When creating a biggish piece of work there are all sorts of approaches to dealing with that scary blank piece of paper!
Although I'm comfortable using products like Word and Powerpoint I cannot find a better way for me that to write the words out, cut them out and play with arrangements.
Notice I've not cut it into individual words - I just divide lines up where it feels like it's make a better layout.
This is prose: if it were a poem I would use the same line breaks as the poet used as they're part of what he/she created.
I find it helpful to write the piece at this early stage - it makes me think more about the words and - for example - what I might like to emphasise.
Tips at this stage would be:
- have a piece of paper much bigger than you think you'll need as the base - it stops you being constrained
- choose paper that is the same as the paper you've lettered on if you can - then there's no visual distractions with slightly different colours of paper
- cut in close to the lettering (I use a knife) : again we're looking for as little visual distraction as possible
- have a few strips of dark paper to mark in where the margin may fall
- if you're going to have decorative elements, title, credit etc. they should really be included at this stage (I haven't!)
- try and suppress any preconceived ideas - try all sorts!
- if you've not tried at least one layout that looks ridiculous you've not been inventive enough
- don't forget to try different line spacing - it's easy to play and makes a big difference to the look
- keep the original text to hand - it's bad news to find out you've lost or switched lines
- every layout that might be promising - take a photo (oh, this is SO much easier than in the old days where you had to have multiple photocopies of the words and glue down any layouts that looked hopeful)
- you might choose to go and write part of the text in different size / weight / colour to see how that looks
- try at least 20 different ideas - it's so quick at this stage
- use your camera to help you choose the most promising layout and put the pieces back into that layout
- you might want to stick the pieces down in this layout if you're going to have to move the pieces of paper away, because it's now your blueprint for the next version
I'll talk about what comes next in the next blog.
I'm Janet Smith, a calligrapher who loves to experiment with lettering and calligraphy.