Calligraphy

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Calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing. Forms and materials vary widely by region, but European calligraphy is the most frequently seen in these Current Middle Ages. Calligraphers do not use fonts - script or hand to refer to the set forms of letters in a given style.

Most European calligraphy was made with pen and ink. Quill pens were the most commonly used and were primarily made with goose feathers. Swan feathers were useful for larger lettering, and crow quills were useful for particularly fine works like maps. Regardless of the type of feather, the quill is cured, then formed with a small, sharp knife. Metal broad-nib calligraphy pens are more commonly used now, as making and maintaining quill pens is an art in its own right.

Parchment is the most common substrate, with paper use becoming more common towards the end of the period. Vellum is a sub-type of parchment, referring specifically to baby or uterine animal skins (and specifically calfskin, by strictest definitions), resulting in finer surfaces. Calf, sheep, and goat were the most commonly used types of parchment, with the preferred type varying by region, but other skins were also sometimes used.

Guidelines can still be seen on many documents, whether with silverpoint, pin pricking, or other methods.

Some of the most common types of European calligraphy are related to either insular and blackletter scripts. Insular hands include uncial and half-uncial, which were adapted into Carolingian minuscule and (much later) humanist minuscule. Blackletter (sometimes called Gothic) includes Textura, Rotunda, Bastarda/Batarde, and Fraktur.

Marc Drogin's Medieval Calligraphy and David Harris' The Calligraphers Bible and The Art of Calligraphy are among the strongly recommended sources for beginning calligraphers.