O Q C G are closely related. Notice that the outside curves are circle arcs. In large letters these may be penciled with compasses, although all lettering should be inked entirely freehand. The inside curves are ellipses with their long axes tilted at an angle of about 15 degrees backward from the vertical. Never make the mistake of tilting this shading the wrong way. As indicated in outline the swash line of the Q may be extended ad libitum to fit the composition.
The next group contains the letters made up of straight lines and curves, B D J P RU, together with S, the subtlety of whose reverse curve is sometimes difficult to master. Notice that all the curves in these letters are in general similar to the 0 group in that their outside curves are circles, whose centers are indicated, and the inside ellipses are tilted. Two forms of J R Q and U are given, either of which may be used. The swash line R is perhaps more difficult. Its tail should have a graceful sweep, not "clubby" on the end.
The ampersand, "&," a monogram abbreviation for the Latin word "et," is made in a variety of forms, sometimes with not so much flourish to the tail.
While numbers in Roman inscriptions were always in Roman numerals, Arabic figures are often required in modern designing. Those given are of a character in keeping with Old Roman lettering. Note their comparative height in proportion to the letters.
The first example on Plate 80 shows a variation with freer treatment than the forms of the previous plates, and suitable for drawn or modeled execution rather than for carved work. In this the stems instead of having exactly parallel sides are flared slightly and the serifs are not straight lines. These variations are only "the width of a line" and must not be exaggerated, but it may be found interesting to try the effect after a thorough mastery of the straight form.
On working drawings a single stroke letter such as given in the third example on Plate 80 is generally used. This letter is based on the skeleton of the Old Roman, having all its lines of the same width, and made with a single stroke of a suitable pen. For letters of the size of those in the example a ball point pen 516 F or Hunt's shotpoint 512 may be used. For smaller sizes a Gillott 404 is good. The letters should be kept to the same proportion of width to height as learned on Plates 78 and 79. Top and bottom guide lines should always be drawn for all lettering, no matter how small 01* how rapid the execution. Indeed, architects often purposely leave the guide lines on the drawings to obscure irregularities in the letters, and sometimes even ink them in with diluted ink for the same purpose.
Old Roman letters should never be extended wider than their normal proportion of width to height. They may however be made in compressed form if desired. An interesting effect is secured by keeping the round letters C D G O Q full, linking or conjoining them, while compressing the other letters. An alphabet and example of composition are given on Plate 80.
Composition in lettering involves the selection of suitable styles and sizes, the arrangement, and the spacing of letters, words and lines. Success in it depends upon artistic judgment rather than rules. One rule however is important. Letters in words are not spaced at equal distances but are made to appear uniform by keeping the irregularly shaped backgrounds between them to approximately equal area. Each letter is spaced with reference to its shape and the shape of the letter preceding it. Thus adjacent letters with straight sides would be spaced farther apart than those with curved sides. Sometimes combinations such as LT or AV may even overlap. Words should be separated by a space not more than the height of the letter. The clear distance between lines of letters may vary from one-fourth to one and one-half times the height of the letter. Much observation and practice is required before one is competent to do serious work. On Plates 80, 81, 83 and 84 examples of composition are shown, which may be studied with profit. At the bottom of Plate 84 the device of using Roman with wide letter-spacing is illustrated.
Titles on architectural drawings vary from the ordinary box title of a working drawing to carefully designed compositions on elaborate display drawings. Several examples are shown on Plate 80. The first is a full panel title, a form which is always correct and effective. To the right of it is an informal title, a style sometimes used, which has a distinct advantage in not requiring careful preliminary penciling and therefore of value for quick sketches. Below these are two formal titles, the first a balanced title and the second an enclosed title.
Working drawing titles will be found on Plates 21, 31 and others.
In inscription lettering, the material usually being of one color, the letter is read by the shadow cast by its incised or raised body, and hence must be designed with this in mind. The heavy strokes of letters to be sunk in V form in stone should be drawn of a width not less than one-eighth of the height, with thin strokes about two-thirds of this amount. The word INCISED on Plate 80 shows inscription letters whose stems are 1 to 8. Bronze tablets are made either with flat top or round top letters. Three examples are shown on Plate 81. The first was designed by Carrere and Hastings, the second by McKim, Meade & White and the third by the writer. All were cast by Jno. Williams Inc., New York. The letters on these tablets are 1 to 7 1/2 or wider.
Designs for execution in stone or bronze should be made as full size details on tracing paper. For bronze castings allow one-eighth of an inch in 10 inches for shrinkage.