Building the Alphabet:

Last week I drew “s” to finish up the basic Latin lowercase. This week I started the uppercase with the letters “H” and “O”.

These two characters give the basic structures for much of the uppercase alphabet. They set the tone for width, overshoot, stroke thickness, and spacing. (Spacing will become important when I begin putting the letters in the font file.)

Uppercase H

The uppercase “H” establishes the thickness of the vertical and horizontal strokes. In this case thickness is determined by the tool: the width of the nib of a Sharpie® Magnum® marker. The verticals are the full nib width, the crossbar can be a bit thinner by rotating the nib slightly.

“H” also determines the relative width of some of the letters. I tried to make this fairly condensed, as per the requirements of the design brief. Even though it is condensed, the counters in the uppercase should still be a bit bigger than in the lowercase.

Even though “H” is a simple letter, it is good to remember the crossbar needs to be slightly above the mathematical vertical center. Optical center is a bit high so that the lower counter almost supports the weight of the crossbar and the upper counter.

Uppercase O

Uppercase “O”, like “H”, establishes thickness, width, and shape. In a condensed typeface it is more of an oval than circle. Even when condensed, though, the “O” is a bit wider than the “H”.

Again, the verticals are usually thicker than the horizontals. Making sure the nib is rotated a bit at the top does the trick.

I must have really terrible positioning or something, because I kept drawing the “O” tilted forward a little bit. It was kind of funny.

Up Next

I hope to finish the basic Latin uppercase faster than the lowercase. My plan is to do quite a few more characters at a time. Here’s my plan:

  • I, E, F, T, L
  • N, M, A, V, W
  • K, X, Y, Z
  • B, P, R, D
  • Q, C, G, S, U, J

I may split that last one in two (Q, C, G then S, U, J).

Next week: “I, E, T, F, L”.






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