Author Topic: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?  (Read 642 times)

Offline jeanwilson

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1078
  • Karma: 165
    • View Profile
    • Pushing the Envelopes
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2022, 08:26:46 AM »
Your comparison to music is excellent. One of my students was very stuck on practicing one letter at a time and one word at a time and I could not convince her to move on to sentences and to plan on doing an actual finished piece of art. She was so resistant - until one day she came to class and reported that she had told her husband how she was locked in a debate with me. He had been a concert violinist with the Chicago Symphony - and he said he agreed with me - he said it compared to a musician who was stuck on scales and finger exercises - and would never even try playing a piece. Voila. She moved on.

You said - "While I'm not at the level I'd like to be (is anyone?"
Once again - if we look to people who actually master any skill - (unless they are a savant) they all agree that they got to the (virtual) top, one step at a time - and that virtual staircase or ladder goes on forever. You don't stay at the *top* if you do not continue to practice. So, it is a waste of time to fret over which step you are on. If you can't appreciate where you are - you are robbing yourself of the joy of the journey. (Or as some teachers say - you are whiners. Peter Thornton even had a t-shirt - beautifully lettered - that said, "No whining." He wore it to workshops to remind people that whining was pointless. When people would say, "I can't (insert anything that one struggles with)." He would politely say - "...yet." to remind people that they were perfectly capable of figuring things out - and whining was a waste of time. There is nothing about moving a pen across paper that is out of reach for anyone. Sincere seekers of putting lines onto paper will get there -- if they care to find the path that works for them.

Letting one book or one teacher tell you that their path is *The One That Works* - is a huge mistake. Few books teach adults how to obliterate their bad habits.

My favorite way to convince people that self-criticism is a waste of time - is to require them to mail something to someone. It never fails - they get feedback - lots of oohs and ahhh. Another favorite story from my teaching years was a woman who had made a cute hand lettered card to go with a present at a shower. She was so excited (and encouraged) by all the oohing and ahhhing by the other guests. She was quick to tell me that her work was nothing like mine -- but that's the point -- I wasn't at the party - so, by default, she was the very best calligrapher in the room. We rarely run into people who are ahead of us on the learning curve - unless we are at a workshop, a guild meeting, or on a forum like this. It's pretty easy to be the person with the best penmanship in any setting.

And even if I show up at a party with a world class calligrapher - the two of us would agree on *who's best.* But if my work has more bells and whistles and glitter - there will be people who think mine is *better* - to their eyes. A great design can trump the skill level of the lettering. It's not uncommon to see people who have good skills - but they are oblivious to composition and design.

So, please start enjoying your progress - and put your new penmanship to use.
1
You will never obliterate your natural penmanship that has been etching itself in to your muscle memory for decades. So - don't expect that to happen.
2
Impatience is usually the avenue that your natural penmanship uses to sneak in. If you simply slow down - and be mindful - your Spencerian can remain in charge.
3
Feel free to toss out another word instead of *natural* to describe that stuff that we are stuck with - because of the length of time we used it. I don't like to use negative words - because it is a part of us - and I'm vigilant about refraining from self- criticism.
4
Rotate through all the different ways of writing with each practice session.
Warm up with some repetitive words.
Refrain from practicing the lower case letters one-at-a-time.
Caps often need some practice on their own - because there are so many cool variations.
Include some pangrams in your practice - to insure that you are covering every letter.
Chose some motivational quotes - to keep yourself from lapsing into whining.
Your wife's suggestion is one of my all time favorites: Comparison is the thief of joy.
Do some spontaneous writing of your thoughts of the moment - but they have to be positive thoughts - affirmations.

****
Have you ever done cross-drills? I highly recommend them.

Do you practice your Spencerian with a pencil?

Have you ever considered different proportions? Long ascenders and descenders take so much focus. Allowing yourself some easier ones can be a real boost to rhythm.

Are you opposed to morphing your penmanship into something that allows for some variation off what you see in the books? It is a radical idea for some people - but, the penmanship police will not come after you if you tweak things.

The number one item I tweak with people is to allow for a natural slant. Sheila Waters, and others, have agreed with me - that when people have their own natural slant - it's just fine to let them use that slant - to get all the other basics down. Once a person has all the basics - they can adjust the slant.
This is most evident in italics - no-slant italics can be lovely - and for some people - no slant is a much better *first step.*

I'll go back to the other 5 items from the other email -- eventually.
There was a lot of good stuff to ponder in your answers to the questions.


Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2128
  • Karma: 160
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2022, 09:46:06 AM »
From my book (which I have no idea if it will ever be finished):


I do hope it will someday be finished. Let me be the first to preorder a copy. It will be wonderful, @Erica McPhee


Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2128
  • Karma: 160
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2022, 10:20:40 AM »
I have to say I’ve been extremely reluctant to share any personal examples on this forum … but since you asked so nicely ... :D   To be honest, I’m often daunted by the beauty of examples I’ve seen here, but my wife reminds me often that “comparison is the thief of joy.”  However, I’ve recently been inspired by others who have been honest about their struggles and how long these skills take to acquire, so here you go!
@Zivio
Whenever I see someone express reluctance at posting their work or "daunted," if you will, by the work of others, I refer them to this thread (even if they have read it before.)

https://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=1379.0

"Comparison is the thief of joy" is most often true, when you compare your work with an exemplar or someone else's work who is further along in the journey than you are, but in one instance, comparison can bring encouragement and joy--when you compare your current work with earlier work, seeing improvement.
Wishing you much joy in the future.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2022, 10:33:24 AM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2128
  • Karma: 160
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2022, 10:25:30 AM »
Your comparison to music is excellent.. . . questions.
@jeanwilson
This post is truly excellent. So much to here to learn from. Thank you.

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2022, 10:51:03 AM »
@jeanwilson

Thank you for your thoughtful, encouraging and motivational response! It has made my life more wonderful today ... seriously!  <3  I appreciate the suggestions -- those for the heart as well as the hand -- all apposite and practical.

"Cross-drills ...":  Long ago, but only briefly. Last week I'd read in Zaner's Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship, "Take up one exercise or form at a time and stick to it until you have mastered it, or at least made substandial improvement. As a rule, two or three pages at least should be devoted to a form before going ahead." 

Certainly, I'd encountered other similar instructions from other of these old texts and brushed them aside with thinking, or perhaps subliminally  whining, it was just an "old school" pedagogical affectation.  But I really took this to heart and have been producing pages of spiraled direct and indirect ovals. Absolutely disfigured, at first, but slowly improving! And it's not so much that my ovals are mastered, but my pen handling and arm movement has changed for the better.  Shortly after becoming a member of the Flourish Forum, I had expressed interest in joining the "No drills club" (earlier topic on this forum.)  @Erica McPhee had wisely explained the benefits of drills, and I listened, but hadn't really put the time and effort into them ... not like Zaner says anyway.

"Spencerian with a pencil ...": No.  Not yet, anyway. I'd seen a FF post showing ballpoint pen practice, and I've given that a few runs. Interesting how it separates pointed pen technique from all the other things going on.  I've seen writing with pencil suggested in Sull's book.

"Different proportions ...": More food for thought. I often practice on unruled paper with different sizes and proportions, but not necessarily consciously.

"Opposed to morphing ... variation from [text books] ... natural slant ...":  Here I am perfectly fine with developing/owning my personal "hand."  I have seen SO many examples of historical documents and truly talented FF members that aren't necessarily "textbook Spencerian" or even textbook "perfect" that are all so very beautiful.  I love, and prefer, that variation and the humanize feature of it!  As Erica said:

Less defined by any singular action and more by how the letterforms work together - grace, harmony, and contrast make great calligraphy [and penmanship] stand apart from the rest. Grace is the elegance of your letters, the curves of your lines, the absence of rough or misshapen strokes. The harmony or relationship between the forms is the balance of the letters and how the strokes work together, the consistent spacing, and parallel lines. The contrast is both of light to dark, and heavy to thin. The contrast of shades to hairlines adds depth, interest, and beauty.”

Thanks again, all, for your ideas and encouragement!

- Grasshopper

« Last Edit: June 01, 2022, 11:12:06 AM by Zivio »
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2022, 11:08:10 AM »
Whenever I see someone express reluctance at posting their work or "daunted," if you will, by the work of others, I refer them to this thread (even if they have read it before.)
https://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=1379.0

@AnasaziWrites  Ah, thank you so much for your comments and that link! No, I had not viewed it before.  And while certain others on that thread had observed that some members' "befores" were pretty dang good, I've come to the realization that perhaps comparison of our own previous efforts may be the giver of joy.  To that end, I proffer yet another of my "befores" from early days of practice.  I'm reminding myself ...

Wishing you, too, many happy life moments,
Karl 

Foment Compassion, Practice Peace

Offline jeanwilson

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1078
  • Karma: 165
    • View Profile
    • Pushing the Envelopes
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2022, 11:21:28 AM »
Thank you to @AnasaziWrites for adding the part about comparing your personal befores and afters -
Such good advice.

Offline D B Holtz

  • Freshman Member
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Karma: 9
    • View Profile
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2022, 05:41:23 PM »
Zivio -

Here are some pangrams and guidesheets that helped me in learning Spencerian; I hope they work for you.

DB

Offline Erica McPhee

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6474
  • Karma: 326
  • Be brave. Love life!
    • View Profile
    • Dasherie Magazine
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2022, 05:54:04 PM »
Great pangram list DB ! I was tickled to see one of mine on there - Six jelly doughnuts… Thanks for sharing!  :)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Re: Handwriting fluency tips - feedback?
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2022, 08:03:24 PM »
Zivio -

Here are some pangrams and guidesheets that helped me in learning Spencerian; I hope they work for you.

DB

Thanks so much!  I've always loved word play and was just thinking about working up some custom pangrams for practice upon the recommendation from @Jean Wilson.  I think I'll just stick with this list -- they are so fun and clever!
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace