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Messages - AndyT

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Tools & Supplies / Re: Storing Sumi Ink
« on: June 23, 2017, 05:10:49 PM »
Well, if you need a corrosion free container with a toddler proof lid, a medicine tub suggests itself.  The sort of thing that vitamins or painkillers come in.  A bit easy to knock over though, unfortunately, unless you care to glue it to something stable or put it in a heavy candle holder, but a reassuringly safe solution otherwise.  If you don't have an old one lying around, I expect a friendly pharmacist would be happy to find something suitable for you if you tell them what it's for.

Me too.  :)

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.

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.

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.

Completed/Past Exchanges / Re: My first Yum Yum exchange.
« on: June 11, 2017, 04:26:37 PM »
Mmmm ... barfi!   ;D

Tools & Supplies / Re: Question about fitting nibs to holders
« on: June 08, 2017, 06:53:10 PM »
On the subject of crowquills, it's particularly easy to make a flange to take them because the business end is just a rolled tube formed around a suitable rod or an old nib.  How tightly it grips can be adjusted by a gentle squeeze with pliers.  The stick and how to fix the flange to it may present more problems, but a little modeller's saw, some epoxy glue and a bit of lateral thinking should sort them out.

Thank you Andrew, I enjoyed that.

Tools & Supplies / Re: About ink consistency
« on: June 01, 2017, 04:55:07 AM »
Re walnut ink, if you think it needs a little more body try leaving the cap off the bottle for a while.  That can make all the difference.

Regarding consistency in general, all other things being equal a thinnish ink works well for pointed pen so long as it has enough surface tension to cling to the nib.  (Surfactants like ammonia destroy surface tension, so if you use Windex or similar for cleaning, rinse it off thoroughly afterwards).  The exception is gouache (and possibly sumi, of which I have no experience).  Gouache is wonderful and will work on remarkably poor paper as Clara says, but getting the mix just right is a matter of adding a drop of water at a time, literally.  If it's too thin it looks anaemic, like a semi-transparent watercolour but not in a good way; and if it's too thick you won't get fine hairlines and it will dry out on the nib infuriatingly quickly.  Practice and experimentation are required, so a sunny Mary Poppins type disposition is an advantage.  Don't let that put you off: very often gouache will turn out to be the best option.

Kind Critique / Re: I think I am ready... New Spencerian Compendium
« on: May 26, 2017, 05:18:49 AM »
What are the drills that I can do to focus on spacing and shading.

Spacing first: try doing "i"s.  In groups of half a dozen or so first, moving the paper in between so that your hand position remains constant, and later continuous lines across the page.  You should still move the paper rather than stretch, but pick up as invisibly as you can.  All good practice.  When you can't stand that any more, try "u", "n" and whatever else takes your fancy.  Try to think in terms of the connective slant setting the spacing - keep that constant and things will fall into place.

Shading: I wouldn't bother at this stage personally, but if you do my suggestion would be to confine yourself to t, d, p and final t if you use it.  If you were to blow some cash on a yellow Bic instead of the Cristal, you'd find that they're surprisingly responsive for shading so long as your default pressure is very light.  The capitals really should wait for a while until you're happy with that basic push-pull motion, which is really what we mean when we talk about muscular movement.

Kind Critique / Re: I think I am ready... New Spencerian Compendium
« on: May 25, 2017, 05:43:19 AM »
+1 on those push-pulls.  I'm not overly keen on traditional drills in general except as muscle looseners, but that one is highly beneficial.

Design & Layout / Re: Learn to Kern
« on: May 24, 2017, 12:31:35 PM »
90.  :)

Kind Critique / Re: I think I am ready... New Spencerian Compendium
« on: May 24, 2017, 04:42:26 AM »
I see.  My issue is spacing.  I tend to compress the forms.  More practice for this script....  Perhaps this is not pragmatic for me, as  am required to write very compressed and not small.

Hello Inky.  You have hit the nail squarely on the head here, because one of the defining visual characteristics of textbook Spencerian is a horizontal emphasis.  This is driven by the connective slant and causes the writing to spread out along the line like no other script.  You can easily compress it by steepening the connective slant, but you lose the distinctive character of the style.  This is why Spencerian is generally written small, and it therefore follows that a sharp nib (untipped!) is highly desirable.

If the size of your writing is not negotiable, it might make sense to go back to Platt Rogers Spencer's style of writing, which is considerably different but has its own charms.  As you suggest the Compendium of Semi Angular Penmanship Book 10 is one of the best sources for this, but for illustrative purposes I've attached some doggerel by PRS.

If you do pursue this line, Alexander's point about breaking the letters down into the principles is still enormously important - in fact it seems to me that it's the key to swift progress.  Interestingly, the principles pertaining to minuscules in the Semi Angular book are not the same as those used in the later books - at all - but it's the process of analysis which will help rather than the specifics.

From time to time I've hinted darkly about the state of handwriting tuition in British schools - here's a little insight:

National Schools’ Handwriting Competition 2017

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