Author Topic: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)  (Read 5676 times)

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« on: June 14, 2017, 02:23:09 PM »
I know this convo hasn't been awakened for a while so I thought I'd add a few thoughts.

I use a straight holder for Copperplate and only use oblique for Spencerian/Ornamental Penmanship.
It's not that I can't use the oblique for Copperplate but there is one point no one mentioned in past threads
which Paul Antonio stressed greatly in his vimeo video from 5 years back.

Essentially the angle the nib in an oblique is much lower to the paper,
much flatter vs a straight holder.  This effects how easily the tines will spread and with this
it is less forgiving when it comes to controlling the uniformity of the line. 

Copperplate has less fat lines than a weighted Spencerian stroke; it is more uniform
in width.  It's no surprise with such fat strokes that ornamental penmanship & spencerian
have such support from the oblique holder.  With a straight holder the angle of the point
of the nib is at a much higher degree which makes copperplate much easier to control the tines
in Copperplate. 

Another point Paul makes is that the ligatures between the two scripts require different
angle of the nib in order to avoid catching the tines.  Oblique holders tines catch so much
easier on a copperplate ligature because the angle of the nib is too low and a Copperplate ligature
has an upward motion to it.  Straight holders tend to promote less catching on Copperplate ligatures
all-together (at least in my experience)


Another point which I don't understand entirely which Paul made was that oblique holders
tend to shift the text closer to a 60 degree angle on the right hand of the page.  Very interesting
and I will contemplate that further until I understand.

We've heard the arguments about the strokes in F, T & Q; however those can be worked
around by either turning  your paper if you are an oblique user or turning your straight holder
to achieve the same effect.

Clearly it's up to the individual which holder works best for them.
My only issue with oblique and copperlate is the uniformity;the tines spread too easily,
the tines catch on ligatures because the angle is too low. Flourishing is way easier with
a straight holder in almost all regards.

Spencerian? Bring on the oblique!

Point being is that Spencerian & Copperplate are ENTIRELY two different scripts in so many ways!



« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 02:25:46 PM by Daniel Mastrofski »
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2017, 04:16:17 PM »
Mr Antonio has some highly developed skills undoubtedly, but I suspect trigonometry is not amongst them.  A common oblique holder as supplied presents the pen to the paper at the same angle as a straight assuming the hand position is a constant and the nib is not rotated.  It is common for Ornamental Penmanship practitioners to give the flange a bend to reduce the angle of incidence, but it's not compulsory.  The only inherent geometrical difference is a marginal one which occurs when the pen is twisted on its axis: the usual clockwise twist applied for OP capital stem shades actually increases the angle somewhat.  This is unlikely to be significant.  For textbook Spencerian a reduced angle is of very debatable utility since shades are minimal.

Regarding "oblique holders tend to shift the text closer to a 60 degree angle on the right hand of the page", that surely depends on whether you move your paper and keep an eye on your slant?  I do not understand that point at all.

The final observation about the fundamental dissimilarity between copperplate and Spencerian is certainly true, but the difference resides in the geometry of the letterforms themselves and the use (or not) of back-and-forth muscular movement, rather than in the writing instrument, surely?  After all, both styles comfortably predate the general availability of the oblique pen holder, and both originated as quill-written hands.


Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 08:57:46 AM »
... After all, both styles comfortably predate the general availability of the oblique pen holder, and both originated as quill-written hands.

So, Andy, you're saying that using a straight holder is the only REAL and AUTHENTIC way to write these scripts? (ducking and running)

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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 02:26:14 PM »
Though the styles may predate the invention of the oblique holder, there is little question many (American) masters preferred an oblique (once invented) - if their instructional information is an indication of their preference.

I glaze over when you start talking angles and degrees but I know from experience - yes, flourishing is a bit easier with a straight holder, but uniformity of the downward stroke is much better with an oblique. I haven't looked at his more recent work, but a few years back after reading Paul's arguments for a straight holder, a slightly rough right side could be noted in his work on downward strokes.

Additionally, I find it quite tricky to achieve a squared top with a straight holder without the benefit of the angle of the oblique turned slightly on its side. Having said that I am now going to practice a little with my straight holder to see if that is indeed still true.  ;D
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 03:32:36 PM »
So, Andy, you're saying that using a straight holder is the only REAL and AUTHENTIC way to write these scripts? (ducking and running)

Um, I was trying to confine myself to the mechanics of the thing, but got suckered into a little historical digression at the end.  As far as I'm concerned the only worthwhile rule in calligraphy (and much else) is that if it works, it's right.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2017, 05:22:38 PM »
I guess this discussion has been going on for a while.
Here's a little something from the Dec. 1886 issue of "The Penman's Art Journal." I bumped into recently.

(Incidentally, I collect these magazines, if anyone would like to sell or trade for them. I know, they are all scanned and available on the net, but I like turning the dusty pages as they did long ago)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 05:42:43 PM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2017, 05:55:19 PM »
@AnasaziWrites

Thanks for that awesome share!

Was that article specifying which script they were doing the straight vs oblique with?
Ornamental Penmanship I assume?

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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2017, 06:02:31 PM »
@AnasaziWrites

Thanks for that awesome share!

Was that article specifying which script they were doing the straight vs oblique with?
Ornamental Penmanship I assume?
I would also assume so.

Offline schin

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2017, 07:58:57 PM »
I guess this discussion has been going on for a while.
Here's a little something from the Dec. 1886 issue of "The Penman's Art Journal." I bumped into recently.

(Incidentally, I collect these magazines, if anyone would like to sell or trade for them. I know, they are all scanned and available on the net, but I like turning the dusty pages as they did long ago)

Hold on a sec.. do you have that book Mike???
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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2017, 08:37:10 PM »
I guess this discussion has been going on for a while.
Here's a little something from the Dec. 1886 issue of "The Penman's Art Journal." I bumped into recently.

(Incidentally, I collect these magazines, if anyone would like to sell or trade for them. I know, they are all scanned and available on the net, but I like turning the dusty pages as they did long ago)

Hold on a sec.. do you have that book Mike???
@schin
I do. And you would not believe what is interleaved as a surprise bonus.

Offline schin

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2017, 09:07:37 PM »
You need to start divulging some more information NOW
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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2017, 10:59:29 PM »
You need to start divulging some more information NOW

Working on it. Update soon, after a bit of research.

« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 09:08:54 AM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2017, 03:55:55 AM »
As far as I'm concerned the only worthwhile rule in calligraphy (and much else) is that if it works, it's right.

I've read Paul Antonio's thoughts on oblique v straight when writing Copperplate and don't entirely agree with his findings.

I find Copperplate with an oblique holder much easier to write and to control with the tines pointing straight at the slope line. Also the point regarding the consistency of the stroke width is surely just a matter of touch control as is the production of hairline ligatures.

I don't like anything remotely dictatorial in teachings and agree entirely with Andy's statement (quoted above).

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2017, 01:58:49 PM »
Thanks for the responses everyone!
If anything I may feel a bit puzzled as I get about the same result from both pens but
Seem to feel more in control with a straight holder still.   Perhaps I am an odd duck here
and still finding my way.   Can I ask everyone here when starting copperplate and Engraver's, did you use oblique from the get-go or with a straight?

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Offline AndyT

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Re: Straight vs Oblique (one more point)
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2017, 04:34:27 PM »
Daniel: I don't do copperplate, but for the vanishingly small amount it's worth if I did decide to give it a whirl I'd try an oblique simply because it's designed for the job and likely to be convenient.

I'm not entirely convinced that it makes much odds for orthodox Spencerian, but for Ornamental Penmanship right handers are likely to have a hard time of it starting out with a straight holder.