Author Topic: No drills club  (Read 13785 times)

Offline himasf

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No drills club
« on: June 21, 2016, 02:24:10 PM »
My claim to not do drills was challenged by someone earlier this year. So what do I mean when I say I don't do drills?

Do I write letters over and over for lines and lines? Absolutely. And I understand that some people refer to this as "drilling" too. There's no way to learn anything without repetition. (I'm not that stubborn  ;D) What I don't do is write those straight push/pulls and oval coils that are in every Spencerian instruction book. I also don't do those diminishing size push/pulls, the long s's with alternating shades, the cone-shaped oval cornucopias, etc. Do they help? Yes. Can I do them? Probably not, haha. But that's OK!



I keep all of my practice sheets since I started two years ago in a big box. You will not find more than two pages of drills in there. None of which were done in the last 20 months. I don't like them. And I like to think I don't need them.

What's your reason for not doing drills?

Offline AndyT

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2016, 03:41:10 PM »
Why not?  Because I don't find that they help.  With writing that is - they're brilliant for getting good at doing drills.

Also, nineteenth century pedagogical theory - the whole business of rote learning and treating people as machines - doesn't do a lot for me.  Not being a machine, I'll practise (or not) as I see fit, thank you very much.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2016, 04:51:04 PM »
I'm with Andy T and you on this one. Most letters are written with other letters--words--and I practise in order to write words (and lines and pages) well. The closest I come to doing drills is, after a few swelled strokes or ovals to get the ink flowing, I might practise words containing particular letters I'm working on, as in yesterday's practice sheet here. I don't save everything I write, but dump in a box a sheet or three each week, or examples done on peculiar paper or with inks I'm trying out.

Offline evjo

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2016, 05:29:55 PM »
The Talented himasf asks, "What's your reason for not doing drills?"

I don't have a good attitude about drills.  I am bored and want to get through drills so I can do something more interesting.  So then I get fast and sloppy and it completely defeats the purpose of a drill.  I would rather do some drawing to warm up.  I would rather just 'play' with the pen to start practicing.  And then find something old and interesting to copy. 

In general, I do not practice enough.  I'm going to take a class now though, so that will help.  When in class, I am more able to stick with drills the teacher assigns.  The challenge of a class keeps me focused. 

Or, at least, a calligraphy class.  In college I couldn't listen to a lecture unless I could also knit while taking notes.  I always got a better grade if I knit during class, which surprised every teacher. 
Ev

Offline schin

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2016, 07:24:27 PM »
Very true.. I don't like doing drills either and people think I magically improve! But they haven't seen the rows of ABCs I've done, agonizing after each turn, and the dozens of letters I mail every month! I don't like 'wasting' time just doing ovals and push pulls.. I rather spend the precious free time I have by mailing letters and connecting with others.. they're not perfect, but slowly over time, those letters become my practice and I improve that way, and personally I feel it's a better use of my time too lol!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 01:04:08 PM by schin »
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Offline sybillevz

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2016, 03:15:42 AM »
Nice post !
I admit I hate to do drills, and don't do them much... but cross drills help me get into the right position for spencerian when my hands tends to write round hand. And doing drills when I was just starting helped me build up the muscles needed for whole arm movement.
That being said, writing letters and words is a lot more fun, and I don't have a lot of practice sheet with drills.

I have a question for you though : what white are you using ? I admire the quality of your hairlines (and everything else) and I just get blobs most of the time when I use white  :(

Offline Inked botanicals

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2016, 04:24:38 AM »
Yay for mailing letters as practice!! I also do very few, nearly none, drills. Some days just to warm up, I do some patterns, with drills or a letterform I need to practice. Then I use that as wrapping paper or decorations. If I don't think of that as a final project (I mean, I am doing wrapping paper, not drills!) then I get bored and speed up as evjo says.

And when I sit down to write letters I always start with a letter for a non-calligraphy friend. You know, it is going to be magic for their eyes even if my ovals are a horror  ;D When I am warmed up I write letters for every kind of friend (calligraphy and non-calligraphy friends included!) and it is way more fun to practice by telling something that just random letterforms or words. So if I get a blob, or bad letterforms, is not so bad, because the recipient still has something to read.
Alba.

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Offline AndyT

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2016, 07:06:22 AM »
... cross drills help me get into the right position for spencerian ...

Oh, cross drills are different!  There's scope for some creativity and engaging the brain.  In fact I know of one person who has turned them into a minor art form in their own right.

Offline handmadeletters

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2016, 08:09:49 AM »
Haha, James! Yes, no drills club. Shall we make it official?

No matter how hard I try, I just cannot commit to doing drills since I started 2+ years ago. And I have to say that I felt pretty guilty and ashamed about it before. But after learning on IG that people like James don't do drills, I felt better about coming out of the shadows. I understand why some people do drills--really, I get it--but one thing doesn't necessarily have to work for everyone.

My main source of practice is also letter writing. I feel that my calligraphy has progressed so much because I was working towards some end product. That goal helps me to stay motivated and get better. Drills just don't motivate me in the same way.

James, it's too bad that your method of learning was challenged. Learning is very individual, and you shouldn't have to feel bad about it, or put on the defense for it. No matter how we practice, all that matters is that we learn how to evaluate what we produce and adjust ourselves for the next time, whether it be through letter writing, writing strings of words, or doing drills. To each his/her own, I say. :)

Offline handmadeletters

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2016, 08:11:04 AM »
Very true.. I don't like doing drills either and people think I magically improve! But they haven't seen the rows of ABCs I've done, agonizing after each turn, and the dozens of letters I mail every month! I don't like wasting time just doing ovals and push pulls.. I rather spend the precious free time I have by mailing letters and connecting with others.. they're not perfect, but slowly over time, those letters become my practice and I improve that way, and personally I feel it's a better use of my time too lol!

Schin, you speak my language! There's so little time in life, why not use it wisely. :)

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2016, 11:25:48 AM »
My two-cents on drills is that there are a lot of people who come to calligraphy with wonderful fine motor skills so they don't really need drills. Those people who feel clumsy doing something brand new and can't quite get any rhythm going are the ones who will benefit from drills. I know I sound like a broken record about the importance of rhythm, but it is recognized as an essential elements by many of the most accomplished scribes. Compare it to music. If you learn all the notes, but you don't get the rhythm right, the music will be missing something.

Offline Estefa

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2016, 12:14:08 PM »
Your writing is fantastic and I agree with what Andy said about drills and 19th century pedagogical theory … but funilly, I like drills. Not always, not every day, but there are times I find them meditating :).

I also agree that writing letters helps much more with real writing than drills … because usually we don't look at seperate letters, but at connected ones …

But yes to cross drills – usually 3 or 4 minutes are enough though. Wouldn't fill a whole sheet in one session!
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Offline himasf

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2016, 01:43:46 PM »
Why not?  Because I don't find that they help.  With writing that is - they're brilliant for getting good at doing drills.

 :D Yes, if you want to get good at drills they're the best, hehe. Oddly, some proponents of oval drills who execute them swiftly in every size and direction don't write Spencerian caps with the same speed and confidence as their drills.  ??? Hmmm...

Offline himasf

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2016, 01:57:56 PM »
I'm with Andy T and you on this one. Most letters are written with other letters--words--and I practise in order to write words (and lines and pages) well. The closest I come to doing drills is, after a few swelled strokes or ovals to get the ink flowing, I might practise words containing particular letters I'm working on, as in yesterday's practice sheet here. I don't save everything I write, but dump in a box a sheet or three each week, or examples done on peculiar paper or with inks I'm trying out.

Thanks for posting your practice sheet. (I'm on a secret mission to get the Spencerian forum more active ;))  I think it's really smart to practice words with particular letters to focus on the letterform. Some practice specimen from the past are like this "l l ll llll lulling lamprey landing lustreless"

I'm glad I started this thread coz I bet there are a lot of us out there who feel this way about oval drills  :D

Offline himasf

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Re: No drills club
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2016, 02:06:36 PM »
The Talented himasf asks, "What's your reason for not doing drills?"

I don't have a good attitude about drills.  I am bored and want to get through drills so I can do something more interesting.  So then I get fast and sloppy and it completely defeats the purpose of a drill.  I would rather do some drawing to warm up.  I would rather just 'play' with the pen to start practicing.  And then find something old and interesting to copy. 

In general, I do not practice enough.  I'm going to take a class now though, so that will help.  When in class, I am more able to stick with drills the teacher assigns.  The challenge of a class keeps me focused. 

Or, at least, a calligraphy class.  In college I couldn't listen to a lecture unless I could also knit while taking notes.  I always got a better grade if I knit during class, which surprised every teacher.

Yeah, it's definitely more productive to do something else than to do drills sloppily. Is it an offline Spencerian class? Have fun! That's really interesting about knitting during class. You've found a way for you to better absorb material so why not use it to your advantage?