Author Topic: I hate to be a quitter, but....  (Read 2576 times)

Offline ewigginton

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I hate to be a quitter, but....
« on: November 18, 2013, 03:47:26 PM »
I am getting SO frustrated! I look at what I am producing and I see nothing even close to what might pass as acceptable! I know I've only been at it for a couple of months but I'm very dedicated and some days practice up to a couple of hours (with several breaks, of course).

I'm trying to figure out, is it me? Do some people just not have the knack? Is it the nib? I seem to only feel comfortable with the Nikko G although I've tried a few others. I get skips and splotches and seem to run out of ink so quickly. Is it the paper I'm using, the ink? Is it everything all mashed together and I'm just pitching my hissy fit because I'm a perfectionist and I'm not getting perfection?

I know you all have beginner stories to share. Please tell me something that might help me make a breakthrough. I love calligraphy! I can usually do anything I set my mind to but this seems to have me stumped. Of course checking out all the pros work here and on IG is giving me an inferiority complex. But I know they all started at some point!

Thanks, gals. I promise once I have a breakthrough you won't have to call a waaaambulance for me anymore!  >:( >:(

Ellen
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 11:31:31 PM by ewigginton »

Offline Roseann

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2013, 09:39:21 PM »
Hi Ellen,
I am a perfectionist too, so I understand your frustration.  I also did the M. Esplin online course, but it did not work for me.  I needed more detailed explanations, and examples of execution.  Have you tried going to IAMPETH?  It is truly a treasure.  They have a "videos" section and you can watch the the correct way to hold your pen, how to execute the up and down strokes of each upper and lower case letter.  I literally spent hours playing the video, stopping it and trying to execute each letter exactly like he does on the video.  Try to study all the forms, and exemplars. 
Please read this story,  http://www.zanerian.com/Ryan.html  it is extremely inspirational.  I hope it helps you.  Please remember to go slow, and to be patient and kind to yourself.  We usually tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else.  Let me know how it's going. 

Love,
Roseann
Roseann

The world is so full of a number of things, Im sure we should all be as happy as kings.   R. L. Stevenson

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2013, 10:54:44 PM »
I second what Roseann said about IAMPETH. Their instruction is top notch.

I completely understand your frustration. I know it seems hard to believe, but I still have days like that where my pen skips or the paper bleeds or for some reason my letterforms are completely out of whack. It does get so frustrating. And I find the more frustrated I get, the worse my letters become.

I finished the first tutorial tonight for pointed pen so that will be posted within the next 24 hours. However, I am breaking them down into 10 minute segments so as not to overwhelm. So if I am missing anything and you want something else covered that I didn't show, please speak up! I figure I will do the lesson as a general lesson, then several supporting videos to break down each step. So please hang in there!

In terms of nibs - I tend to cycle through which one works for me! At the moment it is the Hiro 41. But I also love the Nikko G. Our energy changes on a day to day basis and the writing that comes out of our hands is just that - our energy. So some days are better than others. It's also why our handwriting varies from day to day, too.

First, make sure you are preparing your nib properly. I will do a small clip on this tomorrow if I can. You want to either burn the tip quickly or use some saliva on a papertowel to wipe off the end. This removes the oil coating from the nib. If the nib isn't working properly, that is the first thing I re-do.

Second, make sure it is a good nib. Some of them are flawed right out of the bag. However, I do find the Nikko G to be more consistent than others. But look for even tines. A split right down the middle, and nothing bent.

Third, make sure your nib is lined up properly in your holder. You should be able to hold a piece of paper at the center of the pen end (where the flange is) forming a 90 degree angle and the tip of the nib should then touch the edge of the paper. (Again, I will demonstrate this in the video).

Fourth, make sure your ink isn't too thick. If you are using sumi, add a few drops of water before starting.

Fifth, use a good, smooth paper that doesn't skip. (I list the one I like on the lesson attachment.)

Sixth, don't letter when you are in a bad mood or tired.

Seven, ALWAYS use an exemplar. You can't make good letters unless those letters are committed to memory and for me that means I will always letter with an exemplar next to me!

Eight .... relax. It's just ink on paper. Swirl your arm around. Loosen up. Listen to music you enjoy. It should be fun!

Nine - go back to basics. Until you have mastered the strokes, don't try to make flourished capitals!

I hope that helps. Please try not to get discouraged. I promise you it is not going to happen over night. It takes months, if not years of consistent, regular practice to really master it. And we are our own worst critics.

If it is helpful for you, and you can scan in some work. I'd be happy to look at it and give some feedback.

HUGS!  :-*
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline ewigginton

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2013, 01:07:31 PM »
Thank you so much, Roseann and Erica! You've given me so much to ponder and work on! I now feel like I'm not floundering and at least have some direction in improving my efforts. I'm not a patient person and I now realize patience is maybe the number one requirement to cultivate this skill!

I'm going to practice today taking into account all you have suggested. I'll let you know how it goes but I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to feel so much more satisfied today. I'm going to take a deep breath, approach my work with patience and stop putting so much pressure on myself.

I really, really thank you from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtful suggestions!

Ellen
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 02:39:02 PM by ewigginton »

Offline wtienken

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2013, 02:25:24 PM »
I know exactly how you feel, Ellen!  I'm a bit of a perfectionist, too, and also tend to be low on that thing called patience.  Just yesterday I felt like throwing my pen down for good.  I was thinking, what's the point?  I'm never going to get this!  I'll have a practice session where I think I did ok, and then some where my letters look like chicken scratch.  It's like being on a roller coaster, isn't it?  Then, the next day I'll see/read/hear something and think, I can't give up.  And here we are :)  I do agree with Roseann that we are our own worst critics.  Truly.  I also really love Erica's suggestions.  Especially the one about not lettering when you're in a bad mood.  That's what happened to me last night.  The kids (I have 2 boys) were in rare form last night during bath/bed time and it just put me in a foul mood.  My letters were horrible after that, which just led me to feel defeated and like throwing in the towel.  I think one thing I try to remember is that we always see people's best online.  And we don't always realize how much time, effort and mess-ups they have gone through before getting to that point.  So I try not to compare myself to others (which is EXTREMEMLY hard!). 

Good luck, friend!  I'm sure this too shall pass :)

Wendy


Offline ewigginton

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2013, 02:46:10 PM »
Oh yay, Wendy! I'm not alone!

I went in to practice today and realized perhaps the biggest obstacle I've had for the past three days is the generator that's been running 24/7 just outside my office window! I guess I wasn't thinking about how irritating it is and was just grateful we have an alternate source of power since those horrific Midwest storms raged through. But it has gotten to me and I'd just like to have our power back! We are projected to be without several more days. **sigh** I do like my peace and quiet and since I was almost in a meditative state while practicing this intrusion has upset my rhythm, I think. I doubt I could ever do this with kids around, so to you that do, you are way more patient than I!

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2013, 05:13:26 PM »
Oh - I thought of another thing! This one is even more encouraging to me! As your hand and arm develop the muscle memory necessary to do lettering, you go through stages. Initially, it may seem like, "hey, this isn't so hard." Then all of a sudden, "Blech! What happened, I could do this yesterday and now today I stink!" And then the next day, "Wow, I really made progress."

Anytime we learn something new that requires muscle memory, we hit that second stage where our muscles falter and our work looks yucky. This usually means, we are gearing up for improvement, and good letterforms are just around the corner!  :D

Also, if things aren't working well during a session, try changing nibs. Sometimes the humidity (or lack of) can change how the paper works, or a nib isn't the best quality, or it's getting too used out. There is a sweet spot with nibs that after they are broken in a bit, they just sing along then page, and then suddenly they don't work well and start snagging, skipping etc. Others don't work well right from the start and never "break in."

Hope that helps!  ;)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2013, 05:15:45 PM »
Wendy,
I LOVE that quote!!!

And such a good point about not seeing people's klunkers online. I'm going to do a quick video at some point to show you the STACK of drafts I went through creating the Flourish Forum logo! It is ridiculous!!!
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline LweezCI

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2014, 01:51:25 AM »
Wow! Such helpful advice and encouragement.

I'm quite patient when I want things done as perfect as I'd like them to turn out. But there are just days when frustration gets in the way, and feels like any kind of help won't do.

It's true, we, ourselves, are our worst critic. In my case I am brutal (or used to be), and my hubby is my horrible critic! Yeah, he's amazed with whatever or however i write or draw things. No negative criticisms from him, that's for sure. But he's my source of encouragement. One time I felt exhausted with how I was doing with my writing, he asked me if he could try it himself. So he did and then said : "Now compare your work with this, hope it makes you feel better." Of course it did, made me laugh really! That's him telling me, it's not magic and you just can't compare your work with others' well polished and published work. You don't have an idea how much time they spent on it and how much practice to have such muscle memory to achieve that. It's a spot on that quote, Wendy! I should always be reminded of that.  :)
Louise C.I.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: I hate to be a quitter, but....
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2014, 09:44:27 AM »
Good husband!  :D And great perspective!
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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