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Playing with letters

Around 1970, Jean Paul Riopelle revisited themes connected to the King of Thule by inventing an alphabet with letters that resemble illuminated letters. Through this playful exercise, he recreated face shapes or Inuit masks from his series entitled Rois de Thulé (1973).

To pay homage to his connection with play, create an illuminated letter using the first letter of your first or last name.

Jean Paul Riopelle, Planche W-X, série de lettrines enluminées L’Alphabet de Thulé, lithograph project, 44 x 31 cm (1979) © Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle / SOCAN (2022)

Jean Paul Riopelle, Planche W-X, série de lettrines enluminées L’Alphabet de Thulé, lithograph project, 44 x 31 cm (1979) © Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle / SOCAN (2022)

Activité 1 : Instructions for playing the game online

  1. Choose the first letter of your first or last name;
  2. Compare different illuminated initials;
  3. Compare different fonts;
  4. In the interface, choose a letter already drawn (pictogram image) to modify it or draw a letter yourself;
  5. Add graphic elements around the illuminated initial that represent your personality and use the colour black to evoke Jean Paul’s style;
  6. Download the image and print the letter;
  7. Display the illuminated letters in the classroom;
  8. If you wish, share your creations through the RIO Gallery.

Activité 2 : Instructions for playing the game on paper

  1. Choose the first letter of your first or last name;
  2. Compare different illuminated initials;
  3. Compare different fonts;
  4. Pick one that is particularly compelling;
  5. Outline the chosen font or invent a new one by tracing the letter in black on a sheet of paper in portrait orientation;
  6. Add graphic elements around the illuminated initial that represent your personality and use the colour black to evoke Jean Paul’s style;
  7. Display the illuminated initials in the classroom;
  8. If you wish, share your creations through the RIO Gallery.