A Lines Tale - or Trouble, Right Here in River City
Usually when I letter envelopes, I don't need to rule guidelines. This is not because I letter so evenly without them. Instead, it's because I use a lightboard.
I used to use a very clunky handmade frame with plexiglass top with an undercounter light wedged under the plexi. I would tape a guide sheet to the plexiglass and place my envelope or other item over the guidesheet and letter away. Now I use a wonderfully compact Art-o-Graph lightboard. When I can. Recent envelopes have made it impossible to use my light board. Silver envelopes required my ruling white lines (measuring, carefully setting the envelopes in place, and ruling the guidelines) and erasing them later with a white eraser. Another set has a purple lining that couldn't be removed. It also negated the use of my lightboard. In fact, for both these and the silver, I had to turn off all ambient light in the room and turn on one desk lamp in order to see my faint ruled lines.
The silver set is amazing though, and well worth the trouble.
Below is a snippet from the purple lined envelope. Graphite lines had to be ruled and erased. I had to get very close (a la this photo) in order to see the lines and letter on them. In addition, they were made of a letterpress paper. Wonderfully soft for printing...terribly fibrous for calligraphy. The texture as seen magnified somewhat in this snippet just grabs the pen nib and is a difficult surface for a pointed pen. A light touch and modified ink help somewhat with that issue.
I sure do appreciate those envelopes that allow me to use my light board.