I’m thinking through letters again today.
One way I’m officially giving myself permission is how I start. I’ve known this before but these 7 are a way to officially formalize for myself what I do.
I begin with type. Two forms: hard edged and organic. The hard edged comes mainly from stamps. Hopefully some day I’ll get a paper cutter again and create stencils. But right now I’m limited to stamps for hard edges and my own scribbling writing for the organic shapes.
These are two very very different shapes. That’s something I may have to sort of contend with at some point in the future from a principles of design standpoint. But right now I’m just declaring it so.
In the past, I’ve felt weird that with the stamps, they are really just letters. And with the writing, oh yes, I’m writing real things, but they may or may not be part of the painting. And the goal certainly isn’t to have it be readable later on.
So there’s still some questions I can ask myself there. Do I want the words I write (either legible or not) to be part of the painting? I kind of like the idea that they would be but right now it’s fine that they aren’t.
Dominance: Do I need to make organic or architectural text dominant?
Scale: Do I have enough size variation for both organic and architectural text? I’m limited in the size of my pens. I’m order more. The hard edge type, I have some tamps that are slightly larger but if I want to go much bigger than that I need to cut larger stencils (which, I could do but they always feel VERY hand done) or cut my own stencils some day with a paper cutter.
I could also learn to write with a brush. This seems frustrating. You’d think writing with a brush would be simple. It is not. That’s why people train in calligraphy. Writing with something other than a pencil is it’s own art form.
I could cut letters out paper. Also would have a very handmade feel, which is fine but adds other elements into the whole thing.
Shape: Do I have variation in shape? Thinking about cutting out letters by hand has me thinking about the shapes I bring into my work. The scribbles are a type of shape. The stamped letters are a type of shape. The hand cut letters would be a different type of shape. Brush lettering would be a type of shape.
Study idea: Do a study where I’m only using black and white. Have the only elements be different types of text (architectural, scribble, handmade) and black and white paint and just see how they feel.
There’s also a point where too many scribbles make it wallpaper. Which may be fine...but it’s a different direction than using scribbles in only a few places to draw the eye.
Always. More. questions. (That’s why art is fun!)