Flourish Forum

General Categories => Spencerian Script => Topic started by: Zivio on September 06, 2021, 06:33:28 PM

Title: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
Post by: Zivio on September 06, 2021, 06:33:28 PM
I'm pleased to report that I'm nearly at a one-year point in my journey of daily practice to learn Spencerian script! I don't hesitate to add that I am no natural in the art of handwriting, having suffered with a "caveman grip," as my brother once described it, all my writing life.  My regular writing, indeed, looks like perhaps a caveman articulated it with a lump of coal in his fist.  To train out those many years of muscle memory I've endeavored to learn Spencerian using whole arm writing almost exclusively.  I have also been using a fountain pen exclusively up until now.

In this first year, I've finally learned all the letter shapes for both lower case and majuscules.  Although my writing quality has improved measurably from where I've begun, I find that it pales in comparison to many online examples I've found from purported "beginners."  My wife cautions me that "comparison is the thief of joy," but I mention this to help give some context for the question I'm posing to this forum. 

I'm asking for opinions at this stage if it would be more effective to continue with fountain pen practice until I achieve a better consistency and flow in my writing, or might it make sense to move on to oblique dip pen now to begin developing what I expect will be a very new feel and skill?  I can argue it either way: get better with writing before changing things up too much, or, since I hope to move on to dip pen and shading somewhere down the road anyway, start sooner since I'll be wanting those skills to develop and I can continue work on consistency and flow as much with a dip pen as I can with the fountain. Starting sooner would mean more experience and practice with the new tools than starting later.

I appreciate any and all thoughts on this!   Thanks!

Title: Re: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
Post by: Erica McPhee on September 06, 2021, 10:19:56 PM

Congrats on a great anniversary! I say time to move on to the oblique! You will learn the infinite ways your pressure and movement can change the lines and develop your own rhythm. It is a whole new ball game and I feel quite liberating. I also feel it truly develops and emphasizes the true beauty of Spencerian with the subtle and sparse shades.

Can’t wait to see your work some day!  :)
Title: Re: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
Post by: Zivio on September 07, 2021, 12:22:06 AM
Thank you, Erica, for the encouragement and "the right answer!"  I look forward to the next stage and when first beginning my journey had a thought, based upon absolutely nothing, that the first year would be learning the letters, and the next years forward, forever, would be dip pen and shadings, flourishing and all the other fancy variations.

Thanking you also for the encouragement about drills practice! Although frustrating at first, I see now how very helpful it ultimately will be, even though I'm really only doing direct and indirect ovals of varying sizes. Over and over and over ... again.

I've had my heart set on a Curv-E ever since learning about it on this forum. What better anniversary gift, correct?

Do I understand correctly that it may be ordered from https://www.chicoblique.co.uk? I couldn't readily find the information in the forum.

I'm still open for other people's experience on this topic  as well as nib recommendations, although I'll definitely look through the tools and supplies information here.
Title: Re: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
Post by: jeanwilson 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.
Title: Re: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
Post by: Erica McPhee on September 07, 2021, 09:20:26 PM
Yes that is the site to order from and it looks like Edward has some beautiful new varieties from which to choose! How exciting!

I agree with Jean on the NikkoG and Rhodia paper. I would also add either McCaffrey’s ink or Walnut ink. I like the Zebra G as well which I find a bit sharper but has a bit more give.  ;D
Title: Re: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
Post by: Zivio on September 07, 2021, 10:15:12 PM
Thank you, Jean, and again Erica! Comments about experimentation rings very true, and it's not likely anything I do at this point will "make it or break it," since the rules of my universe will be changing measurably regardless of my choices. I got excited and ordered a Curv-E, ink, blotter paper and some nibs, informed by Michael Sull's suggestions in Learning to Write Spencerian Script, prior to seeing your replies  I ordered Higgins Eternal Ink, Gillot 303 and G nibs to begin, and have been really enjoying Claire-Fontaine paper from very early on. As for the Curv-E, I looked for medium grip, not super long, and just slightly on the heavier side, because ... caveman!  Oh and, of course, in a model most appealing to my aesthetic, although there weren't any I couldn't love -- what beautiful writing instruments!!

I imagine it will take time with the new tools and supplies before I'll even be in a place to have personal judgements whether one thing works better than another for me. I've avoided extremes in my selections for now, and down the road, if I'm having regular problems with anything, I'll post questions and try other materials and most likely will then have a better sense of whether the new things are for better or for worse.
Title: Re: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
Post by: Grayspoole on September 10, 2021, 07:48:27 AM

Congratulations on your year of progress!

I will venture to offer my own view.  I have been practicing calligraphy for about thirty years, and roundhand/copperplate is one of my favorite scripts. While I can use an oblique holder, it always feels a bit forced and unnatural to me, while the straight holder feels more like a natural extension of my hand. I have gone back and forth between straight and oblique over the years. Elaborate large flourishing seems to work better with an oblique, but for smaller, finer lines of roundhand, I generally use a straight holder. And of course if you want to practice any of the broad edge scripts some day (italic, foundational, uncial, and so on), you will use a straight holder with those nibs.

As Jean has said, it’s very personal. But I don’t think it is necessary to “graduate” to an oblique to continue to improve one’s calligraphy, and for some writers, an oblique holder might present unnecessary difficulties. Good luck with your calligraphy explorations, whatever type of holder you choose.
Title: Re: Time for an oblique dip pen? Opinions?
Post by: Zivio on September 13, 2021, 06:15:34 PM
Hi Grayspoole -

Thank you for the response to my post; I appreciate all input! If anything, I want to "graduate" to pointed dip pen so I may begin learning letter shading, using oblique or not. As a beginner, I'd seen so many fine examples of handwriting by people using oblique holders, I think I was mistakenly assuming it was fairly necessary, if not de rigeuer  ;), to advance the art. It's refreshing to hear that milage varies, so if my explorations using the oblique just don't work out, I can try something else ... no shame!  :D

It isn't likely I will be moving beyond Spencerian Script to other of the calligraphy arts ... I'm no artist, but I am a letter writer and have desired for many years that the appearance of my correspondence would compliment its content. Not quite there yet, but I'm pleased to have been true to this vision for this first year and do not plan on giving up!

Wishing you every joy,