Author Topic: Succession of mís and nís and of uís  (Read 829 times)

Offline Vintage_BE

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Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« on: February 21, 2024, 11:11:49 AM »
I apologise if this question has been brought up before on the forum (I did a few searches but was not able to find anything relevant).

One of the Spencerian rules is that connecting strokes are written at a 30 degree angle, i.e. significantly less steep than the standard 52 degree angle that is used for downstrokes.

My question relates to the angle of the upstrokes in characters such as m, n and u.  I had understood (perhaps wrongly) that these strokes also have a 30 degree angle.

Now, m, n and u contain more than one upstroke.  If these upstrokes are written at the 30 degree angle, it becomes hard to distinguish two successive mís (as in ďimmediateĒ) or a succession of an m and and n (as in ďpenmanĒ), or a succession of uís (as in ďcontinuumĒ).

I try to fix this by writing the first upstroke at a 30 degree angle, and the following upstroke(s) at an angle that is a bit steeper.  That results in the connecting stroke taking a bit more space then the space between the upstrokes within the letter.  See the enclosed sample of ďpenmanĒ.

In the enclosed sample of ďcontinuumĒ I wrote all upstrokes of the two successive uís at the same angle, which results in the connecting stroke to have the same with as the letter u ó making (at least in my neophyte eye) the succession of the two uís less easy to read.

Are there other/better solutions? Or am I just wrong as to the angle to use for the second/third upstroke?


Offline Zivio

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2024, 12:26:23 PM »
I do not know the exact answers to your specific questions. However, I have found David DiGiovanniís breakdown of the geometry of the minuscule ďmĒ here to be very instructive. Yes, he is writing with his arm in this  series but that does not change the geometry.

https://youtu.be/NpicHkr9UPE?si=BYI6-dRj8XIKz9pq


« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 12:28:13 PM by Zivio »
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Offline Zivio

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2024, 12:45:47 PM »
I might add that in the ď Spencerian Standard WritingĒ exemplar, it bears out your thought that the connecting stroke between letters might be a bit steeper. My feeling is that the naturally occurring compound curve between such letters requires some change in the geometry.

This also shows the 1-1/4 space between letters, except when going into the lowercase a, g, q, etc.

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Offline Vintage_BE

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2024, 12:50:31 PM »
@Zivio Thanks much. I had seen that video (and a few others). But it does not solve my problem.
When you write another m after the first m, the ďright curveĒ (the exit stroke) at the end of the first m needs to be converted in to a ďcompoundĒ curve (since the exit stroke morphs into what is the ďleft curveĒ that forms the first portion of the following m).
Such a compound curve closely resembles the two following ďleft curvesĒ. That is what makes it difficult to ďseeĒ two distinct ďmísĒ, rather than six ďleft curvesĒ written in parallel, and that is why I adjust the angle of the second and the third ďleft curveĒ, so as to make the space between the two mís appear larger.
But, again, I may be missing something.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2024, 12:40:11 PM »
Excellent information @Zivio ! And what a great find on the spacing reference.

@Vintage_BE , I recall reading and taking note from an archive that the first stroke of the n and m are connector strokes, and thus the n doesnít have 2 ďhumpsĒ and the m doesnít have 3 ďhumps.Ē Of course, those are non-technical terms. I will try to find the source and also look for other mentions of this circumstance.
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Offline Vintage_BE

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2024, 04:46:56 PM »
Thanks much @Erica McPhee , and should your source also explain whether the connector stroke in terms of angle differs from the ďhumpsĒ, Iíd be interested in the details 🤓!

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2024, 05:47:30 PM »
I wasnít able to find the original quote I mentioned but I did find this which I think you will find helpful. The first images are from Barnesís The Art of Penmanship.This is the ďBarnesí System.Ē I zoomed in on the angle diagram which does differentiate between connector slant and main slant. In the first penmanship sample, you can see there was no shade but in the second one there was. This also helps distinguish the letters from each other.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2024, 06:00:44 PM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2024, 05:50:30 PM »
This is from Daniel T. Ames (of Ameís Compendium).

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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2024, 05:56:32 PM »
This is from C.P. Zaner. You can see the full text here: Lessons in Business Penmanship

Notice, his slants are 50 for main and 25 for connectors (just slightly different than Spencerian). See word run and runner below.

Hope this helps! Great question and a really nice opportunity to solidify these details.  :)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2024, 11:39:40 AM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2024, 06:33:15 PM »
Lastly that extra bit of space that @Zivio noted helps separate the letters so it doesnít look like one continuous line of strokes.

If you are writing an n and then m:
Your connector stroke will be at 30 degrees and 1.25 space after the preceding letter (this is your first stroke of n). The downstroke will be at 52 degrees (making the 1st hump of n but really a connector stroke). The next ďleft curveĒ stroke will be at 30 degrees and 1 space wide, then the downstroke at 52 degrees (this forms the 2nd hump of n).

The next connective stroke will be at 30 degrees and 1.25 spaces wide (because it is between two letters). Then the downstroke will be at 52 degrees (your first hump of m but really the connector stroke). You will then have 2 humps with a ďleft curveĒ stroke at 30 degrees followed by a downstroke of 52 degrees.

Remember that context within the word will help you also see and distinguish what the letter is.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2024, 07:02:57 PM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2024, 06:43:07 PM »
OK, one more thing Ö your slant and spacing are ON POINT! Exactly as they should be. Well done! But the roundness of where your strokes connect at the bottom and the sharp straightness of the ďleft curveĒ strokes I think are what is making it difficult to discern between the letters. See the ever so slight curve to the lines on the samples above and in the comparison below as well as the point where the main strokes connect at the baseline.

Hopefully, this will help.  :-*
« Last Edit: February 23, 2024, 07:06:18 PM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2024, 06:54:13 PM »
See the difference? The first upstroke of the n (after the connective stroke and straight downstroke) is a left curve stroke. This has a sharp connection at the bottom. The second upstroke after the next straight downstroke is a lower turn stroke. This has a slightly rounded bottom. This will help distinguish between the letters and connector strokes.   :D
« Last Edit: February 23, 2024, 07:06:30 PM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline Vintage_BE

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2024, 07:35:36 AM »
@ericamcphee A huge thank you for all of your replies. It has been said many times before, but it cannot be repeated enough: you are the exponent of an exceptionally generous and friendly community.

And your analysis is spot on. If I improve the upstrokes in the ďhumpsĒ of the mís and the nís by starting them immediately at the baseline and by curving them, the separation with the next letter becomes clearly visible.

Now, in my defence, I will invoke two attenuating circumstances.

First, I blindly relied on the exemplar of father Spencer (see enclosed zooms), in which the upstrokes have almost no left curve. I should of course have consulted more than one source. Lesson learned. I could not find immediately the Barnes from which you shared screenshots book but I did retrieve the exemplar that forum member @jordantruster posted on the web and, yes, her upstrokes are beautifully leftward curved as well.

Second, when I stared at Spencerian exemplars, the ďmĒ always looked as if it is composed of three exactly identical humps (two in the case of the ďnĒ). Thanks to your posts I now realise that I neglected to take the exit stroke into account. I assumed that, where two mís or nís are written after one another, the exit stroke ďmergesĒ into the first ďhumpĒ of the following letter. Instead, the tiny curve at the baseline which starts the exit stroke results in  the connector stroke being a bit wider (1.25 spaces instead of 1).

Now, what I find hellishly difficult where an ďmĒ is followed by an ďmĒ or ďnĒ (or another letter that starts with an upward left curve) is to start at the baseline with the tiny curve (which is oriented towards the right) and then, whilst moving upward, transform the upstroke into a left curve. In the Barnes exemplars that you posted, the connector stroke does not curve towards the left until just before it hits the top of the baseline and goes down at the 52 degree angle. As a result, the first ďhumpĒ of the m looks different, depending on whether the m is written first, or following another m or n.
If the connector stroke acquires a left curve too soon, that has the effect of making the space between two letters too small. Thatís why I have much difficulty with e-m or e-n letter combinations, such as ďtenementĒ or ďEminemĒ.

Enough of this nerdy ramble, I now understand what needs to be done in order to improve. Thanks again!

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2024, 11:35:24 AM »
Ah - yes, this is such excellent analysis! And such a great learning moment for others, too. You are absolutely correct - in regard to the left curve stroke (or lack of curve thereof) and the exemplar you posted. Keep in mind, there is a wide range here as Barnesís work is not Spencerian. I think the connection at the bottom (and spacing) are thus more important in terms of differentiating.

In Michael Sullís Learning to Write Spencerian Script, in regard to the hump of h, he writes, ďGo into the final down-stroke with a slightly rounded (semi-angular) curve...Ē And then in regard to m and n, ďThe humps are somewhat angular but should not be ďsharpĒ in appearance.Ē

Your observations are keen and exemplify the meaning of Ďstudy as much as you write.í It will improve your work greatly in the long run. And itís an added bonus, it helps all of us learn as well.

The Barnes book is one I have an original for (itís in rough shape with a few pictures cut out). I tried to find it in online but no success.

Remember the words of P.R. Spencer himself, ďIn presenting definite rules for the proper formation of letters, it is not designed to confine the skill and ingenuity of the writer within narrow limits, nor to prevent the exercise of peculiar tastes. We desire, rather to encourage individuality of style, so far as it may be consistent with propriety.Ē   :)
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Offline BrightStar

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Re: Succession of mís and nís and of uís
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2024, 11:53:29 AM »
I'm not sure what nib you are using, but getting some finer hairlines would definitely help distinguish the curved angles (top) from the sharp (bottom). Are you writing with a fountain pen?