Author Topic: a... the second stroke :)  (Read 4646 times)

Offline RobertFontaine

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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,
Robert

Offline Bianca M

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2016, 01:22:51 AM »
Hmmm... I would love to see a photo to help figure out the problem.  I'm not, personally, understanding what you mean by a loop in an "a" (is this capital?  although, this probably doesn't matter, because the same problem will arise elsewhere) - but I'd love to help you fix your troubles! 

What ink are you having success with? 

Yes, adding GA to Higgins has been known to help the bleeding (or, as you said, leave the cap off overnight, away from any cats, if you have them). 

Offline Salman Khattak

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2016, 03:52:20 AM »
Which Noodler's ink are you using? Some of their inks have a lot of surfactants and won't flow well from a dip pen. Others behave well. I use Noodler's Black with a good amount of water added as my practice ink and it works beautifully on pretty much all kinds of paper.

Higgins will benefit from a bit of Gum Arabic.

I should add that adding Gum Arabic and dehydrating inks are two very different things. GA causes the ink to 'stick' to the nib better while drying your ink changes the viscosity which may or may not help.

Also, water is actually 'drier' than (most) fountain pen inks. So adding water to FP ink would make it dry quicker as well as stick to the nib better even though it appears thinner. The change in flow is caused by reducing the effect of the surfactants (think soap) in the ink.

- Salman
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 08:43:32 PM by SMK »
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Offline AndyT

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 07:46:23 AM »
That sort of thing is a perennial problem with fountain pen inks, although some work better than others.  Adding water, as Salman says, is a good plan in the first instance.  A spot of indigo gouache in Higgins Eternal is known to be exceedingly beneficial ... it doesn't have to be indigo, of course.

Offline nabeelah

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2016, 10:39:13 AM »
Are you attempting the shaded or the unshaded Spencerian 'a'?

Offline RobertFontaine

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2016, 06:36:43 PM »
Lightly shaded.   I will post some pictures of my mess later.   Improving the angles and becoming a bit more coordinated with the with the weight of the stroke is helping.  I'm occasionally getting lucky and almost achieving the result of the exemplar so it is achievable with the ink/paper/nibs I  am using.   I just haven't found the touch yet.


Offline RobertFontaine

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2016, 04:27:37 PM »
On a related note is the down stroke of the lower case d in this exemplar achievable with pointed pen or is this the result  of some copperplate cleanup?

I can occasionally duplicate the shading in the lower case 'a' now but the crisp thick to thin in the lower case d is both subtle and seemingly unpossible in a single smooth stroke.   I can almost fake it if I color inside the lines and do touch ups but to smoothly reproduce both the clean square edge on the top of the d and the smooth transition from thick to thin at the same time makes me think that a printer squared of the top of the d with the copper plate.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 04:29:24 PM by RobertFontaine »

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2016, 05:35:09 PM »
but the crisp thick to thin in the lower case d is both subtle and seemingly unpossible in a single smooth stroke.   I can almost fake it if I color inside the lines and do touch ups but to smoothly reproduce both the clean square edge on the top of the d and the smooth transition from thick to thin at the same time makes me think that a printer squared of the top of the d with the copper plate.

It can be done in a single stroke with a little practice.
Place the pen on the paper at the top of the t, spread the tines a little bit via pressure, and move down, lessening the pressure as you go.
Check out this post:
http://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=64.msg46885#msg46885


Offline RobertFontaine

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2016, 07:54:41 PM »
but the crisp thick to thin in the lower case d is both subtle and seemingly unpossible in a single smooth stroke.   I can almost fake it if I color inside the lines and do touch ups but to smoothly reproduce both the clean square edge on the top of the d and the smooth transition from thick to thin at the same time makes me think that a printer squared of the top of the d with the copper plate.

It can be done in a single stroke with a little practice.
Place the pen on the paper at the top of the t, spread the tines a little bit via pressure, and move down, lessening the pressure as you go.
Check out this post:
http://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=64.msg46885#msg46885

Thanks.   Back to drill number 1 for a few days :)

Offline AndyT

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2016, 06:04:29 AM »
I'm willing to bet that the majority of Spencerian writers square the tops by retouching ... there's no dishonour in it, or at least I hope not.  Many of my betters do it, anyway.  ;)

It's interesting to note that Platt Rogers Spencer did things differently, as in the attached picture.  No squaring at the tops and a bold, parallel shade down to the waistline.  That's partly due to how quills behave, no doubt, but also in line with his view that handwriting should be a continuous, fluid business, as opposed to the stop-start of roundhand.  What works for me, in the interest of keeping things moving briskly, is to make the t and d ascenders with a rapid stab, and to go back and tidy them up at the end of the word.  That has the advantage of giving an opportunity to tidy up the slant if necessary - the retouching is just a tiny 7 shape, quickly done.  Not my idea, I hasten to add, but one of the better tips which have come my way.

Incidentally, the bottom of the p stem is easily squared without retouching in my experience.  Funny, that.

Offline RobertFontaine

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2016, 09:45:26 PM »
I am retouching but I am also trying to learn to emulate the exemplar with a continuous stroke.   There are some surprisingly subtle (to me) lessons in this exemplar.    I've been free handing (without grid) to this point and  seeing daily progress but I think I need to print off a few layout grids and get fussier about angles and consistency to get my lower case letter shapes to the point that I am happy with them.

The light shading of the lower case is very hard but attempting to emulate it is forcing me to develop weight control pretty quickly.   In some ways the Upper Case letters are almost easier in that it seems easier for me to be heavy handed than light (I'm only at E so I could be wrong).

When you were learning Spencerian did you work on an Exemplar until you were happy with it and then go on and play with the others till you were comfortable with common variations or is it more common to simply refine one style until it is firmly in muscle memory and then maintain it?

I can see being pretty comfortable with the basic script (without flourishes) in a few months of daily practice.

I've got no real plan but I know I want to learn some uncial scripts in english and koine greek.  I intend to learn NT Greek this year, so it would be a fun side project to write genesis or something similar in uncial with a reed or some other silly project.


Offline Rednaxela

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2016, 11:26:34 PM »
When I practise, I usually practise elements, like the ascender loop, or the entry stroke into the s, or the downstroke of the t, or the corner curve into its exit stroke. To me, writing Spencerian is mostly about chaining (and executing) these elements the right way. I do practice complete letters and words from time to time (tiptop, soliloquy, assistant, black), but it's not what I tend to focus on.

Does it work? I don't know. Frankly, I have no idea what my script looks like. Possibly it could use following an exemplar a bit closer, and I have an enormous respect for people who are disciplined enough to do that.

On guide sheets, I think using guide sheets for a while can be beneficial, but there are also techniques to build slant consistency without them that might be worth trying out.

If I'm not mistaken, Madarasz retouched too.
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Offline AndyT

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2016, 05:52:41 AM »
If I'm not mistaken, Madarasz retouched too.

Indeed he did, although it's not often you can see the join.  The poor quality of most reproductions doesn't help.

I intend to learn NT Greek this year, so it would be a fun side project to write genesis or something similar in uncial with a reed or some other silly project.

I hope you'll be posting pictures?  Reeds are quite pleasant to write with - not wonderfully supple like quills, but an awful lot less hassle to prepare.  Do you have something suitable growing nearby?  My next door neighbour's hedge makes good pens, which is a stroke of luck.  :)

Offline RobertFontaine

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Re: a... the second stroke :)
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2016, 05:33:54 PM »
I don't have any reeds yet.   I'm hoping I can find some properly aged from Iran or Turkey for that authentic touch.   They tell me Istanbul was once Constantinople  
and I am mostly interested in the Sinaiticus and Vaticainus.

Stretch goals include learning to read and transcribe  the Hagamadi docs,  The dead sea scrolls and the Egyptian book of the dead but definitely not this year.