Author Topic: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'  (Read 2071 times)

Offline Fay

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Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« on: April 16, 2015, 11:17:48 PM »
Hi guys, I'm using Eleanor Winters' book and trying to figure out how to write the minuscule s right but I can't seem to get it right... It feels so unnatural! I attached a few pictures with my practice and numbered them so it's easy to refer to them. What am I doing wrong? I feel like my slant is off and my shade too thick beginning at the waist line, and I struggle with rounding the bottoms... and...and..and...and..

I guess just general inconsistency. Also - is it okay that the oval at the end of the 's' crosses the lead-in stroke?

Would appreciate any help on getting it right, thanks in advance!!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 11:25:28 PM by Fay »
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Offline Scarlet Blue

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 10:19:02 AM »
I'm going to quote from the Winter's book - also very good revision for me!

The s breaks two basic rules: it has a pointy top (not rounded or squared off) AND the downstroke is not along the 55-degree axis.

I had forgotten the bit about the downstroke  :o !!
 Anyhow - before you reach the base line, decrease the pressure and curve around to the left, making a small filled-in dot


I don't think the dot is supposed to touch the lead in stroke... but I know I do it sometimes  :)

Keep reading and referring back... over and over... the s does feel a bit odd at first but after several reams of paper it'll feel okay  :)

Offline Fay

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 10:32:23 AM »
Thanks! I just want to make sure I'm making full use of my practice instead of practising the wrong strokes repeatedly... is there a way to make sure I get the downstroke right? Winters' also says in her book that the counter cannot be too large so I'm just stuck with a how-big-is-too-big kind of situation!  :-\
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Offline Scarlet Blue

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 10:53:59 AM »
I'm afraid I'm self taught from the Winter's book too! I just kept practicing until it began to look vaguely like copperplate. I'm still practicing and trying to improve, it's an ongoing process.
Hopefully someone better at explaining these things will come and put your mind at rest. But your s's look like you're on the right path... consistency will come... you sound like you're doing all the right things - i.e. checking for flaws and mentally correcting them. I suppose it might be worth adding pencil corrections to your s's and then working on each correction? It's very hard to teach yourself, but you're doing fine.

Offline Judy G

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 11:42:03 AM »
Mine never looked this good!! I'm still working on my consistency, too. A tip I got is to keep in mind that it should look like an inverted c.
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Offline sybillevz

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 11:42:28 AM »
It looks like you're on the right path, and your s are not that bad!! There are a lot of different versions possible, some narrower and some wider, some have the dot below the entry stroke, some have it crossing the entry stroke...
He is what I'd recommend, but remember it's just the way I like my s :
The entry stroke looks a bit stiff, try curving it slightly to the right when you get to the waist line. Then retrace a little to get back to the waist line before doing the downstroke. I think the lower curve should match the curve of your other letters (o, c...), I'd say I like it a little wider than on your pics. Then finish wherever you like with a dot.
I can't attach a picture, but I hope you can understand my explanations...
Anyway, don't worry and keep on practicing, it'll come !

Offline Fay

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 12:32:14 PM »
@judyg- No way, yours look good! Maybe it's the case of staring at something for too long till it starts to look weird...

@sybillevz: Thank you for those tips!! I will try them out :)
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Offline Estefa

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2015, 04:43:38 AM »
I think your s's look nice! I don't have Winter's book here at the moment, because I gave it to a friend ;), but it could also help you to take a closer look at historical exemplars. Here are two I found while quickly browsing through the Universal Penman as Sybille said, there are many versions of s, but the most common or classical is with the dot on the line:



Here is another example, and I know that some instructions state the s should sort of mirror the c I tend to disagree the dot on the c is usually much smaller than the one on the s:



In both exemplars you can also see that the s downstroke curve is more or less on the slant of the script, or curls around it that's also why the upstroke is not on the slant, which makes the s a sort of freak letter that is a bit outside the rules, and which also is the reason why there is a dot. It is there to even out the negative space between the letters that would be to big otherwise. I hope that makes sense ;).
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2015, 06:25:14 AM »
Just to add to Stefanie's excellent advice, I thought the attached diagram might help.  It's from a French textbook.  You copperplate people have lots of rules, don't you?  ;)

Offline joi

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2015, 11:09:09 AM »
i was going to explain how i make my s's, but andyT just posted the exact image...perfect!

Offline Fay

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2015, 11:56:05 AM »
Those are perfect, thank you so much Stefanie, Joi and Andy!  ;D
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Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2015, 09:16:11 AM »
Also - is it okay that the oval at the end of the 's' crosses the lead-in stroke?
....but the most common or classical is with the dot on the line:

The letter s which Estefa posted in reply #7, from "The Universal Penman" shows the dot clearly bridging the upstroke.
This is the classic version.








Offline Matthew_R

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Re: Help with copperplate minuscule 's'
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2015, 02:18:31 PM »
In 'The Madarasz Book: The Secret of the Skill of Madarasz,' he gives instructions for engrosser's script, and he notes of 's,' "Study well this letter.  It is the most difficult letter in penmanship."

If you're struggling with it, I think you're in good company.  Hang in there.