With its historical and cultural formal connotations, blackletter is a very interesting graphic land to explore. It offers a lot of experimentations.
This article will try to give some keys to play with blackletter and calligraphy through four exercises.
Basics in the first, exaggerate its modularity faculties in the second, modify its height in a third time and find a way to simplify uppercase structure at the end.

Basics

Black_letter_basics

1 – The angle of your nib is 45°.
2 – It is important to keep the angle (45°) when you trace your strokes.
3 – You need to trace 3 strokes, don’t hesitate to stop and raise your nib between each stroke (and breath).
4 – It is better to take your time & trace slowly to be more sensitive, ALWAYS from the top to the bottom and from the left to the right.
5 – It could be a good very exercise to keep the same rhythm (1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3…).
6 – It could be great to have same counter shapes between strokes! Here it’s not very good but some mistakes in calligraphy can be charming 😉


Modularity

Black_letter_modularity

From the first exercise, you can observe the modularity of blackletters. You can see in the series above all letters emerge.

 


black_letter_modularity_2

1 – With these two strokes, you can try to do almost everything.


Black_letter_modularity_3

2 – This exercise try to demonstrate the blackletter modularity. With only 4 modules you can obtain every letters. Only rotation is available to keep the angle and the ductus of the writing.


Modify

black_letter_modify

1- Play with different ways to start and finish your strokes & define the stylistic of your blackletter.
2- Play with the height of your letters. Blackletters are easy to stretch. Example:

black_letter_julien_priez


Simplify

black_letter_simplify
Here is a proposition of a less historical blackletter uppercases with their strokes order.

black_letter_julien_priez

The final video will show you the strokes order & the speed tracing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d95bAayFdfY

Now it is your turn to play with blackletter shapes!

Good to know:
Job Woutershttp://www.letman.com/
Luca Barcelonahttp://www.lucabarcellona.com/
Tobias David Alberthttp://www.tobiasdalbert.de/
Andrey Martynovhttps://www.behance.net/Remrk
Drury Brennanhttps://www.facebook.com/amour.sauvage

Links:
Albrecht Dürer: http://ilovetypography.com/2010/09/01/ode-fresh-start-for-a-broken-script/

(Calligraphy: Julien Priez)