Hundreds of years ago, the illuminated letter was created and used to designate the beginning of a text. The illuminated letter was most often very ornate, decorated with gold leaf, and used in religious writings. The contemporary counterpart of the illuminated letter is the drop cap. The formal definition of a drop cap is the first letter of a paragraph that is enlarged to "drop" down two or more lines. It can be as simple as a regular typeface with one letter enlarged, or it can extremely decorative and complex.
The objective of this project was to create three drop cap letters from the first letter of 3 chosen artists’ first or last names. Each drop cap was to express the visual language of that artist, taking on the style and elements characteristic of their work. My chosen artists were M.C. Escher, Alexander Rodchenko, and Sebastian Onufszak.
Creating in the style of another artist proved to be more substantial than I could foresee. While replicating the visual language of the artists, I discovered that I had to think in different ways in order to produce the styles in an authentic and believable way. Although it sounds strange, I found it extremely beneficial to literally take on the persona of my three artists, trying to undertake their emotions and thought processes, while creating their drop caps.
In retrospect, the most difficult component of this project was fighting the desire to overinvest my time in one drop cap, which would result in slighting the other two. I found that I became engrossed in the visual language attributed to Sebastian Onufszak, which enabled me to put the most dedication to replicating his style. I was less interested by the elements of either Escher or Rodchenko’s work, and thus found it was much more difficult to work in their style.
The greatest lesson garnered from this assignment was that consistency is what facilitates an artist to have a visual language. As I had to extract what makes my artists’ work characteristic so as to replicate their style in the drop caps, it became evident that consistency of artistic method between the works of the artists is what allowed their work to be seen as distinctive, and therefore worth reproducing. Studying the development of the artists’ works ascertained that this consistency of visual language is made concrete through a multitude of experience and the process of discovering and embracing the core instigator of why you create.