ART DECO style lettering has been a passion of mine for several years.  I love the old posters from the 1920’s and 30’s.  In fact probably most of the the monoline lettering that I have taught or used myself is some variation on a mono line style of typeface. The one I choose here is a based loosely on a style by MIG from 1903.  My dear friend Jo Forsyth shared it with me back in the fall sometime and I have been playing with it ever since, used it on my Christmas cards this year and probably should have practiced a little more before I tried it, but I just couldn’t wait.

You will recall from the AKIM CURSIVE that I suggested you can use any type of pen that works well for you but I like to give my students the option of trying to do the lettering with the same pen I used to do the exemplar.  The reason for that is that some of you will work diligently to get letters that look exactly like mine.  This is of course flattering but it becomes difficult if you aren’t using the same pen I used.  So one of my favorite pens for practicing is the ZIG WRITER.  It comes in a variety of colors and has two ends one is 1.2mm and the smaller end is .05mm.  They do come in a variety of colors, they are waterproof, lightfast (non-fading),permanent (bleed proof meaning you can watercolor over them)  Well what more could you ask for.  Oh yeah, you can carry them on a plane and they won’t leak in your purse.

The large letters were written with the 1.2mm end of the pen and the lower set were written with .05 mm end of the pen.  In addition you will note that I have used Computer bar paper to practice on and there are several reasons for this. First, it’s perfect for already having guidelines ..if you use both a green bar and white bar (or some are blue and white) you have one inch letters, and if you use just a green or white bar you have 1/2inch guidelines.  While I realize that most of you won’t be writing 1″ letters unless you are scrapbooking or doing a name on an envelope it is good to see the size in relation to width of the pen.  If you try to write really tall letters with a very fine pen point they are going to look weak and probably wobbly so bigger letters = bigger pen point.  The next reason is that you should always practice writing a new script with the largest size you can work with easily. If you start out writing very small letters to practice then its kinda like trying to learn to surf before you know how to swim.  Its good to get the feel and look of the letters at a size that you can see well then when you feel you have gotten to know them better try downsizing them.  Again remember to practice words…you won’t get the feel for spacing unless you try making words rather than just letters.  If you want to see how consistent your letters are then turn your paper upside down …once you are not trying to read it you will see immediately if your spacing is good or bad or inconsistent.  I highlights Consistent because people can often overlook poor lettering or the fact that all your  e’s don’t look the same etc but if you are inconsistent with spacing and your letters its going to hit them right between the eyes.  So work hard for consistency.  Audition your letters ( run thru the alphabet several times so that you know you are making the correct letters.  This is especially a problem if like me you use several different monoline alphabets regularly.  If you have an e from this one and r from that one and t from yet another ( and this can happen because we have letters from various alphabets that are our favorites ) then it ends up looking like a band in a parade with everyone wearing a different uniform.  Again that consistency thing.  


These letters are basically tall and narrow the widest letters are both the M and W.

If you look at the upper letters you will notice that there are two C’s that’s because I mixed up this  alphabet with another which the C, E, G,  have more of diagonal slant line for the down stroke.  The second C with the curved rather than diagonal down stroke is the better letter and the one that actually goes with this alphabet. But if you choose to do the diagonal them MAKE SURE THAT you use that same stroke for the E and G. Again you want your band all wearing the same style of uniform

The letter O is not ROUND it is Oval and rather flat on the top and may need to practice this or even trace mine till you get your hand to obey. Go slowly this is not written quickly.

The Q I love my guess is this where that crazy cursive Q came from that always looked like a #2 rather than a letter.  In any case I make it by first making a rather oval smaller o then pick up your pen and place it about half way down the left side of the bowl and make a diagonal line down to baseline then pull back for foot.

Also please note that the cross bars are all curved slightly, I know this seems like a small thing but it makes the alphabet really special, I think.  I also curved the cross bar on the top of T. So that means A, H, T, N…just slightly curved.

I’d love to hear from you with questions or have you send  me samples of your work.  While I love getting SNAIL MAIL …you can send it digital.

As always thanks for stopping by.  I love reading comments good or bad.

2 thoughts on “ART DECO LETTERS

  1. Hi Kath,
    Have never tried this letterform and will do so soon. Thanks for sharing it with us. Have some birthday envelopes to address today and this might just be the time. Hugs.

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