The Calligrapher's Life

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The Calligraphic “Outcast”

A new calligraphy course starts later this month and the style we’re learning is called uncial. Believe it or not, the term is pronounced, “un- shull”, and the lettering is more beautiful than the pronunciation.

When you see uncial lettering, it appears to have old-style charm, yet it maintains its popularity for contemporary use in the 21st century.  Uncial, one of the oldest hands originating in the third century, remained the preferred form of text for religious manuscripts and books of the era.

Compared with other lettering, uncial satisfies the eye with its unique form because every letter is uniform in size throughout a manuscript.  Most lettering styles contain majuscules and minuscules, but uncial is characterized by its lack of them, which makes it a calligraphic “outcast”.

Over the weekend, I practiced uncial to become familiar with it again; and it actually is the easiest hand to form, especially if you have the appropriate writing tool.

Recently, I heard that the next class will focus on using the pointed pen, but I felt more comfortable  re-acquainting myself with uncial by practicing with the Parallel pen.  After a successful practice session with this special style, I think I’ll attempt to use the pointed pen and see what happens before the first day of instruction.

I know…I’m being adventurous.


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