If you're reading this post because you've read the previous one on Getting Started, I am proud of you! Let's get going, shall we? So, say you've asked all the questions, you and the client have agreed on the rate and timeline...here's a reminder: ask for extra envelopes. 10 to 15% of the total quantity is typically what we ask for. Remember to return any unused envelopes after writing.
On this post I will show you three methods I use for guidelines. (I totally just made up its names.) Anyway, keep in mind that the height of your x-height / ascender / descender will be based on the script you use, or your preference (for modern/freehand script).
#1 The Insert
The insert works for light colored envelopes for which you can use a lightpad for. Essentially, all you need to do is cut out a piece of white thin paper / tracing paper that fits the envelope snugly. On this paper, draw lines for your guidance: ascenders, descenders, base line, waist line, an x, a line for the middle of the envelope, and even your slants. Add all the lines to heart's desire; after all, you won't be drawing them on the actual envelope. I like this method most especially because there's no need to erase lines, and I can see my slants well.
#2 The Cutout
If you do not have a lightpad, or if your envelope is dark-colored and the Insert won't work for you, you can use a cutout template.
What you'll do here is cut out a piece of board paper of the same size as the envelope, draw boxes for your x-heights, and cut them out. Place the template on top of your envelope, and draw your guidelines with ease using a pencil. (I used a white mechanical pencil on my example.) Erase the pencil lines when the ink is dry.
Using a cutout guideline is a breeze, but I usually don't make them with ascenders and descenders, especially if I have to write addresses. Too many [cut out] boxes on my cardstock makes it very flimsy, although I have yet to use a 300gsm cardstock for these templates. I think this type of template is best when you just want to draw x-heights, especially for modern calligraphy use.
#3 The Outside Lines
While the cutout template method is easy, I do this third one more often. If an envelope needs to be addressed formally, you'd need more than just the x-height drawn on your envelope.
On a piece of paper bigger than your envelope, make an outline of the envelope. On the same paper, draw your lines way past the outline: ascenders, waist lines, base lines, and descenders. Do not forget to add a line for the center of the envelope if your preferred alignment is center. Place the envelope on top of the paper, exactly on its outline, and use a ruler to draw your guidelines on the envelope.
That's it for now! :) Next week, I'll write some more info and tips that I can think of. Post your questions on the comments so I can answer them on the next post!