Famous Artists Course

Famous Artists Schools, Inc., Westport, Connecticut

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Albert Dorne
Fred ludekens
Norman Rockwell
AI Parker
Ben Stahl
Stevan Dohanos
Jon Whitcomb
Robert Fawcett
Peter Heick
George Giusti
Austin Briggs
Harold Von Schmidt
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Magazine advertising



Pain.ted signs




Greeting. cards


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Newspaper advertising


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Magazine eevers

He,e we shew you· a few examples of the almost llmUles, kind. of lelle,i ng ""ed in commercial art. These example. demo.nsl,olc how c,eolively 1."I1,,·,i:ng con be vscd and whOI a·.n impatlonl ,010 il ploy, ln de,igning /o'cdve,'i.ingj publishill"l,g, ond i'ndu!ltry. In thi:!l, lessen, our moi'n ernphcsls will be on Ihe fu·ndoment<ll. ond e,othman,hip 01 good le!tcring·, but, <I' the ,ome_ time, we wont to p'opare you '0 you can fully exploit 'he de.ign opportvnitie s of let. tori,ng awo'i1ing you in the ,emoining. I" •• on, of the Course,

Direct mail








House organs


C,e<i;'" P.ek.gi.ng-<io.ignod by Pa,,1 :Rand for 'IntetnliltiorH.1 Busi.,en MtJc.hinc$' Cotp~; magllll!i'nl)-i:o'l...lr1e~y Good Hovsekeepinjn g(ee1i'ng cerd=coortesv W."ern Adverti,ing; book i_cke, -courtcSoY Little, Brown end Co.


Acknowledgment is made to Fronk Conley, 'ho distinguished lelterer end dosigner, for hi. contributions 10 this le .. on both o. " lettering arHlt end as a c.on su11ant.

A good knowledge of lettering can open many doors for the artist getting started in commercial art.

Leaf through any magazine, newspaper, or booklet - look at any of the thousands of packages in a supermarket or a drugstore - or at television commercials, billboards, calendars, book jackets, greeting cards, catalogs, show cards, and circularsand you will see that a good part of almost all these things is devoted to the printed word. For almost every one of the countless advertisements, package designs, or other kinds of printed matter you see every day there was first a design or layout - and it was worked on by an artist who could letter. No wonder the artist who can letter 'veil has a real advantage in securing a studio job or getting free-lance work from local stores and industry. Lettering is the great door opener to the art profession.

Many members of your Faculty were accomplished lettering men in the early stages of their careers - and all of them continue to have a keen interest in lettering as it relates to their art. AI Parker designs the lettering for the story openings he illustrates. In addition to his many other artistic achievements, Albert Dome earned a living at lettering when he started and is an authority on lettering and typography in advertising and books. Jon 'Whitcomb entered the art profession by lettering signs for theatres. Fred Ludekens has designed and art-directed some of the most effective posters and advertisements in the country, and Robert Fawcett was a lettering artist as well as an illustrator at the beginning of his career.

More and more today the commercial artist in every field is called upon to consider his drawings in relationship to the layout of the entire page, and this, of course, is easier if you have a good knowledge of and reeling for the design of the printed word. Certainly, ability in lettering proves its worth to the free lancer, who is of len called upon to create the whole layout, complete with art and lettering. Your skill as a letterer can lead to a career as a layout artist, designer or an an director - or, if your bent is in another direction, this skill may very well help you start earning money sooner and help keep you going until you have established yourself in your chosen field of art. Lettering ability will come in handy in more ways than you can imagine.

Beauty and legibility

Skill in lettering is not only a valuable asset to any artist - it is a source of many rich satisfactions. Probably the greatest of these is the aesthetic thrill you feel as you see the graceful shapes of letters come into being under your hand, forming words which sensitively interpret the character of the layout and the message of the copy. In many pieces of lettering you have an opportunity to vary the traditional letter forms and create your own personal interpretation. As you will learn from this lesson, the numerous styles of alphabets, in various sizes and weights, give you almost unlimited range for self-expression.

Never let the charm or originality of your letters interfere with their ability to communicate. The principal reason people read is to gain information, and by making your lettering very

legible you make it easier for the reader to understand the message you have for him. Advertisers and publishers are seeking people who can help them tell their story to the public in lettering that is both clear and pleasing. Here is a rich opportunity for the artist who can combine beauty and legibility in his lettering. Mind you, there is no conflict between these two qualities, for our most beautiful alphabets are also our most easily read.

Before you can create attractive and readable lettering styles you must learn the fundamentals of design and readability. You can do this best by limiting yourself for the time being to the study of a few of the finest and most widely used alphabets, and to the principles of spacing letters, words, and lines which we will teach you here. We will also tell you the methods and materials used by most good lettering artists. We will show examples of the creative liberties you may take in lettering, but we will wait until later lessons to explain the imaginative lise of lettering and type. So consider this lesson as the first and most basic step in the use of lettering.

Layout lettering and finished lettering

There are two broad fields of lettering in which you may work -layout lettering and finished lettering. We have divided the lesson into two corresponding sections.

In the first section we will teach YOli the fundamentals of layout lettering. This is the kind of lettering you will do on layouts for advertisements, magazines. booklets, catalogs, television, and other forms of the visual and graphic arts.

The second section of our lesson will be devoted to showing you how to make finished lettering for reproduction. It also includes instruction on lettering show cards.

To the artist, lettering means drawing letters with some kind of pencil, pen, or brush. Another way to put letters on a page is by printing them with type. The art and craft of designing with type or setting type is called typography. Lettering and typography deal with the same fundamentals of the design of letters and organizing them on the page through the proper use of space between letters, words, and lines of words. So what you learn about lettering will be equally valuable in your study of typography in later lessons. In this lesson, then. we use the word lettering in its broadest sense to include all methods of putting words on paper.

You may think that if lettering can be as rewarding and creative as we have described it. that it must also be very complex and difficult to learn. On first examination it does appear complex, but if you follow step by step the methods we teach, you will find it to be basically rather simple. You will see and appreciate this simplicity most readily in layout lettering, for here the tool you use does a great deal to help you form the letters. You will soon lie surprised how easily and quickly you can letter if you practice regularly with the correct tools. So tum the page now and start exploring lettering - one of the most fascinating and practical forms of art.


Layout lettering

Layout lettering is the term we use to describe all lettering on layouts. A layout is a preliminary sketch or design which shows where the headlines, printed matter (called copy), illustrations, trademarks, and other elements are to go in the ad venisement or on the pa~e, and what size or character each of these elements is to have. Usually the layout is done in pencil, but for special purposes any medium may be used. The layout serves as a guide for making the finished lettering as well as the other finished art, and the typesetter also follows it when seui ng the type.

On the facing page is an example of layout lettering in an advertising layout. Underneath this you see the finished lettering and the completed advertisement as it was reproduced in a magazine. In this first section of the lesson we will show you how to draw the lettering for layouts. Before we do this, however, we must explain some fundamental facts about the alphabet.

The beste alphabet

\'Ve see all about us seemingly coun t less styles of letteri ng. Actually, all of these have a great deal in common. All alphabets are but variations of one simple alphabet which we call the basic alphabet here.

When we ay alphabet we mean the 26 capital letters, the 26 sma II le tters, and t he 10 figures, 0 to 9. Caps is the term professionals lise for capital letters, The small letters are called lower case, because a typesetter keeps them in the lower case or his type rack. He keeps the caps in the upper case, and so they are sometimes referred to as upper case. Fix the difference between caps and lower-case letters firrnly in your mind and don't make the typical beginner's mistake of confusing the two and using them indiscriminately when YOll do lettering.

Roman and gothic

It is most important for YOLI to learn how to draw each cap and lower-case letter and number or the basic alphabet before you try variations. Actually, all the variations of the alphabet are divided into just two groups - the roman and the gothic.

Letters are made of parts called strokes. In roman alphabets some of the strokes are thick and some are tbin. The type which you are now reading is a roman alphabet called Baskerville. Notice the difference between the thick and thin parts or strokes of the letter .

In con trast, all of the strokes of gothic letters are about the same thickness. The headings and subheadings on this page are set in Spartan Black, a gothic alphabet.

A word about the simple method we shall use here to help you learn lettering. First we will leach you the basic alphabet, then we will demonstrate how to make it into the "thick and thin" roman alphabet. After that we will explain how to make the gothic alphabet. We will also leach you ~cript, which you already know to some extent because you can write. Learn these three simple kinds of lettering, roman, gothic and script, and you'll be surprised at how many different alphabets you can letter wi th a little research.

In the graphic arts and printing, a short word for alphabet is

face, and we'll use it often. Baskerville, we have seen, is a roman face; some of the other roman faces are Caslon, Bodoni, and Garamond. /\. few of the gothic [aces are Standard, Venus, and Franklin Gothic.

You will find it very helpful to have a type book which displays the many different Faces available. Type books can be purchased through your bookdealer, Many printers and typesetters supply them free to their customers.

Materials for layout lettering

Layout paper comes in pads of various sizes. The most widely used is 19 by 24 inches, which is large enough for full-page newspaper and double-page magazine ads. Another popular size is 14 by 17 inches. For the purpose of this lesson the best kind is visualizing paper, a thin white bond. It is transparent enough to easily see a tracing underneath. Regular bond paper is seldom used because it is hard to see through, but it is tough and useful when you have to work in opaque or transparent water color. Do not use the smooth yellow tracing papers and vellums - they are fine for some purposes but not for layouts. Each company has its own special types of layout papers. Experience will teach yOll which is best for different purposes. (Except where we indicare otherwise, the examples in this Jesson were done with pen· cil on visualizing paper.)

Most layout lettering is done directly on the visualizing pad.

Occasionally, when doing a very finished and detailed layout, some letterers prefer to work on eight or ten sheets tacked to the drawing board. Never work on a single sheet placed directly on your drawing board.

AU kinds of pencils can be used in making layouts. For large letters you will want a soft and medium-grade sketching or carpenter's pencil with a broad nat lead. Then, for medium-size letters, you'll want one or more round pencils with fairly large 1'0 lind lead s, gen e ra II y called layout penci Is, though each company gives them a different name. Of course, you'll also have lise for regular drawing pencils of varying degrees of hardne for the smaller letters. For study and practice for this lesson we recommend that you use lead pencils. For really black letters you can use charcoal pencils. Later on, you may want to try such novel mediums as felt pens, brushes, grease pencils, and pastels.

In layouts where large letters are to be in color, use Nupastel slicks. Do smaller letters wittl colored pencils.

Layou ts must be true and accurate in size. So use a good steeledge Tssquare and a triangle to square your layouts and, for accurate dimensions, a ruler marked with inches and picas. A pica is a primer's measurement you will usc often in layouts. Six picas equal one inch.

A pair of dividers is useful [or dividing a line into equal spaces and scaling up dimensions (rom a layout. Just how this is done will be explained later in the lesson.

Erasers such as Artgum ruby, and, especially, kneaded era ers are a must. When a job is finished and cleaned LlI), spray it with a fixative to keep it from. smudging.

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Finished lettering

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lesson \7

fQmou~ Arli~t~ Cour~e lettering

Capital letters

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Lower-case letters


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The basic alphabet

vVe call the alphabet on this page the basic alphabet because it represents the basic framework of ill our many IQ!lli!.!l and gothic faces.

The letters of the basic alphabet are stripped down to their essential elements, For example, the A is made of two diagonals joined at the top and connected in the middle by a crossbar - you cannot simplify it more and still have it an A. The B consists of a vertical Iine and two round loops, and the other letters are equally simple. Study each of the caps, lower-case letters, and numbers until you know their construction by heart.

The first step. when you practice lettering. is to draw light parallel guide lin(!s with your pencil and T-square to establish the height of the letters. The main body of the lower-case letters is about two-thirds as high as the caps. The letters on this page were drawn with a sharp-pointed pencil.









Each leiter in a pertieulor alphabet should be consistent in structure and style with all the rest. Here we havo picked four letters 10 show yay some typical mista~es in drawing latters fOf this particular alphabet. Similar mistakes may be made with all the other letter. if you are care Ie .. ,

The wpital letle .. of our alphabet were developed by the Romons. Notice rhe eherecteristic Ihkk and thin slrokes with whleh Ihey mode their lelte rs.

The roman alphabet

It was the ancient Romans who perfected and gave us our capital letters. These classic lettering artists carved their letters ill stone, but first, as a guide, they painted them on it. They used a flat brush, which they always held at the same angle. When this fiat brush was moved sideways, naturally it made a thin stroke, and when it was moved up or down it made a thick stroke. After the letters were painted, the artists cut away the painted stone with a chisel.

The thick-and-thin principle which the Romans used is illustrated below by examples of strokes made with four of the most widely used Hat lettering tools. By holding these flat-pointed tools always in the same position and moving them ill different directions as shown, you will see clearly why some of the strokes will be thick and others thin. At the right we show you [our letters of our basic alphabet and how they look when they are drawn as roman letters.

In learning to draw the romO n alphabet, we recommend Ihat you work with a Rat.poinled tool and always hold it in Ihe same position, as we did to make Ihe demonstration .troke, a' the right.

Chisel-point pencil

Square pen

Three kinds of leHers


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Benie letter.: Here is a line of lettering using the bcslc alphabet, drown with CI sharp·pointed pencil.

Chisel-point roman letters: Here ere the same ward. as above, but this lime Ihoy have been drawn with a ehlselpoint pencil, Nolice Ihot it naturally preduces. strokes that are thin or thick in the correct places when the pencil is held at the .ame angle.


Built-up letters: You can also form roman lellers with a shorp-pointad pencil or brush, building up the thick paris gr.cduoHy with many stroke. where the ehisel point would form them with a single drake. At limes you may find it more convenient to build up your lellers this way.


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Hold your ch;,el-point pencil like this when you leiter.

Chisel.point roman lettering The tool helps form the letters

The ideal tool to use when learning lO draw (he roman alphabet is a carpenter's pencil with a square chisel point. The diagrams on the facing page explain how to make this point, and the correct position for using it. By always holding your pencil so the chisel point Iorrns about a thirty-degree angle with the horizontal guide line, your thick and thin strokes will autornatica liy come where they should. Don't make the mistake of twisting and turning your hand as the strokes turn - hold your pencil at the same angle at <111 times.

Do your layout lettering on a visualizing pad with a finn working surface.

Sharpen your penci I often all your sandpaper so your strokes wi II always have harp, clean edges.

Sit comfortably at YOllr drawing board with your work directly in from of you_ Don't bend too close - at all times you should be able to see all of your work and relate each letter to the entire layout. Keep your pad straight on the board unless you are touching up, in which case you may prefer to turn the pad.

Right: Alwoys hold tho ehisel point al the same ongle, no moUe' whot tn .. direction of your streke moy be.

Wrong: The onqle of Ihe pencil should nol be changed lor diiferanl strokes or your rhleks and thins will nol come in Ihe right places.

Side viDw: Thera is no .el woy you must hold your penei] -'0 hold it ina way that leels nalurol and comlortoble 10 you. The position shown abovo is 0 good one beceuse the pencil i, ot a shorp enough ongl .. to the poper to meke droke. with crisp, clc en edge s,

Front view! Hold the pencil at any distonce Irom the point that allows you to apply enough prassu re to make your strokes a. do r. Os you need. The point should re.t flat on the paper.

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le,~n \7

Famou$ ,o\l1i$15 Course lettering

1 Sharpen your peneil by fir.t cutting away tho wood with a single-edgo rczor (or a sborp knife).

2 On a sandpaper block, sharpen the lead to the excel width for the letfer$ you ere to draw. Keep the narrow sides parallel so tho!, when you I"tlor, the strokes will stay tho sarno widTh a, the Icod wears down.

3 Rub both lorae fiaT side. on the sandpaper until They To per like a dull chisel. Squore aff the end by holding the pencil >I.oighl up on the sandpaper and rubbing lightly_ To put a 'quare chisel point on a round lead, follow these same s!op'.

E.nd view

Useful types of pencils for chisel-point lettering

Front view

Sketching or eorpenter's pencil for very large leiters

Small sketching or carpenTer', pencil fer large letters

Round or layout pencil lor medium lell"n

Reaular drawing pencil for small 10'1"<$


Basic strokes of roman letters

,.yith the six basic strokes above, you can form every letter of any roman face. Always hold the square chisel point at about a thirty-degree angle [rom the horizontal guide line, and make the strokes in the direction of the arrows. Practice these strokes individually and in combination, as we explain below.

1 Keeping your chisel point al a thirty·dearee angle, drew a square, a 'riangle, and a circle.

2 In drawing the square, I,iangle, and circle, you modo the six basic strokes you will use 10 letter all roman alphabet s,

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With the vertieo I and horizontal stroke. of the squere you can make ,hele loTters.

4 Tho triangle give. you tho two diffo'ent diogona!s and the horizontal needed lor the ... lefter s.


5 The circle is the ba,i. of these I., lie rs, The lellers we have not .• hown are B, D, J, K, M, N, P, R, and U, which are formed by "Various combination. of the ,i" bo'ie "'ako,.



Fomcus Arlish Course lettering

Drawing the thick and thin roman alphabet

Here we show you how to draw the basic strokes of the very irnpOI·tant thick and thin roman alphabet - important because it is the alphabet upon which every one of the hundreds of roman [aces such as Caslon, Bodoni, and Garamond are constructed. It will be a simple matter to render any of the roman faces when you know each character or letter of this alphabet.

The thick and thin alphabet is made by drawing the basic alphabet of page 6 with a chisel-point pencil. You will use only the six basic strokes shown on page 9 and above. Remember to hold the front edge of the chisel point at all angle of thirty

Remember tho ,i~ bc.slc .t,ah, 01 the roman alphabet.

degrees to the horizontal guide lines. Numbered arrows show the sequence and direction in which to make each stroke. The examples on this page were made with a small sketching pencil sanded down to a chisel point one-eighth of an inch wide. They are reproduced the same size they were drawn.

Draw two guide lines [or the caps and a third line as a guide [or the tops of the lower-case letters. These letters are about two-thirds as high as caps. "Ve say about because there is no set rule for the proportion of lower-case letters to caps. It varies 51 ightly wi th different faces.

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Two methods of rendering

Single stroke

Next 10 eech letler on the ... two page. ere numbers, one for each pencil .I,oke noces.ccy 10 d,ow it. Every single slroke was rnede by d,awing tho chi.el poinl eve r the paper in one .vninterruph!d movement in the direction of Ihe arrow. This is the method you 0 re apt 10 US" on mo.t layoul s, II j. espedo II)' goed for la'ge leltor, where you wont Ih" smooth, simple, finished characler of type, ond you will almo.t alway. use u when rendering very smoll I e lters. Wilh practice you wlll acquire Iho confidence needed to slroke in Ihese eleer, crisp leiters.

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Ove'rlapping strokes

Some students ond p,ofessionols feol this melhod give, them botter conlrol Ihan Ihe single.stroke melhod. You moke the letle .. in tho .cme .equenee ond direction as before. Th .. only differonce i. thOI, for each numbered flroke, you make 0 series of short overlapping srrekes by pushi n 9 Ihe pencil back ond forlh, without lifling it from Ihe paper. Each shari stroke relroce. part of Ihe previous one, leaving on e~I'o amounl of lead on the paper. This method is useful in drowing vecy dark leiters. Prodice eceh method .0 you can use whichever i, beller suited 10 your needs"



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Tho po rl of a lewer-eose letler thet o~I"nds obove Ihe body of Ihe leller i, coiled on os<ender. The ."oighl slroke of Ihe d i. on exo mple. Except in Ihe t, ascenders Ore os high os the cepltel lett" .. ore,







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A do.conder i. the parl of the lowercase leller that exlend. below the body - obaul as for os Ihe o>conder rile,. The verlk.l, of the pond q oro exernples of delcende rs.

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This i, a' linilhed Callo.n !etler.

Thls is the thick an.d thin chi.el'.point leiter you hove be .. n making·.

Indicating the Caslon alphabet

Now odd the .serif. and' you hcve the pencil indio cction 01 a' Ceslen R.

Here you see how to make [he thick and thin letters into Caslon, the most widely used of all the roman faces, by adding serifs. Serifs are the small strokes at the end of the main strokes or stems of a letter.

vVe have selected Caslon for your study because it is the most widely used roman face and it also conforms most closely to the thick and thin strokes made with a chisel point. It is also the face which h'IS mostin common with other roman faces because its serifs are not extreme - they are average in thickness, pointedness, and length.

On these two pages, next to each finished Caston letter we show how to indicate it with a chisel point. Note that the penci t indications interpret only the general characteristics of the finished Caslon letters; they do not attempt to copy thern Tn every detail. The purpose of layout lettering is to shov ... the character of an alphabet with a minimum of work.

Here is the first exception to our rule of holding the chisel point at a thirty-degree angle. When you draw the thin diagonals or verticals, as in the A or N, turn the chisel point slightly to avoid undue thickness in the stroke. For all lower-case Caslon, keep your pencil at thirty degrees.

The sequence of strokes is the same as for the roman alphabet on pages [0 and II.

Milking .",rifs, (Loft) The arrows poi 01 to tho· lo,ils,. which are each modo will. 000 stroko. Tho chisel-point pencil does not make ... ,if. identieol wilh tho.e al Ca.len type, but they ere close ona"gh in cho,,,,le' lor leyaut werk, (RighI) The E he •. tho principel ... ,ih u ... d' On the ec.pitnl let· ters 01 Ceslon, The serifs an the lell ,ide "I the E were mado with the lame stroke 05 tho uppe' and IOWM hori.entel bo,,_ Tho ether three ... ,if. ware each mad .. , w.ith an Individucl short stro'ko.


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Don't make these mistakes

Heavy diagonal flroko 100 Curve ,we~p' in 100

high above thin one, seen and makes enclosed space too small.

Serifs are incon,islent Vertical stroke too high. Cro •• bar lao low.

in :si'ze.

Bottom curve too low. Curve. too sharp.

EnclQsed .pace too smell.

Curve join. middle ,tern too high. Spaces between vertlcels are nol equol.

Bottom curve 100 wide. Curve. do not join vertical correctly.

Short stroh too low.

Center stroke should be curved, not .traight.

Serif too big.


Righi' - "plica I, $pacing: Hare the word i •• poced cpticolly - u.ing the eyo, not a ruler, a. a guide - to give' a good ovet-oll pOllern. There are neither halo. no, dark c '00 s, Study Ihe block bars in I he top line to ,ee how tho .padng i, adjusted to s"it "aeh pair 0.1 fetl"".

Wrong - m,echanical .pacing: Here a word with identical. '.poce. be. tween theletten h reproduced twice. In the top llne block bars of equal width .how thai all the letters ore the .ome di"lo'noo aport. Examine the word withoul the bers ond' notice how "neve.nand •. potty it leeks, There i. t"o much spcce between the P, ,A, and C, whil" the 'I and N 'look crowded.

Here Is anether way 10 consider Ihe 'poce. between the letters, It mekes allowe,n"e' for the irr'ogula, 'hcpu of lon<>". While the spcces Ore not equc! in width, they ere vi.ually equel, To tho aye, orca A == B = C =0= E == F.


To do good lettering, it is not enough to know how to draw each letter correctly. You must also know how much space to put between letters, between words" and between lines.

In a well-lettered line, each pair of letters look as though they had the same space between them as every other pair. There will be no "holes" between some letters caused by too much space. Nor will there be dark areas because of too little

Thi. line look. correct because of tne spcce adju,tme,,," between Ihe lell,,"_ Sp"eo. 1, 2, .3, o:o.d a are eq.uCl'1 beeouse they separole leiters with parallel .ide s, At 4 and 6 Ihe d;ogooal cjmest tcuehes Iho odjoiningletle.r 10 of he I . Ihe wedge of spoce, The V overhang. Ihe A 01 5. The bar of Ihe L i s s horlened bocou ... Ihar'o i •• 0 much 'pae,e above ir, There i. con.idero,b!e .pace In the E a'''d' S, $0 Ihey 0,'0 put, do ... tegelher_










space. The line should have a uniform pattel'll throughout.

A ruler cannot be used to measure the space between letters because letters are not uniform in shape_ Our best guide to good spacing is Oll!, eye, for, after all, lettering is an an, not a science. On this and the following pages we show you some principles that will help you to space letters correctly so the over-all effect is pleasing and the words are easy to read.

In .crif I"ltering for leyouts. .Iight spacing ,mi.toke.eon semotlmes be rectined by chc:nging th serifs, Here' Ihe lower righl ,e.ra. of Ihe i c'nd r aro' onlargod ,ligh,liy 10 help ~II Ihe 'pcc.e c,al",ed by the curve ·of the 1_










Thos" words are lel'terspaeed: for re oscns of de.'g'n,. word. mc,y be lellorspaced - the rellen may be draw," further ,aport than normal. The amount of letter .peeing can VO','y, but use il 'pori'''gTy bec.o,u.e lelle" wilh too much 'pacing"ro ge.ne.raUynot cs easy 10 reed e, tho se with normo'l .peeing. The some principle. apply whan a word is leltenpec<>d a, when ,normally spaced.


~ - The cartoon ~gure, (right) are ea.ily recagniud as 0 lot man and a Ihin one not only by their shepe but by Ihe shape of

<:» the .peoteeoround Ihem - calied nogalive space. (Thi. space i •• hown in black around the two .ilhoueHe s, ) The negative spoce around a leller also helps us dislingui.h il from ether lellers. Negative speee is imporlant in determining how elese to pul any two letters,


Here, 10 creole good 'pacing, some letters overhang olho", some "Imod louch. The' ercssber 01 the lin "ALTO" i. a nermal le,ngth and comes under the crossbar 01 the T, while the l in "ALARMS" is .hortened to solve the problem coused by l before A.

Nolice how the v has been placed so it. diagonals roach out 10 fill the Mgalivo .pace. caused by the curvi ng away 01 the a and o. Similar adiustmenls must be modo when the space between any two lelle" creole. a hole.

Common spacing problems

In certain combinations of letters spacing problems may arise, On this pag~ we show you the commonest or these problems and how you can solve them. Somelimes you will have to alter the shapes of your [etters slightly - but at no lime should the change seem to cripple the letter or even be obvious. You must lise great restraint in making any change in the shapes of letters to improve spacing, lest you have good spacing

but poor lettering. --

Round next to round: These must be doser al Iheir n"ar".t points than most other combinations beeeuse the space increoses at top and bottcmcs they curve away from each ether,

.. Round next to sla ntlng' A combination thot must be very dose at their nearest points because they curve and slape away from eoeh other.

Sianti.ng next to slo.nting: When thoy are parallel, as 01 left, Ihe 'pace is about the .ome as for two verticels - but when Ihey are not, a. at righi, they must nearly or aClually lauch.

Upright next to slonting. There's a 101 01 .pace 01 Ihe side 01 the diagonal, so, to off.et it, the letlers mull be as closo o. pesslble - their

• .,,,15 may even join,

Upright next '0 upright: Put more space betweon vertical lellers than ony ether combination because there are no while 0'00' cutting in 10 make tho .pac·e Jook wider,

Round next to upright. They mu.t bo very dose in th" middle to off. ,el the space 01 the lop and bottom 01 the curve,

A difficult pair: The tell 01 Ihe R must be sho,telled and so must the adjoining serif,

Opposing bar.: The L must be moved in so Ihat its large ."ril is overhung by Ihe <rossbar of Ihe T.

Space inside: 80th lellors have ernple spece inside thorn so Ihey don'l need much "elr" in between, However, Ihey do need some,

Bottom space: Shorte n the cy rve on Ihe r and move il very dose 10 Ihe y to oll.et tho negative .paco.

Ad 101 n in 9 h 0 r 1:1:0 n ta Is: Slightly shorten Ihe top bar> 01 the Fond T and place them close together.

Top space: Bring them a. dose 10· gether a, pos.sible by .Iightly .hort. ening Ihe .erif of tho A and the ere .. bar on the L.

lelle .. ,houJd parade ecross tho li."e in an optically uniform way. Whon they oro properly spaced and drawn, Ihe lell"ring is ,aid to have "good color." There should be no ,'ragglers to creole loose, irregular spaces - this makes the color too lighl. Nor .hould there be any bunching up of leiters - this mckes the calor too dark.


Lesson \7

Famous Artis's Course ,lettering

Good word spocing

I [I

Nol enough spoce

Too much spcce

Word spacing and line spacing

The reader can tell where one word ends and another begi ns bcca lise there is a space between them. H there is nOL enough space, the words run together and look like so much gobbledygook. Or) the other hand, if there is roo much space between the words, they look unrelated and are difficult to read. At the top of the page you sec three examples showing the right amount of word spacing, too little, and too much,

The readability of lettering is influenced by the space between the lines as well a. between letters and words. Here, again there are no standard rules - your eye and artistic judgment must be your guide. The most common III istake is to jam long lines of lettering or type LOO close together. Except where you purposely place letters, words, or lines close together for a special eflect, you should ha I'e enough "air" or space between them - to make it easy for the reader to seewhm he is read i ng.

Beceu,e there i. adequate spcce between them, the two upper lines are eosier to reod than the two immediolely above.

~araTe _This 'pace

.~ ~-equal.

~ this space.

for I ' hifit..._.._. ~

.uzr. egl ~

This i. 0 good proportion for line spacing.

A line of letlering should have good color _ on even, con.i,lent tone or pollern. To check the color of your leltering, ,quint 01 it through holf-elo s ed .. yes. In Ihi, line the color is poor for Ihree rea,o"" the Ie tIers ore poorly 'paced, Ihey are not tho seme volue, ond some are mare condensed than ethers,

The color of thi, line is good becouse the feUe" are well spaced, condensed consistently, end cf the same vc lue. Don't worry about .!llil.b.! vcr ioflons in value. Iheso CJro nat u rei in pencil lellering - end, /orlu.nelely, Ihey ere 01,0 de,ire.ble bacouse thoy givo added intere,1 and charader 10 Ihe line.



The decoralive flo~rishes in no way reduce Ihe legibility of these allrac-

tive and well-.poced letters.


principles of ,podng were knowingly disregarded to creole animoled deeorotive effects.

Well-designed lettering has character and vitality. It may ronge from light and aclive, like this free-style .cript, to bold and .trong, as in "Stop, Cough. Too" at the right.

To achieve this eye-catching de,ign, normal .pocing principles were viololed - but in s~ch 0 way tho' the word. remain legible. Leiters touch and everlep but their form. are never destroyed baeeuse careful otIe ntion hes been peld to Ihe nesotive spcces, This kind of overlapping work, botter with a few word. than with a long piece of copy, and with fairly lorge leiters rother than with smo!! one •.

Narrow letle.. 10 nd themselve. 10 lotler .podng because they contra" well with the wide speces between.

Use lettering rules creatively

Eyen in a very free .lyle 01 scr ipt the spacing mu.t help create 0 uniform color.

The principles of spacing we teach you here are guides - not strait jackets limiting your creative freedom. They are the rules through which you will learn what liberties you can take to produce good, easily read lettering to fill any need. Later in your studies we will show you how to use lettering and type in layouts in new and exciting ways, and at that time you'll have greater success j[ you are familiar with the fundamentals of basic lettering taught in this lesson. The examples on this page show you a few of the creative liberties you can take with these fundamentals.


Mow to do layout lettering

On these two pages, step by step we show you how to do layout lettering. You won't always make the three preliminary tracings yOU see here - sometimes you may do only one and at others maybe four or five. It doesn't matter how many you make - the important thing is to get a good tracing. The tracing has much 1O do with the artistic excellence of your finished layout.

''\fife show the Tvsquare being used for the verticals and horizontals. This is an excellent way to get good crisp, straight lines, especia lIy a n a very fi n i shed job, bu tit is not a In ust.

Many lettering men make all the strokes freehand, though they may rely on Tvsquare lines on the tracing underneath to help them get their finished Jines straight. You should stroke your florhont;)l lines and seriFs along the Tssquare edge, it gives a neat, craftsman-like appearance La it line of roman lettering.

Always keep your pencil well pointed so all your lines look equally crisp. The chisel point will draw every stroke needed to produce a completed letter. Don't hesitate, however, to make adjustments with a pointed pencil.

With 0 sherp liB pe~cil ond yow T .• quore, ,ulo light guide linD. for the top. and bottoms of rho lollen.

Now, with Ihe same pencil, mokea Irial run-throuph, lighlly ,kelchi'ng Ihe,lellers almost cs Ihough you wero wriling Ihem.Don'l .efine the lell .. " - 011 you are doing 01 this ""oge i, Irying 10 fl! the [etter s 10, Iha line, Wilh a ,oft chisal poinl, releller over you. lighl line. and Iry 10 come oul even, a, we shew 0 bOVD.

2 Teo. your firs' reuqh ,kal,h f,.am Ihe pod on.d in,orl i' under 0 cillO" ,heoL Now moke ,moth .. r run-thrcuqh, impr,oving Iheproporlio.no of Ihe lelle" a,nd Ihe .po~ing. Keep the propertions of your ,Iellor, and Iho !poc· ing uniform. Don', lighlen. up or loe,en up on Ihe 'peeing or widlh of Ihe le!!er, ifi' look. a. though you er" going 10 come oul wrong - you can make odju,lmenh in Ihe nexl Iracing,

3 Me'Ko anolhar run.lh,rough, Thi, lime il sheuld be fairly easy 10 d.ow ond .pec.e Ihe lell"" 10 fill Iheline oxo~ly. Fi.,t draw the bcaic letters, using an HB, Then, wilh a chi.el peinl of the correct widlh, co'efully ,t'ok" in Ihe lello,", u,ing Ihe' besie lello" a. a guide. {Befote meki,"g Ihe fre·ehand 've.licol "roke., you may find il halpful 10 draw lighl varlicc,1 li'na. 01 frequent in!ervals with c Idongle o~d u ... thom (lI, guides,) You now have a well·specec! Ii:"e of fe'iriy eccuro!ely drownlell"".






4 Placelhe Irocill.g' under the clean lop .heel of the le'youl pad. Drew 'very .Iighl guide line" U,ing Ihe T· squore - er "Working froeha'",d if you prefer - drow all ve.licol Jj ne'. wilh a chisel·point pencil. To make the strokas dark enough il mey be naceuory 10 run she pencil bock end forlh severel time"


5 Now draw all the horizontal streke s, using Iho T·.quare os 0 stroightedge. The diagonal strokes are put in either freehand or by using the triangle elene es a straightedge.




6 Stroke in the curve. f", .. hand. Keep the point 01 the penci'l 01 a thirty-degree angle to the horizoMal line. Strive for accuracy 01 proportions and any slight imperfections in the curves will nol be very noticeable.

7 Complete the letler, by .Iroking in Ihe serils, To give the line of leHering 0 "i.p, even fln;'h, w.e the T.squore a. " guide lor all the horiz.ontal serlls, Add the vedicol end diogonol one. freehand.


le~on \7

famous Ar\is\s Course \.ener'ng



Sketching penci I

layout panel!

----- .. -h. ers Wl.t _

H B or B drawing pencil.

narrow s

Different weights: Lotters vary in weight os well a. in ,;~e. Letters mode with thin strokes are called lightface, tho ... mod e with wide .troke. are called boldface, and these in between are medium foce or medi um weight. The weight 01 leiters i. voried by varying the width 01 your chise! point.

Different propor·tions: You can creole different s,yles of Ie tier. by changing their proportions. Letters that are narrow for their h"ight are coiled condensed and those that ore wid" for their height me called extended. e.londcd letters ore good when the spnce i. wid" and there is little to be scid - and especially when a few word. are to be given prominent di'play. Condensed letters are useful when a lot hes to be said in " limited 'pace.


l.~on \7



Italic letters

Italic letters slant to the right, and this slant is their most characteristic feature. They are widely used (or emphasis, for a change of pace, or many other purposes. Almost every type face has an italic version, often in various weights. The term italic is used in contrast to roman, which describes the upright version of both roman and gothic [aces.

The snakes for italic caps are made in the same sequence and manner as the roman caps we have shown you. It is in the lowercase letters that we find the greatest difference. Instead of serifs there are curved hairlines - the chief exceptions being the top of the ascenders on b, d, II, It, and I, which have horizontal serifs. Other noticeable differences are in the form of a, e, I, j, k, u, W, y, and z. Notice how smoothly the thin lines and the hairline series Ilow into the main sterns, In the rounded letters, such as a and b, the thin lines turn and join the stems to create graceful oval-like shapes.

Caslon italic alphabet


I / I


/ /

/ /

Italics are letlers .Ianted from 10 to 30 degrees. (Mor .. than tho! me 1..0' the m he rd to read.) Notico !hot while the.e Iypical (ap' appear to slant evenly, no! all of the lip-end-down stroke. are ,Ia ntad to th ... ame degree.

The thin paris at the top and bollom of fhe curve How smoothly into the stem of a, b, d, and q, giving the body 01 the letter an oval-like shope inside.

4 __ J

Ij"A l m

Guide. lines: Draw light parallel diagonal lines as a guide for you r eye before you leiter in itolics , Nol all letle .. will follow the,e guid" lines exactly - but anlelle rs ,hould oppeor to h~ uniform .Iant.

Don't make these mistakes


Endo.ed area too large.

Lopsided curve spoils inslde oval.

Thin stroke join. too low.

Thin line does not curve up encuqh,

-conderacd - give pothook efleet.

Hairline joins too high.

Stem not in center.

Hoirline join. too low.

So far yOll have been studying how to draw ~ alphabetswhich are made of thick and thin strokes and may have serifs. Now we are going to teach you the alphabets made of strokes of equal or almost equal width and without serifs. These alphabets are called gothic. They are also referred to as block letters and sans-serif, To the right you see a Caston Band g contrasted with a Band g in two gothic faces - Standard and News Gothic Condensed. Like the roman, the gothic has the same structure as our basic alphabet. In fact, the basic alphabet on page 6 is gothic - a very lightface gothic. Gothics can be boldface, medium, or light. They can be condensed, normal, or extended (expanded), and they can also be italic.

Gothic faces can be used in many way. They are excellent where bold impact is needed because they can be made extremely heavy or condensed without becoming hard to read, as is the case with roman letters. On the other hand, the lightface gothies can be used to express great delicacy and restraint.

\'Vhen you draw gothic letters, always turn the chisel-point pencil in the direction of the stroke so it will have the same width throughout. This is quite different from the procedure for thick and thin lettering.


Goth\c letters

Standard - a gothic alphabet





Nows Condonsed


1 To make the 0 and other round le"o .. , begin by draw· ing the lide s.

2 Then draw the lop and bettom, turning tho pencil in the diroction of your Ilroh.

Lobes don't curve inward.

Diagonal doesn't connect properly.


Corne .. should be

Top too opon, main slam 100 short.

Curve ioin •• Iom incorrectly.


Cro .. ber too low.

Curves too sherp.



To draw gothic letters, follow Ihe procedure on pOiju 18 and 19. Use the odgo of the T.square as a guide for the ~ortrcals and horizontal'.; thon draw Ihe curved stroke. Iraehcnd, keeping Ihe p"n,iI lurnod in Ihe direction of Ihe .Iroko. even up the lap. and bottoms of verlicols bV stroking them wilh the pencil drown along the T-.quare. Gothic letters can also be dane freehand. In this coso, rule ~orlical9uide line. on your finol run.lhrough, from which you will trace Ihe lettering freehand. These guide lirtes, .howing Ihrough tho ~isuolizing paper, help you koep Ihe uprights uniformly verlical.

News Gothic Condensed

._--r'"'"5i-. --

1 '1

I t

fi,,' draw the vertical. wilh Ihe aid of Ihe Iriangle or T·squore, then ioin them with fre"hand curves.

drake is thinner where it join. a "raighl one; olherwise there will be a dark spol where Ihe two hcory $lrokes join.

TI,e horizonlal .Iroke. Generolly, the cu~ed

are slighlly Ihinner then Ihe verticcls, If made tha some .size, Ihe hetizonlo I. leek loe heevy and clumsy.


Don't make these mistakes

Toe wide at lap.

Ne neteh,

Sido should be slraighl.

H o.rizo n t~ I. 100 thin,

Shari slroke Sides lao

loa low. ,horl.

Horizonlals 100 Ihin.

Croubar 100 high.

Sides 100 short.

Wrong slanl.

Main .Iem 100 short.

Too thin in center,

Poor eurve.

'."on \7


Script letters

Script is based on handwriting. A good way to get the feel of its basic strokes is to write with a Bexible pen that will make hairline strokes wben you put light pressure on it and wide strokes when you apply heavy pressure.

Just as there are many styles of handwriting, so there are many styles of script. On these two pages we concentrate on the basic script letters and on Formal Script, a thick and thin ver-

sian of these letters. Formal Script is easy [Q read and it gives an impression of elegance, dignity, and refinement. 1n layouts promoting or displaying products with these qualities, it's an extremely useful alphabet. V\ hen YOll have <I. good understanding of basic script and Formal Script YOli will be prepared to create many variations of script to suit the requirements of the different designs [or which they are needed.

Basic sc.ript letters

Formal Script

dJJ e 2J c J; /{J pK:Zd~

-(/1/ (J P Q/lS 7ZC?/W%~7

123 456-7 8 9~>z-&JJLef?/b - -i/A/21Z2t(ffF'-~AL'uiE2tl_- - - ~-

--------------------_._---------------------_. ----

Don't make these mistakes

Top curve too small, bottom too lo(ge.

Toe much spread.

Toil too long.

Top loop too 'moll. bottom too lorge.

Weight of curve too high.

Tap hairline join •• tem too low.

Script letters are hosed on the u ... of a nexible pen, with varying pressure producing strokes of varying width. Koop this in mind as you draw .cript lellers in pencil.

l.etters or parh of letters IhcI oro joilled with curve. like those indicaled by Ihe circles 01 the right should b., uniformly smoolh and Ihe serna .izo. Imagine all of them as curving around circle. of uniform slze. Don'l draw Iho circle. - iu,1 keep them in mind as you make the letters.

Pr\nc.\pa\ strOKes ot 'he tUl'\ta\s and \ower"tose \etters

The black line. on the ... letters show Ihe principal .. rake, used in making the,e and Ihe other I .. tlers of the formal Script alphabot.

Hairlines which .weep up 10 [eln main sIems must be form in direction. Thoy should also join Ihe exactly the seme neighl.

The color of Formal Scripl is e.labli,hed mainly by th .. hearydawn,lrok .. " as d .. mon,troted by Ihe exe mples at therighl. Thi. same principle applie. in al! alphabets whBtc there is decided c'onl",,1 between the hai,li,nes and the thick strokes.

\ 20·


You may find it eosier to draw scrlpt if you tilt your peper about twenty dogrees.

for good 'paeing, the widlh of the curve. mad .. by the upsweep hairlines .hou Id be oli~e.

(,/r; rr71iL;/i f/ //1/11 ?5ohtand~

Three ways to render script in pencil: (1) The most accurate way is 10 build up the thick, with Q pointed pencil. Be .u,e to have a fine point when drawin., the helrline s, (2) A quick way 10 indicole .mal! script i. by tke heavy ond light pre •• ure methed, A. you draw Ihe leUer, wilh your poi ntad pendl, apply heavy pressure 10 make the !hkk sIroke. and very light pressure for Ihe hairline s, (3) Anolher way, useful in mckinglcrge lett"" quickly, i. to rend .. r Ihe thick .'roke. wilh a ehlsel point and put in Iho hairline. wilh Ihe comer of the chisel point or a pointed pencil.

,mui!dp~ 3 ~we f-point

Don't ma; these mistokp_

rr- 12




Loop too far forward end too lorge.

Top curve too nat. lower stroke eurvea in 100 much.

Curve 100 sharp.

dit__ A~


Thin line. join .tom Top .Iope. too much.

to·o soon.

/ /


Curve 100 nat.

Curve. loc nat.


Olltic.a\ i\\usions and distortions

Our eye is bothered by certain distorting effects that sometimes occur in designs. Some of these effects are of great concern LO the letterer - especially the illusion that makes certain forms of tbe ~ame height look quite different in height when placed next to each other. For example, triangles and circles never look as tall as a s411are of exactly the same height. Similarly. triangular and circular INters will look shorter than most other letters un less yOll do something to con-eel the illusion.

When you draw 01- design letters, yOll must make adjustments that will offset these disturbing effects so all your letters appear correct and consistent.

011 this page we show you some common optical illusions and distortions you will encounter in your lettering and what you should do to overcome them.

The .rionglo, rodanglo, and ei-clc above Oro "xactly the seme height. However. duo '0 an optical illusion the triangle and circle look shorter then the "'dangle. To make all three appear the some size, we mu.t extend the point 01 the triangle above .he tap guide line and In" ci rele beyond both top and bottom guide line s, Now tn ink of the tria "gTe as A. Ihe rectangle o. E, and' tho

circle as O. To hcvc those three lellers appear .he some height Wg musl make the some correction, by enlarging the A and 0 slightly. The arrows shaw where Ihe,e adju,tments ore mode an those and other capilol lelle" that nccd them. The serne considerations apply to lower-case lelle ... Similar adjustmonts musl be mode in every lace il you went tha lalt"rs 10 cppaor uniform in slze.


The horizontal •• rake. (lell) look wide, Ihon the vertical one eve n thoug h .hey are the sc me width. Adiust by making the harizantol. ,lightly narrower (r;ghl).






The raman 0 thin, immediately above and below its thickest pad,. If it i 10 appear te have the samo woight c. Ihe other raman cepitols, thl"" par" must be mode .Iighlly wider .han the verticals, as in the 1.---

Th e crossber on on H looks low who n put ".'aclly in the center, Draw it ,lightly above ('enler, as on the right.




In heavy gothic alphabets there is an optical illusion that some strokes become thicker as .hey approach and [oin other strckcs. This i. clearly seen in tho letters in rhe ~rst 01 the two raws ebovc, and else occurs in such letters a. the

v, X, d, n, and g. Adjustmenh must be mode o. indicated by the dolled whito line s, Tho second raw shaw. how the leHers appear ofter these odjustmc nts have been made. These change •. though .Iight, are important.


The chereeters above ro mind vs that wo identify leller. as much by the spoce e~cla.ed by them and .urraunding tho m a. by the oclual farm. of the 10110"_ The M. lor example, partly e ncloses thre" triangle" end the G and R, like "II other letters, have their own ch oracleriotic nego'i"e 'pace. Whe never you 10 ke liberties in drawing lell e tI, be careful nat '0 change their form and identifying nega.ive spcce '0 much that the letlers become didarted ond hard to recognize.

When you design a line 01 overlapping rellef1, never overlap them to such on extenl that either their form or the negative space is greatly distorted. The lettering on the upper line i. successfully overlapped becouse there is enough of each letler for your eye to foil in the miuing parts. likewise, the idontifying negative spoees have not been destroyed, a. vau see in the dioqr orn of the negative 'pace.

How to identify and draw difteren' ''1pe fates

Different type faces are identified by their serifs, their thick and thin strokes, their curves, and general silhouette. If you know the identifying feaLUres of a few key characters in any face you will be able to recognize the [ace and you will also know what characteristics to look for and stress when drawing the other letters.

Below are cap and lower-case examples of five letters which most clearly display the identifying characteristics of an alphabel. \'Ve show them in ten of the most widely used roman and got hie faces. H ere are the Iea ttl res you shou l d note pa rticu I a r I y:

A - the point; G - the height of the vertical; ]'\'1 - the thickness of the thin stroke and whether ihe outside strokes depart from


Caslon: Serif, are medium in length ond weight, nave rounded points,; ond curve into the sterns. Thick strokes have ,traight parallel side s. Thin srrckes are quite thin. Round Ie tiers are full and almost circular.

Bodoni: Horizontal serils are long, 'troight, thin lines. There i, a marked ccntrcst between thick and thin .troke. of letters. Thi"s are 01. most hcirlines, Letters are very cd.p and pre. else, Round retters are slightly condensed.

Garamond, Serifs curve very ,lightly on Aot side ond are moderately long. They are round. ed ot the ends and blend into the stems, which oro ,lightly topered on some letters, Thin .troke. oro moderately heavy. Ma.t .trake, blend into each other, creali ng .011 or rounded joint s,

Century' Horizontal ,erll. are long, fairly thick, and sqoc re at the end s, Serif. have a round blending into sterns, There i. on average contra,t between thick. and thin •• Curved let· ler, are .lightly condons.od.

BookmCln' Serifs ore long, thick, ond squore at the end., and blend into stem s, There is nol much contra" between tho .trokos becou,e Ihe thin strokes are wide and thick ones narrow. II i, a wide face and cu rved letter, are lull.


Futura Domiloold: All srrekcs appear to be Ihe some width, but curves taper .Iightly whon ioining a stern. (This is e.pecially noticeable in the lower-case letters.) The round I"lter. look very much like cirdes.

Franklin Gothi.: Marked t),inning 01 some strokes, e'podally where curve. join .tems. Round form. are .Iightly condensed, except on 8, P, and R, where they oro expanded.

Alternate Gothic: Condensed face with unlform.looking stroke, exc"pt where curve. join stems. Round forms hove Aot <ide s.

Venus: Slightly". ponded face with apparently uniform thickne .. to 011 strekes except curved letters. Curved formi tend to be flot at top and bottom.

Memphis, A cross between gothic end roman. All stroke. oppecr equally wide, like gothic, but letters have <erH., like roman. Serifs are square and a. thick as mein ,trokes. Round leiter. ore olrnost circle •. Round form, of B, 0, P, ono Rare Aat on top and bottom.

the perpendicular; R - the tail; T - the serifs and the relative weight of crossbar to stem; a - the shape of the enclosed area; g - the curl at the top, the sh a pe of the enclosed area, and the tail; m - the serifs on the left stem and how the tWO curves join; r - the curving stroke and how it joins the stem; t - the bottom of the stem ami how the crossbar joins the stem.

Study and compare the examples on this page. Observe where the letters of the different faces are alike and where they differ. This will help you to know what to look for when. identifying or drawing these Iaces, In any other alphabets, these five capital and lower-case letters will serve the same valuable purpose.
















































Fornous Artists CouTse


From rough to finished layout lettering

How rough or how finished your layout lettering should be depends upon its lise. It can range anywhere from very rough to extremely refined, as you see from the four examples we give you here. There are no set rules saying which kind of lettering to use when. but the suggestions on this page can serve as a guide. Before you do a layout assignment, always decide how far you are going to carry it. It would be foolish to waste precious

Rough-rough: Where speed and eccnomy ore important, a rough ... raug h is sufficient to indioote the size and character of the lettering and suggest the ever-ell .. fFeet. It is generally done with a dull·pointed layout pencil di reclly on the layout, without 0 trial run-throuqh. Rough. rough, are used oxtensiYely in stere advertising, lor a se,ies of loyouh following an established dyle, and by odYo,'i,ing agencies and orl departments to get 0 quick vi.uol Impression of a proposed "d.

Rough: A rough;' gonerally traced over a rough·rough with 0 chiselpoint pencH, and giyes 0 better ideo of the weight, eherceter, and spceing of the Ie tiering.

Semlrough: This is tho degree of fini.h generally need~d '0 deter· mine whether the verIeus elements in the layout are properly roloted to each other in size, position, value, and oho,octer. Monr advertiser. neve' ask to see layout leltering ony more f,nished than Ihi •.

Compo Tho camp, or comprehensive, 0' the word implies giYe. (I dear and comprehensiye idea 01 how the finished ed will leek. Thi. i, the usuol degree of finish for leyeuts submitted by mo.t advertising agen· cies to their elienh.

time carefully rendering comprehensive letters like those at the bottom of this page when all that is required is a rough. Practice cloi ng all types of layou t lettering, from extremely rough to comprehensive. so that you can do any kind you are asked to.

On the facing page we introduce yOll to some additional tools you will find useful in lettering many kinds of layouts, and we also show you the ellects you can create with them.

famous A.rlisl; Course


Chisel point and sharp poln!: A chisel pain! made the .mooth wide strok ... and" shcrp B pencil th .. crisp hairline strokes and serifs an these roman letters. The thins may at$<> be drawn with the chisel paint by moving it .ideways.

~a e


/I~~.:~~~" ,~~

duced thue "KO mplc. of script, with heavy pre .. ure applied for the heavy 51roke. and light pressure for the light onos.


Grease pencil: for on effect different from lead pencil, plus good do rk oceents, try a grea,,, pe neil.

Built-up: These 1"lIe" were built up Ireehand with 0 line·painted 8 pencil.


- ____. ...

Pastel: Nupaslel .Iich ore useful lor largo let1e... You con produce voriou. effect. with different values of pa,lel and it i. good for lettering in color.

Fountain pen: The point moves ecross the poper better than 0 drawing pen, giving you greeter freedom for eKperimenling with· novel pen lino •.

Felt pen: Depending on the amount of ink on the f .. I" yov can produce effect. varying from light dry. brush gray 10 i viey bleck, Felfs 01 different size. and shepes creole many fro,~ dylu. of lultoring.

t.,~n '7

Famous Ar\is's Course



Indicating copy

Copy indication should have the same over-all value as the type. It should never be so pronounced in texture or value that it detracts Irom other important layou t elements. When there is much copy, have several pencils sharpened so yOll can switch to a fresh one as a point becomes dull, thus keeping the copy uni[arm in appearance.

Only important headlines and subheads are lettered in a layout - the very small type or copy is usually indicated by aile of the methods shown here. Copy indication should be carried to the same degree of rillish as the lettering. Always indicate your copy in such it way that it suggests the size, weight, and character of the type to be used in the finished job.

Below we hove sel 0 piece of copy in Ihree differenl foces ond sizes: a .mall light foco, 0 medium size ond weighl foce and 0 large heavy face. Notice in each cose how different Ihe type leeks and hew much more .poce it occupies a. the ,ize of the Iype increc se s, Under each block of copy we shew how to indieete it on a layout with double line" the rncst widely used melhod. See how light line s, with only a' smell amaun! of space belween them, we rOUled te indicale the lighl foce and how Ihe lin". were mode hecvler and the .poce wider ,,. the .ize ond weight of the Iype increased. Lock 01 each block of type and ils llna indication. through helf-elosed eye. and see how .imilar in value and chcrccter Ihe two ore.

The lines used to indicate copy on layouts should express the value clnd the size of the type. This is done by giving the lines the correct weight and by ruling them the correct distance apeu'. Use dark lines for boldface types and lighter lines for lightface types. To indicate type with more space between Jines, draw your lines further apart. Here you see the same copy set in three different type faces and sizes with different line spacing or leading.

The lines used to indicate copy on lu yout s should express th value and the size of Ih~ type, Thi« i. done h)' glvlIlg the lines lh" correct ",,,ight and by rlliing them Ihe correct dilltance apart. Us' dark lines for hold face tyl''''' and lighter lines for lightface types, To indicate type with more space het ween lines, draw your J ineB further apart. 11 ere YOu see I he same copy set in three different type faces and sizeH with different line pacing or leading.

The lines USed to indicate copy on layouts should express the value and the size of the type. This is don. by gi"ing the lilies the correct weight and by ruling rhcm the correct distance .p.n. Use dark lines for boldface types and ligh tor lines for .Iightfacc types. To indicate type with more space between lines, draw )"our lines furfher "part. Here )'01) see tile same coPl' set in three different type faces and sizes with different line spacing or leading.


Pencil indication

Other ways to indicate copy



---_- --


I ._-

I belder-f
I cc sioncl
1 Chi,el'point lines con be ruled f".1 to indica!" all styles of Iype, Their thickness make. them especially good for boldface types. Often the ~"I paragraph of 0

block of copy $to rts. with on initial letler a. shown,

ping chisel-point ,trokes o typelikc texture. Thi. nl i. good fer indicating aced types. I n all copy on, indenl pc ragroph. ocIy and vo.ry their length.

Tcul (lIC.,) CI! IIICO CHllU!)I' C'IClIIO, UIO ol CffltlllllOIl 1011(1011 ul c,llolill "I itllUll('IIO j)lUll(ll ntho 'Clclun lhc' un' (lOll l 1("' (I 11(1111)(11 () II I1nUl u,,, 11 1('0111 II (ooj{Illht' of lIuJII 0]1(1'(0 1I111 o"l,o 01 (1011 I, CI (0 leI if 1011 CHI{ to IIIIICHf

lup fll I1H'0l11 ""Jfllll" luutnC'o JiJr onlhOllul<' 110(1 onp l(JIIIOI OCI(rI1(JlH.J1I 11010111 11111('1' 1(1 11110CtI oulo 1""11

Another way 10 <ugge.t type on very n~ished layoutsi, by Q series of verticc I pen or penci I lines, broken by 0 few horizon. lois end curve s. Occo.ionally pvt in eseenders and descenders, and 'pace your "words." This lech· nique i. called "Greeking."

Sometimes on ~ni,hed Icyouls. the type is indicated with I"dio ink, opaque, or waitt. with CI rvling pen. Tb is wa. done in opoque gray.


Among the 1001. and molorial. you will use for fini.h"d letlering ore 0 brush, pen" black Indio ink, ond opaque while lor relouching. A ,el ef rneeheniecl drawing irutrurnents (lop lelt) oflen come. in handy.

Finished Lettering

So far in this lesson we have taught yOll how to do lettering on layouts from roughs to comprehensives. Now in this section we are going to explain and demonstrate, step by step, hO\11 to carry this work LO its final swge - the finished lettering for reproduction on the printed page.

Artists specialize in finished lettering because it can be a profitable profession and is a challenging artistic discipline. The letterer must be sensitive to the subtle variations in the lines, cur-ves and weights of the various parts of each letter, and he must work painstakingly to draw them correctly. At the same time, he has the satisfaction of seeing exciting, well-designed words take shape under his hand as he puts down on paper the delicate lines and forms of the letters he sees in his mind's eye. Skill in finished lettering is an important requirement for such special fields of art as posters, packaging, and book-jacket design-

. -

mg. For the layout man or art director this ski 11 is a valuable asset.

Some of the procedures and tools for making finished lettering are similar-to those for making layout lettering. Here we explain the additional materials you will find useful.

The most popular lettering pen are: Gillon No. 290, which has a rille point and is flexible, making it very useful for various kinds of script; Gillott No. J iO, which has a medium point and is more rigid; and Gillon No. 303, which is a slightly thicker, even more rigid pen. Fine flexible pens should be used only on papers with a hard surface, or else these pens are apt to catch on the paper and make rough edges. Pens of comparable size and characteristics made by other pen companies may also be used. Through practice and experience you will learn which points are best for your particular needs. A pen holder about as thick as a pencil is recommended.

A good ruling pen is a must. Desirable but not absolutely essential is a complete set of mechanical drawing instruments.

You will need a No.2 or 3 sable brush of best quality for retouching with white paint. For brush lettering of script, have several larger sizes.

Any good standard-grade black India ink is satisfactory. Extradense ink is used with the brush by some lettering men because it produces good black leuers with just a single coat of ink.

For retouching, use a good opaque while water color such as Permo W'hite or Talens Hi-While. You will also usc lampblack or ivory black occasionally.

Most finished lettering is done on kid-finish Strathmore Bristol board. It comes in various weights or plies, the most popular being three ply. Some letterers use a plate finish rather than kid.

Iany other kinds of paper can be used. Experiment to find those most suitable for your needs,

Cleanliness is important for both your drawing instrument and your finished product. Work that is smudged and stained is not welcome anywhere, so use a slip sheet under your hanel. Clean your pens frequently as you work so they will always make the dean, sharp lines which are the basis of good lettering.


How to do finished lettering

fj1 f; Pro ducts

The layout





Sea ling: At the right i. th. laYO~1 I"ITering of Iho word. "New Products." W., show you how to make the fini.hed letl.dng for it twice Ihi. ,izo in Ihe following "aps.

1. Rule in the Ihree guide lines on Ihe loyoul let· lering ond lope or tack a pieeo of Iracillg pcpnr over it.

2. A liUle above the layeut lettering, draw the bose line for the fini.hed leITering Oil the Irocing paper. Make Ihis line twice as long a. Ihe layout leUering.

3. Drow diagonal A from the left end of the bo ...

Other ways to enla.rge

Photostat: Mony lettering men use a photostat service to hove the layout letlering enlarged ta e' convenient working .ize. Thon Ihey make 0 tracing from the photo,'at and go on to do the finished letlering.

Comera Lucido, Pantograph, Projector:

Any of these inslrumenl. can be used to enlarg" th ... lettering, o. e.plainod in a laler lOllon. Tho camera lucida is Iho mas! popular.

Pr'oportional squClres: lightly pencil in ovon· Iy spoced vedical end horizonta I lines on the layout lettering, dividing it inlo a serie. of squares. On a tissue make a .imilar arrangemenl of squeres, but twice a. large. Draw the leller. in Ihe li .. ua squaros in poslfions cerrasponding to those on the layout letterin9.

When you are asked to do finished lettering, the art director generally gives you a comprehensive layout he has made which shows you the character, size, and weight of the lettering. In some cases he may be able to give you only a "rough-rough" layout and describe the character he wants the finished Iettering to have. "When this happens it is best [or you to make a comprehensive pencil rendering to establish the character and weight of the words in clear detail. Work from this just as you would from the art director's comprehensive.

To the left is a greatly reduced reproduction of a typical art director's comprehensive layout. On this and the following pages we show you how to make the finished lettering for the headline "New Products." ''''hen there are several good ways LO do some of the steps, we demonstrate these, too.

vVe begin by showing you the ways most frequently used to "scale up" or enlarge the layout lettering to a convenient working size (or doing the finished lettering.

Finished lettering is often drawn one-half larger than reproduction size, and many lettering men make their work twice the size. Our demonstration below shows you how to enlarge the layout lettering to twice the reproduction size. \Vhere the reproduction size is extremely small it rnay be necessary to work at three times the size, but avoid this if possible. When you make your finished lettering so much larger, it is difficult to judge correctly how it will look when reproduced.

Enlargement for finished lettering

Layout letlering _L..~ . ...r:o....q_~


line through tho bottom of the loft end of the lay- - ~

out letloring until Ihe diogana I ,eaches pain! 0 ---_-......::

directly under Ihe righl end 01 the lettering. ~

4. From point D, draw diogonal B to establish the ---.:::

lop guide lino lor Ihe lower co .... , and dioganal C -~S;~~~

for the upper cose.

S. Locale some of the principal letters such a. the P, d, "nd t with diag.onol line •. This will give you a good .torl for your first run-throuqh.

When you have enlargod your leltering by Ih •• method or any of those explained below, proceed a, explained on the facing page.


') =:===~~=:.~ §1Gc; Products

Di"vlders: Set a pair of dividers to Ihe height of the layout letlering. Double this measurement by turning the dividers over to the position of the light gray ones in the diagram. All olher moa.urements, such as the width of the word or the individual 10110", can be doubled in the ,arne woy.

Layout lettering


Enlargement for finished lettering

Proportional dividers: This is anolher hand instrument for enlarging. Sel Ihe divider. '0 Ihe tips of the long end measure twke the di.ta nee the lips of the short end do - or whatever ether proportion you oro enlar91ng. If you fit the small ends to Ihe layout loitering, Ihe long end. outomotic.ally gi.o the proper measurement for the finished lettering.


Blocking in: When your letlering ho. been seeled up to Iwice the size 01 the layout, .Iip it under the top ,heet of your visunlizi ng pod. Than .Iroke in Ihe letters to the correct weight wilh a chisel poinl or build Ihem up wilh <I 8 or 2B pencil. In Ihe lllustrctlcn, all 01 the letlers have beon given proper weighl except po rt of the basic u and Ihe c, I and " which shew Ihrough from the "osue beneath.

AI this .Iage, dan'l .pond lao much lime accurately drawing eeeh letter [n greol deloil. Concentrate on getting the proportion of the lellers correct and Ihe spacing and color Ihe way you wont

thorn. Adju.'menl. in .pacing can mosl eosily be made by sliding Ihe under tracing bock end forlh until Ihe placement of the letter you ore drawing is correct. Frcquently look 01 your entire piece 01 lellering 10 see Ihal the spacing ond color are uniform throughout. If Ihi' Iracing doe. nol look righl you should make anolher, perhaps severel, until you are sali.fied Ihot you heve a good foundalion on which to build Ihe fi"i'hed letlers.

To gel 0 Fresh look al Ihe spacing, eoler, a,"d proportion. of your lollering. it i. a good idea to look at il in reverse. Also >Iudy it upside down.


Final tracing: When you have the spacing and color r;ghl, carefully refine ecch leller on Ihe finol Irocing. A .erie. of lig~t line, - di<lgono," for ilalie., verlicol. for verlical 'elle" - will holp you keep your le'le" properly slonted or upright. line. Ihrough Ihe centers of curved I"IIers like Ihe a ere especially helpful. Build up your loiters, including the verticals. freehand, 'a you can .ee bellar whol subtle adjudmenl. you musl make in the widlh of tellers and in the 'pacing. Tho Iriongle and T·.quore inlerfere wilh 'po"'onuity - which comes from relying on the eye rather Ihon a .troightedge. Keep a good poi nl on your pencil '0 you con draw precise lines. 6e .u,e ev"ry problem of design is solved on thi, Iracing.

l~1 ~-

Regi,Ier mark. 4

mark., .imHof 10 Ihose in Ih" iiluslrolion. N"xl, lop" Ihe Irocing 01 the lop 10 the drawing paper and, with Ihe T·.quare, accurately troco Ihe.e marks. Now you can unlape your tracing and shift if to make .right odi ustmants in the posilions of you r leller s, Make sure Ihat the regi,le, mark. on beth ,heels are oliened boFore retopi"g your Irocing.

Register marks

PrepClralian far tracing: When you are satisfied with your tracing, lurn it over and blocken the bock with a pencil- H 10 3H are good because when you I,aco Ihey give you dear, firm, !i..9h.! lines,

Thumbtack or lope tho drawing paper for your nnl.hod lettering 10 tho boc rd • .At the lower corne .. of the Irocing, make two •• ts of reg lster




Tracing down: U,ing a 6H Or harder pencil with a fine point, troce the hori.onta' guide line. lighlly. Next, with tho aid 01 the T·.quare and triangle, Irace all the outline. of the vertical and horizontal lines of the letters (,oe photo below) with firm pressure on your pencil. Then, wilh

the lracing paper still loped to it, remove the drawing paper from Ihe board. You con now turn the poper (with the Iracing allachcd) to whatever angle is best for Irechand Irgcing of "Ihe outline, of th e curved lette ... Sharpen your pencil con,lanily while you work .


Checking your tracing: As you Irace, frequently lif! your tracing pop'or 10 .ee if the lines you're tron.lerring 10 the drawing paper oro .harp and thgt you ha~en'l mi .. ed any. Make firm line, but do not pro ss

• 0 hard Ihat you create furrows in the paper. The more proci,ely and accurately you do this job the eesier and more sueee .. ful your inking will be. If you need 10 make change. with a pencil, cia them lighlly_

Other methods of tracing

Direct flni.h on thin paper: For rush job. not requ'rlng on extremely high degree of finish, you can skip the "tracing down" .tep. Over your finol tracing, tape G piece of thin drawing paper and draw on it with ink. The drawing paper must be tran'parent (> nough for your tracing 10 shew Ihraugh. If you can't see tho IrGcing cleo rly you wlll hove 10 use the pen more carefully. The pcper mu s! 01>0 be tough enough lor 11,,, pen nol to pick up fibers. Good grode. of visuolizing bond end Irodng vellum can be used. Experiment to find the paper you like be.l.

Light tablo: A Ught table has a top of Iro.led 9'0 .. with a Ught under it. Place your final tradng on Ihe light table, Ihen place the Bri.tol board for your finished leltering on top of Ihe troci"g. Tho light ,hining through enobles you to draw directly on the Bristol, thus eliminaling the Iracing-down stage.

Tra nsfan Plac'e a piece of loyoul paper over your final Iraci ng and rub it firmly wi tn Ihe edge of a .poon. This will tran.fer the graphite of your drawing to tho bock of the loyeut poper. An extra piec,e 01 paper hold ever Ihe porI you are rubbing help. prevent tearing of the loyoul poper. Now tGPO the layout poper, with the grophite ,ide down, over your drawing paper and again rub with the spoon - this wililran.ler Ihe graphile of your letlering 10 Ihe drawing paper. Instead 01 the .poon, you CGn also rub with Ih" ehisel point of Ihe carpenter's pencil- Ihe graphite it leave. will shew where you hove rubbed. Your lotloring j. now ready for inking. Practice these method, before trying them on an important leHering job.

7 Inking tho. verticals and horizontal .. Withg ruling "en, T.squore, ond triangle, draw all tne ,t,cight vertiecl end hertzontol outlines. Fill in with the ruling pen, a regulg, pen, or a brush if the letters gr. lorge. Some orti.h do not use the ruling

"en for tho verlicals god hod.ontols, preferring to build them up with a serie. of .horl freehand pen strokes (.ee dicgrom at 'ight), so Ihe st,aight lines will have the some chcrocter as the curves, which are explained in the next step,


Inking the curved letters: Ink the curved lottor, freehand wllh short stroke. of the "on. Free your draw. ing paper from the board when inking curves ond serifs, so you can turn tho paper and make the stroke, in Ihe direction most convenient for you. Be sure the edges of Ihe curves are smooth and sherp - they mu.1 be consluent with the edge. of th. verticals and herlaontcls mode with a ruling pen. Touch the pon Tightly 10 the paper so It won't ·scrotch and cevse ink blots. A slip sheet undor your hand will prevent smudging. Keep your pen clean so the ink will flaw freely. Wipe the pen frequontly on a cloth or on the ed90 of a scrap of drawing paper.

9 Finishing touches: Wait until you hov e ~ni.hed inldng t~e entire job before correcting ~ mi>lake£. Correct the gonerol forms 01 the letters and any unevenness 01 color. In most Cales il i, best 10 make ccrrecticns with Ihe pen. Whew the ink ho .• gone beyond the proper limits of 0 letter, cui it bock with while opaque, using a No.2 or No.3 brush. Small corrections of block

over whito opaque can bo modo with ink on a pen. For lorge correction. use lampblack with a brush - nol Indio ink, which may chip off ilused on large areas. With Arlgum, genlly era.e 011 pencil morh and .mudges. Then exomine your lottoring from every angle and make the final adjustments, using a very fine point 10 even up ragged edges. The job is now complete.



~u,.." SAUSH cur SClUARE SW/ARE S1ZI'B1eJlNT'rl!R C4R1Q1I6'

S~C4 ex: .s: L t- f ~

Here are a lew of the countless lette ri n9 pons end brushes avoiloble ond exampie. 01 some 01 the kind. of lette" they moke. There are mony other pens, each wilh it. own virtue., which you moy want to try. Among the leading manufacturers of lettering pens ore: C. Howard Hunt Pen Co. (Speedball),

Broad-pen and brush lettering

As yOll have seen, our roman letters were evolved with a Hat tool. Up to the time when printing was invented, all of our books were lettered by hand. The tool used was a broad Oat pen. Broad-pen lettering continues to be very useful even today, par· ticularly on the Illany occa ions that the artist is requ ired to do posters. signs, certificates, charts, displays, and countless other jobs. These may be for local charities, clubs, or businessesthey may be gratis or for good fees - but essentially they are the sort of things thin have to be done quickly and are not intended [or reproduction. at least in any large quantity.

These jobs often make excellent contacts for the beginning artist and they can be a source of civic satisfaction for the established artist. To do them in the limited time usually available, it is most helpful to be able to handle some of the broad pens skillfully. One of the purposes of these two pages is to give you guidance on how to do this quick but most effective

E.lerbrook Pen Ce., Bridgepor! Pen co. (Coit), Gillott Pen Co., Williom Mitchell'. Pens, and Brandaue, and Co" LTd. Two good fountain lettering pen. are the Pelican Gropha. and the Osmiroid 65, ecch with 0 wide voriety of point s. Mo>! manu/octurers furni.h booklets explaining how 10 use their pens.

and useful kind of lettering. Naturally it will take some time and practice to achieve real speed.

Broad-pen or brush lettering is not only useful - it can also be a highly creative art. Broad-pen lettering such as on the facing page is known as calligraphy, which literally means "beauulul writing." Calligraphy has a long tradition, and a knowledge of this an is valuable to the artist interested in either layout lettering or finished lettering because it furnishes new ideas for attractive letter forms.

The broad pen, yOll see, is a highly creative tool. V\ ith the various pens available you can devise all kinds of novel and exciting lenering effects. Furthermore, each of the different pens can produce man}' alphabets, both standard and of your own design. (Actually the term "broad pen" is a loose one - it includes brushes which can be used in very much the same manner as the pens, to ach ieve a wide variety of interesting effects.)

A. useful script alphabet


r 45'


,fSItU J'W~9Jl

To get started, let's see how the very useful alphabet on this page was drawn. First three light lines were ruled as guides for caps and lower case. Then a series of light diagonal guides were drawn with the triangle and Tvsquare, The No.2 Hunt broadpoint lettering pen was used. The pen was dipped in India ink, and one or two strokes were made on scrap paper to remove any excess before the pen was applied to the drawing paper. (For more careful work, you may want to fill your pen by putting a drop or so in the little round cup on top.) The pen was held constantly at about a forty-live-degree angle to make these letters, which are reproduced the same size they were drawn.

In this alphabet the lower-case letters are live times as high as the width of the pen nib and the capitals are eight times as high. By using a wider or narrower pen, you can give the letters a different character.

The strokes were made in the sequence and direction shown

Held Y"" r pen at a f",ty.fiv". degre" angle at "II times.

by the numbered arrows. You do not have to exert extra pressure to make dark letters, as you do with the chisel-point pencil. Just apply the pen lightly but firmly to the paper and the ink flows out to create a jet-black line. This makes it possible to draw many of the letters in a series of Hawing strokes without lifting the pen from the paper. A good pen will generally work well no matter in which direction it is pushed or pulled.

A version of this same alphabet could be made with almost any of the tools shown on page 36. You don't have to limit yourself to India ink - many of the tools, especially the larger ones, will take opaque paints or show-card colors when slightly thinned with water. Some surfaces are better than others for each tool, but most of the tools work well on many different surfaces.

Fortunately, most of the pens and inks you use in broad-pen lettering are inexpensive, so you can explore the possibilities of a number of them at Iittle cost.

Keep pens and brushes clean!


Iesson \7

famous ArtIs's Course


1 Write it again and again: With your bru.h and ink or lampblack and water, writo the copy on sheets of thi n paper many times until you gel Ihe desired effecl. AI Ihis .Iage, design and freedom of expressien should be your chief considorotions. Be spontoneous [n the way

you write the word. - and generous in Ihe number of limn you write them.

Brush script

Brush sed p t is a more casua I and s pontaneous version of the script we studied earlier. Because of its unique freshness, bounce, and vitality, it is widely used. In style it varies as much as handwriting ~ but, no matter hov ... distinctive its design, like any good lettering, brush script must always be easy to read. You don't have to write a good hand to be able to do this kind of lettering well- in fact, you will often try many different styles of writing with the brush to achieve the effect you want.

The tools and materials you need for brush-script lettering are few and familiar. Set out a o. 2, No.3, or No.4 sable brush - some lampblack and water or a bottle of India ink - a supply of bond paper, oneply Bristol, or any other good thin paper - and you are ready to begin. [any letterers find the brushes work better if the very fine tip is cut off with a razor blade. Don't draw guide lines - they'll only keep you from being free. Experiment with different-size brushes, different papers and styles of handwriting till you find the ones that suit you best.

Here we demonstrate how La make the kind of brush script we have been describing. In the first step you write the words many times, with great freedom. No one specimen is likely to be perfect, so in the following steps you select the best parts of the various words, cut them alit, and then paste them together to form the well-designed and easily read line that is always your goal.


Selecti ng the best parts: Spreod oul Ihe many lines you have wriUen and selecl from verIeus on". the word" portso! word" or letters which be,1 e~pr" .. the 'pontoneoy. enoroeter yOY or"

,eeking. Select only Iho se sections thol are eo.y 10 r"od end consistent in character, size, and weight. Here We hove selected ond n umbered the s,,<lion. 10 be put logether for Iho finished [ob,



Joining sections: Cut out the ,elected ,ection, and palto them down with rubber cement. Before it dries, move the .ections about, to produco the proper spacing and alignment. After the cement dric" dean away the surplus and, wilh a brush and ink



or point, ma,ko ne<e .. c',y addition. and odju.tmenh. Don't worry a boul the edges of the .eclian. - they will not .how in the repreduetion. In many ca ... s this pa,te·up is used a. tho finished loitering. It may 01.0 be refined furlher, as described below.


Negative photostat: For a more exacting job, hove a phetesial negative made. With black paint or ink, point out Ihe see-

lion fines and make final adjustments in the leltering. You eon else use retouch white on the leiters.


Positive photostat, From the retauched negative have a glossy photo.tol positivo made. This will bo tho ~nished art. Of <our ... ,

Bru.sh gothic

The procedure we have just shown for creating free, spontane· ous brush script can also be used for animated styles of separated letters, often called brush gothic, The variety you can create is almost limitless. Always remember La make your letters readable.

When you make a very casual and animated alphabet, forget guide Jines. But you'd better use them i ( the letters are to be uniform in height like the examples at the bottom of this page.

Here are a few tips on using the brush for either brush script or separate brush letters. For light letters, have the brush pointed

you can make further improvements and refinement. on the ,,,t. tering at this .Iage if you wish.

and don't use too much ink. Hold the brush almost vertical to the paper so the point just touches it. For heavy letters, use a worn and blunt-pointed brush or one from which you have cut the tip. Load the brush well with ink and hold it at a close angle to the paper so it will make a wide stroke.

It will take some practice for you to geL the feel of the brush and learn to rna ke the letters in various weights. As you practice, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the wide variety of styles you can create.

pointed brush. They were lettered rna ny times, and the be.t let· t .. rs, groups of letlers, or entire word. wer" po",,,d up and reo

touched; then pho!astats were made. When you have gained sufficient ski II you may avoid the peste-up proeed ure and leller words like these directly on th" drawing po per.


Show-card writing

Show-card letterers often refer La their profe sian as "show-card writing." The term is an apt one, for an experienced letterer of show cards is so skillful and fast that he seems literally to write his signs. There i a wide market for his skill: nearly every store in every community has need Ior show card' and signs of various kinds and sizes. For the artistwho letters well, this can be a good way to add to his income ~ or it Illay even be developed into a regular business.

Many students find that free-lance show-card writing helps them to improve their skill in lettering so they will be well equipped to do leuering for layouts or finished lettering for reproduction. Show cards are so varied in their requirements and the design is so often left to the lettering artist that they afford yOll a fine opportunity to experiment with the design of dillerent kinds of letters and layouts. This can be an excellent way for yOll to develop and apply YOllr ability to create new lettering forms and effects.

You can successfully combine your ability to draw and make pictures with your lettering. Many customers will want the extra touch YOllr illustrarious can give their show cards.

Tools and materials

Table. Most show-card writers prefer to work standing at a waist-high table with the LOp slightly slanted, A regular drawing table can be adjusted to serve very well. There should be a wood or metal strip along the front edge projecting at least a half-inch above the surface, to prevent the show cards from sliding off. It also serves as a support for the Tssquare when yOll rule or paint lines and prevents [he Tvsquare [rom rubbing and smearing the wet paint on your show cards.

Brushes. Two kinds of brushes are used: the rigger, which is a red sable lettering brush with a round ferrule, and the singlestroke brush wi th a Rat ferrule.

The brush YOLi will use most generally is the rigger brush.

It comes in sizes ranging [rom No. I (very small) up to No. 12 (large). To begin with, a No .. 2 and a 1:0. 8 will serve most of


Right way to hold the leHering brush: The leHering brush ,hould be hel d at an elmo.t verti,,,1 ongle by the t~ umb ond first two fingers. Thi. vedical po,ition gives great flexibility in moving thl> brush in all direction. and permit. you to stop it neatly ond evenly 01 Iho ond of a down'troh. This co nnot be done when the brush is held ot on angle dose to the paper. Wrong: Here the bri,tle. are held very flat ogoill" the poper. This gives less control of the brush and makes it impo .. ible to finish off the downstroke with a eleon-eut edge.


your purposes. H you do a lot of show-card writing you will want to get some of the other sizes, too,

For large letters use a single-stroke letter ing brush, These brushes vary ill width from Vs of an inch to I Y2 inches, The best-quality brushes are made of red sable and are quite expen· sive, An economical substitute is made of ox hair. Good sizes to start with are the Y2 inch and the 1 inch. Take care of your brushe - wash them alit thoroughly after each use and dry them with a soft mg.

Lettering surfaces. Show cards arc written on a great variety of surfaces. ranging from thin paper through cardboard La thick wallboard. The most commonly used surface is white cardboard, which comes in sheets 22 x 28 inches, 30 x 10 inches, or 28 x 44 inche , and in many colors. The thickness varies from 6 to 14 ply, the 14 ply bei ng the thickest and stiffest. The thick board is necessary only [or cards that must be rigid or very large. Other surfaces such as wa llbonrd, map board, mounting board and railroad or poster board can be used, For large signs and banners which will he fastened to a wall, use a white paper. It comes ill rolls 10 to 100 yards long and 18 to 36 inches , ... ide.

Pens. The most commonly used pen is the Speedball. These pens come with square, round, oval, and oblong tips. For large single-stroke letters there are Coit's ball-bearing lettering pens, which range in width from Va of an inch to an inch. All of these pens are sold in set of various sizes which contain a folder Iull of hel pful suggestion on their use.

Show-card colors. Show-card paints, sometimes called poster paints, orne in a great variety of colors and are available in 2·ounce, 8-ounce, and lfi-ounce jars. Keep the jars tightly covered when not ill use; otherwise the moisture evaporates and the paint becomes toO thick. Tn this case, add a little water to thin it to its cor reel consi Leney. For pen lettering dilute the poster paint or use one of the many good inks made especially for lettering pens.

Other materials. You will need a yardstick, a Tvsquare, and a mat kni Ie for cuui ng your boards.

Making show-card letters

The most widely used letters in show-card wntmg are gothic alphabets or variations of them. This is because of their simplicity and the ease and speed with which they can be done. On this page we show yOLi the fundamentals of making the straight and the curved strokes of the gothic alphabet. When you have learned to do these basic strokes you can combine them to make all the gothic leuers,

The thick and thin strokes of roman letters are made by holding the brush in the same position as we explained for making Caslon letters. You use the brush very much as you do the Chisel-point pencil.

Before painting, dip the brush in your color and then work it out to a chisel-point edge by stroking it up and down on a palette made of a piece of smooth cardboard or glass. 'When the brush has the desired point, apply it to the drawing surface. As you see in the pictures at the bottom of this page, there are several 'Ivays of using the brush. \l\Ie urge you to work in the manner that is most convenient and natural for yOll so long as yOll follow the basic principles we explain for making the di fferent alphabets. Always keep your hand movement as Cree as possible, especially when your hand is resting on the surface of the show card. The movement of your brush should be

. produced by simultaneous actions of the fingers, wrist, and arm so that your strokes Aow freely at all limes.



Making a vertical straka: (1) Draw Ihe vertical stroke. (2) Turn the brush 'Sideway. and squero off Ihe tap of Ine.treke. (3) Square eff Ihe bottom, I n each of th",,, three strokes Ih" brush i. held with Ihe Aat side 10 Ihe paper.

Making a curved gothic letter: Curved gothic leiters arc made by holding Ihe ferrule of the brush between th ... Ihumb a nd forefinger and twirling il_ Here we .how you hew to make Ihe 0, which contain. a II the drok •• you will u.o in making any olher curved gothic leller. (I) Make Iho left-hand slde of the 0 by twirling Ihe brush • (2) Still twirling Ihe brush, .'roko in the righi-hand side of Ihe O. (3) Connect Ino Iwo stroke. at In" bottom.

Combining strok"., Here we .how you how to combine .Iroighl .Iroh. and .traight and curved strokes to «eolo nine typical letters. Note the diroction and ."quence of the .Iroke, and how Ihey overlap. Olher letters of 'he gothic elphobe! are me de much Ihe seme way.

Ways to use the brush

Overhand method, By roslillg one hand on Ihe other you can .wing Ih" leiters in mar" freely. No par' of the lelle, i. hidden from view 'IS you form iI, which makes il i!o.sier to control.

Use of tho mahfstick, For lettering on windows 0 nd walls it i. helpful 10 have e mohlstick to support and steady your hend, A rigid yord,'ick or walking cone can serve o. sub.titule. for the rea I Ihing_

Free-arm method: For large letters stend 01 a waisthigh tcbla and u.e a free-arm movemenl.

You can create man~1 different effects with the 5how-card letterer's brush. These effects are ~Teat\~ \n~uenceo. b~' tne '3.ffiOunt of paint with which ~ou load ~our bru~h. ~e\ow \~e demon-

strate some of the styles of letters YOll can make, and give you pointers on how much paint to use in order to make them.

treating dUferent show-card lettering eftects

Loaded brush

Load Ih e brush with a. much color as it will hold withaul dripping, and keep il well loaded at all times, This is good lor letters' with olraltes 01 uniform width wilh round ends ond for >orifs wllh round ends.



Semiloaded brush

In this method the brush i, stroked on the palette jusl enough to gi.ve Ihe end 01 the brush the shope of on ellipse, This i. u,eful where thlck ond thin .. rokes ore needed end the sorifs ond .trokes hove rounded ends.

BAllOON hea

Chisel point

In this method Iha brush i •• troked on the poleUe until il hes 0 ,harp, crisp chloel poinl, wilh no excess pcint. It il useful in making all crisp lell ers , especiolly letters which call for sherp corners 01 Ihe end of Ihe stroke s,



RI F OX' thick -thins

Show-c:ard striping Often a show card requires a border, underscoring of words. or a line to serve some practical or decorative purpose. Below are four common ways of painting these lines.

Yardstick method: Hold the yord.tick wilh forefinger of left hond again,l fronl edge of table. With righl hond hold brush (or pend I) ago; nIt ond 01 yard,'ick - Ihi rd finger keeps rule 01 right height. Draw yardslick along card by moving both hand. iimulloneously.

Bridge method: A bridge is a ,Iroighledge supported by two blocks of wood 01 the ends. Hold Ihe brush between the Ih umb ond firsl two Ii "Ilers. Tho third ond fourth fingers serve 01 0 guide.

T-square method: The brush il held b~· two"n the thumb ond first two finge rs, The third and fourth fingors .erve os a guide along the edge 01 the T •• quore.

Card-edge method: While holding the brush betweon Ihe Ihumb and Ihe first two fingors, use the third and fourth fingers os a guide olang rho edge 01 the cord.

Vari.eW in aeSigr1

]I JETY in design




Variety in design

Creative lettering

There is no limit to the use of imagination and sensitivity in designing a line of lettering. Always begin a job by studying every aspect of the layout in which your lettering is to appear, so that it will be appropriate and fully expressive of the mood and character of the subject matter. Obviously you would not want to use coarse, heavy lettering to express a very delicate, feminine subject, or delicate lettering to express a strong, dramatic theme.

Not only must you choose a style of lettering that is consistent with the subject, but you must also relate your lettering to the other design elements in the layout. Sometimes you may do this with letters whose line of movement is harmonious with the other elements, or you may find it desirable to design letters that will provide a contrast - a relief from the other elements. For example, in an ad which contains a lot of graceful, freeflowing forms - perhaps silhouette drawings of delicate clothing accessories - you might feel a need for rather firm, solid letters

that will act as a balance to all the visual activity in the drawings.

On this page we show you a few examples of the many ways in which three words can be treated. If space permitted, it would be possible to show dozens of other treatments. We want to emphasize how much creative freedom you will have in approaching most lettering problems. This statement, however, is not intended to weaken the emphasis we have placed on the need to understand thoroughly the fundamental letter forms and the principles of correct letter, word, and line spacing. It is absolutely necessary for you to have a complete grasp of these basic fundamentals before you can take creative liberties with them successfully. Our purpose in this lesson has been to teach you these fundamentals so that you \v.:ill have a sound foundation on which to build all kinds of creative lettering - creative lettering that expresses in its design the content and subject matter of the page on which it appears and at the same time is quickly and easily read.


On this page you see a number of examples of Ieuering design ed LO i melOlH·et the SLt b j eel or mood: ex pressed by the word or words .. J n every case the style of lettering is appropriate in design - and it is also easy LO react. No matter how original and beauti ful you make your leueri ng, a lways remember to make it readable, 100.

Creating appropriate styles of letterin.g

A "~ggeslion of leove, hes boon worked into the <apitol, with deli<acy and re,troint. When you use de,ign, in lellor" be' (a.relul, nol to overdo it I'e'l th" do"ign, overpower the letter.

The shcdow efled give. these lett"rs, a three-dirnenslcncl oppeo ranoo, like rahcd l'eUe'rs eervsd on a stone 'monument.

like ien. mu.ic, the I'ell .. ro here ere bold 'cllnd vig,orous. in dn~ign,Hnd 011"0 ':s.poced Cltn,d ,la9g .• redin on unconverrtione] way.

Tha letters are hea"y, lo:rcelul one'. They are a"onged on 0 ,li911t1.y cu'rvi,ng' line ond linkod, which .,u'g.ge.l. determined movement,



ne enlrneted decoration, ,ugg",1 color. The .hodow on, the right and lower ,ide, of the leiter, define< Iheir lorm s.

In thi' .tylized interpretation 01 leminine handwr;l; ng the lottor, oro vcrlod i:n width 10 give a change 01 pace'.

Tho JoHoring hod to be fomini no - yot bold o"o~gh to 1I0nd out on a po'go. A form of

brood-pan lettering wo'. used with (] Hovr-

ish to tho L. "Pump," dono in Badoni.liko

1."",., •• "",, ... , ". ~;'AY ~ ~0Vf 0& tletWft{ft \Uemwvv

~ ThB Irada nome is both bold and feminine - bold barousc of Ihe heavy .Irokes and feminine' beca~,e' of the light ,erif. and' thi'", .troko.. Thooe,ip! makes a welcome ccntrest and empha,;ta. she dolicoto fe minine nalure of the product.


Thi. ghO$!Hko offect wo, c"oated by drawing on while bioi. ting paper with ,0 ,pen heavily load .. d with blad, ink. t:t wa, pulled along the poper 01 an uneven ,pace, making a wider mark where il moved .10wer. A negolive phctcster wa, thon mode, giving, u'. white leue.ring on 0' block background.

ihe formality of this lono,in.g is rei ieved by the .ubll'c vo,.jalion, in Ihe .aril. ond the alignment of Ihe lelle". The A and the toil 01 the J Were exa.ggoratad to add' vo',iety.


a rOUSe/

The block lines Servo Ihe decoralive pu"po,e of imila,lillg: tho movement of Ihe sur], AI Ihe serne time Ihey give the letlorsoriginalily.

rhe word, sugge.! gay, ·old.la,hioncd doing, -'0 the choice ·01 the,e eld-Ieshloned letlers wcs 0' happy one. The big outlined C'. odd excitement, '" doe. the fiowjng curve 01 the word,.

FAMOUS ARTISTS COURSE Student work 'Lesson 17 Lettering


The purpose of this lesson is to teach you the fundatnenta.J.s of lettering. This includes the tY'Pi cal alphabets, letter and "Word spac.ing, layout and ,finished l~ttering'and Creative variations of standard alphabets.

Le.ttering is a craft as well as an art, so the more you practice ·the 'more you w211 benefit from this lesson. Only by making your hand repeat and refine letters and words many times can you ,acquire the skill a good: letterer must have. So do the following exercises as oftep as you can.

1. TO Learn the basic alphabet on .page 6} remove the page from the "binder and insert it unde.r the tap sheet, of .a visualizing .pad , Iiraw light horizontal guide lines with a pencil ana:

T-.square J then trace the letters Wltil you thoroughly under s'tand the caps and 10V'er-ca,se letters. Next, on another sheet- of paper,

dt'aw guide lines and practice drawing the let"ters '!fithout trac.ingthem. Follow this 'same procedure of :first tra.cing and then d.ravri-ng freehand, to Learn the thr.ck a:nd thin roman alphabet on pages 10 and 11; the' Cas.Lon on. pages 12 and 13; the .italics on page 21;' the gothics. on pages 22 and 23 and the script on page, 24. (Althbugh, as explained on pag'e4, a steel Tsquarean.d triangle are ideal, you can do your work fOr this lesson with the T-square and triangle you al.ready have . )

2. with a ch1sel-.poin:t pencil, as shown on pages 18 and 19, letter headU'nes or sentences in dif.t'e:te·nt size.,!? of Caslon, C~plon. 1t~1- ies, gobh Lc and script to gain experience in putting the correct amount- of space be tween letterS, words and lihes. A good way to check your spacing and the "color" of your le:ttering t s to look at the traCing upside doWn or turn the sheet over; hold it to 'the light and see it in reverse. When you examine your letterins. thi'S" way, you will easLly aee where :you have "hol.ea" or dark areas ..

:3. Select some of your better pericd L lette<rins done :for the above practice and, folloi?ib.g the 'method S!lo;;m onliages 32 through 35, make fini.shed lettering from it"

4,.. Expe-riment with some of the tools sho"fIl

on "page ~9.. Practice broa.a~"pen letteriIfg by first tracing over the alphabet on --page 37 and th'en dTavTlhg it freehand. In a_ddition to the Hunt pen, try- some of the tools on );lage .36~

5 • A:fter you have, gained reasQnables·kill and cOnf'idence in lettering in 'Caslon,Caslon

1 tali,cs J script and goth~c, experiment with the more free and creatdve sty~es 6.flette;rihg such as brushsc;ript on pages 38 and 39 and creative lettering on pages 43 and 4-4.


ASSIGNMENT 1. On visua11zi'ng or layout p':aper, letter in pencil the slogan:

NEW FlIErs FOR INDUSTRY Better "Ptoducts for 'the 'w'orld:

Plan the slogan to fill two lines, each one about 8 inches long. Letter the .four words of the first line in upper--case News Gothic (see page 23). no the second .line in Cas Lon , Make the words IlBetter Products!! in Caslon lower;:. case italics (l?age 21) with the first letter of eachwora~,~ the B and P - - capitalized. Letter the rest of the words in lower-caSe

Cas Lon roman (page 13). Render the. slogan in four steps as shOWn on page :;8. Starting with the rough-r-ough, ref-ine your lettering with step-by-st~p tracings on successive sheets of

paper. Use chisel-:point pencils for your rende:i'ing.

Send in the final three steps of :j..etueri.ng, the rough, :selili-ro~ and. compo . Trim them to a convenient slze, and mount th~ nea.tly on an. II x l-4-inchpie.ce of board or heavy 'paper ,

Mark this "\wrk -- ASSIGNMENT L

ASSIGNMENT 2. With pencd.L, on a sheet of 11 x 14-inch Vi sualiz:ing' paper, 0.0 an example of layout .lettering consisting of t"lvO words:

Regal, COLA,i<lEAR

(over, :please)


Studen~ work -- Lesson 17

pa.ge 2

The firs,t word, 'iB.egal," shoul.d be done in formal script and look -like the lettering you see on pages 24 and 25 ~ The first letter should be capitaLized - ... the r!?'st of the word .lower-case. 'Make the word about 4 inches long. B?,se your letteriIlg on the formal script alphabet shown on page 24.

3, page 33. Continue to follow the step-by .. ,step procedure through step 9 on page 35. Notice that the finished ~ref'inea.. l€!t'ters i.n Step 9 on page 35 are lTUi te different than the blocting ;i;n shown i.nstep .2 on page 33. :Your finished le·t:tering, in ink, shoufd be dane on

a piece of Ii x ll~-lnch Bristol board Or smoothsunf'aced iLlustration board.

The second word, "COL!\WEAR, " should be 8 inches long, and lettered in upper-case Gas16n (see page 12). Do this as single stroke ch~sel pofnt layout lettering. Center the word "Regal" above "CoLAWEAR. 11

Mrirk thi.s sheen _._ ASSIGNMENT 3.

Your instructor i>lill study your work to see if you:

Hal"k this sheet -- ASSIGNMENT 2'.

ASSIGM.f:ENT 3. This is an assdgrunent; in finished lettering. Slin ASSigrtine'nt 2 under the :top sheet of your tre:.~ing pad and' careful1y rei'ioe. the le,tter spacing ahdt.he letter forms, following the dir.ection.s beginning" with step

--Know the caps and lower-case letters of Cas Lon, Cas.Lon italics, script and gothic faces.

=-Have' uevc,}:opea the skill to ar,Q.w tnent in penCil ,for layouts and. to render tbem in n:k; 'for fi rti shed art. --Can space lct,ters, voz-ds and lines' effecti v'elY.

IMPORTA.n~: ~Be sure to "letter your name, address and student number neatly 'at the lower lef:t-hand corner of each ass tgementr, In the lower right corner, pla"ce, 'the lesson number and. assignment number.

Yo~ lesson carton shoul.d ccntedri:


before mailing

As'S-ignm~nt 1 Assigtlj:iient "2 Assignment 3

1 Return sh::fpping labe.l f;illed out, compJ.etely

Mail thiS' canton to:



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