Author Topic: Spencerian beginner  (Read 2797 times)

Offline Lyric

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 209
  • Karma: 6
    • View Profile
Blotter
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2020, 12:51:10 AM »
I went with a leather blotter and oh em gee a choir of angels commenced to singing.  Get this . . .I purchased a remnant from The Leather Guy in Minnesota versus paying $70 plus for a leather "blotter".
Cheerfully,
Lyric

Offline jeanwilson

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1079
  • Karma: 165
    • View Profile
    • Pushing the Envelopes
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2020, 01:45:03 PM »
There are so many kinds of watercolor paper. I would find hot press WC paper to be too hard to be a helpful cushion.
My first instructor had drawing boards and 5 large sheets of newsprint taped down to the board and that was perfect.
I often practice on lined notebook paper and find that 5 sheets of paper is the right amount of cushion.
Blotter paper is sold at art supply stores and stores that sell fountain pens and the accessories for fancy writing desks.
It's hard to find - and the 5 layers of regular paper are just fine.

I have thrown out a lot of ink over the years - from having too much. So - you might consider forcing yourself to use up an entire bottle before you open the next one.

Offline Trazo

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2020, 04:02:11 PM »
I have looked around and I really can't find any blotter paper. In fact, nobody here seems to know what it is. I usually buy my supplies from a good calligraphy e-shop in Poland, but there is no trace of blotter paper there either. I will keep experimenting with different amounts of sheets on the WC paper. However the main problem is that I don't know how much cushion I should have. Thanks for your advice.

Offline Erica McPhee

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6524
  • Karma: 327
  • Be brave. Love life!
    • View Profile
    • Dasherie Magazine
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2020, 11:39:39 PM »
I use a piece of white craft felt. I can even see through it on a light board. Feels just right to me.
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline jeanwilson

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1079
  • Karma: 165
    • View Profile
    • Pushing the Envelopes
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2020, 06:55:12 AM »
4 or 5 sheets of regular photo copy paper will be just fine.
If you only had 2 or 3 - it would probably be ok.
More than 5 sheets is unnecessary.

I Googled blotter paper - and found this:

Blotting paper, sometimes called bibulous paper, is a highly absorbent type of paper or other material. It is used to absorb an excess of liquid substances (such as ink or oil) from the surface of writing paper or objects.

The only advantage to blotter paper is that it is large enough to have on the desk so you never have to think about it.
Someone mentioned leather -- which I have not tried -- but I am sure it is perfect.

Offline Trazo

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2020, 12:58:26 PM »
Dear Erica, dear Jean,

Thanks again for the advice. Curiously I saw some craft felt the other day in a stationary shop and I bought it as I thought it could work as cushion for writing. I tried it and it feels too soft for me. I may try it again. Mine is wildly green, but it doesn't matter because I have no light box  :'( I am trying with more sheet of papers and it seems to work. By the way, I have been following all of your wise pieces of advise and I think they are helping me a lot (I will try to post a picture now, if I can thin it)

I also googled "blotter paper" yesterday and I got "blotting paper" instead, but it seems to be a complete different thing. I found this offer in a Czech cosmetic products e-shop:

https://www.notino.cz/notino/notino-glamour-collection-blotting-papers-matujici-papirky/p-15956158/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkpSfv9-E7AIVY7R3Ch1kAwOXEAQYASABEgJ3AfD_BwE

The description says the sheets are used to turn off the glitter on your face. And they don't mess up your make up at all. I think I can live without them. :)

Offline Trazo

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2020, 01:24:43 PM »
Hi again,

I had two days off at work and I spent them sunk in ink. I have tried to follow all the recommendations I was given: I slowed down my writing (at least to half or even a third of my former speed); I have concentrated on lower case letters (I have done drills on them); I have locked in a box my fancy vintage nibs and worked exclusively with the Nikko G; I have put more cushion under the sheet; I have let out the shades (other than the idiosincratic "t", "d" and "p"). Of course I didn't expect any big improvement in a couple of days, as I am quite aware that this journey will be very, very long. However I am not in a hurry at all and I think your advice had put me in the right direction for the moment.

By the way, I love the moralistic sentences of the old copy books. If I don't learn Spencerian, I may at least become a respectable citizen.  :)

Offline Trazo

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2020, 01:27:23 PM »
PS- My letters (specially my ascenders) are as shaky as usually. :'(

Offline jeanwilson

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1079
  • Karma: 165
    • View Profile
    • Pushing the Envelopes
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2020, 02:11:05 PM »
I am glad you noted my comment about having an exemplar close to where you are writing -

You wrote:I think Ms. Jean wrote the other day about the necessity of having an exemplar (or a consistent mental image of it) in front of you and the fiction of thinking the tool will just do the work for you and produce the desired result.

A consistent mental image (that will work) does not exist for the beginner. They think they know what an e looks like, so they keep making loops - but none of them replicate the e on the exemplar. Getting people to refer to the exemplar frequently is one of the hardest things to accomplish.

Blotting paper for cosmetics is something else -- blotters were used on desks and had corners that held the blotter paper in place.

It sounds like you are making some improvements. I would encourage you to combine the tips you have on this thread with the tips I just posted on penmanship repair and spend some time doing drills with just a few letters. I ALWAYS warm up with drills if I intend to do some work that matters.
And I do not mean for you to use the penmanship exemplar -- keep looking at Spencerian, but start with the letters and words posted. And then add letters and words as they show up in other lessons.

To remedy your shakiness, you might try writing with a regular pen or a pencil. Getting the feel of the tool is a big job. Learning the shapes of the letters is a big job. You are doing two big jobs at once. It can be very helpful to break it into two parts.

The page you posted has all kinds of good things going on. I look forward to seeing more and I think it helps others to see examples of progress.

« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 02:42:56 PM by jeanwilson »

Offline jeanwilson

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1079
  • Karma: 165
    • View Profile
    • Pushing the Envelopes
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2020, 02:50:23 PM »
One more suggestion.

If your ascenders and descenders are shaky, it is perfectly OK to start out with shorter ascenders and descenders - and then lengthen them later on.
As I keep saying, there are so many things to learn at once - if you make some modifications in the beginning to achieve smooth lines - you can return to the original exemplar when you have more muscle memory and control of the nib.

On the penmanship repair, I recommend skipping all the loops until there is a nice rhythm and consistent shapes and spacing with all the things going on within the x-height.

Offline Trazo

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2020, 03:37:10 PM »
Thanks again, Jean. I am aware that the shakiness of the lines has much to do with the dip pen nib, which is a new tool for me. That is why I tried the experiment I posted. I wrote the same page with a normal pen and a fountain pen: lines weren't as shaky and letters were a bit less deformed. From the very beginning I keep working both with the dip pen and a normal pen or pencil. I will follow your advise and work with the combination of letters you propose. From next week on I will be quite busy at work and I will have less time to practice. I will try to keep posting, as your feedback is always very helpful. Thanks.

Offline Lyric

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 209
  • Karma: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2020, 09:10:54 AM »

Someone mentioned leather -- which I have not tried -- but I am sure it is perfect.

I adore using mine.  Just have to remember to remove it when I do watercolouring 'cause I am sloppppppy!!!  ::)
Cheerfully,
Lyric

Offline Andrew Davies

  • Freshman Member
  • *
  • Posts: 45
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2020, 02:24:23 PM »
@Trazo Interesting that you have a Kaweco Sport. I have an aluminium Kaweco AL Sport which I love. It has a fine nib, one of two fountain pens I have with such a nib, the others being broader as my handwriting verges on italic (but less disciplined 😆😢). I find the Kaweco a reasonable compromise for doing what Spencerian I have learned so far. Most of the time though I use a straight pen holder with a J nib, a common nib that seems to have been used for general business writing. It gives fairly sharp lines.

Offline Trazo

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Spencerian beginner
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2020, 03:16:53 PM »
Hi Andrew,

I love the Kawekos for their vintage art deco look and for the fantastic range of colors of their cartridges (I think they are my only fountain pens with which I don't use a converter and normal ink). They are small for my big hands, but I love them anyway. I used to write with broader fountain pens but lately I have became an adept of F or EF nibs.

I practice Spencerian with any tool I have around (pencil, ballpen, fountain pen...), but when it come to dip pen, I always use an oblique holder. It looks intimidating at first sight, but I can tell you it saved my life (speaking in calligraphic terms). I am right handed and if I want to write on the slant with a straight holder I have to turn the page 90 anticklockwise and I completely loose the control over the letterforms, spacing and so on. I feel it almost like writing upside down. Even with the oblique holder I have to turn the page quite a lot and, despite of it, I fell my nib is not well aligned (that is very patent when I try to make the shade of the capitals). Well, it always puzzles my why the old Spencerian instruction books recommend a straight holder (and a very uncommon grip), whereas they were aware of the oblique, as sometimes they recommend it for artistic penmanship (exactly the other way around to what we see nowadays, I think). But this is a question for another thread and for the specialist in this forum.

I love vintage nibs (I love vintage stationery in general!), but all the ones I have are under arrest until I learn to write with the Nikko G. By the way, they are meant to be indestructible, but I just spoiled  a quite new one writing an address on a nice envelope of very textured hand made paper. Well, I have learned the lesson. I know about the J nibs and I have seen pictures. I think they were produced by different companies and were meant to be used for everyday clerk writing. I have quite a few books about fountain pens and there are loads of them in the market, but I don't know any book about dip pen nib history. However, I found this amazing webpage, which is surely know to the members of this forum: https://thesteelpen.com/.

Keep practicing. Cheers.