Author Topic: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate  (Read 34974 times)

Offline Lori M

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Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« on: May 20, 2014, 02:47:58 AM »
I'm very interested in learning Spencerian, after I've mastered Copperplate well enough to move on. (That could be quite a while, but I'm investigating anyway.  ;)  )

I found an article on the IAMPETH site that said, talking about Spencerian vs. Copperplate:

Quote
Spencer's system encouraged the more natural tendencies of the hand and arm muscles toward elliptical shapes and rapid, fluid lines.  They were easier to produce than circular forms, and far more graceful as well.

Based on that, it sounds like Spencerian might actually be easier to learn than Copperplate. Is that true?

If you know both, which did you learn first, and what do you like best about each hand?

Offline Roseann

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 03:02:56 AM »
Such a great question Lori!
I know it's not recommended, but I started Copperplate first and shortly after started Spencerian.  I practice them both everday.  And I love them both very much!
I love the formality of Copperplate, and the graceful, flowing feel of Spencerian.
And I would say that Spencerian is harder. 
Roseann

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Offline ultraQuiche

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 03:07:38 AM »
I am not nearly accomplished enough to be an authority in Spencerian, or Copperplate styles, for that matter, but I do find Spencerian quite a bit harder.

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 04:47:47 AM »
I can only speak from personal experience: I find Spencerian very, very hard. My Copperplate is far from perfect, but I find it easier to get into it.
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Offline Brad franklin

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 05:34:32 AM »
That is interesting, i have been trying Copperplate for about six months plus or minus, I just started spencerian withen the last couple of days. It seems easier to me of course i could be doing it wrong. My thought process is that since I have been writing American cursive for thirty years and it came out of this script it seems easier to me :- :o,

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 06:26:29 AM »
That is interesting, i have been trying Copperplate for about six months plus or minus, I just started spencerian withen the last couple of days. It seems easier to me of course i could be doing it wrong. My thought process is that since I have been writing American cursive for thirty years and it came out of this script it seems easier to me :- :o,
I think you might be right there. We have a different writing system here, similar to this: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deutsche_normalschrift_ab_01091941.jpg
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Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 08:35:16 AM »

Quote
Spencer's system encouraged the more natural tendencies of the hand and arm muscles toward elliptical shapes and rapid, fluid lines.  They were easier to produce than circular forms, and far more graceful as well.

If you know both, which did you learn first, and what do you like best about each hand?

I write both Copperplate and Spencerian having learned Copperplate first. I think that Copperplate is the more difficult to write well, as it is a more disciplined hand compared to Spencerian which is much looser.

I disagree with the quoted assertion that Spencerian is "far more graceful" than Copperplate.

Here's the same wording in both Copperplate and Spencerian.

Ken

« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 03:06:06 AM by Ken Fraser »

Offline Lori M

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 12:40:10 PM »
Great side-by-side comparison. I do find Copperplate much more readable that Spencerian, although I think they're both beautiful.

I supposed it is still recommended to master one before moving on to the other?

Offline Denise R

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 01:46:41 PM »
Spencerian is definitely more beautiful to my eyes, Ken. Copperplate is gorgeous, no doubt. But there's something in Spencerian that speaks to me on a different level. The more pronounced slant makes it look like it's about to take flight. The oval shapes appeals to me in a way that the round shape does not.

It seems like all of the examples that I see of Spencerian are smaller (x-height) than those of Copperplate. I haven't learned enough to know if that's by design, but I do know that I like that because it brings back warm memories of my grandmother's beautiful handwriting.

I suppose that one reason, maybe THE reason, that more people prefer Copperplate is because it is widely considered more beautiful. I can understand that, because I also find it beautiful to look at. But for some reason it doesn't do for me what Spencerian does.

In any event, anything written by you is wonderful. I look forward to your every post and hope to learn a lot from you. Actually, I'm already learning from you. Your work is so beautiful it just makes me want to practice that much more. Thank you!



Denise

Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 04:19:21 PM »
Great side-by-side comparison. I do find Copperplate much more readable that Spencerian, although I think they're both beautiful.

I supposed it is still recommended to master one before moving on to the other?

I strongly believe in separate learning.

However, learning Spencerian and Gothic Blackletter at the same time, for example,, is fine because everything about them is different - even the type of nibs.

Ken

Offline dailyletterings

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 08:00:28 PM »
i think i'm about to go look into spencerian now.  copperplate has been difficult for me - it's hard to get those squared-off ends! i love the look and flow of ken's spencerian. i'm inspired!!  :D
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2014, 12:32:10 AM »
Beautiful work Ken (as always)!  :)

I learned Spencerian first, then Copperplate. I can't practice them anywhere near each other as I then go astray. I find Spencerian more difficult as I believe it takes a bit more "measured restraint" - especially if I am flourishing. But I tend to like more shade so I must hold myself back.

I can't choose one over the other as more beautiful (that would be like picking a favorite kid!).  ;D But I will say I've seen displeasing examples of both even though well executed.
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Offline Estefa

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2014, 04:03:03 AM »
I started learning Copperplate last April (2013 I mean), and while doing internet resaerch came across Spencerian. My reaction was similar to Schin's in another thread I saw yesterday where she talked so eloquently about the beauty of this script …

I started then learning Spencerian around July / August last year, while I was still struggling (am still of course in a way, but feeling more secure) with Copperplate. In retrospect I guess it was not very clever to learn them more or less at the same time. I used different teaching materials – the Mott copybooks, stuff I found on IAMPETH etc.; did a workshop with Barbara Calzolari (who learnt from Michael Sull) – and believe me, it still looks so crappy. I get along with the capitals, because I write them rather slowly and use them together with Copperplate minuscules, but I find the miniscules incredibly hard. As Brad said, it is probably much easier when you learnt American Cursive as a child. I learnt a similar script like Natascha (sisterofdreams), and we were encouraged to develop a personal style (as long as it was legible). So I have the feeling, while I understand quite well the construction principles behind Spencerian, and I can apply them to a certain degree when I letter them (in a sense of writing so slowly that it could be called drawing). Which is not how it is supposed to be written, as far as I have read. I have the feeling that just my subconciuos and muscle memory from nearly 40 years takes over and switch from "calligraphy – slow and careful" to "handwriting! Yeah, let's do this fast!!". I have been writing a lot when I was younger, so my handwriting is just too much etched in my brain, I guess …

I am really not sure if I go on trying this. It's too frustrating. I have tons of practising sheets, and I did intelligent practice (I think ;D), but it's still not really working even if some sheets look reasonably ok, especially when I am working directly after an exemplar (I have that practice set from Michael Sull). I have to write really, really slow to make it work just a bit.

So, in short: I find Spencerian much harder. And don't get me wrong, I don't want to say that Copperplate is easy, especially not when it comes to the finer details etc., but I personally found it easier for me to get halfway decent looking results in a much shorter time.

As to the quote in the beginning of this thread … 1. I think we shouldn't forget that such sayings often were actually advertising copybooks or schools which teached a certain style, so it should be taken with a grain of salt; not only regarding the easiness with which is apperantly to learn but also regarding the naturalness or beauty … 2. I generally don't like absolute discussions about wether a certain style is more beautiful than another. I find it is futile and leads to needless arguments. I am very much with you there, Ken … I think we can talk about if one execution of a certain style is more beautiful than another, but to compare styles like that is like saying blonde hair is more beautiful than red.

Which is different to saying "I personally like … more than …"!
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Offline Starlee

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2014, 05:56:24 AM »
I haven't tried Spencerian yet, but comparing Ken's awesome demonstration, to me, in terms of flow, Copperplate looks like high choppy waves, whereas Spencerian is definitely wavy, but may be easier to 'get in groove' once its rhythm is mastered. Maybe that's why it can be written faster? As Stefanie mentioned, not learning american cursive could be a hurdle. What I'm curious about, is what other things people are finding really challenging with Spencerian?
Star

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Difficulty of Learning Spencerian vs. Copperplate
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2014, 02:12:03 AM »
I am really not sure if I go on trying this. It's too frustrating. I have tons of practising sheets, and I did intelligent practice (I think ;D), but it's still not really working even if some sheets look reasonably ok, especially when I am working directly after an exemplar (I have that practice set from Michael Sull). I have to write really, really slow to make it work just a bit.
Don't you dare stop!
Remember Barbara: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
You've got YEARS of muscle memory to overcome, of course it takes time to overwrite that with Spencerian! But you're awesome, you can do it, I know!
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