Author Topic: Question on holding an Oblique Holder  (Read 11844 times)

Offline Judy G

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2015, 12:34:46 AM »
I tried doing Heebs' suggestion. I don't know if I'm doing it right, but it's rather challenging. My handwriting kinda got a bit wobbly  :-\ I guess it does take time getting used to. I did notice, however,  there isn't much pressure on my forefinger, though.
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Offline Heebs

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2015, 01:16:07 AM »
That was perfect Sal, thanks for posting.

Judy - Just like anything else we change after being used to a certain way, it's going to take a bit of doing. Like learning Spencerian coming from Copperplate, it looks terrible when you first start but eventually gets better with practice. When I fixed my grip it took a few months to adjust but now i'm glad I did.

Offline Linda Y.

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2015, 02:36:31 AM »
Thanks for the photos Salman! Really appreciate it.

Offline Salman Khattak

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2015, 02:50:48 AM »
You are most welcome Linda. I'm glad I could help.

Salman
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Offline Jamie

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2015, 03:34:59 AM »
Well if I didn't feel like I quite had a death grip before, I do now. Pulling my hand back makes me feel like it takes more effort to open up the tines for swells, and my hand tends to translate that as press harder with every muscle and not just press down harder. It's definitely going to take some practice.

Offline Blotbot

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2015, 09:23:47 AM »
Salman-
I think the recommend from the last calligraphy class was to angle it towards the middle knuckle of the index finger and extend fingers.  I do find I have a greater range of motion in my fingers when I do that.  In the end, I suspose it is whatever works tor you.

Offline Leary

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2015, 09:50:52 AM »
Moif, where your index finger rests on the top of the holder should still be very close to the point. All pressure for shades should be applied through this finger, minimising the force necessary. To weigh in on the post in general, I don't think you necessarily need to hold the pen further up—not by much anyway. Perhaps I am unusual, but my thumb is generally only 1–3 mm away from the flange, and my grip is very light; I never experience hand fatigue.

The way I learnt this grip was by doing lots of hairline exercises (a good opportunity to study letterforms or fundamentals) with only the thumb and middle finger on the holder, index slightly raised. Before I started a stroke, I'd consciously check I was holding the pen very loosely. After something like a few days or a week, the loose, two-finger grip felt fairly natural and easy enough to control with precision. Then I started to phase in shades. Like with the lightness before, I was consciously applying all force with the index finger, and again it soon became natural. I suspect I also owe much of the lightness of my hand to this process.

NB: Most I've read in the thread so far appears to be assuming you're not going for Spencerian or OP, for which the grip should be very different.
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2015, 10:36:59 AM »
NB: Most I've read in the thread so far appears to be assuming you're not going for Spencerian or OP, for which the grip should be very different.

Care to expand on that, Leary?  I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts.

Offline Marcia Aronow

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2015, 10:41:38 AM »
If any of you participate in IAMPETH's discussion group on Yahoo, there was a recent conversation this week on this very issue started by Hollis, who is working on 700 envelopes & is experiencing hand fatigue.    She's thinking that it could be the way her holder is adjusted.  Many comments have to do with posture, taking breaks, icing, ibuprofin, etc.  One comment that has helped me relieve fatigue and that dreaded "death grip" syndrome, is to hold something in your opposing hand while you're writing.  It can be as thin as a pencil or eraser, or one of those small gel filled balls that can help with arthritis.  Holding something in your non-writing hand will help to loosen up your writing hand, like magic!  As with any of the above great suggestions on how to hold your oblique pen, this one also takes some getting used to.   
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Offline Leary

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2015, 11:50:51 AM »
Well, Andy, the most fundamental thing to point out is that for Spencerian or OP, the arm should be rotated so that the wrist faces down rather than to the side, and no part of the hand barring the back of the extreme third of the third or fourth fingers should contact the writing surface. (Forgive that sentence if it doesn't parse easily.) Most other differences are just small things accounting for this.

Bear in mind I'm still very early in my developement of this area, so I can't assert anything with the same confidence I might in, say, Engrosser's or Quadrata. 90% of my knowledge here is pulled straight from old IAMPETH resources without the benefit of being filtered extensively though my own experiences. That said, the grip certainly seems to be working very well for me so far; the pen angle it produces is so low that I have serious trouble getting a modern 303 to snag (so I get to use hairlines even more delicious than a Principal's), it distances my work so far from handwriting that there's no risk of damage to my forms from intermingling, and it heavily discourages finger movement.
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2015, 12:51:35 PM »
Thank you Leary, that was indeed interesting.  What intrigued me was your mention of a different grip for Spencerian and OP.

There seems to have been a shift in the thinking about hand position in the late 19th century, in American professional penmanship circles at least.  By the time Zaner was writing his OP book he seemed to regard the classic wrist down, glide on the nails of the 3rd and 4th fingers position as outmoded.  Instead he describes the hand resting on the side of the top joint of the little finger.  I suspect that this might be because a certain amount of finger movement and pen manipulation is, if not quite essential, certainly desirable for OP.

What Zaner is clear about is that the point of contact with the paper should be small, and this thought was echoed by Brian Walker in a conversation last year.  Mr Walker was surprisingly relaxed about hand positions (he tends to be a stickler about many other things), and if memory serves he uses the side of the little finger as described above.  He also encourages finger movement for ascender loops, and goes in for a good deal of pen twisting for capitals.

Quite what all this means I'm not altogether sure, but I do think that OP is a special case because of the peculiar rolling movement required to produce asymmetric shades.  My hand position isn't going to change now, but the discussion is a fascinating one.  By the way, a resounding "hear, hear" on the relative merits of the 303 and the Principal for hairlines.

Offline Salman Khattak

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2015, 02:20:01 PM »
Salman-
I think the recommend from the last calligraphy class was to angle it towards the middle knuckle of the index finger and extend fingers.  I do find I have a greater range of motion in my fingers when I do that.  In the end, I suspose it is whatever works tor you.

Ellen - placing the shaft just to the front (i.e. away from the body) of the first knuckle works best for me when using a straight holder for broad edged calligraphy as it puts the holder in a more vertical position making manipulation of the nib easier.

I find that placing the oblique holder just behind the first knuckle puts it in a position that, for me, opens up the fingers and discourages too much finger movement.

These things are subtle though as the proportions of every hand are subtly different and what works perfectly for one might not be optimal for another.

I think the importance of the grip is limited to what would allow one to write with good control and without any discomfort. How big a deal can the grip be when we consider that there have been excellent penmen who had no hands, and there are people who can produce beautiful handwriting with their feet :-)

Salman

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Offline Roseann

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2015, 08:19:50 PM »
Yes, Thank you.
I really appreciate the pictures too!
Roseann

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Offline Jamie

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2015, 10:03:07 PM »
I started practicing changing my grip on my fountain pens when I write regularly for my class notes. Since I don't care as much about the letter forms being perfect as long as my writing is relatively neat, and I move at a faster pace, it's a much easier environment to work on shifting my grip around. I've noticed my wrist getting a little  more tired but that's probably because I normally don't use it as much to write, I've always been more of a finger writer.

Offline Leary

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Re: Question on holding an Oblique Holder
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2015, 02:16:45 AM »
I'm always curious to try a new grip if it might be an improvement, Andy, but I could do with some more detail. Roughly what angle should the wrist be at, and how are the ring and little finger positioned? If the resource you're referring to covers it well enough, then a name and page reference would be appreciated. I'm finding that the further up my wrist is, the less room there is to position comfortably the third and fourth fingers such that they don't interfere with the others.

As an addition, if you happen to know of any videos where pen twisting or the rolling movement is apparent, I'd be very interested to see them.
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