Author Topic: Help w hairlines  (Read 1211 times)

Offline David R

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Help w hairlines
« on: May 02, 2019, 10:29:25 AM »
Hello everyone,

I'm new to this-started calligraphy when illness took me out of my woodshop.

Have been diligently practicing Copperplate w Eleanor Winters' great book-for about 5 month.

My family would probably say that I'm obsessed  by it.

Right now, am using Blot's Medieval Recipe black ink w my current favorite 2 nibs-the Hunt 22B and the Leonardt Principle EF.

Rhodia paper, of course.

So, right now am rather frustrated on account of inability to consistently get super-fine hairlines.

I know that one has to not put only the slightest pressure, and a newer nib helps.

Last night, I cut my Blot's ink by 50% and that helped some-I suspect some of the water evaporated.

Have plenty other inks/nib----I just like how the Blot's changes, etc.

Maybe some of those tiny nibs?

How about taking a nib to my sharpening equipment to narrow the nib?

Any and all feedback appreciated....and thank you for letting me join and post here.

David

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2019, 10:52:45 AM »
Hi David @David R ,

Hairlines are difficult - and I know when I thought I was getting nice hairlines, I really wasn't. Ink definitely plays a role and I find Iron Gall and Walnut inks give the best hairlines.

I also think it comes down to muscle development and which muscles you are using when writing. Drills helped me *significantly* to develop lighter hairlines. Try a few drills and see how light you can get your lines. After doing this for about 5 - 10 minutes, then go back to doing calligraphy and see if you feel a difference in your hairlines. Practice with lines just making the circles and varying your pressure. Hairlines will not have any pressure and in fact, may need an inverse pressure (which is more just a conscious thought than any application).

It is important while doing the drills to keep your arm stationary. The movement comes from the shoulder. Your arm will move back and forth on the muscle under your forearm (just below your elbow). Be conscious of what your shoulder is doing. It will hunch up and you will have to think "relax, relax" to relax it back down. This will lighten your lines.

I am attaching a quick example. You will see that not only did my hairlines get thinner, but my thicks did as well. It makes you very conscious of your lines. (This was done with a Zebra G nib.)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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Offline Andy.G

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2019, 11:13:11 AM »
@Erica McPhee - This is awesome thanks! An answer to the many issues I logged on for today!

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2019, 11:29:55 AM »
You're so welcome @Andy.G ! I'm so happy you find it helpful. I forgot to mention, this is McCaffery's Penmen's Ink in Indigo.  ;)
Truly, Erica
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Offline David R

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2019, 04:55:50 PM »
Wow.

I'm headed to the house now to get out all my stuff again.

How about the nib sharpening/narrowing idea?

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 12:47:31 AM »
I have tried sharpening nibs before that develop a small glitch or roughness and it never works. Iíve never tried sharpening a nib for hairlines, but you shouldnít have to do that - especially with those two nibs which are quite capable of the thinnest of hairlines.  ;)
Truly, Erica
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Offline Starlee

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2019, 07:50:13 AM »
Hi David,

Erica nailed it mentioning the importance of inks, nibs, drill practice and training yourself to keep your arm light and try to keep movement in the shoulder. It really is a combination of these things...along with the type of paper you use...but you already are using a great combo for obtaining fine lines: iron gall (I presume that's what the medieval ink is) and Rhodia.

Another important factor I would like to add to this list of factors is time. You have been only at this for 5 months. You are learning something that involves mastery of two key components: a new tool and a new hand/script. It takes a long time to build up the muscle strength and stamina to keep your arm light for long periods and to improve the 'brain to hand' directive. As you get more familiar and comfortable with the tool, hairlines become naturally thinner as you master applying and releasing pressure evenly...something I still struggle with 5 years into this. 

Also, do not forget about the psychological component of learning. If those letterforms are not etched in your mind, your brain is going to be less certain on exactly how it should direct the hand/arm. You might have the 'gist' of the shape, but might not yet have a grasp on the finer details...and that uncertainty shows up in the form of shaky lines, odd shapes....and a heavy hand as physical reflex to mental uncertainty is to tense up, creating the 'death grip' on the pen...which pretty much guarantees heavy lines.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 07:51:52 AM by Starlee »
Star

Offline Lyric

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2020, 09:04:16 AM »
Hi David @David R ,

Hairlines are difficult - and I know when I thought I was getting nice hairlines, I really wasn't. Ink definitely plays a role and I find Iron Gall and Walnut inks give the best hairlines.

WHATTTTT!!!!!  Who knew?  Well, apparently you did!  I am, ummm, shocked.  Really!?  I have walnut ink, but it is not my fave.  I mean, i don't hate it.  It's just so, so watery.  Wow, this is interesting news.  Oh, and we know the IG kills the nib, right?  I am wanting to stay away from it.  Though I do have some, giggles.
Scribbalicously yours, Lyric
Calligraphy Journey began 01.06.2020
Penwomanship began 10/2020 :-)

Offline InkyFingers

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2020, 10:57:35 AM »
I suppose if you don't like IGI get some gum of Arabic. Mix GoA with your favorite ink and see if it helps.  It won't kill your nib.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2021, 12:10:06 PM »
@Zivio Even though this is Engrosserís Script, I thought you might find this of interest in relation to drills.  :)
Truly, Erica
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Offline Zivio

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2021, 03:35:00 PM »
@Erica McPhee Yes! I'm all about drills now, due to your and other's suggestions and encouragement.
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace

Offline Daniel McGill

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Re: Help w hairlines
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2021, 02:23:02 PM »
Wow.

I'm headed to the house now to get out all my stuff again.

How about the nib sharpening/narrowing idea?

For sharpening a nib like the LPEF, I would highly suggest you use micro-mesh pads and extremely light movements. Do NOT use lower than the 6000 grit. It will take an extreme amount of trial and error but, with it, you can craft the nib to give finer hairlines than out of the factory (though that is not hard given their QC is bad), and it will give you the opportunity to find that sweet spot. Make sure that you keep the shaving (as that is what you are essentially doing) isolated to the portion in front of the sword hole.