About Gothic Calligraphy Tutorials
gothic calligraphy tutorials
We have a lot of gothic calligraphy tutorials here!
These gothic calligraphy tutorials pages are my online effort to give you a one-to-one lesson in how to write a particular form of Gothic lettering.
Note: I don't teach the letters in alphabetical order. It's easier and quicker to start with the simpler forms and move on to the more complicated. That way, you are always building on what you've already mastered.
This page starts you off with: i l n u c e.
The second page covers: m w r t h b f k o q p v.
After that, the third page shows you the rest: d g z x j y a s.
And on another page are sample capital gothic letters A-Z.
You might also enjoy looking through this page on how to make your own Gothic greetings card using similar lettering and some decorative doodling.
There are loads of illustrations of how to write a Gothic alphabet step by step in the lessons themselves.
The above is not a particularly good or beautiful example, but it gives you an idea.
If you do the whole tutorial thoroughly, there are at least a couple of hours’ fun to be had out of it. By the end, you should, I hope, know more about writing Gothic than when you started.
Let’s roll up our sleeves ...
Gothic 'littera textualis quadrata'
The particular style of gothic calligraphy tutorials I’ve laid out here is a formal hand that would have been used for copying the main text (ie not translations or footnotes) of high-quality books in Latin between 1200 and 1500. Its Sunday title is littera textualis quadrata. The ‘littera textualis’ means it’s letters for the main text (ie high-grade formal writing)-- and ‘quadrata’ refers to the square, regular, ‘four-sided’ look of it. This is the second-highest grade of Gothic alphabet from the period. (Even more prestigious was textualis prescissa or sine pedibus.)
In case you want to know, it’s pronounced ‘LIT-era tex-choo-WAH-lis kwod-RAH-tuh’.
You will need ...
First, set up your workspace and materials comfortably. Check that you have:
1. A clear desk-space (preferably on a sloping writing-desk, or a desk-easel. You could use a board propped against a dictionary.)
2. Fair quality paper (preferably lightly ruled).
3. Broad-nibbed pen and ink.
4. Tissues or cloth, and water if you like, for wiping ink off the nib, fingers, etc.
Strictly, you should be lined up squarely in front of the desk with all your materials in easy reach, feet flat on the floor, back straight and shoulders relaxed. And, of course, this page in clear sight. I’m going to assume you’ve made yourself comfortable :-)
Gothic alphabet easy measurements
The wider your nib, the taller and larger your letters must be. You should write your gothic calligraphy tutorials at a size which is in proportion to the thickness of your nib so that it shows a pleasing balance of black and white space. Rule your top line accordingly, or just estimate and stick to it as well as you can.
Gothic alphabets can vary in density and spacing. A standard, fairly open version is written around 4.5 nib-widths high for the x-height (the height of the regular small letters such as x, e, c, a, o.) Allow another 2-2.5 nib-widths above the x-height and below the base-line for ascenders or descenders on letters such as b, h, g, p. There are a couple of letters – d and t – that are in between 4.5 and 7 nib-widths high.
Here's an illustration of what 4 nib-widths looks like if your nib is very thick (your own nibwidths and, therefore, your gothic calligraphy tutorials may well be smaller or larger):
Alternatively, if you have good eyesight and a very small ruler, you can measure your nib’s width in tenths of a millimeter and simply multiply by 4.5 and 7. (Joke.)
Once you’re happy that you know roughly how tall the letters of your gothic calligraphy tutorials should be, it’s best to start with the two simplest: ‘i’ and ‘l’.
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