Decorative Lettering

Writing and enjoying letters, as in the actual alphabet, has an appeal to many people. This manifests itself by our interest in calligraphy, our amazement regarding illuminated manuscript letters, and even our attachment to those iconic typefaces we have come to know such as the ones in Harper’s, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker (plus whatever your regional newspaper uses in its masthead). When I was the director of an historic arts club in Philadelphia, I would listen to retired advertising executives and art directors discuss typefaces on a regular basis, not to mention at great length. One of these men said you could spot how old any advertisement is simply by looking at the typeface. He was right.

So when I saw a class for decorative lettering in watercolor through the Smithsonian, I decided ‘ why not’? Now the two key things about this class is its emphasis on using watercolor and another emphasis on use of botanical motifs. While I am not against using watercolor, I like to use it as one medium among a number of others (I am also a pen fanatic). As far as botanical motifs, well, I work in an herbarium so while I have nothing against botanicals, I would also like to explore other motifs. So below are my first three designs.

For the one above (the ‘R’) I went with a medieval motif complete with sword and dragon/reptile like skin textures. For the letter below (the ‘E’), I utilized close hatch marks that was something emphasized at another workshop I attended a few weeks ago. Finally, for the last image, I broke down and used only watercolor and stuck to a botanical theme.

6 thoughts on “Decorative Lettering

  1. I found all the designs attractive and uplifting, and especially liked how the witty design of “seeds “ communicated meaning.

    Best Sheldon

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sheldon, Thank you. I am really enjoying this class. It is something very different for me. I think we have discussed in the past how doing something different helps you do what you normally do in new ways. XO


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