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Messages - daviddigi

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Tools & Supplies / Re: Oblique Holder for Business Writing?
« on: March 08, 2021, 11:35:21 AM »
@Trazo - Bryan can do it all. I faintly remember him using an oblique for BP, but that was a long time ago. I bet if you scroll way back in his archives you'll find some videos of him writing BP with an oblique, or maybe my memory is deceiving me.

But yes, at the end of the day it's all mental. As long as your brain knows where the pen point is relative to your hand, I don't think it really matters if you use oblique vs straight for BP.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Oblique Holder for Business Writing?
« on: March 05, 2021, 03:37:22 PM »
@Trazo Bryan (@icursive on Instagram) is one of the best and he often uses an oblique for business penmanship (and offhand flourishing as well).

For me personally, an oblique holder just feels different than a straight. It puts me more into a spencerian kind of mindset, which slows my writing down and gives me a little more control. That said, I still think I do my best BP writing with a straight holder, or maybe I just feels more comfortable to me.

Show & Tell / Re: First page
« on: December 20, 2020, 09:25:22 PM »
You are a pro, Ken.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Two Short video clips
« on: December 02, 2020, 12:55:38 PM »
@jeanwilson - if you remember that jazz writing artist, please share it in the forum. Would love to see that.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Two Short video clips
« on: December 01, 2020, 10:08:00 AM »
There's a lot of musicians in the calligraphy world. There are definitely some overlapping concepts/skills between music and calligraphy, but I think it's more evidence that learning to play an instrument is beneficial to learning just about anything.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Two Short video clips
« on: November 30, 2020, 11:21:48 AM »
Awesome, thanks for sharing @Ken Fraser!

And when you say it's your music, do you mean performed by you??

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Re: Learning business penmanship
« on: November 29, 2020, 11:09:24 AM »
@Erica McPhee - Great quote from Zaner!

@InkyFingers - Onions are looking good!

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Re: Learning business penmanship
« on: November 24, 2020, 05:12:07 PM »
@Trazo - Saw your reply in the other thread about the Chinese penmen. Below is a list of Instagram accounts off the top of my head that you should checkout. All of their work is amazing. I've had the opportunity to watch Henry and Ritchie write in person at IAMPETH and they blew my mind. When they watch me write, they just laugh and tell me to keep practicing...

I wish all of these people would post more, but we'll just have to live with what they've given us. Enjoy!

Henry -

Olivia -

iamu -

Ritchie -

Wish -

Wingrey -

Show & Tell / Re: An attempt at "running hand"
« on: November 24, 2020, 04:51:32 PM »
@AnasaziWrites Awesome, thank you for sharing this! If you know of any other examples, please share them as well.

Show & Tell / Re: Copperplate / Spencerian comparison
« on: November 24, 2020, 10:52:30 AM »
Beautiful work, Ken. I'd love to see a video of you working in any hand. Let me know if that exists out there somewhere!

Show & Tell / An attempt at "running hand"
« on: November 23, 2020, 05:30:17 PM »
Running Hand is something you will see in the historical specimens by Golden Age penmen. My attempt is only a rough idea of what they were capable of, but the idea is to compress the letterforms vertically and stretch out the spacing horizontally while simplifying forms wherever possible. This results in a hand where you feel like you are constantly moving to the right with little interruptions in between to make ascending and descending strokes. I don't think it is necessarily a faster hand, but more of a flowing hand. And definitely hard to read!

Wish I could find a sample of running hand by one of the masters. I'm attaching the closest thing I could find after searching my digital archives. It shows some of the aspects of the running hand in more of an Ornamental style.

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Re: Learning business penmanship
« on: November 23, 2020, 12:51:59 PM »
@Trazo - I guess my whole point was that learning to write with your arm is really hard!

And yes, I like the term "arm movement" as well and use it sometimes. I avoid saying "whole arm movement" though unless I am specifically talking about writing with the whole arm free.

Show & Tell / Re: An attractive marriage of styles
« on: November 23, 2020, 10:12:33 AM »
Very nice!

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Re: Learning business penmanship
« on: November 23, 2020, 09:59:40 AM »
@Trazo -

Good to know we are talking about the same thing (muscular movement).

In general, I did pretty much follow the old BP books and focus on developing arm movement and a light touch before I really began to study the letter forms at a high level. That said, all of the drills are also designed to teach you form, but it's always in the context of movement. I believe it is important to spend time studying form specifically, especially if you do not have a background in drawing or some other type of art that develops perception (I didn't). What really helped for me was drawing the letters slowly and comparing my drawings to the exemplar. I also spent a lot of time breaking down letters into their more basic components, which I think is helpful because it takes the meaning out of the letters and makes it easier to see the shapes for what they are.

Now regarding the speed (words per minute) that these books recommend, I have always found them unobtainable. Writing Onion 18 times/minute is really fast and difficult to achieve with accuracy. Note that by 18 words/minute, they only mean time spent writing (not including breaks between words). The BP authors' primary goal was to teach students to write fast and legible, which is why they stress speed and movement so much. They were not concerned with developing students to become artistic penman and my guess is that they did not write so hastily when preparing the copies for their books. That said, they certainly wrote the copies with movement.

Another thing to remember here is that everyone going to school in 1900 was learning something like the Palmer Method. That's a lot of kids learning to write BP, some of which particularly excelled, and some were good enough to make penmanship a profession, and a tiny % of them achieved such a high level of writing that they were in the position to publish the books that we study from today. We're talking about the best of the best penman coming out of a very large pool. So when we look at Mills business penmanship, I think we are looking at Michael Jordan level BP.

Another factor is that all of the published BP authors also developed their OP/Spencerian hand to a fairly high level. Many of them probably learned Spencerian first as BP wasn't really around before the 1880s. It's very possible that spending time learning OP/Spencerian develops a higher level of control because it teaches you to combine finger and arm movement.

Overall, I like your final conclusion, which is that you have nothing to loose. My recommendation is to study the old books, learn from contemporaries like myself and the others out there (have you seen the Chinese penman? if not let me know), and do not be afraid to experiment with things that no one else is doing.

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Re: Learning business penmanship
« on: November 20, 2020, 10:52:07 PM »
@Trazo -

First, let's get straight on the term "whole arm movement". This term specifically refers to writing with the whole arm lifted off the table (or sliding freely on top of the table). Whole arm movement was recommended in Spencerian/Ornamental books for writing capitals, but never recommended in any of the Business Penmanship books as far as I know.

I would assume that you are actually referring to "muscular movement", which is writing with the forearm planted on the edge of the table. Just want to get that straight so I know exactly how you are using your arm to write. A misconception here would be costly.

As far as "mastering" muscular movement, I've gained a certain level of control with the arm that you might be after, but I'm far from mastering it. It might be helpful to look at my movement from one of my earliest videos on Instagram vs something more recent.

From Aug 2017 (10 months into my practice):

And from September 2020 (~4 years into my practice):

Hopefully you can see the differences between these two samples. Unfortunately, I don't have video from when I first started, but I can assure you it was very, very bad.

I do have this picture which features three samples of my work from early Feb 2017 (3 months into my practice), 2019, and 2020:

As you can see I was severely struggling, even after 3 months of pretty much daily practice. Also feel like I've made the most progress this past year since my first 1-1.5 years of writing.

The point is that it takes time. Everyone I know that has developed a high level of control with muscular movement has spent countless hours working on it. That said, I always reserve the possibility that there is a better, faster way to develop control that no one has figured out yet.

Overall, if you've only spent a few months of daily practice, I wouldn't expect to feel like you've accomplished much or like there is light at the end of the tunnel. I remember writing to Marcus Carlini with same general question that you are asking now and he basically said, "Keep working on developing your arm, keep studying the forms, and control will come eventually". That gave me confidence to keep going. Hopefully this does the same for you.

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