2019 02 | JOSIE BROWN

MOUSE ROMAN  |  Josie  Brown  |  2 February 2019

It’s fun, it’s lively and it’s contemporary! This workshop was an introduction to a script which is easy to learn for beginners and a light-hearted contrast to other hands for those with some experience.

It can be carried out simply in monoline form or penmanship skills can be developed using press & release techniques. This script is particularly useful for informal and spontaneous work such as greetings cards, journals or little books and anyone can play with the letterforms, enjoying their happy-go-lucky stance on the page.

Review by Joan Mallett

Our first workshop of the year was held at a new venue for us, Llewellyn Hall, Penllegaer.  The room was bright and clean with good facilities and with plenty of space to fit in tables for the 15 scribes attending. A little more heat would have been welcome but following the coldest night of the year and the recent snowfalls, warming it up was always going to take time.

Josie started by telling us the origins of the Mouse Roman hand.  It is an informal version of Roman bookhand based on the Italian Bodoni typeface.

Firstly we looked at and compared various early typefaces and then went on to look at and discuss the skeleton lower case letters which are based on an oval ‘O”.

Our first task was to practice the letters in pencil quickly moving on to writing words so that we gave some consideration to spacing.  We continued using pencil to form the letters with their serifs and distinctive ’berries’ on the a, c, r, I, j, and y.

Following a demonstration from Josie we used pointed pen and ink to try and perfect our letters, both in monoline and using pressure and release to add weight.

This is an informal and modern hand and we were soon trying to make our letters bounce by hanging them from a top line, writing with a central line only or using only a bottom guideline which allowed the letters to bounce above it.  By trial and error we all discovered our preferred option.

Following lunch Josie showed us examples of her work and how to make a fun Woven Accordion book and tiny concertina books with covers, which I am sure we will all use at some stage.

The hand is relaxed and more effective and bouncy when written quickly so it will be very useful for cards and informal writing.  I think everyone enjoyed the workshop and it moved along at a good pace. Thank you to Josie for managing to get to us and for making the day lighthearted, interesting and fulfilling.

Joan Mallett