Learning Index >> Calligraphy: an education in letter form

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Edward Johnston

In C86.9 Johnston is not apparently aware of any need to control the tonal density of each letter. If you look at the beginning of the second and third lines, the words 'another' and 'knows', you will see several letters standing out as heavier/blacker than the others. There is much greater eveness of tone in C86.10 Compare the letter 'e' in both pieces to see what I mean.

Johnston would later realise that in the historical manuscripts he was studying there was a noticeable uniformity of weight between letters which gave an even texture to the page which aided reading.

Johnston named Uniformity as the second desirable quality in good writing and came to feel it depended upon controlling three writing conditions, weight (tonal density of a letter), the angle at which the pen nib is held in relation to the line one is writing along (this determines where the weight is placed around the letter and the feel of stress each letter carries) and overall letter shape.


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