Friday, April 8, 2016

Creating Roman Lettering

©Anne Rita Taylor 2016

When I saw Roman letters I thought of capital letters I learned in elementary school. A famous example of Roman lettering comes from the inscription on Trajan’s column, a sculpted Rome pillar marking the triumph of the emperor Trajan (AD 98-117). 

I learned about Roman calligraphic rules by taking a Peter Thornton workshop several years ago. Each letter can be grouped according to its width. Below: Playing with Prismacolor pencils.

Starting with monoline letters is easier. Within a Parent Box, O and Q fill up the space. About 1/4 wider is the M & W. The C, D & G fill up 7/8 of the Parent Box. Then you have the letters that fill 3/4 of the Parent Box: A - H - K - N - T - U - V - X - Y - Z.

B - E - F - J - L - P - R - S fill 1/2 of the Parent Box. The letter "I" stands alone. And spacing between letters can take years of practice! Some say spacing between words is equal to the small letter “o” yet others say spacing is between the stems of the “H."

omans are necessary 

for my White Vine calligraphy click here: also my Checkerboard calligraphy:

Alternative ways to write variations of Roman capital letters are fun! 

Playing around with calligraphy placement.

Fun experimenting with different kinds of paper and ways of writing! Writing on Strathmore Parchment Paper and bouncing the letters, writing every other letter above the line, gives a certain lightness to a quote.

This is the book I made in Peter Thornton's class with my notes and calligraphy exercises.

I enjoy the practice of calligraphy! Please send me any questions in the Comments section.


  1. Love the calligraphy, letter placement is always the trickiest!

    1. Spacing letters is taking me years of practice! Thanks Sandee!

  2. Thank you, Anne! Good review of spacing. I'm partial to the black with color!

  3. The color on the black does stand out - thanks Cori!