decorated alphabets

Choose Your Mistakes #15

Part fifteen of the interactive fanfiction, Choose Your Mistakes. Please check the FAQ and the Setting Info if you have questions, and be sure to make your choice below. 

You chose to go through the scratched door. 

Originally posted by aurumnorthwood

You pushed through the dark red door, marred by deep scratches on its surface. It was surprisingly heavy and difficult to move, but you squeezed through in time to see the hallway lights dimming, signalling someone’s approach.
The door slammed shut behind you as you slipped through, dislodging the book that propped it open. A ringing sound echoed in your ears, but that didn’t concern you as much as the pounding on the door. 
You threw your body weight against it, as though it might help protect you from whoever wanted to get inside. You wished. You hoped. You might have even prayed. 

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Initial letters taken from ‘Scrapbook of Historiated Initials’ by Adam Luke Gowans ( graduated with an MA from the University of Glasgow in 1895 ).

Glasgow School of Art.

This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License.  This means that you can re-use it in your own work, as long as you credit ‘Learning Resources, Glasgow School of Art’ wherever you use it. Only use our content for non-commercial purposes, and make any work you create that includes our content freely available to others through Creative Commons.


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Decorated Alphabet selection

While spending some time at St.Brides Library last week I took some photos of some historic decorative types. Seeing so many styles together, filled with such elaborate detail, it’s easy to glance over their characteristics. Here’s a few of the details I love most about them:

A: The decreasing sized As, alternately filled, provide a nice sense of depth yet the whole composition remains light. (From a sheet of beautiful 17th Century; initials) 

S. This one has wings! (19th Century; American)

L: This inhabited initial not only appears to contain St. George and the Dragon, we’ve also got a plethora of small animals; goose, snail, squirrel, rabbit…The the top right terminal ends with a face. The devil maybe? (15th Century; French)

E: Almost psychedelic (17th Century; French)

M: There’s a strange creature gnawing at the bottom of this letter! (16th Century; Printed in Rouen by Martin Morin)

A: The one is drawn with pen and ink as a study aid. Beautifully composed out of the most complex interlocking shapes. (16th Century, Dutch, Aert van Meldert from ABC pour la jeunesse - “ABC for the youth”)

P: From a whole alphabet of vicious animals fighting each other. Who’s biting who? (Silvestre, 17th Century; French)

N: There are so many swirls to this inhabited ‘n’ the characters are off to play hide and seek. (17th Century; Italian; Alphabet by Vespasiano; Library of St. Mark’s, Venice)

R: Ultra Gothic: I’m not sure if the dragon is breathing out, spewing up, or eating this wonderful architectural monstrosity. (Calligrapher, Jean Midolle, 18th Century, Swiss)

Alphabet: Another by Midolle. As the name suggests they are supposed to look like jewels. (Jean Midolle, Monster Lapidary Alphabet, 19th Century, Swiss)

You can see more over on my Instagram page


Carol Belanger Grafton (Editor). Historic Alphabets & Initials, Woodcut & Ornamental,1977.
Midolle, Silvestre and others. Florid and Unusual alphabets,109 complete alphabets, 1976.

Super Boy

A little follow up to Super Dad 

toungetiedbyyou prompted: Devon’s first day of preschool

“I changed my mind.” Kurt feels a swell of panic pushing against his ribs, every intake of breath tight and frantic and no, this was a terrible idea, this is so wrong.

“Kurt, this whole thing was your idea. Remember? You’re the one who schmoozed the board for spot and greased the wheels and convinced us all how great this will be.” Blaine says, unhelpfully, as Kurt continues to panic.

“I know.” Curse his own considerable persuasive charms. Kurt takes a breath and releases all of his worries, rapid-fire, with Devon nestled safely in his arms; his head on Kurt’s shoulder and sucking his thumb thoughtfully. “What if he hates it? He’s not like Libby, confidently striding in on her first day of preschool without so much as a backwards glance. What if someone is mean to him? What if he cries all day? What if he’s traumatized for the rest of his life because his fathers forced him to go to preschool before he was ready and then he hates us and we both know how important early development is to a child, Blaine, not to mention the life-long repercussions of childhood emotional trauma!”

Blaine gives him one of those indulgent-slash-placating smiles.

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Penned Letters

I recently noticed this intricately decorated alphabet by Chae Ho Lee, a designer and letterer of Honolulu, Hawaii.

The alphabet is based on the work of Austrian calligrapher, Johann Georg Schwandner, from his book Calligraphy Calligraphia Latina. Of the work Chae says:

Calligraphy is also a hobby and has greatly influenced my work. I tried to basically replicate his heavily flourished style using the pen tool and a lot of vectors and Bézier curves in Adobe illustrator. It really taught me the fundamental way to flourish and improved my vectoring skills.

Seems like a good way to practice those curves. While the Bezier handles could be adjusted, the letters themselves would make fantastic drop-caps.