Monoline is a form of lettering whose strokes do not have the thick and thin variations of regular calligraphy. The pen tip used is round and not chiseled. The medium used for most of the lettering shown here was done in gouache (opaque water color) This work was done in a Cream City Calligraphers workshop retreat with Cheryl Adams at the Racine Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin.
This was one of the handouts showing some of the styles that fall under the monoline umbrella. We also had lots of samples of various computer lettering styles that would work well with monoline. Use of color was a fun aspect and we were encouraged to experiment as much as we wanted. Everyone brought their own supplies but there was always sharing and a spirit of joie de vivre within the group.
Lettering Style Sheets – ALL CAPS AGENCY – ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ BRADLEY-ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ BERLIN - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ CENTURY- ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ FRANKLIN- ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ INCISED- ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ KRISTEN - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ MINCHO - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ SCEPTRE - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ TEKTON - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ TINKERTOY - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ TELETYPE - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ These are not the exact lettering styles we used but similar. This will give you an idea of the source styles from which we had to choose. We used the B series of pen tips for this work.
This is a Kemper Fluid Writer Pen or Kemper Tool. You mix your gouache or colored ink and put it in the reservoir. Once it begins to flow it produces a very clean line. You would use this is because it gives you the capability of creating any color you want .
We spent the first half hour just practicing various lettering styles with pencil. This piece was based on names of famous authors. Everyone chose their own text with which to work or used the abecedarian texts available. I tried to play around with various color combinations. Metallic markers and colored pencils were fun to use as embellishments.
I used the lyrics to the song Dream of Now from The Music Man for the large text. Most of the pieces have smaller text woven in every other row. My smaller text was an extended handwriting style and listed the names of my 8 th grade students whom I directed in that production. Counter spaces formed by the letters were filled with metallic embellishments.
With this piece I was using a wet technique where the green was overlaid and blended a tiny bit with the teal. Pink was used as an accent. The text was, “I wonder where somewhere is; I have so much stuff there.” With these pieces we purposely cropped the piece to reflect the lettering and not the content.
We experimented on various papers to see how the colors would show up. I used a fluorescent for the smaller text and was concentrating on the drop shadow effect. The quote is from Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
Another blending experiment using a variation on the lettering style and the effect of the black paper. The text is a lyric from the Mikado which was going to be the next show I wanted to direct at my school.
I needed some inspiration by the time I got to this one and I had to resort to the abecedarian sentences provided. These are sentences that use the entire alphabet so that when you practice your lettering you are getting to all the letters. I admit the coloring is a bit Easter Eggy but it was around spring break so I guess that makes sense.
This sample was done using a pointed brush which is not strictly monoline.
I think I was getting tired of coming up with text and just used the alphabet. I was concentrating on the highlight that gives this text a rounded 3-D look. I think I was using a white highlight but it picked up the fuchsia underneath. I had always done the Tinker toy style font even before it came out on a computer, so that was very natural for me to include as the line between text.
This was a fun variation that gave the text a playful look. I used my mother’s favorite saying, “People are more important than things.” She never got upset when a grandchild messed up or broke something because she truly lives this. I’ve always admired her for that although when I carved my name into my bed when I was a kid, I remember a wooden spoon breaking across the back of my legs. I think patience came with having more money.
Get lots of different papers, good colored pencils, watercolor pencils, metallics, gouache, and a good set of pen nibs and have at it!