Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Parchment is Hairy

I'm currently lettering my contribution to the fifth issue of Solipsistic Pop. At more than two thousand hand-lettered words across eight pages, it's probably hitherto my most textually dense strip.

Jon Chandler pointed me in the direction of an entry at Brain Pickings about monastic scribes' marginal lamentations. I love illuminated manuscripts and have been fascinated by the history of monastic book production for years - and one is brought very close to the life & sorrows of the monks by their quotidian complains.

One of them perfectly sums up my feelings this weekend: Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.

A text box from 'Quadlock: Same Sex Marriage & Places of Worship'
Although the lettering in this my SP5 strip represents my most clean & consistent effort so far (I think), I'm still dissatisfied with its somewhat whimsical 'cartoon' style. I'm considering taking a calligraphy class in the hope that I'll be instructed in a hand with more gravity. (I'm also hoping to find a nib with which I'm comfortable, as there is little character in the even lines of Isograph pens.)

The last quotation from the Brain Pickings article speaks of the inevitable fate (& likely oblivion) of the artist & copyist: This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, 'The hand that wrote it is no more.' It's similar to the thoughts I have when watching early cinema footage: "All of the people in this frame are surely dead."

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