Friday, June 17, 2016

Designing Uncial Lettering

©Anne Rita Taylor 2016
A favorite quote of mine with one of my carved images.
Uncial calligraphy was the second hand (font) I learned when I was beginning my calligraphic journey. Italic, my first calligraphic hand, will have its own blog soon.

Uncial Exemplar by Anne Rita Taylor
Last week summer study began with the Houston Calligraphy Guild (HCG) on Gothic Lettering.  While I practiced the Blackletter hand I noticed Uncial was used for initials to introduce the rest of the text which was in Blackletter or Italic lettering.
An Uncial "A" and I need more practice with Blackletter.

After the summer study class I took a book out of the HCG Library called Medieval Calligraphy - Its History and Technique by Mark Drogin. From 1989, it is an interesting book.

Uncial had its beginnings in the 3rd to 6th Century. Examples in the Marc Drogin book are from 450 and 510. 

Yet I love Uncial because it seems so modern to me. 

Uncial is often called Irish calligraphy. The Celtic Design Book by Aidan Meehan has been invaluable. He talks about an early Psalm book circa 600, the Cathach of St. Columba, with letters decorated with spirals and small animal heads.

From Aidan Meehan's book
From Aidan Meehan's book

The Book of Kells from the year 800 has stylized Uncial lettering which has the Latin texts of the Four Gospels of the New Testament, Christian Bible. 

When my friend Carol traveled to Trinity College in Dublin she brought back a Book of Kells coloring book for me; here 
is the letter T. 

I make use of the Speedball Textbooks - the latest came out in 2015 and displays four types of Uncial Exemplars: Uncial Gothic, Celtic Uncial, Roman Uncial (my favorite), and Greek Uncial.

An early example of my Uncial lettering - even though it looks easy, it takes lots of practice.

Still practicing…
With one of my carved images, another favorite quote of mine.


  1. Omg this calligraphy is GORGEOUS. I admire anyone who has nice handwriting. XD Mine is just horrendous, omg, it's even worse than horrendous ahem. And that letter T is just exquisite! Ahhhh!!

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. Thanks so much Cait! For me - it is kind of meditative when I practice different styles of calligraphy.

  2. I've always loved calligraphy. I love lettering. You make it so interesting. My handwriting is pretty decent but I'd love to learn calligraphy.

  3. Thanks Clara! Calligraphy takes practice - I started with workshops at Houston Calligraphy Guild - I found this one in Connecticut - - which may be helpful for you!