Seb Lester's doodles, calligraphy or lettering?

I am curious about your opinion on this. It is very common to see blog posts and interview answers defining lettering and calligraphy. At first they seem very different concepts, but there is such a clear line today? How would you define Seb Lester's logo interpretations? He writes letters but he also draws letters with the pen. Could we call it calligraphic lettering :wink: ?

Comments

  • I don't see them as "very different concepts."  To me calligraphy is a subset of lettering. 
  • I don't see them as "very different concepts."  To me calligraphy is a subset of lettering. 
    In both letters are the main ingredient, but they use different recipes writing or drawing. I think calligraphy has its own status.
  • I think there is no need to make one a subset of the other.  I think of it more like the difference between text type and display type.
  • Wes AdamsWes Adams Posts: 44
    edited February 2016
    Built up forms are generally lettering. Lettering and writing are indeed different. The difference concerns technique and not the tool. Calligraphy is writing.
  • Thank you John. I do both lettering and calligraphy. Neither are a subset of anything, Craig (like you imagine). Calligraphy is best considered what comes out of the pen, brush. I see lettering as a process of drawing, touching up, amending initial strokes etc. The definitions are fluid, but the worst ones to try and define are the ones that think themselves experts. It has all been blurred by the techniques contemporary letterers and calligraphers. I do not do the same thing Jessica Hische does. Gerard Huerta and I have been acquaintances for many years and he has a totally different definition than I do, I am sure, but who cares who is right other than those who assume to know it all. Both HOWEVER, require a set of fine tuned set of hand skills and an knowledgeable eye.

  • Michael ClarkMichael Clark Posts: 129
    edited March 2016
    You know Craig, I kept coming back to this because something bugged me. Saying that calligraphy is a subset of lettering is just plain wrong, ill-informed and lacking the understanding that the chicken came before the egg. You had to have the pen to write (calligraph with) before you were able to touch up (lettering) the letters.
  • @Michael Clark You are reading a hierarchy into the terms. It doesn’t matter what came first – it matters how you define them.
  • D. Epar tedD. Epar ted Posts: 670
    MC: "Neither are a subset of anything,"

    sAY WhAT!?;)

    They are all a subset under heaven. Calligraphy is "writing" words. Lettering is "painting" words. Lettering is "drawing" words. Letterdrawing is drawing typefaces. Though under hell, they are all fontographering, them's the names I was raised under, under heaven. The fact that these Can! all come out of the same thing, a computer, with no apparent  human intervention, may have blurred how they got in there, perhaps.

    ...and isn't Chris partly right? Is not calligraphy sometimes! lettering too small to correct? And isn't lettering, sometimes! calligraphy too large to leave as it was written?

    "I find it a little ironic that the people who are most insistent on the distinction between writing and drawing letters are type folk, most of whom do neither."

    I'll bite, the What is a "type folk"? ;)
  • Michael, I respect that you take on the role of defender of calligraphy, but sometimes it lapses into defensiveness and you seem to be picking a fight where there is none to be had. 

    As David said, "Neither are a subset of anything" is nonsensical. I fear that you, and maybe others in this thread, have interpreted the word "subset" as some kind of lowering of the calligraphic arts, but that's not what the word means at all. 

    It is clear there are different interpretations of the word "lettering" and I'm happy to acknowledge both. We could draw an analogy to the words "baking" and "cooking." There are times that I've found myself saying "I'm more of a baker than a cook" or "My wife likes cooking but doesn't really like baking." These imply an opposition between the terms. But taking "cooking" in a broader sense, it also makes sense to say that baking (like boiling, sauteeing, roasting, etc.) is a kind of cooking, not the opposite of cooking. None of these seems wrong to me--it's just that words don't only have single definitions.

    Thus we have to be clear what definitions we're using. If you reread my contribution to this thread with clear eyes, I think you have to acknowledge that that is all I was trying to do. And I hope in rereading it you see the modesty of my wording, and admit that it would be unfair to take from that that I am one of these awful people "who think themselves experts" or "who assume to know it all." 
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,351
    I side with what I think would be Alexander Nesbitt’s opinion: lettering created with a pen commonly used by calligraphers is still lettering. And yes, that means I consider Spencerian hands to be lettering and not calligraphy.
  • AbiRasheedAbiRasheed Posts: 92
    edited March 2016
    @James Puckett ...But spencerian isn't lettering though just because one used a pen. I mean you rely on the nib to do all the heavy lifting, there's little room for error unless you redo the whole thing unlike lettering where you draw it however you please and add weights or whatever as you go till you start to ink it and even then there's plenty of room to fix errors, you're essentially only "filling" in, not writing. Calligraphy rarely even relies on pencil outlines unlike lettering and even if you do make an outline, the whole letter is still written, not drawn, not filled in, huge difference. Try doing spencerian by lettering it using a fine point 0.05mm copic or I guess a pointed pen nib for the hairlines and for the weight fill it in with a 1mm. It's almost impossible to get it to have a smooth transition between connectors for one, two, you're more than likely to mess up the edges while filling in unless of course you're the next Tony Di Spigna, etc and even he had errors that were fixed using whiteners, not to mention they used french curves for large swashes/flourishes which are totally not comparable to a freehand calligraphic flourish. Now if you wrote it using a proper pointed pen nib all of this has been taken care of by the nib and it's a lot smoother looking. If you had to letter spencerian, the only way around to get it to look super smooth would be to up the size of the letter like say to maybe 2.5" so there's enough room to  do the fills. Essentially what Tony, David Quay, Rousselot, etc to name a few did when they had to letter stuff like that. So in a way it would be unfair to tag spencerian as lettering just because they use a pen, in fact I don't even think they use a pen for it cause for very fine hairlines you may not even get a nib that small for pens, but for straight/oblique holders it is more than likely you will. </rant>
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,351
    My point was that using a pen doesn’t automatically make something calligraphy, not that using a pen makes writing into calligraphy. Spencerian is lettering because it involves built-up drawings created by alternating different pen holders, pen grips, nibs, and paper angles. A complex spencerian drawing might use an oblique pen for most letter strokes, a straight pen for some others, and for the flourishes, several different straight pen combined with several changes of paper angles, and maybe even a fine brush for some things. This isn’t really writing, it’s drawing with writing pens.
  • James ToddJames Todd Posts: 198
    Being left handed, my answer is: if I can do it, it’s lettering.
  • AbiRasheedAbiRasheed Posts: 92
    edited March 2016
    @James Puckett  Only that if you do spencerian/zaner/engrosser's or whatever else is out for there for pointpen, it's never "filled" in. This to me is the biggest difference between calligraphy and lettering. Sure, lot of them mix different nibs to get different strokes like they do with some of the gothic stuff where they may use a bowl pointed nib for terminals or some such but again none of this is filled in. The weight of the letter comes from flexing that nib, you flex it wrong and you get a wrong stroke/weight, etc. So I can't agree that's like drawing/lettering because in lettering it allows me to change anything during the sketching phase down to even measuring it so everything looks uniform, all of this is more freehanded & eyeballed in calligraphy and that takes a lot of skill. In Calligraphy there's little to no sketching besides drawing up a few basic guides, especially if the artwork involves only writing out something, they generally straight away go to writing it out. Let's say they do an outline of the letter, but even then you still are relying on the nib to add weights when you start to write it, this in itself is challenging. Just about the only thing in calligraphy I can think of where they do "filling" in stuff is for something like Cadels? 
  • Michael ClarkMichael Clark Posts: 129
    edited March 2016
    So, can someone please tell me what this is? Skip to 59 seconds.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h67WnHTERhM&feature=youtu.be
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 907
    Michael, I wish I had a pen like yours which never runs out of ink ;-) Well done!
    Oh, I would call it calligraphy until you made outlines for type.
  • Oh, I would call it calligraphy until you made outlines for type.
    So there we are: there is something innovative about skeleton-based design tools. ;)
  • Michael ClarkMichael Clark Posts: 129
    edited March 2016
    @Chris: I bought the pen at the "horn of plenty" store.

    As to the video, I would consider this an exercise in lettering. It, the calligraphy, is amended, "touched up," with the same pen. 

    I wish I would have had this video when I submitted the design to Dave and his crew at FontBureau. One of his techies saw the l/c 'a' and said it cannot be done with a pen. Needless to say I had a giggle at that. She was a "type folk" David!
  • Michael ClarkMichael Clark Posts: 129
    edited March 2016
    Chris: the outlines are merely an enclosure device to me, a vehicle to convert or "make black" what I have already set out on paper. I do not even think of the outlines as anything but a simple process to get from point A to point B.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 907
    Michael,
    I do not even think of the outlines as anything but a simple process to get from point A to point B.
    It is the opposite for me.  Most of my designs start off straight out as outlines without any drawing to trace.  The exception to this is Petranian, a much more calligraphic face than the rest of mine. That one, I started drawing the caps with charcoal but the final forms were quite a bit different than the drawings.  I did do all of the lower case right off with FontLab and no drawing to trace. To me, it is about drawing form to counterform instead of either writing or painting a glyph.  As a young man, I had done plenty of old-school calligraphy and lettering with pen and brush so I know the feel of it but just don't use the tools you do.

  • Michael ClarkMichael Clark Posts: 129
    edited March 2016
    That is what I would call drawing Chris.

    I "need the tools" to inform the direction/concept/idea. I know calligraphers that draw on screen, I am just not capable. Do you see, Chris, why I called that video lettering?

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 907
    I see your point for what you call video lettering but I feel that is only one way to look at it. Since you do your touch-ups so quickly, it seems like part of the process, just like drawing a swash. Whatever you choose to call it does not matter to me.  Only the quality of the work matters.  When old manuscripts were written, it was a task to write so many so quickly and I can see the purist need.  Some were later illuminated with a bit more time spent.  Our world is so different know. We can choose anything from default type settings to hand drawing the whole job.  Just do what you love, Michael, and screw whatever the technique is called.
  • I do Chris and I appreciate the attitude and your wisdom. I am a bit less receptive to those on here who posit their opinions as gospel.They are the ones who say I have an attitude... go figure.

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 907
    There is no gospel, Michael.  Maybe they just feel differently than you.  We are all individuals with our own take on things.  I would not try to read more in to it than that. Take yourself and everyone off the hook.  There is no need to feel judged.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 907
    A rose by any other name...
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