Fantastic Elastic Italic

Ann Mason’s italic workshop was on Saturday 16th January via Zoom. Italic written in a formal style with no ligatures can look a bit too regular and static. Ann introduced us to using ligatures we see more often in copperplate and we found that italic does indeed become more elastic. We tried out pencils, pointed nibs and edge pens to see their effects. With an edge pen Ann taught us that lifting up onto the right corner of the nib creates a different arch stroke than lifting onto the left corner. Who knew! She emphasised that taking time and slowing down is the key, and it still looks as if we breezed through the words at speed. Ligatures allow you to bounce the letters a bit and break up the monotony of sticking everything exactly on the line. Fantastic. Really stretching out the ligatures between letters and then writing the same words at right-angles creates an interesting grid and you can play with colour in the spaces. This brought to mind an image of Anne Bronte’s last letter to a friend where she made maximum use of her paper, writing out the sentences at right-angles and diagonally. You can see this image in a blog written by the Bronte Society in Italy at this link –