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Topics - RobertFontaine

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Spencerian Script / Spencerian on a pen tablet?
« on: August 28, 2019, 03:43:44 PM »
(bit of a crosspost but the digital forum is a desert)

I have a new pen tablet and I have the urge to practice my penmanship.
Trying to use this thing is like peeing with someone else's ... you get the idea.

Is there a favourite drawing software for calligraphy/penmanship.   
I'm looking to practice traditional penmanship with a tablet kind of thing.


Digital Design / Windows software for Calligraphy?
« on: August 28, 2019, 03:38:32 PM »

I got myself a huion pen tablet and now I want to practice my penmanship.  Primarily spencerian.  I would like to get legible.
If I want to practice penmanship what software will best suit my needs.   So far the closest I have found to a good tool is Inkscape although pressure sensitivity is a bit rubbish ( i probably haven't set it up properly ).   I would like to be able to practice my strokes on the tablet.   So far my initial efforts having been stunningly bad.   It's like trying to write while holding a crayon in your teeth.


Tools & Supplies / Bailey's Irish Cream
« on: February 26, 2017, 08:16:43 PM »
Irish coffee.  Caffeine to increase concentration and alcohol to steady the hands.   I suspect this is a potentially bad habit but it is a pleasant way to practice on Sunday evening.

Tools & Supplies / Traditional Iron Gall in Canada?
« on: February 25, 2017, 03:26:49 PM »
Shipping is generally the biggest part of my purchase so being able to buy in country is nice.
Do any of the usual suspects in Canuskistan carry a basic iron gall ink for me to play with?

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Warming Up...
« on: February 12, 2017, 04:04:56 AM »
How long does it generally take you to warm up?

Each time I practice I find that my hand generally starts pretty shaky then after a while I get some control of the minuscule shapes and can start adding shading and majuscules.   I then tend to write words and phrases as my spacing and angles even out and after a while things star to actually look reasonable but then I'm pooped.  This usually takes about 60-90 minutes.

Is this a pretty normal progression?    I'm kind of hoping there will be a time when I don't have to burn all my energy just practising but I'm not there yet.

Tools & Supplies / Light Box or Ruled Paper?
« on: February 09, 2017, 09:26:22 PM »
I'm overdue to start practicing with proper ruled lines to tidy up my script.   It's probably nice not to have to use an eraser for finished products (but I have no finished products ).   Tempted to pick up


Edit - affiliate link (click on image to see on Amazon at lesser price):

Tools & Supplies / Nib Tuning and quality control
« on: February 02, 2017, 11:47:30 PM »
After 30 minutes of touching up on a barber stone, inking, touching up on a barber stone, inking my 1 of 10  303 Nibs seems very close to good.   Does anyone have a friend at Gillott?  These have the potential to be the best but they are frustratingly uneven and inconsistent from nib to nib.

I so very much want to love them.    Would I pay 20, 30, 50% more.   I certainly would.  G Nibs just don't compare for fine writing.   Maybe I should just start buying goose feathers.

Tools & Supplies / Walnut Ink just arrived
« on: January 30, 2017, 05:27:23 PM »
mmmmm like butter.   I got a bottle of the TomNortonWalnutInk and I am giddy.   I have not tried this before and it is so darn controllable on my worst water colour paper that my pen"man"ship just improved for free.  Feather free, easy variation, dries fast, smudge free and the color is really subtle....   My new favourite ink, till my next new favourite ink.   

If this continues I may have to start writing my posts and taking pictures of them :) woo hoo!   My penmanship is still embarrassing but it's looking better than last month.

    Also got some dinky dips so I dont make a truly amazing mess on my desktop.    I got very lucky with a bottle of noodler's black last week but I didn't want to push my luck again.   I suspect 2 ounces of noodlers poured on a desktop would be an astounding mess to cleaun.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Two Nibs and a spilled Bottle
« on: January 16, 2017, 07:12:33 PM »
I got distracted.   Definitely going to have to get some low profile bottles that are harder to knock over and get used to putting my pens in a safe place.

I have been keeping them close to practice in free moments but I  think I need to be a bit more clutz safe.

Spencerian Script / Public Collections of Spencerian Text
« on: January 15, 2017, 10:52:18 PM »
I've been looking at a small variety of different Spencerian flavors.

It's kind of fun.  Can anyone suggest some example text links on the internets?

It doesn't take a lot of text to keep me amused but letters and real writing have a lot more to show in them then the simpler strokes and letters.   There also seem to be a wide variety of styles to pick and choose from that keep me amused while I learn to hold a pen.


Tools & Supplies / Vermillion
« on: January 10, 2017, 04:52:33 PM »
I'm just reading a bit about Vermillion ink traditionally being made with red mercury sulfide and it being fairly toxic to work with.  Alternatel a cheaper version was made with red lead.   Does anyone here use traditional Vermillion inks.   What safety precautions do you take other than not drinking it?


Tools & Supplies / New Nibs arrived today Gillott 303's and 404's
« on: December 28, 2016, 04:58:43 PM »
That was humbling.  I thought I was doing ok with my G nibs.  The Gillot 303's are sewing needle pointy.  I did a few light strokes on my barber hone for my straight razors to remove any burrs and took a look at the tines in my jewelers loop.

Sadly there is nothing wrong with the nib.  Learning how to do an upstroke with these may take a few days.

Broad Edge Pen Calligraphy / Writing Italic Left Handed Down
« on: December 24, 2016, 05:33:51 PM »
I had a bunch of nice brause italics nibs arrive and needed a break from practicing spencerian.

I thought I would try a little italic for fun.  oops... First I tried bending my wrist at a wierd angle.  Next I tried tucking my elbow in.  Neither gave me and feeling of control of the pen.   Finally I tried flipping the paper 90 degrees and writing sideways down. Success.

It's going to take me a while to learn the shapes and think about writing in this wierd direction but the nib lines up perfectly and is controllable.

Is this the normal tactic for left handed italicists?


Spencerian Script / a... the second stroke :)
« on: December 19, 2016, 11:46:47 PM »
After a hundred or so a's this evening I'm starting to consistently get the shape right and
occasionally I get close with pen pressure to thicken the leading stroke of the loop of the a

Nikko G and Zebra G nibs

BUT with all my inks except one I am noticing the extra ink from the loop wants to bridge into the first stroke.

I'm suspecting 2 problems....

1  My noodlers inks belong in a fountain pen and are too thin.
2  I have a heavy hand and need a more practice.
3  I find with the Higgins Sepia Calligraphy ink I can almost control the bleed.

Im thinking of adding some gouache for the black and/or gum arabic.  I've also seen some people recommend leaving the cap off the Higgin's overnight to thicken it a bit.

Are these just the ideas/ravings of people who haven't developed adequate weight control yet or do the inks need to be tuned up depending on the nib being used?

Thanks again,

I amm working on the copybooks and generally having a good time doodling/scribbling. 

I have been alternating between nikko  and zebra g with an occasional use of a monoline noodler with higgens calligraphy , noodlers black and apache and speed ball india inks for practice getting a feel with a general pencil universal dip pen.  (gillot 303 and 404's are on order)

I think it would help tremendously to see someone doing very basic Spencerian properly with a straight pen (I'm left handed).

The ornamental techniques and oblique pen do a lot to obscure watching the posture and strokes in many of the videos I can find.   Others seem poorly executed by people trying to self-teach.

Has someone who has good technique posted a 5 or 10 minute video of  upper lower numeric and joins with straight and oblique pens?  It would be great to actually see arm movement and posture as well a nib on paper.

It seems like Spencerian isn't as popular as Round Hand or Copper Plate but I find it soothing.

I see Harvest Crittenden has a Beginners course starting in January,  That Michael Sull has a video, Learning How to Write Spencerian Script DVD, and that there is a Ron Tate Video.

Are there any youtube/vimeo resources worth studying first? 

Thanks again,

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