Author Topic: Spencerian Shading  (Read 6705 times)

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Spencerian Shading
« on: April 19, 2016, 11:15:12 AM »
The subject of shading in Spencerian has been mentioned elsewhere. Here is some information on it from Spencer and his sons for those who have an interest.

The first plate is from an 1857 edition of Spencerian or Semiangular Penmanship, as Spencer taught it at that time (that is, in his lifetime, his later years). Many observations can be made, one of which is the shading of the small miniscules a, m, n, r, s and so on. Other plates in this edition show no shading on these letters, other plates just a few are shaded. All written by Spencer.

The next four pictures are from an 1866 edition  of Spencerian Key to Practical Penmanship by H. C. Spencer (a son of P.R.). It seems the sons attempted to codify what shading in Spencerian was after P.R.'s death. All the small letters lost their shading except an occasional a.

The last plate shows how Spencerian was taught in 1903 (from Gaskell's Compendium of forms). The shades on the small letters had returned (or were never successfully banned from Spencerian).

All the versions had shading on the larger letters and capitals, some versions had no shading on the small letters or modest shading on some of them. All the versions are attractive to my eye, but I generally favor modest shading and subtle shading on the small letters. It's easy to overdo.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 02:51:52 PM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2016, 11:19:58 AM »
last plate

Offline sybillevz

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2016, 02:39:10 PM »
I've been reading about that subject today !

Michael Sull says in his book (Learning to write spencerian script) that shading on small letters has become a personal expression of emphasis by the penman. In all cases though, he states that shaded strokes must always be graceful. "No shades in Spencerian script or OP should look flat or mono-weight in view": they should swell in the middle and highlight the graceful curvature as the hairline turns into shaded stroke and then becomes hairline again.
Such a graceful transition in line weight contributes to the beauty of the form.

He also cites Spencer, who explains that the shades in small letters are meant to break up the monotony of the writing, to please the eye.

I quite agree with all that. Some shades expertly placed and executed do make the spencerian hand very attractive.

Offline Brad franklin

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2016, 10:58:21 PM »
 Very interesting  topic!  I often wonder to the untrained Eye, the reader thinks that the pen is running out of ink hence the shaded strokes to the no shade

Offline JanisTX

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2016, 07:09:30 AM »
That's really interesting, Mike!  Thanks for sharing!

Janis

Offline AndyT

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2016, 08:37:41 AM »
My take is that it's invariably better to underdo lower case shading in Spencerian, rather than go to town.  In practice, that generally means sticking to d, f, p and t, and otherwise dotting a few around according to taste.  There are rules, but none which can't be broken at will.  It's a bit different with Ornamental Penmanship, where one every other letter is a good rate to aim for.

On which subject, I have a two page article on shading in Ornamental Penmanship by Brian Walker, from The Spencerian Review.  If anyone wants a copy, drop me a line.  That said, the most comprehensive source of advice and variants is probably PZ Bloser's OP book, available here.

Offline sybillevz

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2016, 05:33:05 AM »
Interesting Andy !
Every other letter : do you mean some a's (or whatever letter) will be shaded and some won't ?
I'm going to try that  ::)

Offline June P

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2016, 07:42:44 AM »
 Useful and helpful. Thank you Anasazi & Andy.
See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! Galatians 6:11

Offline AndyT

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2016, 10:50:17 AM »
Every other letter : do you mean some a's (or whatever letter) will be shaded and some won't ?
I'm going to try that  ::)

It's just a general rule of thumb for ensuring that there's a mixture of light and shade, and it doesn't always pay to follow it rigidly - some words conspire against the shade one, leave one approach.  Towards the back of the Bloser book there's a selection of letters and writing samples showing a variety of approaches to shading, in most cases quite restrained.

One of the most distinctive golden age penmen was DE Knowles, who sometimes applied shades to most of his letters, but they were just the tiniest of dots except for the heavy emphases on d,f,p and t.  Most unusual and attractive, I think, but the objective, as ever, was to contrast light with shade in a pleasing manner.  I'll attach a little sample below.

Offline sybillevz

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2016, 03:37:44 PM »
I my opinion, getting these tiny drop like shades right may be even more difficult than having big fat shades in the right places on capitals. Really, these golden age penmen were show-offs  ;D !
Beautilful example, Andy. Thanks for sharing !

Offline randy2

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2016, 01:25:08 AM »
 Yes I find this very interesting too, and thanks for posting Mike. Some Spencerian I'm seeing is quite boring.  Almost seems repetitive, regimented and stiff, but that first example  by the old man is delightful... to my eyes anyway. To mix it up a little offers an personal artistic approach and smart balancing of the shading  that only seems to come with experience, I find quite attractive. Whereas the strict TDA shading type rules really look monotonous to me after a while.

Offline tmtcalligraphy

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2016, 03:27:46 PM »
Just Fantastic Info!!! Thank You for Sharing!!!

Offline himasf

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2016, 02:52:18 PM »
Could you you point me to more samples from DE Knowles? I really love that sample you posted and have been practicing from it since I saw it last week.

Offline tmtcalligraphy

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2016, 02:50:37 PM »
Are there other examples of Knowles writing? If so... where can I find it?

One of the most distinctive golden age penmen was DE Knowles, who sometimes applied shades to most of his letters, but they were just the tiniest of dots except for the heavy emphases on d,f,p and t.  Most unusual and attractive, I think, but the objective, as ever, was to contrast light with shade in a pleasing manner.  I'll attach a little sample below.
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Spencerian Shading
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2016, 04:26:44 PM »
Are there other examples of Knowles writing? If so... where can I find it?

Try the IAMPETH scrapbooks.  ;)