Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Masgrimes

Pages: [1] 2 3
@Erica McPhee A whole box! Awesome. You know, 15 years ago I hadn't even considered becoming a calligrapher yet. How time flies! Seems like we've been at this forever. <3

I really loved the 357 when I was getting started writing ES, however, I have felt that they are quite tinny the last few years. Do you agree with that, @Erica McPhee?

Beautiful work, Ken!

Hey Ken!

Just adding a link to the Sampson Mordan patent being discussed:

One other benefit of the oblique penholder that I find useful for writing Roundhand is that the flange can inclined independently from the staff. This allows for the pen to be held at a lower angle to the paper than is typically possible with other types of holders.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Happy Halloween
« on: November 02, 2023, 01:03:16 PM »
I love your Brown-style lettering, Erica! Very class.

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Re: The mysterious blue lines
« on: November 28, 2020, 06:57:38 PM »
@Trazo I think that's the most responsible position to take on it. Each manual likely referred to a specific paper, but without explicitly saying which paper to use, the authors must have known that home-students would just use whatever paper they had and write two spaces high. I expect that the consistency of using two spaces through many of the manuals is so that the drills have a clearly defined medial point to evaluate their forms/curves/proportions against.

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Re: The mysterious blue lines
« on: November 28, 2020, 03:15:03 PM »
"All the methods of business writing take the space between two (blue) lines of the paper as a unity of measure"

All?  Or are we specifically talking about "Modern Business Penmanship"?  There are hundreds of business penmanship books. Maybe you're talking about lessons from a periodical? Writing papers were often furnished with different rulings.

For example:

Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Paper #4 was ruled with “Universal Ruling”, the lines being seven-sixteenths of an inch apart, and was used in grades 3, 4, and upper grades if desired.

Zanerian 5 Lb paper was suited for fine penmanship, correspondence, etc. the lines being three-eighths inch apart.

Zanerian 6 Lb  paper came in both 3/8” and 1/2” ruling. Uses match those above. The ream was 1 Lb heavier.


Just a side note regarding Engraver's Script :-

I do think that it's unfortunate that, in the Zanerian instructions, no mention is made of its predecessor, English Roundhand. Although it's closely related to ER being descended from it  ::), it's as though the style emerged one day, fully formed from thin air!  :-\


Hey Ken!

Well, it's been several years since this thread was discussed, but I thought I'd follow up on it anyway. I'm just getting back into the forum. Please excuse my tardiness!

In regards to your statement quoted above: Both the first and second edition of the Zanerian Manual contain a plate from William Milnes' The Penman's Repository (1775) clearly establishing a pedigree for the Engrosser's Script as a derivation of its English counterpart. In my opinion, this is a full acknowledgment that the style had not 'emerged from thin air'.

p.12 The Zanerian Manual (1918)

In regards to Estafa's thoughts:

I think that means that the little gaps on the baseline and between parts of letters are for explanation – and not meant to be written like that.

I also think it does not matter how often one raises the pen – as long as the outcome is beautiful. As different as people are, as different their way and method to produce beautiful letters may be. There are also different ways to develop a rhythm in writing, @Masgrimes – I personally find the pen lifting on a downstroke only helpful when it's a stem (like the first downstroke on a "n"), but not in an oval or a compound curve (like the second downstroke in the "n"). Like Ken said, for me it also disrupts the flow and feels just weird and uncomfortable.

There certainly are different ways to develop rhythm while writing. Perhaps my previous statement is oversimplified. The benefit of lifting the pen is not to increase speed or comfort but to increase accuracy. My Engrosser's Script does not personally flow so much as it tumbles. Certain stroke combinations require less delay between lift and subsequent execution. The timing of stroke placement is not so much 1-1-1-1 as it might be 123--1234--123--1-12-123. Was this how historic penmen wrote? Likely not. Unfortunately the only instruction I know of that covers this type of theory is for practical writing.

I also think we should hesitate to utilize Zaner as a model for all things roundhand. The thinking/execution between Zaner's material and Lupfer's is significant enough that we should consider their words and plates distinctly. Vitolo (and indeed all of us that have stemmed from his influence) tends to write much more akin to Lupfer than we did to Zaner (Roundhand/ES, anyway.)

Considering your suggestion that the lifts are only visible in educational material, I can say from first-hand experience this is not the case. I have original specimens from Howe, Lupfer, Norder etc. that are all meant for professional reproduction or personal correspondence that all contain visible lifts. This was a hallmark of the style and a natural byproduct of the baseline lift.

For 'display' script (script to be prepared at size without reduction), these penmen would often retouch their materials prior to handing off to the engraver. This would include filling in small gaps at the baseline left as a result of the pen lifts.

Here are some clips of Lupfer's own words on these subjects.

That being said, I would no longer disqualify a non-lifted style from being deemed 'Engrosser's Script', I would simply call it a 'modernism'. Over the past few years, I have better formed my understanding of the baseline lift. It has three main benefits which are outlined simply as:

1.) The lift serves a role in the rhythm of creation and creates regular intervals for which shapes and lateral positioning can be evaluated and controlled.

2.) The lift serves to reduce the likelihood of nib turnover in which during a downstroke a fiber of the paper is captured between the tines and creates a line-quality issue upon the bottom turn.

3.) It protects and isolates the interior-angular-nature of ES, which Lupfer admittedly was not the largest proponent of, but we see clear as day in the more prolific Engrosser's Script penmen like Baird and Norder.


Anyway, just my thoughts on the subject. Hope you both have been enjoying your pursuits!


Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: French Roundhand Exemplars?
« on: June 04, 2019, 05:26:05 PM »
I'd be remiss not to thank Sybille from for her help compiling resources for me. I'm glad you like the book!

My interest is more in the 20th-century adaptations of the hand, as those are the American styles that you see in Zanerian Manual, except they're not actually American—they're likely German. C. W. Norder, the gentleman who penned the specimens you've been reviewing in the ZM was a vocal proponent of Soennecken broad nibs and likely worked directly from the workbooks of F. Soennecken

Here's a link to one of them. You'll notice quite a few similarities.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: French Roundhand Exemplars?
« on: June 04, 2019, 02:41:13 AM »
A great question would be: are you interested in the style you see in the Zanerian Manual, or are you interested in the historical hands that influenced it?

If the latter, you might enjoy this volume by Louis Barbedor.

It has been a while since this was posted. I am just wandering around the forum and thought I'd leave a response if anyone else comes across this...just my take:

Once you have an understanding of the letters both large and small, your work is only partially done. Each letter can be augmented depending on how it connects to and from others before and after it. These permutations are something worth considering as you develop your hand on the smaller letters, because you will quickly identify combinations that are difficult and/or commonly used. This expands your toolbelt exponentially.

By digging into this type of work, you quickly realize that there are quite a few consistencies in the ways that letters are spaced. lateral spacing in ES can be thought of as inner-letter, inter-letter, and inter-word. If you are practicing and studying the functions of letter combinations and permutations you are learning words. The two are the same.

The idea that writing words teaches you HOW to write words is flawed, in my opinion. What teaches you HOW to write words is an intimate understanding of inner and inter-letter spacings.

I call these spacings 'Intervals' and have a rich curriculum built around them in Dreaming In Script. Check it out if you're interested in learning more.

Hey Erica!

Thank you! Dr. Joe said something similar to me and I've got to admit, I think the program attracts people with a strong aptitude already. I feel very lucky to have students that are so receptive to the method, as their work has been helping me to improve the course since we began. It's fun to know that students are out there making names for themselves, and I'm sure we have several that will really stick with it. :)

(Cross-posted from Copperplate, Engrosser's Script, Roundhand Calligraphy)

Updated April, 2024

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to share a link to more information about my online program dedicated to Engrosser's Script. I hope those of you interested in pursuing competency in this style will consider giving it a look!

With enthusiasm for penmanship, I remain,

Your pen friend,

David Grimes

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to share a bit about my online program dedicated to Engrosser's Script. I hope those of you interested in pursuing competency in this style will consider giving it a look!

Before we get started, I do have some need+merit-based scholarships available, so if you're not in a position to support the course but really think you'd get a lot out of it, please send me an email.

What is Dreaming In Script?

I started developing a curriculum for teaching ES a few years ago when I traveled around the US teaching Engroser's Script in single day workshops. I learned a lot in those classes. Mostly what I learned was that I didn't have a great way to get everything I wanted to talk about packed into an 8-hour class. Some people seemed to get a lot out of those workshops...others might have felt rushed. I knew I wanted to be making something that supported multiple learning styles, so I kept revising and looking for new inspiration in how to teach script.

Over the years, I've come up with a few different methods and models that I think really expand on what Lupfer talks about in the beginning pages of the Zanerian Manual. Regardless of the debate surrounding the differences between copperplate, roundhand, ES, etc. my frame of reference has always been American penmen. I'm interested in how they used their own variation of this centuries-old hand and the style is unique enough that it stands out to me as the most beautiful. I love this script. See that ^ in HD.

So I started developing Dreaming In Script by running a series of 12-week classes at my studio in Hillsboro, Oregon. I tested the full curriculum with six different students privately for twelve weeks. Refined some more, and then set out to make this course.

What does the course look like?

The twelve sections follow a pretty straight-forward and logical progression. I can outline them simply by breaking them into thirds.

1/3: This third of the course focuses on developing a frame of reference for the ensuing practice. You learn about some history, strokes, pen control. We start by setting up expectations and helping to develop an eye for what kind of fidelity you're looking for in your strokes. The students in the course regularly come back to this section after making it through to later areas of the curriculum. It helps to digest these models and ideas several times.

2/3: This second third of the course focuses on developing your understanding of the minuscule forms, which are assembled from things we learn in the first section. We introduce some aspects of stylistic variation. I don't mean flourishing, I mean hunting down specimens of writing from various penmen and adopting big picture styles. There is a lot of variation in historical specimens and you can have a number of different influences that make ES look radically different from one penman to the next.

3/3 This last third of the course focuses on the Majuscule forms, writing, and several small projects. I really wanted to take students through to a point where they feel like they can employ their writing for its utility. The projects at the end are set up as role-play scenarios where you are a penman from the early 20th century, and you're being tasked with a project for a certain reason. Kinda fun!


If any of this sounds like something you're interested in, please feel free to head over to Dreaming In Script and take a look. There are a couple of preview lessons available so you can see what they look like. Each lesson tends to have some combination of videos, diagrams, and essays. I include quite a few scans from my personal collection and those are all presented in super high-resolution so that you can get into the details and see what these old penmen were up to while they were setting our generation up for all of the incredible work that we're going to be doing over the next few decades. I get excited just thinking about it!

Here's a link. Thanks for reading!


I can see no advantage in constant, unnecessary stopping and starting when writing, thereby disrupting the flow.

That's the significance of the lifts, it is not a matter of stopping and starting but a metronome with which the rhythm of the script is established. The benefit comes from the angular interior structure necessary to execute historic (Zanerian) Engrosser's Script. Though Joe's analysis is thorough, the Zanerian Manual remains the purest representation of Engrosser's Script as it was being taught and used in the early 20th century. As you likely know, the Zanerian manual advocates lifting at the baseline (Page 3, fig. 1).

You mention that your sample here is based on many samples, I'm curious if this may be a case of you studying from one penman, while Andrew and I are studying from another. What examples would you say are most indicative of the style that you've included here?

Calligraphy Guilds / Guilds by State
« on: May 01, 2016, 10:38:45 AM »

A list of state organizations in the US. :)

Pages: [1] 2 3