Categories
lettering

Anatomy of a design

I will be showing you how I design for stone carving.

It begins with a pencil sketch. This is it.Preliminary sketch for stonecarving

The sketch is at half scale in this instance, with the carving to be done on a piece of sandstone, 300mm by 300mm. The text is a line from a Louis MacNeice poem. You will notice the free flowing lettering, with letter  height at c40mm, for the ascenders.

This may be adjusted as the drawing develops into a final version.

The letter design is my own style, with use of a capital G prominent and the ampersand (in the original text this is spelt out, and).

The drawing is done on tracing paper, using a 2H pencil.

Categories
printing

Some Monotype stuff

Here’s a couple of images from Monotype to whet the appetite.

Categories
Thoughts on lettering

Eric Gill and Pilgrim typeface

Among the stack of books I bought from the secondhand bookstore that’s closing was a 1953 Penrose album. Penrose are fabulous volumes published yearly as a guide to that year’s graphic arts. They went from the early part of the 20th century through to the 1980s (I think).typeface

They are sumptuously illustrated and have articles by some of the most eminent typographers of the time. In this volume (which I did not have) is an article about Gill’s Pilgrim typeface by Robert Harling. This face was produced, the article says, 12 years after Gill’s death.

Manufactured by Liontype (the rivals to Monotype) it is a traditional roman.

Harling writes: “Here in Pilgrim we have all the recognisable and admirable Gill qualities. His touch is in very curve and line. Here is yet another of his felicitous essays in the unending quest for the perfect alphabet. The ceaseless and never monotonous preoccupation with the curve of the tail to the upper-case R, the distribution of solid and void in the lower case a and g and so on.”

The face was first named Bunyan, and used exclusively by Gill. After his death the design was bought from his widow, Mary, and the punches, patterns and matrices from his son-in-law Rene Hague. Linotype then adapted the face for machine setting, and also added an italic, sketches for which Gill had not completed.

Harling notes that the face was to be used in a limited edition run of Evelyn Waugh’s book, The Holy Places, published by the Queen Anne Press in the winter of 1953.

 

Categories
Thoughts on lettering

Typeface recognition needed – and answered Albertus!

Today I visited a second-hand bookshop near to where I live. Unfortunately it is closing soon so they are having a fire sale. All stock is 75 per cent off.

I stumbled across some beauties. That’s the wonderful thing about actually visiting a bookstore rather than virtual browsing on ABE – you never know what you might.

And among the pile of books I bought was one by a mid 20th century British poet, Louis MacNeice, who I collect off and on. He was a mate of Auden’s (him with the grizzled face) and wrote some great stuff, particularly in the build up to the second world war. He was trained in the classics and spent a lot of his working life at the BBC. As now poets have to earn a living somehow.

faber and faber published his work (along with many of the leading poets of the time – TS Eliot was a director, so understandably had a preference for poetry).

The books are always presented in a distinctive typographic manner – the covers especially  – and this one is no exception. Take a look.

What I would like to know is does anyone know the typeface. The name is on the tip of my tongue but I can’t quite get it out…

I particularly like the use of the lower case n.

I knew it – came to me today – the typeface is Albertus, designed by Berthold Wolpe.

Here it is in all its beauty

 

 

Categories
Thoughts on lettering

Details of the limestone bench

The first picture shows the finished piece in the garden setting of a small church in Essex, England, the next the bench being assembled. Stainless steel rods support the seat.

Categories
Thoughts on lettering

Detail of lettering

This shows an inscription hand carved into Caithness sandstone. This material looks like slate but is in fact a sandstone from Scotland. It produces a very fine letter.

Categories
Thoughts on lettering

Love is the whole

Red sandstone with copper leaf, patinated to go light blue.

Categories
eric gill Thoughts on lettering

Favourite typefaces

Specimens of typefaces by Eric Gill
Specimens of typefaces by Eric Gill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eric Gill  designed the Gill sans serif face. No, that is not my favourite. But I do love his Perpetua face. He also designed one called Joanna, named, I think, after one of his daughter’s.

I’m also mad about Baskerville, named after an 18th century British printer from Birmingham called, you’ve guessed it, John Baskerville.

Categories
Thoughts on lettering

Another picture – this blog is about pictures of work

This shows work in progress on a stone I made for Eton College in the UK. I have now created a page mainly for pictures. There’s a link to it above. As time goes on this new page will expand…

Categories
Thoughts on lettering

About me

My name is John Pitt. I live on the eastern seaboard of Australia in a tiny town called Terranora. I am British by birth and learnt lettercarving in the UK from a number of masters.

I have been a lettercarver, on and off, for about 20 years and been commissioned by architects, public institutions and individuals. But there is always something new to learn, to discover.

I also write.

Years ago I ran a private press, The Beeches Press, and published a few books letterpress, using a Monotype keyboard and caster and a Western proofing press.

None of them remain in print!