Flourish Forum

Tutorials => Kind Critique => Topic started by: markc1975 on November 30, 2017, 04:02:42 AM

Title: Pencil Copperplate Practise
Post by: markc1975 on November 30, 2017, 04:02:42 AM

I practice writing Copperplate with a 4B pencil to learn the letter forms.  I pick poems or film quotes and write them out.

Here is a bit of 'If' by Rudyard Kipling.

Please be kind, I've only been seriously practicing for 2 weeks now.


Title: Re: Pencil Copperplate Practise
Post by: Katie Leavens on November 30, 2017, 07:29:06 PM
I can't believe you've only been working for 2 weeks. This is great! I love seeing that you are practicing your forms with pencil.

From personal experience I can say I saw the most improvement when I started doing some warm-up ovals and push/pulls in pencil before writing anything. It really helps relax the hand and improves the flow between letters.

As for your specific letters, make sure you have your exemplar visible while you write your letters, so you can refer to it often. Take note of how it differs from your letters. For example, where do the arches on m and n branch off the stem? Is it the middle, or slightly higher?
Title: Re: Pencil Copperplate Practise
Post by: markc1975 on December 01, 2017, 03:53:36 AM
Thanks for the kind critique Katie!

I have been working on the letters quite a lot, writing them in isolation, and in full sentences.  I am onto my second pencil already!

I find writing poems or famous quotes really helps... I'm working my way through famous lines from Lord of the Rings at the moment in my practice. 

I bought myself a plastic Speedball oblique nib set, but I'm not having much luck with it.  My upstrokes tend to be scratchy and catch.  I think it's the angle I write at, but I can't adjust the nib/flange on the plastic holder.  My wife has bought me a wooden oblique holder for Xmas, so I'm going to have to wait... she told me not to buy one myself until after Xmas!  So I'm getting a lot of time to use pencil!

I'm mostly going from memory, but will make sure I have printed copies of the exemplars next to me in the future. 

Kind regards,

Title: Re: Pencil Copperplate Practise
Post by: Katie Leavens on December 01, 2017, 10:47:56 PM
Yeah, those plastic holders can be good while you are figuring out if you love calligraphy, but then it's time to upgrade. And it definitely sounds like you were there immediately! There can be a lot of reasons for scratchiness, and angle is one of them. But a bigger cause is your pressure on your upstrokes. I start every practice with a pencil and practicing how light I can use it, especially on upstrokes.
Title: Re: Pencil Copperplate Practise
Post by: Erica McPhee on December 02, 2017, 05:17:11 PM
As Katie said, that is *really* impressive. I think even more impressive with pencil. How exciting to get a new oblique holder for Christmas! What nib are you using? I don't like the plastic obliques as they have no give. But the scratchy-ness sounds more like nib than holder.

In any event, you are doing terrific. I can't wait to see what you do with your holder and nib! And what a neat practicing idea!  ;D
Title: Re: Pencil Copperplate Practise
Post by: markc1975 on December 03, 2017, 12:52:27 PM
Thanks Katie, I'll give the upstrokes a go with a pencil as practise.  I do hold the pen fairly light though, in fact on some of the upstrokes I am literally using the weight of the pen to draw, but it's still scratchy.

Erica - I bought myself the Speedball Set, and it came with a bunch of nibs, for both pointed pen and broadstroke/blackletter writing.  I think the ink that came with it is fairly cheap as well, as I am prepping the nibs by following Schin's excellent advice.  I also clean it regularly whilst writing, so I think it's a combination of cheap ink and cheap nibs!

I bought some Rhodia R paper, and I will get myself a few different nibs, and possibly some decent Sumi ink after Xmas.  The plastic holder doesn't allow me to adjust the angle of the nib on the paper, plus when the nib is in, it is not in the centre of the pen holder either.  Any recommendations for nibs?  I like the look of Hiro 41's, and some of the Brause ones look nice too.

Also, I noticed in your tutorial videos that you're not writing in line with the slant lines.  Someone told me to keep the tines of the nib in line with the Copperplate slant, but I really struggle with this.  My pen angle is more like yours in the videos, which I find much more comfortable.

Thanks for all the advice so far!