Author Topic: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules  (Read 9459 times)

Offline schin

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2014, 02:12:40 AM »
@Schin It was because I saw the originals and the photo that you took and put on your blog that got me drooling like crazy and turned me to Spencerian. That's my favourite piece of all! <3 (Sorry Maddy)

If you come to Iampeth I will bring it :)
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Offline Faeleia

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2014, 03:36:22 AM »
If you come to Iampeth I will bring it :)
I would love to (I so badly want to go for classes by Bill Kemp, Jake Weidmann, Michael Sull, John DeCollibus! (!! ::) ), but I haven't even been anywhere in the States for a holiday before, so I'm definitely going to get lost. Airplane, lodging will probably blow a lot of budget, not to mention the very scary prospect of being the greenest onlooker there. Perhaps in a few years when I save enough and get more skills!

Offline Estefa

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2014, 03:53:54 AM »
@schin I am using a big lefa pad (that's stuff mad of old leather scraps and latex, much cheaper than leather) + a blotting paper I fix on this (because of all the ink blots ;D). Sometimes I think the blotting paper is not smooth enough for gliding it only works with bare arms. But I like the sort of cushioning the pad provides.

@Faeleia I think it looks really good! About the shades I also think you mustn't be afraid of flexing the nib a bit more, it is a very flexible nib! I think I wouldn't use a Brause Rose, because with that x-height the hairlines are really too thick. If you practice bigger and like the nib (I do too!), then why not? I find that with nib recommendations it is as with many other things what the one person loves and can't work without, the other finds unsuitable for the same task!

Barbara Calzolari, who learned her Spencerian from Michael Sull, and as far as I know follows very closely his teaching methods, recommended me to practice the lowercase letters and the capitals again without any shades (I was halfway through the practice pads by M. Sull when I took part in her workshop). I thought it was already looking quite ok, but I must say while I still don't feel very confident with Spencerian, this practising without shades made my letterforms much more precise.

She also said after looking at my practice sheets, that I needed to work on my ovals. I am afraid I have preached this over and over here in the Forum, but it was a huge eye-opener for me, because the oval exersices I knew were these super fast connected lines of ovals, and I had done them a lot, but while I personally find they are a good way to loose up a bit, they help nothing regarding precision, and that is what is needed if I want do do more flourished, ornamental capitals. So she showed me some oval exercises, and wrote them rather slowly! I think speed comes later. But that may also depend much on each single person I know that Erica says her lines get shaky when she writes slowly.

I also forced myself to write rather big (about 5 mm x-height which with Spencerian is huuuge imho), because any flaws are much better so see ;)! And easier to correct. After that writing smaller became easier and I hope a bit prettier too.

So, that's just some methods that helped me to improve. Sorry for writing so much :).
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Offline Faeleia

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2014, 04:20:34 AM »
@schin I am using a big lefa pad (that's stuff mad of old leather scraps and latex, much cheaper than leather) + a blotting paper I fix on this (because of all the ink blots ;D). Sometimes I think the blotting paper is not smooth enough for gliding it only works with bare arms. But I like the sort of cushioning the pad provides.

@Faeleia I think it looks really good! About the shades I also think you mustn't be afraid of flexing the nib a bit more, it is a very flexible nib! I think I wouldn't use a Brause Rose, because with that x-height the hairlines are really too thick. If you practice bigger and like the nib (I do too!), then why not? I find that with nib recommendations it is as with many other things what the one person loves and can't work without, the other finds unsuitable for the same task!

Barbara Calzolari, who learned her Spencerian from Michael Sull, and as far as I know follows very closely his teaching methods, recommended me to practice the lowercase letters and the capitals again without any shades (I was halfway through the practice pads by M. Sull when I took part in her workshop). I thought it was already looking quite ok, but I must say while I still don't feel very confident with Spencerian, this practising without shades made my letterforms much more precise.

She also said after looking at my practice sheets, that I needed to work on my ovals. I am afraid I have preached this over and over here in the Forum, but it was a huge eye-opener for me, because the oval exersices I knew were these super fast connected lines of ovals, and I had done them a lot, but while I personally find they are a good way to loose up a bit, they help nothing regarding precision, and that is what is needed if I want do do more flourished, ornamental capitals. So she showed me some oval exercises, and wrote them rather slowly! I think speed comes later. But that may also depend much on each single person I know that Erica says her lines get shaky when she writes slowly.

I also forced myself to write rather big (about 5 mm x-height which with Spencerian is huuuge imho), because any flaws are much better so see ;)! And easier to correct. After that writing smaller became easier and I hope a bit prettier too.

So, that's just some methods that helped me to improve. Sorry for writing so much :).

Oh no, don't even think about apologizing for writing much. I quite enjoy helpful tips, and I've seen all your elegant pictures on IG (I especially marvel at that chalkboard Spencerian, that's really amazing!), you definitely practice what you preach, and I totally agree practice is so important! (Boring, but important! >_< )

In fact, I've tried to copy some of your helpful exercises, and tried to make them bigger. They looked awful. And doing them slow made me use finger muscles instead. But it helped me realize why such practices are needed! What looks so deceptively simple takes so much work behind the scenes to achieve. I must then remember to loosen my grip, write bigger, oval exercises, powder, lower my nib and practice more!

Offline Estefa

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2014, 07:19:55 AM »
Thank you very much, Faeleia :). The chalkboard thing was more lettering than writing! Very, very slow. I still like it and it helped me with an x-height of about 35 mm to understand the forms of the letters better. If you have access to a chalkboard it's really worth a try. Or use old newspapers, as Andy suggested, I think, put them on the wall and write with a pointed marker on them. That's also good for arm movement, no-one writes on a wall with finger movement ;).

If it looks awful, that's normal. My first ones on a new day also always look awful!! Especially the counter-clockwise ones. But try it faster, maybe slow is not good for you as Schin also said, everyone is different!

Happy lettering :)!
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2014, 08:31:10 AM »
The tip with the vertical writing is very clever. Because I don't use my arm at all xD ooops.
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2014, 10:33:37 AM »
... no-one writes on a wall with finger movement ;)

No indeed, in fact I can do quite respectable ovals in the condensation on the kitchen window.  Doesn't seem to translate to the horizontal in my case, unfortunately.  It's tempting to pin the paper to the wall, but the ink would run down my arm.  ;)

Offline schin

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2014, 12:53:33 PM »
If you come to Iampeth I will bring it :)
I would love to (I so badly want to go for classes by Bill Kemp, Jake Weidmann, Michael Sull, John DeCollibus! (!! ::) ), but I haven't even been anywhere in the States for a holiday before, so I'm definitely going to get lost. Airplane, lodging will probably blow a lot of budget, not to mention the very scary prospect of being the greenest onlooker there. Perhaps in a few years when I save enough and get more skills!

Haha you won't get lost, there are many tourists in the US and people are generally very friendly to help. If Iampeth ever comes to Vegas you can stay at my house!
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Offline AmyNeub

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2014, 04:34:08 PM »
You guys should keep adding these great hints. Just keep on writing, because you are helping out so much!

I also have the same problems learning Spencerian. I scanned the very tiny practice grid from my book and made the guidelines bigger. I find it easier to practice the letters. Maybe too big though...

I also use a light box, so I guess the free arm-movement is out.  I will try that later when I can recite all the letters from memory better.

Awesome job Faeleia!

I will get you "Spencerian Masters" to critique my work on of these days.

Offline Moya

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2014, 09:09:28 PM »
Haha you won't get lost, there are many tourists in the US and people are generally very friendly to help. If Iampeth ever comes to Vegas you can stay at my house!

I have to agree with Schin - I thought Australia was a pretty friendly country, but I was completely blown away in America by how friendly everyone was.  Every single American I met practically just threw their arms wide open - "My house, stay in it! My food, eat it! How can I help? Do you need the shirt off my back? Here it is!"

It was such a great experience.  Americans - they're great :) 

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2014, 09:44:06 PM »
Thank you Moya! Usually, all I hear is how awful we are!  :D

I use a sheet of felt for a cushion sheet. I can't letter well without it. It just helps my pen glide. So I use that, then one piece of paper, then my guidelines, then the paper I'm writing on.
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Offline Moya

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2014, 10:00:25 PM »
Thank you Moya! Usually, all I hear is how awful we are!  :D

Haha!  I think that, as a gross generalisation, you are much louder and more expansive than we are, and you expect to receive the same hospitality you so willingly give - which is what I suspect leads to the bad stereotype of "demanding American tourist".  But it is totally a stereotype.  It's just a cultural difference.  I have only ever met a scant handful of American tourists who actually fit that stereotype - mostly, you are genuinely lovely people.

;)

Offline schin

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2014, 11:09:39 PM »
It was actually a culture shock for me how friendly everyone is.. I came from Asia and we are quite conservative there, at least I am. But in the US everyone is very open and smile and say Hi, how are you at anybody. It took a while for me to get over the 'why are they speaking to me?' mindset.
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Offline Faeleia

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2014, 02:11:59 AM »
Your suggestions helped a lot! Writing bigger made my forms much easier to control. Also because my nib is getting worn, the hairlines are more like men's thick armpit hairs lol, so small writing made it look very ugly. I'm diligently doing oval exercises! But i can only do those with finger movements, more accurate but ugly. Oh well, more practice it is. :)

I'm very conservative, I hardly even speak to anyone in Singapore usually! I'm going to get such a culture shock and get buried under friendliness in the states, I reckon! But first if I make it to US, I'm going to go Walmart haha! It seems to have everything!

Offline Brad franklin

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Re: Arm support in doing Spencerian Majuscules
« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2014, 02:17:14 AM »
I'm very conservative, I hardly even speak to anyone in Singapore usually! I'm going to get such a culture shock and get buried under friendliness in the states, I reckon! But first if I make it to US, I'm going to go Walmart haha! It seems to have everything!

Faeleia when you make it to WalMart they may say as you walk into the door WELCOME TO WALMART
Don't let it startle you.  :)