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Archive for March 12th, 2009

This is a simple, traditional method of determining the margins and text areas for a book or double page spread.  It does not only have to be used for books – a single page of lettering can also be combined with other elements in this format to create interesting visual effects for either formal or informal calligraphy projects.  A few examples are:

  • A quote or excerpt with illustration
  • Photo album or scrapbook project
  • Greeting cards
  • Invitations
  • And of course, books!

Although there is quite an interesting history, theories and mathematics regarding book layouts (the Canons of Page Construction), we will just use a pencil and ruler to easily create a book layout on a single paper.

What you need:

  • a piece of paper (8 1/2″ x 11″ is fine)
  • ruler
  • pencil

Step 1:

With your paper in a horizontal position, use the ruler to draw a pencil line from the top corner to the opposite bottom corner.  Repeat on the other side so you have the lines cross in the center.  Place the ruler vertically through the “x” and draw a line through the center of the paper.

Step 1: Drawing the First Lines

Step 1: Drawing the First Lines

Step 2:

From the center line at the top, draw a line to each bottom corner.  Next, from the center “x”, draw lines again to the bottom corners.

Step 2: Drawing Lines to Bottom Corners

Step 2: Drawing Lines to Bottom Corners

Step 3:

On the left side draw a vertical line from where the two lines cross to the top of the paper.

Step 3: Drawing the Left Side Vertical Line

Step 3: Drawing the Left Side Vertical Line

Step 4:

Draw a connecting line from the top of the last vertical line to the center “x” of the right side.

Step 4: Draw the Connecting Line

Step 4: Draw the Connecting Line

Step 5:

Now comes the fun part!  Set your ruler horizontally from the left center “x” of the last connecting line, and draw a line until it touches each of the first corner lines.  Turn the ruler vertically and draw lines on each side of the last lines until they touch the first bottom lines.  Last, connect the two side lines with a horizontal line at the bottom.  This “box” is the outer and top edges of the letter space.

Step 5: Drawing the Outer Text Box Lines

Step 5: Drawing the Outer Text Box Lines

Step 6:

Turn the ruler vertically and draw a line from the center of the left “x” and top of the “box” line to the bottom of the “box” line.  Repeat on the other side.  This is the inner margin (or “gutter”) for the text area.

Step 6: Completed Layout

Step 6: Completed Layout

Step 7:

The layout is now complete – if we remove all the lines except the ones indicating the text area we have the layout for a book or double page spread.

Step 7: Book Layout

Step 7: Book Layout (Recto and Verso)

Note:  The right side of the page is called recto, the left side is called verso.

Now that we have our lettering area, we can put in some calligraphy!

Layout with Calligraphy

Layout with Calligraphy

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