Joan Quirós - Lettering
Joan Quirós is an independent professional focused on lettering and illustration.

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Calligraphy Journal #8


Hey! Welcome to my eighth Calligraphy Journal! Last week, as most of my last entries, I was focused on working on my sketchbook and decided to do a study about the different letter weights playing with different nib sizes.


When I was living in London, I fell in love with the sign which holds on the main gate of the British Library, designed by David Kindersley and his wife Lida Lopes Cardozo. I really loved that gradation of letters through the use different weights so, inspired on those letterforms, decided to play with it using the wider range of nibs I have and Roman Capitals. As roman capitals doesn’t have ascenders and descenders, it should be easier to create a compact block of letters.


So, to start inking the page, I decided to create a gray background that I could use to create a texture of black letter in black over it. For doing that, I used acrylic inks, but didn’t work very well for the purpose I wanted to use it. I spent around 5 hours for creating the background. Then, when the background was totally filled, started working on the Roman Capitals, using the full range of the William Mitchell roundhand nibs I have, from Nº6 (0.5mm) to Nº0 (3.7mm).

It was a difficult exercise, due to the acrylic ink has a glossy finishing, the white gouache didn’t flown quite well over this surface, that’s why the bold letters have that texture. Also, the spacing isn’t so good in some areas, as the proportions of some letters isn’t right.

For finishing the week, I decided to create a positive version on the opposite page in order to solve the mistakes I made on the last page, without any kind of background, just black on white, using sumi ink and keeping it simple.

Some issues with the spacing and proportions became better, but that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. Still lot of things to improve, but he only way is to keep working on it through deliberate practice.

In spite of everything, I’m happy with the exercise I’ve done and the things I’ve learnt here. The idea was to create a gradation of letters, and I think I succeeded on that.

Thanks for stopping by, see you on next week!