Here are some thoughts on how to approach hand lettering, taken from a guide I produced for my students. This is the first page in a series, which will demonstrate basic techniques. Please subscribe to the feed to be alerted to updates on the site.
ELEMENTS OF LETTERING
Contemporary stone lettering is generally based on, and adapted from, a script used by the Romans and known as Trajan.
It is believed this letterform was first painted on to the surface of the stone with a brush. The same craftsman, or another, would then have carved the painted inscription with a mallet and chisel.
Today, letter carvers first draw the inscription on paper and only after having resolved problems with letter shape and spacing will then transfer the design to stone.
It is important to be able to draw a letter with pencil on paper at full size to understand the dynamics and proportions of each letter.
Note – the line illustration is taken from The Origin of the Serif, by Edward Catich, 2nd edition, 1991. This is the primary source for those wanting to know more about the traditional Roman letter form.
The other illustration is my own.