Sunday, June 13, 2021

Extra post - regular daily post is below this one.

 How to write in a book.

Janna needs to write in a book and wondered how to do it without penciling in guide lines.

Before I show the steps I use, I'm going to add my thoughts on how to warn the client that it is nerve wracking to write in books and prepare them for what will happen if there is a mistake. I explain these things:

1. Many calligraphers refuse to take on these kinds of jobs because they do not like the stress.

2. I only do them if the client understands that we will have to agree on a backup plan if there is any unforeseen issue.

3. If there is an accident -- even if it is my mistake - I will not replace the book. I will cover it up creatively and beautifully.

There are many ways to cover up mistakes. 

If the paper is awful, I propose that I write on a friendly paper and then adhere it to the page - as one would do with a book plate. Clients often like the look of a bookplate. You can layer a decorative paper to make a border.

If I end up writing in the book, I always do the job when I am home alone. I get all the preliminary work done the day before. I turn off the phone. I do not do it when I am tired. I write the words a couple times on practice paper. And then I write in the book. I do not like to do the preliminary work and then do the writing the same day - because they are two different kinds of brain work. I like to do the lettering when I have a clear head. It is possible to do it with people in the house, but you have to tell them to be very quiet and not make any loud noises that might startle you. 

Depending on the client and the size of the job - sometimes I tell them that I will just do it for free. They always argue - but if I am not in the mood to feel the stress - sometimes, I insist on doing it for free - and that relieves the stress entirely. I never had more than one write-in-a-book job per year. So, it is hard to feel really skilled at something that you hardly ever do. But, it is nice to help people who just want something pretty. I often showed them samples of really pretty lettering using Pigma Microns. They were usually thrilled -- and there wasn't any need to use pen and ink. 

The yellow paper is going to be a mat around the area to be lettered upon.
The mat should be slightly larger than the actual page.

This shows the page turned.
It also shows that the mat needs to be taped with Post-It tape 
so that it will not shift when you do the lettering.

There are marks to show the edge of the page on which the lettering will be done.

Pencil the perimeter of the page.
Pencil the wording, including the base lines.
Photo 7 shows darker baselines.
I darkened them just for the photos - so you would know they were there.

Pencil a rectangle which will become an opening to accommodate the words to be written.

The X is to show where you will cut.
You will not cut the opening in the mat because a cut edge is not smooth 
and it can grab your hand 
while you are lettering.

Using an Xacto knife - cut the X.
I am compulsive, so I use a bone folder to score the folds.

This shows the top triangle folded up.
If you want, you may fold all four triangle flaps towards the front.
You will then fold them to the back as shown in the next photo.

Notice the base lines along the left and right edge.

You need to crease those folds so that they are very flat.
A lighter weight paper is best for the mat
so that there is no bulk and nothing that will grab your hand.

The green paper needs a fold, so it is smooth and not *grabby*

The green paper is used as your guide - instead of penciled lines.

You do not need to letter the descenders as you letter the lines.
Just leave them off - and add them after you have completed the line.
Be on the lookout for any ascenders and descenders that will overlap.
Resolve that issue on your preliminaries.

Hold the guard sheet (guide) in place with Post-It tape.
Post-It tape is one of my favorite tools. 
If you do not have any, you can use other kinds of tape.
Masking tape works. Press it on your clothes a couple times to make it less sticky.

IMHO, an essential part of writing in a book is creating a larger surface that is flat so that you are not trying to write off the edge of the book.
This photo shows a stack of paper and a tablet on top - to show that I kept adding things 
until it was the right height.
I like to use books rather than stacks of paper - and try to find a book that is the same depth. 
You do not want things that might slip and slide

Close up of the built up area at the bottom.
Sometimes I build up the area to the right as well.
I do that if the writing is going to go over - closer to right side of the page.
That happens when you are writing on family tree pages.
You do not want your hand to fall off the edge on the right.

This was hard to shoot by myself, but shows how I like to have a level surface under my arm.

Good luck --

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