nothing then I'd still like to find that out.

Anyway if you find more energy tomorrow please come back!
I might very well downgrade the burrito to a simple tossed salad.

hhp

oprion's picture

Only one of the e's has a tongue? Sorry, gasping at straws here.
___________________________________________
Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov
www.ivangdesign.com

cyan's picture

Are you referring to the fact that almost every word seems as if it is a different size? The irony being that writing produced by "a scribe" would not be multiple sizes in a single grouping of text?

The size of the "of"'s "f" does not look like is came from the same size text as the "t" in the "the". Also, I'm noticing a slight horizontal scale in the "the"'s "e". Am i grasping too?

shawkash's picture

Not sure what is funny, but let me guess if there is anything strange:
1.I am not sure why the "T" of "The" looks to me like a small letter.. may be because of it's height.
2.Some people may read "scribe" in a little different way: "Scnbe"?
3.The "e" of "Scribe" ? rotate it and You may get this symbol http://www.symbols.com/encyclopedia/06/066.html
4.The ornamental part of the "h" letter in "The" looks to me like the pink ribbon.
5.May be it is possible to read "Art" as "Ant"?
6.The dot of scribe's "i" again.

But any way I am not an expert in Latin Calligraphy. I just try.

Graham McArthur's picture

A somewhat pointless exercise that will lead to nothing much. What you have done is stirred the calligraphers out of a slumber, which is a good thing as they have been too silent for too long.
Perhaps the calligraphers & lettering artists here should start similar threads about the large proportion of truly ugly type and appalling logo designs that get so much endearing praise by so many. But that too although even more 'funny', would not be overly productive either.

Miss Tiffany's picture

It looks squooshed.

hrant's picture

Graham, you're saying this is ugly? Because I actually
don't think so. But I would very much like to hear why
you think it is - it might help solve this riddle.

> Perhaps the calligraphers & lettering artists here should start
> similar threads about the large proportion of truly ugly type and
> appalling logo designs that get so much endearing praise by so many.

That would actually be more suitable to Typophile than this
thread, since that's more about type than this is. Go for it.

Tiffany, in which axis?

hhp

Stephen Rapp's picture

The pen angles seem to be at 45 degrees so horizontal cross stroke of f's and t's should be the same weight as the downstrokes yet they are not. So the scribe would have to either change pens or do some heavy touch up.

Stephen Rapp's picture

I think the general flow of the text is relatively nice though dated looking. Squared turns like that were common back then, but not terribly graceful. The big loops created for encapsulating small text are very awkward to my eye though and so do not enhance the piece

John Hudson's picture

It looks mechanically skewed, i.e. that it might have been originally written at an angle and then skewed upright. I wouldn't say that this is for certain the case, and this effect could be made with the pen (but why?), but it explains some of the inconsistencies between the weight distribution in the bowls vs. the stems.

I'm not sure how such an effect would have been mechanically made in 1975, but presume it would have been possible using photography.

Miss Tiffany's picture

What John said. It does look skewed and vertically squooshed a bit too.

gferreira's picture

pure calligraphic shapes normally have angles in their counters -- the place where the two sides of the moving front change from interior to exterior (and vice-versa). in this sample, the countershapes are smooth curves.

i would make an illustration if i were not lazy...

Graham McArthur's picture

>Graham, you’re saying this is ugly? Because I actually
>don’t think so. But I would very much like to hear why
>you think it is - it might help solve this riddle.

My reference to ugly was directed elsewhere-another riddle to solve :)
This piece is very much of its day and it would have been well received within the general calligraphic community of the time.
By today's standards it is poor. Its not really fair to pick on the work of a fellow scribe who can't defend him/herself. But it is not what I would have done in 1975, and it certainly is nothing like what I would do today.

I am not sure what you have in mind nor what point you are trying to make with this. There is nothing overtly strange to it that I can see. My take of the "The Art of the Scribe" is that the pen angle is all wrong from the start and is not correct at any point. It's too small to tell and I would need a much closer look, but if the entire poster is calligraphy as you say, then it does not look to be written entirely by the same hand-can't be sure of this from the jpg.

Graham McArthur's picture

I don't think it has been skewed. This does show the common pen manipulation that was the flavour at the time and this could be what you can see. It is an obvious cut & paste job and the different sizes are just reduced stats pasted in. But this was/is not an unusual practice for calligraphers. I still can't see anything really strange in this.

ebensorkin's picture

It's the cross bar of the A. It's not really chirographic.

Nick Shinn's picture

Looks fine to me.
Those beans are drying up.

Stephen Rapp's picture

In the crossbar of the A the pen angle is flattened as it is moving horizontally. That's more difficult than doing it vertically which is probably why the top side of that stroke is not as steady looking as the bottom. It is one of the more awkward and inconsistent parts of the design. Most pen strokes are either vertical or horizontal, but the A crossbar, Cap T and rt horizontals deviate from this.

I'm still a bit puzzled here expecting that there would be some kind of real mystery revealed. It seems to be just minor oddities in a piece of lettering that was manipulated in whatever means the artist had available at the time.

Si_Daniels's picture

It's so digital - this was clearly constructed by a young Donald Knuth using metafont algorithms.

John Hudson's picture

Given the period, the lettering might have been cut out of rubilith. The wobble in the outside of the big flourish off the h has that look about it

Nick Shinn's picture

One wouldn't expect the title to be an example of pure calligraphy.
Not quite as ironic as this gem of retro 1993 DTP styling, which I received in the mail yesterday:

Tim Ahrens's picture

I don't know whether this has been mentioned before, but the words "Art" and "Scribe" seem to be written with a broader pen than the rest. Or are they geometrically enlarged?

Nick Job's picture

Not knowing much about hand lettering - I've almost forgotten how to write myself, let alone make it look nice when I do - is it the weird 'serif' on the T? Assuming you hold the nib generally at a given angle the whole time, somewhere between horizontal and 45 degrees (clearly there will be minor variation during writing). How did that serif get put on the bottom left hand end of the crossbar without something weird occurring? surely it should have stuck out at an angle between 7 and 9 o'clock, but not 6. Looks unusual to me.

Tim Ahrens's picture

Nick, that "serif" on the T is simply the result of lifting the nib on one side at the end of a stroke. This makes the stroke get very thin towards the end.
Arthur Baker was a master at this, in some of his works you can find hardly any stroke that is written without lifting the nib. Also, some broken scripts show features based on this principle.

ovaalk's picture

Lefthanded?

hrant's picture

Bingo.

More soon.

hhp

typerror's picture

Actually Tim, Arthur does less lifting than you think. He has employs extreme manipulation sometimes rotating the tool a full 360 degrees. This piece was done in two passes, I believe (I will check with him), and you can see his facility for rotating the tool, in this case a sponge brush with gouache on a coated stock. It boggles the mind doesn't it?

Michael

typerror's picture

I wish I could say AHAAA! but get serious! There are not enough visual clues in this piece to indicate it was done by a southpaw! So you read it was written by a southpaw and backseat drove from there? Wish I could support your research paper, sorry!

Was it done by Larry Brady?

Edit: Oh and Tim... Visigoth employed the same pen lifts that any normal calligrapher would employ in the creation of an italic of this nature.

Michael

Tim Ahrens's picture

Thanks for that example, Michael (typerror). Looks really stunning. Where is it from?

I tried reproducing some of Baker's works myself using a broad nib pen and found it much easier when I lifted the nib. I also tried rotating the pen but soon gave up since it wouldn't create that look nearly as easily. So I was convinced Baker must also have primarily lifted the nib but - as your example proves - obviously was wrong. Maybe I used too small a nib.

Graham McArthur's picture

No!! Not left handed! That is indeed very funny. I know that all left handers are very odd, but I never knew being left handed smelt funny. I see that there is more to reveal, can't wait.

typerror's picture

This piece is from a series he did in the 70's and early 80's. His whole body of work is a reflection of the eschewed manipulation techniques used in the manusripts. His type is very idiosyncratic and most of it employs these techniques. To this day it is highly divisive in the calligraphic community and has been here also in some threads. But it is very obvious to most who have picked up a pen and "gone to the dark side" : )

Michael

jselig's picture

Having just come across this right now, my first thought was 'it was done by a lefty'. Maybe because I'm left handed? Who knows…

typerror's picture

Tim

All of his "type" designs are done fairly large with a Coit pen. Probably .5" and even larger. They have split ones and that is how he did Sassafras which I have removed the inline from for him and he is in the process of releasing. Wait 'til you see the set of titling caps we have created, talk about some heavy manipulation.

By the way... he has a compilation of this series of abstracts at the press right now. I should be getting my proof run this week. If you are interested I will find out costs etc.

Michael

ovaalk's picture

Hey I won the quiz! So here's a new one:
Anything odd here?

It's the cover title of a book by Bror Zachrisson.

hrant's picture

Timo, new thread, man!

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

How do you get left handed?

typerror's picture

Exactly Eben.

This has reeked of 3 day old fish in the sun from the beginning.

What is your motive Hrant? And more importantly why waste the time and space?

Michael

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