Monday, January 11, 2010

Heartbeat script

As my calligraphic life continues to grow, I have developed my own little script which works well for me. I call it my heartbeat script and I have used it quite a lot when writing poetry in handmade books, and it has a lovely rhythm when written.

It's a kind of expressive cursive with a few quirky bits. Barry suggested I do an exemplar of it, (along with another weird script I developed, but I haven't yet done that) and so I sat down to try and work out the details of what I am doing when I usually just write it.

It is only 2 nib widths high; the nib is at a fairly shallow 30 degree angle and the letters with ascenders reach either 4 1/2 nib widths or 6 nib widths high (I told you it had quirky), and those with descenders reach either 6 nib widths down or a long way down at 9 nib widths. That calls for a capital "Q" for Quirky I think.

Here are a few shots of the exemplar so far. I realised as I wrote it that the script is not just about the letters; its' very much about the joins - where and when I join letters up as I write.


  1. Very pretty! I love it! It brings to mind rapid, flowing legende.

    When using this hand, do you only line the baseline and x-height and then eyeball the ascenders and descenders? What about the interlinear space? Is it a consistent space or do you tuck in your subsequent lines according to interplay between your highest ascender in the next line and your longest descender in the previous line. Or do you let them simply fall where they may and make adjustments as you go? The name, heartbeat, makes me think you're writing very quickly and rhythmically and intuitively with regard to the interlinear spacing. . .

  2. Hi Kim

    My new computer has arrived so I am catching up on things. I do usually only draw in the x-height and eyeball the rest - I kind of wrote a few lines and then worked back to discover what the ascender and descender heights really were! I tend to leave a pretty large interlinear space - it allows for the g's and j's and also gives the work more room to breathe I think - makes you read more slowly.

  3. I noticed in your 'phrases of the moon' (which was BRILLIANT) and I love it!


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