Re: Drawing or tracing lettering (was FGEX/WFEX Questions

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>

--- In STMFC@..., water.kresse@... wrote:

The actual letters and numbers used to make the stencils are normally drawn on their own drawing sheet(s). The lettering on the lettering sheets have various degrees of fidelity.

Al Kresse
Unfortunately, these are the drawings LEAST likely to have been saved. Lettering diagrams (for placement, not letterforms) at least look like a drawing of a railroad car to the dumpster diving railfans that saved a lot of this stuff. The drawings of the actual letters didn't, and were often passed over.

A nice example of the drawing that details the LETTERS, rather than lettering placement, is presented in Terry Metcalf's Union Pacific Freight Cars 1936-51 on page 29. Of course, this drawing is only specifically applicable to the 3" letters to be used for capacity data; other sizes may have a different ratio of stroke width to character height. Also interesting to note that there is no drawing for the G, J, or S, so if you need these letters, you're SOL, because the railroad didn't bother to create them.

This, and the kerning issue, are what lead people to complain that the Railfonts by Ben Coifmann "aren't right." Well, they're right for something, in some size, but exactly what we'll never know.

We did a custom job here at Accurail a number of years ago that involved custom drawn lettering in five different sizes, IIRC. The graphic artist who initially drew the lettering drew one size, then resized it on a stat camera for all the rest. In the 3" and 4" sizes, the narrow strokes (this was a serif "Roman" typeface, with two different stroke widths in each character) simply disappeared. After obtaining a clear copy of the photo he had worked from, some careful measurement determined that the proportion between narrow and wide strokes, and both those dimensions relative to the height of the letters, differed for each of the five sizes. Once that was sorted out, the art looked nice, but it took drawings parts of five different "fonts" to achieve it.



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