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    « Making Bread | Main | Textile Inspiration »
    Monday
    Aug102009

    Line Practice

    I like to create challenges that push me to improve the way I control the pen. It's like exercise or stretching and it helps immensely.

    If you draw doodles, sketch abstract shapes and fonts, you effectively practice drawing smooth lines, improve your hand-eye coordination and ability to space out letters and lines in your work. Here's one of my practice sheets. First I sectioned off 9x12" Strathmore drawing paper (you can do this freehand or with a straight edge). Then I watercolored,  doodled and picked a topic for each section. In the fruits & veggies section, I brainstormed the names of everything I could imagine, writing the words in various fonts as I thought of them. Without any reference, it's hard to remember the lush variety of fonts that exist.

    It's easy to create a collection of material for your escapades in line practice. Select fonts from a font site such as dafont and click on the font to see the full description and all of the characters. Print 10-50 fonts and staple together. This forms your reference material for line work. Select fonts that are feasible to draw. My favorites are fonts with clean lines like Champagne & Limousines by Lauren Thompson; check out her posts on typographic inspiration.

    Another type of line practice involves getting used to new pens and markers. At a coffee shop last year, I practiced writing and doodling with a new gold ultra-fine sharpie marker on a page in an altered catalog prepped with black gesso.

    Using your reference material, collect pens & markers and make a piece of art using your font practice or pen experiments as the focus. This is an exercise in creativity and line control, and like drawing mandalas, it can be sooooo calming.

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    Reader Comments (6)

    Great post!!

    08.10.2009 | Unregistered Commenterbrandi

    Thank you so much for mentioning and linking me in this post :) I am so glad that you like Champagne & Limousines, I designed that font with designers and artists in mind.

    You have a really great blog, excellent suggestions in this post. I have been working with digital type so much lately I almost forgot about exercises such as this, which does improve drawing abilities greatly though many are unaware of it.

    To be recommended by someone so creative and with such great artistic- tastes is really a treat.:)

    Thanks again, have a swell day :)

    08.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

    Wow! I love the look of this, and I like the way you say you used each section as something different to write. Am I clear about the way you practice your fonts, that you
    first print off the fonts and then go from there in your own hand???? That sounds really cool, i think I could actually do that :D :D

    08.31.2009 | Unregistered CommenterEden

    Eden, You are correct. I use the printed sheets as reference, so that I can see the spacing, where there are serifs, etc, the height of the components of each letter, but I write the letters freehand. It's interesting to really get to know the differences in fonts. Thanks for stopping by, Eden! ~ Tammy

    09.1.2009 | Registered Commentergypsy

    Despite my love of typography I can't believe I never thought of creating a reference book of favorite fonts - genius! Great blog, I'm so happy to have stumbled upon it.

    09.16.2009 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa

    thanks for the intro to Champagne & Limousines, they have some really pretty fonts.

    08.3.2010 | Unregistered Commenterblogaloorgirl

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