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Art Works: Marcus Gillmore

22 November 17 words: Marcus Gillmore

The Letter F

This is part of my Medieval Illuminations series; a personal project of mine I’ve been working on this year where I give each letter of the alphabet its own theme and narrative. I wanted to bolster my current understanding of typography and use of format when designing unique typefaces. I’ve noticed a subtle improvement after each letter, but it’s an iterative process that benefits from experimentation.

The Letter F was initially sketched in pencil using a variety of different strengths. I then made it in Adobe Illustrator, which provides print-perfect designs; its ability to not show any degradation in pixels makes sure it’s always crisp and clean.

Sometimes I do my initial thumbnailing outside or in public areas, then I’ll come back and recreate the ideas. I usually make these letters on my iMac, coupled with paper and a mechanical pencil (HB/2B). I’ve recently acquired a lightbox too, and that’s changed my workflow for the better. This letter took me a bit longer than the previous ones I’ve tried due to the colouring aspect of it; sometimes it can be like a jigsaw when it comes to creating certain pieces, so allowing my mind to come back to work after a walk is always good.

The project comes from my keen interest and fascination with Medieval England; its artisanship and how graphic design was made back then. I’ve always appreciated the forms and details present in calligraphy and ornamental texts because of the connotations and symbolism within them; it’s not purely for decoration, there’s a story being told within the illuminated letter alongside the written text. The themes of chivalry and servitude are among some of the recurring themes present in a variety of medieval texts, and that’s something I’ve found myself respecting and appreciating.

Given the time, I’d like to produce an anthology of typographic works and calligraphy in book form, including historical snippets of medieval illuminations and calligraphy. I’m keen to produce more annotated, small-life drawing books for people to read and study, which include written personal accounts of my drawing experiences, and how to assist others.

I’m currently a second-year graphic design student at Nottingham College, but I do take on freelance projects and I volunteer at the Nottingham Castle to network and develop contacts within the heritage sector. I’ve done a few book covers and other printed works, but I’d love to work in a graphic design studio and learn more from industry professionals.

Marcus’s Medieval Illuminations series is currently available to buy in the Robin Hood Legacy Shop.

Marcus Gillmore website

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