I'm really getting tired of repeatedly having to measure out and draw guide and slope lines for lettering or calligraphy with a ruler. Is there a faster, easier, more consistent way to do this?
Note: This is a more expensive, albeit an efficient method.
- A bright lightbox, or lightpad
- A grid printout
An alternative would be to get a lightbox/lightpad, and place gridded paper beneath the sheet you are drawing to. When illuminated, the grid should be visible through your worksheet (this depends on the brightness of your lightpad, and the thickness of the paper you are writing on).
I have tested my own lightpad with 300gsm watercolour paper and it shines through quite well (it's a Huoin, though there are similar products available on Amazon. Make sure your lightpad is bright enough to shine through your desired paper! My lightpad's brightness is advertised as "1758 cd/ m2, luminous flux: 1800~2100 mcd".)
The grid that you use will depend on the size of the letters and your choice of calligraphy style. A quick google image search for "calligraphy grid" yields plenty of useful grids, including italicized grid lines for italic scripts. A simple printout of the grid is all you need, printed at the scale you like.
This method allows you to work at a faster pace, and reuse the paper grids again and again.
Make sure you're using a straight-edge table, and get yourself a T-Square, and an Ames lettering guide.
The wheel on the Ames lettering guide rotates, so you can adjust the size between the lines, and the different hole sets account for different ascender/descender/height spacings for different styles of lettering.
Make sure your paper is taped down, and straight with regards to the T-square (in a pinch you can use a ruler), and then simply put your pencil in the appropriate holes, and slide the letter guide across the t-square's edge. Sliding the T-square up and down along the desk edge lets you do different sets of lines quickly and easily.
The Ames also allows for drawing slant lines at 68º. For other angles, you can use drafting triangles, either fixed or adjustable.