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Messages - jeanwilson

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Introductions / Re: Left-handed sidewriter
« on: January 15, 2022, 06:52:27 AM »
If you keep rotating the paper so that your nib is parallel to the slant lines on your exemplar, you will find the *direction* that you need for allowing the nib to perform properly.

I have had students who end up with the paper pretty close to upside-down - which seems like it's too radical a change to work -
but, when you start with the basic strokes and you start seeing the proper thicks and thins, you realize that you are putting shapes together.

Keep the exemplar in the same orientation - and eventually - it all comes together.
I've seen left handed people who write on paper that is turned 45-degrees and further - just for their regular penmanship.

Keep looking at the individual strokes and how they fit together to make letters -- and words.

Tools & Supplies / Re: How do you prep new nibs?
« on: December 25, 2021, 06:45:48 AM »
I've never seen anyone stab a broad edge nib into a potato - only pointed nibs.
Frequently, whatever someone taught you at the beginning is what worked the first time and what you may stick with.
My first teacher used a toothbrush with soft bristles to clean Speedballs, and recommended either a squirt of Windex or toothpaste.
I've always found Windex to be handy for cleaning nibs.
Some people use nail polish remover - and sometimes the coating on a new nib will need something stronger.
I went through a phase where I flamed pointed nibs with a match - but once I switched to the *chrome* nibs (Nikko G)
I did something that is popular - and a surprising number of people so this --
just put the nib in your mouth - and carefully hold it on your tongue for a few seconds.
The first time I met Dr Joe Vitolo at an IAMPETH conference - I remember him explaining what it is in saliva
that helps to coat the Nikkos and make the ink stick.
He teaches dentistry - so he must know.

My advice to students is that not all nibs will respond to the same prep - so try the easiest things first -
To me - the nibs that look like they are chrome, do not have a coating - so I don't mind putting them in my mouth.
The nibs that clearly have a coating - I do not put in my mouth.

I love using a etched line as a guide line for broad pen calligraphy.  However, with pointed pens, I use a pencil with very light pressure and no erasure.

Does anyone use an etched line?

If by etched line, you mean just pressing a blunt stylus into the paper, then - yes - I've done that a lot. It was my favorite way to do place cards.
On a lot of papers, you don't even need to press hard enough to make a dent - you can make line that shows up just enough that you can see it - but the light has to be hitting it just the right way.

I also have many suggestions for various devices (usually file folders) where you learn to write just above the edge of the file folder. This topic came up a while ago and I think I mentioned that I had a very cool folded paper device (made by Peter Thornton - that I would share - but first, I had to find it. I have found it - but I am headed out of town for a couple weeks -- so will post it some time in January.

Spencerian Script / Re: Operating pointed pen and ink - tips?
« on: December 07, 2021, 07:57:59 AM »
I agree with everything InkyFingers says - and can add a couple things.

For me, if I can see the buildup, that's when it is time to wipe.
As I have mentioned, I prefer to brush load, but if I wanted to dip into metallic inks, I would dip into plain water first and then into the metallic ink.

And let's hear from the potato people. I know there are people who stab potatoes - but I don't know how often. Maybe stabbing a potato prior to dipping would serve the same purpose as cleaning the nib. Or maybe too much stabbing would transfer starch into the ink.

I've also seen people stab sponges that are sitting in a container with enough water to keep the sponge soggy. That seems to act as a way to clear most of the residue off without stopping to pick up a wiping cloth and doing it by hand.

You probably need to reserve a lot of stabbing for the sturdier nibs. The delicate, flexible nibs probably prefer a gentle touch with a well-worn linen hankie.

Spencerian Script / Re: Next ink to try ...
« on: November 10, 2021, 06:35:06 AM »
I'm glad my comments were helpful.

As I have mentioned in other threads, I prefer to load nibs with a brush or pipette rather than dip.
It takes longer, but, it's tidy to not have any ink on the top of the nib.
With any bottle of ink that has a narrow opening, I use a pipette - so I don't have to transfer the ink into a dinky dip.

Even though I make my walnut ink from crystals, I make it in an old Norton's bottle which has a narrow opening.
Walnut ink is thin enough that I don't mind dipping it.
I pour ink into the cap - do the lettering - pour the unused ink back into the bottle and then wad up a tissue into the cap which will absorb any excess.

Some of the McCaffrey's inks can get some dried chunky stuff around the edge, under the cap.
I try to keep the threads on the bottle and the cap really clean and sometimes I put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the bottle before I replace the cap so it is easier to open next time.

Spencerian Script / Re: Next ink to try ...
« on: November 08, 2021, 07:06:34 AM »
I taught for many years and Higgins is OK for beginners. Many students would already have it from previous classes. I would offer alternatives for them to try and most of the time, students would be thrilled with the progress they made after finding some more delicate inks. The easiest one is walnut ink.

I know from my classes with Mike Sull that he recommends McCaffrey's ink for beginners - but he probably leaves Higgins as an option )in his books) because it is so widely available. McCaffrey's is very popular with pointed pen enthusiasts. But NOT the GLOSSY black. That stuff has serious drying problems.

John Neal has a set of 10 McCaffrey's colors.
Use them up promptly and then you have 10 dinky dips.

Walnut ink is also dreamy with pointed nibs. You can buy it by the bottle, but I prefer the crystals and to mix it myself.

Ziller inks are pretty good - and a good option if you want water*proof* lettering on envelopes. But, it is acrylic based so you do not get the finest hairlines.

If I were stuck with only Higgins eternal, I would dilute it a bit with distilled water. Remember with any ink, if you work straight from the bottle, there will be some evaporation while the lid is off. Don't dilute the whole bottle - experiment with a smaller quantity in a dinky dip - or some other small container.

McCaffrey's and walnut ink are both *watery* and some people do not like the look - they prefer super dark black. I actually like the watery look. So, maybe some others will post suggestions for really dark black alternatives.

Spencerian Script / Re: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
« on: September 07, 2021, 08:25:51 PM »
There is a learning curve with any new tool - and if you have already been practicing and have developed some rhythm, you will probably have to slow down a bit when you start working with the oblique. There is no harm in practicing with both the fountain pen as well as an oblique. You might want to try a straight holder as well.

Penmanship is such a personal activity. Hopefully you can enjoy experimenting and trying different tools, inks, nibs and papers and finding the ones that work best for you.

I never enjoyed Spencerian until I tried a Nikko G nib, McCaffrey's ink and Rhodia or Clairfontain paper. It was recommended by Mike Sull as a good combination for beginners and I completely changed my perspective on Spencerian. I know there are better nibs for more advanced students - but you might try that combination. It was very helpful to many of my students.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Going to Omaha?
« on: August 15, 2021, 10:31:07 AM »
Thank you, Starlee.
At 3 weeks out -- there have been baby steps at a snail's pace.

Full recovery is subjective -- will I get back to where I was on July 24th?
At that time, I was already in a decline with minor sleeping issues and minor memory issues --
I'm 69, so I'm already adapting to the normal issues of aging.
There is no way to tell if the brain injury is hastening them.

Or maybe bonking my head knocked some sense into me and I will manage my 70s and 80s with a better attitude about aging.

I have some Parallel Pens -- and hardly ever use them. However, I have friends who use them all the time -- and they don't even bother with the cartridge. They just put the ink in the barrel and they swear that they do not have any problem with leaking. To me, it always sounded like a very dangerous hack. But, if you want to live dangerously -- give it a try. Maybe others have tried it and can weigh in.

Perhaps you can find more info on YouTube. It looks like there are quite a few videos.

After asking managers in the various chain stores about items that come and go - there have been some consistent answers.
They track which items sell, and when they do not sell enough of any given item, they stop carrying it.
They do not automatically carry the same items in each store.
Through tracking, if they find items that are wildly popular in one area - they might continue to stock those items in the stores where they sell and discontinue them in stores where they are not selling.
Not all stores within a chain are the same size. Larger stores will have more variety.

JetPens usually has a wide range of parallel pens and inks - plus free shipping if you spend $25.
It's not overnight, but it's pretty good.
You can pay extra for faster shipping.

John Neal has been my favorite calligraphy supply store for decades -- so, I would definitely put him at the top of my list - Supporting John's shop is like the good old days when customers were loyal to merchants with whom they could have a personal connection. I am not sure if John stocks everything that JetPens does - in the Parallel Pen category.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Gouache opacity
« on: August 14, 2021, 07:09:51 PM »
It looks to me like the chunks that appear on top
are happening because the gouache has dried enough that it is acting like paint and not like ink.
When I work in gouache, it seems like I spend more time on adding water, stirring, and cleaning the nib - than I do on actual writing.

When I had students who were struggling with blobby messes - I could see that they just needed to slow down and realize that gouache is not ink so it requires more attention. It needs to be watery enough to be inky -- but it can get too watery with certain nibs.

It might surprise you how thin you can make the gouache -- with the right paper and nib - it can be almost like regular water color.
But, if you are looking for that nice opaque look of gouache, you might need a different paper or a different nib.

You have to consider the paper and the ink. Every.Single.Time. Unless you hit on a perfect combination the first time. That can happen.

You are working with a broad edge - so if you try different nibs -- you will see a difference between Mitchells and Tapes for example. For me - I love a Mitchell with a reservoir and walnut ink -- and it will work on lots of papers -- but not all. If I use gouache with Mitchells, I do not use the reservoir and I clean the nib frequently.

The more tooth your paper has -- will affect how the gouache behaves. I prefer a less-toothy paper with gouache and broad edge.

That chunk in the photo - might not happen on a different paper. (even though I think it just looks like a little build up because the gouache needs to be a little thinner)

Once you find combinations that work -- be sure to make a note on a piece of the paper indicating which nib and which gouache worked the best.

And -- different color of gouache behave differently.
Personally -- I love indigo -- and some of the greens drive me crazy - because they do not stay mixed.

Hopefully you continue to have fun on your journey.

Have fun experimenting -- remember with every project -- paper/nib/fluid -- if something is not working -- you might need to start trying some other papers - or nibs - or fluids.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Gouache opacity
« on: August 13, 2021, 08:24:14 AM »
Thanks for the well wishes.

I am unable to re-read through all the suggestions -- and my short term memory is sketchy -- so this might be a repeat.
However, I have suggestions for touching up.

If you get a WN Series 7 - size 00 or 000 paintbrush
you could probably cover those pencil lines that are either bleeding through or simply showing through the watered down gouache.
Use the same color and it should be fairly easy to put a layer of gouache over the offending lines.
It will take time to learn how to do touch up -- but it can be a very satisfying activity.

The ability to do sophisticated touch up can remedy a lot of frustrating situations.

There are also brushes called *spotters* that are for touch up.

You have to turn the paper so that when you are always placing the tip of the brush near the edge of the lettering and then pulling in to the center of the stroke.

I promise you -- if you do all the touch up - with the artwork in the right reading orientation -- you will over shoot the edges of the letters rather than keeping the touch up paint within the letters.

A pointed nib will also work in tiny areas - but a brush works better to feather out the touch up so that you can't see the layers.

A pair of reading glasses is also helpful. I wear glasses, but, I have readers that I wear over the top of my glasses and the magnification is so helpful.

Is there a thread on touching up and making corrections?
If not -- maybe we should start one. IMHO it is an essential part of lettering.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Gouache opacity
« on: August 11, 2021, 11:06:24 AM »
My experience has been that when gouache is thinned enough to become an ink, it no longer has enough opacity to block out the guide lines.

While I have a light pad I have never liked using one and I have two alternatives to guide lines and one theory about pencils that you might try.

The theory -- use a different pencil.
Often times, people just use the handy No 2 pencil -- which many left handers note - puts down a line that is eager to escape off the paper. The graphite is made up of little particles - and they are happy to catch a ride on the part of a left handers hand that is dragging over the written word.

Those little particles that are eager to escape - are so excited when they are covered with a watered down (ink-like) gouache They feel that liquid being layered over the top and they decide to float up and see what's happening. As I said this is only a theory -- but with any water based medium, you have to deal with under layers responding to the moisture from the top layer -

For guidelines, I use pencils that are harder than No. 2 -- so the particles are less of a problem.
But, they can't be too hard or they are not easy to erase.

As always -- the type of paper affects how much the pencil wants to stick to the paper - vs looking for a way to escape.
So - there are no had and fast rules about which pencil will be the best for guide lines.

I also take great care to make guidelines very very light - and sometimes I make a dashed line - so that there is no solid line. With hand lettering, you generally don't need solid lines.

A lighter, dashed line, made with something other than a No.2 pencil might do the trick. I would love to give you a specific grade of pencil -- but, as previously mentioned - there is not just one pencil that works on every paper.
In general, you want something harder than a No 2 -- but if it gets too hard, then can be difficult to erase.

Try to enjoy experimenting and figuring things out for yourself.
Most artists have their own preferences - built on years of experience.
What works for me might not work for you.
Beware of people who insist that they know the one and only way to do something.

One of the two techniques for guidelines without any penciling has already been posted.
It was the technique for writing in a book.
You can use that technique on a single sheet of paper

Maybe someone can find that post and post the link - and then I can add the link to this post.

I am still recovering from my traumatic brain injury and have to limit my screen time A LOT.
So, I will not be able to look it up.

My other technique for straight lines without penciling them came from Peter Thornton -- and it will involve photographing -- again -- it will take some time for me to prepare the photos and description -- so, I'll put it on my to-do list. Staying in touch with my scribe friends is in the plus column of my days. But, this amount of typing has used up my brain cells for a few hours.

Someone wrote to me about using the technique for writing in a book -- but, my memory is scrambled - and can't remember who it was.
If that person is reading this and has any spare time -- shoot me a direct message and maybe you can help me with the Peter Thornton device. I could send you a photo and you could write the instructions.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Going to Omaha?
« on: August 01, 2021, 08:49:36 AM »
Jean was planning on going -- but ended up in the ICU with subdural hematoma.
Cause: my usual low blood pressure took a dip as I was making my morning coffee.
My husband heard the thud and then heard me calling for help -- I didn't even spill my coffee --
I must have blanked out for a moment - and slid to the floor, bonking my head on the countertop as I slid into a sitting position.

But at 69 -- the brain has shrunk  a bit -- and allowed enough space for some bleeding (subdural hematoma)
Best news of all -- I did not have to have surgery. It's probably too early to predict if I can expect 100% recovery -- but so far things look stable and nothing new and scary has happened.

I had not planned on sharing this information - until I started reading about how often people over 60 fall - and ignore a *bonk* on the head --
I never felt that bad -- but thankfully my husband took me to the ER -
If you are over 60 and you hit your head -- get it checked out --
And if you are on blood thinners -- you absolutely need to go.

If you have kids -- be vigilant with helmets.
I know how to be a patient patient -- but I can see how a kid or a teenager would be a very difficult person to try to nurse back to health.

If you live alone - you might want to consider a service that will check on you once a day.

Arches Text Wove is my favorite all-purpose paper. It feels like nice stationery.
It is also very nice for handmade books.

I bought the sample pack many years ago and it's nice to know about all the other papers.
If you get the sample pack, you might want to reserve a piece of each of the papers to use for testing.
Write the name of each paper at the top of the page.
Then - every time you try a new nib & ink combo - write the name of the ink and nib on each piece of paper
and establish which papers are friendliest with the various inks and nibs.

Some papers have a right side - which you can see by the watermark.
As I fold and tear (rather than cut) the large pieces into smaller pieces - I alway mark the front side.
Once the watermark is gone, it can be hard to tell which is the right side.
There is nothing *wrong* about the non-right side - but sometimes a nib/ink will respond better on the right side.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Calligraphy forum
« on: June 21, 2021, 07:00:13 AM »
Yes. If you make an account for your forum - use the name of the forum, not your own name.
At the top of your home page, you can have a link to the actual forum.

Then, as you leave comments on the work of other people -
they will see the name - and probably be curious - and go to the IG account with your forum name.

You might want to put up several posts before you start making comments
so that when people do check out your forum's IG account,
they see things that draw their interest to the forum.

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