Decorating Letters to make Calligraphy even more beautiful ~
When writing hand calligraphy, there are many ways to make a text special. Using "leading letters" at the beginning on a text or paragraph is a way to bring a beautiful decorative element to hand written calligraphy. When you are requesting calligraphy services this is something you can ask the calligrapher for in your art piece.
I love doing contemporary leading letters. They can be put into a box with color behind the letter and even adding a little image from the border into the box. I wrote out the song lyrics in calligraphy from Phantom of the Opera which had a special meaning for this couple, but wanted to make it even prettier. So I did some extra flourishing on the couple's names to make them stand out. This beach scene with the couple walking in the sunset had special meaning for them. With the addition of color in the box behind the leading letters, it really made the piece special. It's going to be printed in the newest contemporary look with acrylic face which will make it really gorgeous!
Leading Letters Have Different Styles
Leading letters were used in Biblical text. Monks worked long and hard to create gorgeous decorated letters. They are known as "illumination" because of the use of gold. The gold would light up the text, and thus the word "illumination". I was surprised when I first learned that.
Another way that leading letters were made to stand out from the text is using a color. Red is a common color to make the first letter not just larger, but bolder. You can even do that on your computer. You would just look for the way to enlarge the letter and "drop" it so it goes into the next line. You still see book chapters where the first letter in the chapter is "dropped" or larger than all the other letters in the text.
Many years ago I took a class in "white vine illumination". When you look at the letter you understand why it's called "white vine". There's a drawing of the vine surrounded, typically by "jewel colors" to look like a stained glass window. It takes a LONG time to design and then illuminate these letters. So they are VERY expensive to have designed in calligraphy!
Contemporary or Traditional Leading Letters
Make sure you let me know whether your taste goes towards traditional or contemporary if I'm going to be adding leading letters. Also, let me know about your color preferences - or even better, the color preference of the person who will be receiving your calligraphy gift.
Letters can be made to stand out by putting color behind them, flourishes and other treatment. It's time consuming but fun for me to do! Here's a special treatment of capital letters with color to make the text really stand out. This was a gift to Senator Barbara Boxer from California to thank her for standing up in the Senate and demanding a true, transparent, verifiable election.
Decorated Border Designs With Calligraphy
If your taste goes more towards a painted or hand drawn border design I have many choices for you. Here's a delicate beautiful colorful traditional border design used with a wedding/marriage certificate.