I have decided to write a series of posts explaining how Tengwar Annatar and Tengwar Telcontar were made, since I have received some questions about it over the years. To begin with, the most common method used when digitizing a typeface is to draw the outlines of the glyphs using Bézier curves:
These Bézier curves are convenient to work with, and you can easily form virtually any shape with them. In fact, I found out when I started working on my first font that they were too versatile for my needs. So far, my fonts have been essentially calligraphic; that is to say, the glyphs are designed to look as if written with a pen. And when I attempted to achieve this by drawing the contours, I found that far too much time went into such things as ensuring consistent weight, forming nicely rounded line endings, etc. But if I were to write the letters using the method I wanted to imitate, i.e. with a pen on paper, I would not have to worry about things like that. All those features would come automatically, since they are defined primarily by the pen itself, independently from how I move it. (Obviously I’m talking about an “ideal” pen here.) What I wanted to spend my time on was to define the motion of the pen.