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Please help

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Ive made a lot of progress since I held that dip pen again this lockdown. But this week, Ive plateaud. And I think I stopped listening to my critiques and just kept chugging along, as a result, my practice is leading to nowhere. I thought I was on my way to being super calligrapher before lockdown ends, lol.

My letters remain shaky— should the wrist be off the table and unsupported (thats a lot of effort for me) or is it resting (but then I cant control my larger strokes very well and the slant goes everywhere).
Ive been reading previous critiques too- there is a wealth of information there! I think I should consider tracing majuscules too as recommneded in another thread.
I guess what I am trying to say is, I think my work is okay. But how do you get this to next level and less amateur looking?

And I like sumi ink because it is smooth, but my letters come out furry even if I add some water. I see other people’s work and their letters come out crisp. Is it still my shaky weak hand that is to blame here?


Do drills - the most boring type that you can find: ovals and push-pull.

I find it refreshing to go back to the beginning and re-read the instructions.  Adhere to every vice and do each drill with due diligent.
I hope that it will lift your progress by miles and miles.

Beautiful progress.  Show us more after 10 pages of drills.

Erica McPhee:
The feathered ink is most likely the paper you are using or your sumi is too watered down.

I agree with @InkyFingers - drills.  You have your letterforms down quite well. Now it will be about developing the muscle memory and line confidence to develop a rhythm and add energy to your calligraphy.  Well done!  ;D

Thanks so much for feedback.
Is this what you mean by oval drills?


I have a lot of respect for the work and attention to detail that all of you put through this. It looked easy when I knew nothing about it!

Erica McPhee:
There are a lot of calligraphy "drills" out there on the interwebs. But while some are fun to do, they don't really reinforce the muscles you use or the strokes you make. The old masters, while boring, do have it right in terms of developing the control and line strength.

This one is really basic. You can even practice with a pencil.

Yes, it can take years to perfect your hand. And even for those of us who have been doing it for a couple decades, I am still honing and seeing errors in my hand that I can address. It's all part of the process and practice.  ;D


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