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Academic Level at Time of Creation
Date of Creation
“Bible Stories: A-Z Initial Caps” is a complete alphabet collection of handmade initial caps with imagery of a biblical theme. Initial caps are capital letters that are intended to decorate the start of a body of a text, as in an illuminated manuscript, to help pull the reader into text and keep them engaged. My curiosity to explore the Bible in order to learn about the many stories that it contains inspired this exhibition. I chose to create 26 initial caps because I find them to be an intriguing way to combine both type design and illustration into one piece. Each letter has a theme that’s first letter of the word corresponds to the letter it is associated with (A-Adam, B-Balaam, C-Creation).
Letterforms in the series are drawn. I have designed the letterforms to be bold slab serifs and have a classical impression. My own illustrations play an important decorative role in the designs. The stylized illustrations on each letter have been created by reading each passage and then creating symbols, motifs, and imagery to give the appropriate visual feel for each letterform. The imagery consists of important subjects from the story that is combined with decorative graphic elements, which I intend to intrigue the viewer with curiosity – enough to urge them to come in closer and study the pieces a little longer to explore the details.
I implemented consistent, clean stroke weights and graphic style throughout all 26 letters because I tend to be attracted to visual balance in my designs. Letters are a widely understood and recognized form, but still provide opportunity to create unique letterforms with character to tell and enhance a story. Palettes that include thoughtful colors that contrast each other are being used to be vastly distinguishable. A color gradient throughout the 26 pieces are reflective of a rainbow – which is described as a covenant and a promise in the Bible. Large blocks of solid color create clean images that are elegant and bold.
I look to illuminated manuscripts as an inspiration for combining imagery with religious text. Illuminated manuscripts demonstrated how decorations in the form of initials or illustrations can be used to benefit and supplement text. I also look to custom-letterers such as Jessica Hische and Marla Moore incorporate elegant, unique hand-lettered typography into a majority of their work.
Jim Bryant, Kristin Reeves, Jeanne Beaver
This exhibition's theme was Bible stories and included illustrations of stories for each letter (A-AdamEve, B-Balaam, C-Creation, etc.). Each initial cap took the form of posters and booklets. For example, the letters were blown up large and shown in alphabetical order around the gallery. The colors spanned into a rainbow palette across all the letters in the gallery. They were also shown in a booklet with text that accompanied each letter. The book included hand lettered quotes as well.
Photo credit, Sarah Guinn, 2019
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Ashford, Jalynn, "Bible Stories: A - Z Initial Caps" (2019). B.F.A. Practicum Exhibition (ART 498). 38.