Author Topic: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules  (Read 893 times)

Offline neriah

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Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« on: February 07, 2018, 09:28:51 AM »
Hello!

I recently started practising Majuscules from Zanerian Manual due to skill gap between my Minuscules and Majuscules becoming more obvious. I focused on P, B and R first because that loop on the left was by far the worst part of my script.

I know I need to work more on my compound curve, it should be more balanced, especially on the top. However, I feel like something else is missing but I can't really figure it out. I know that right loop of P should be parallel with beginning of the loop on the left which isn't in my case because I have trouble figuring out how to get there. I find that transition from the loop on the left, over the compound curve to the loop on the right the hardest part to figure out. These letters were written by trial and error, not by me understanding how should I move my nib to get there so I am not sure if I am on the right track.

Thanks for the help!

Offline Starlee

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 10:05:06 AM »
These are really very good! Some fine tuning I would suggest: 1) make the universal curve the most heavily weighted. Try reducing the shade of the curves of the P, B, R by about 1/3 or even a 1/2; 2) The thin part of the loop flourish could be made a little more bouncy...see how the loop is kind of sitting on line? Try raising the heavy part so it pushes out left more; more rounded almost, but just smidgeon...and this is only a suggestion...play and see; lastly, 3) the dot could be more graceful. Imagine the line curling in on itself like a fern popping up at spring! And given the major snow day we are having here in Toronto, sure could use a dose of springtime!  8)
Star

Offline Bianca M

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 11:50:43 AM »
These look wonderful!  Really!  I think the entrance loop on your P is beautiful; it does start to droop as you get to your R.  The oval there gradually got more narrow, and its axis also started to tilt to the right as you got to your R.  Try, also, keeping the dot at the end of your capital stem a bit closer to the baseline, and slim down the top of the stem so it's a more gradual transition into the swell in the stem- hairline to swell.  This will also help your curve become more graceful.  Perhaps also try curving to the left a bit sooner, and narrowing your line, as you approach the baseline.  Here is an exemplar from Baird, courtesy of zanerian.com, to illustrate those points.

« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 11:52:25 AM by Bianca M »

Offline neriah

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscul
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2018, 02:22:05 PM »
Wow, thank you both for the awesome suggestions! I agree with all the points, canít wait to try it out :)

@Starlee I love your explanation of the dot, I am definitely closer to understanding it now. As to cold, we are really lucky in Zagreb, Croatia, first winter snow happened today and it seems it will be gone by tomorrow :)

@Bianca M that exemplar is gorgeous, mine will never look like that but Iíll try :D


Offline Bianca M

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2018, 11:47:11 PM »
Whaaaaaa???? I just booked a (second) trip to Croatia! I love it there!  I got vetoed on a Zagreb visit, though.  :-\

Offline neriah

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 04:49:03 AM »
So nice to hear people love Croatia :)

Which parts are you visiting? Let me know if you need tips/help with anything! And if you do come to Zagreb I can give you a tour around old part :)

On topic of Majuscules - I tried all of the suggestions and it did improve my letters. Fixing compound curve made the biggest difference. I am not there yet, but I'll post another photo when I get more consistent.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2018, 11:20:34 AM »
@neriah
Sometimes I also know a letter or word is not formed correctly, but am unsure of just why without careful study, not having the keenness of eye of a master of the form like Ken Fraser or a teacher looking over my shoulder to correct me as I practise, so here is the method I use to more quickly approximate a well formed letter.

1. Select from your exemplar that which you wish to practise and affix it to the appropriately sized guide sheet.
2. Lay a blank piece of paper over your guidesheet with exemplar.
3. Noting where in your exemplar where the stokes begin, end, and intersect the guidelines, make your first attempt next to it (as example, I'm making an especially poor first attempt).
4. Move your top sheet such that the letter you just drew is directly over the exemplar and it becomes obvious what is wrong with your letter (in this example, a lot of things are wrong).
5. At this point, I pick one thing that is off, and in my second attempt, try to improve just that element. Trying to improve everything at once when there are many things off seems to lead me down a winding path that something is always off (in this example, I work on the initial downstroke--shape and width are really off).
6. Compare your second attempt to the exemplar by moving it over the exemplar as you did the first attempt.
7. If it is a good reproduction of the element you're working on, move on to the next element that is off (say, in this example, the left loop--too narrow, wrong slant). Continue working through each element that differs from the exemplar until you have corrected them all (the last picture is not the final attempt, but I can only post 6 photos at a time. The process continues until all the faults in the last picture are corrected).
You don't have to move every attempt over the exemplar if you know what your working on is not right and know how to change it. When you think you've got it, then check your attempt versus the exemplar.
I sometimes begin this exercise by tracing the exemplar to begin the muscle memory process in forming the letter correctly.
This whole process may sound tedious, but it actually goes quite quickly, and is certainly faster (for me) than endlessly forming the letter incorrectly until  I eventually correct all the errors at one go.
This process can also be used for entire words and sentences, which allows for corrections in spacing, uniformity of shading, and other aspects not germain to writing a single letter.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 11:27:05 AM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline Bianca M

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2018, 01:53:08 PM »
Which parts are you visiting? Let me know if you need tips/help with anything! And if you do come to Zagreb I can give you a tour around old part :)

On topic of Majuscules - I tried all of the suggestions and it did improve my letters. Fixing compound curve made the biggest difference. I am not there yet, but I'll post another photo when I get more consistent.

Thank you! I'll DM for tips you so as not to hijack this thread ;)  Visiting Dubrovnik for sure, probably Split and Hvar again, and a couple islands that the person arranging our for-hire boat is recommending for us. TBD. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing your improvements when you next post photos.  :) Great tip by Michael re. letter comparison.  I've never tried that!

Offline neriah

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 02:24:53 PM »
@AnasaziWrites

Thank you so much for explaining this technique in such detail, it is great!

I do measure slant and sizes on exemplars often but it never occurred to me to use it in this manner. I probably wonít have time to try it before weekend but Iím really looking forward to this practice, I can already see it will help me with many things:)

@Bianca M - looking forward to your DM!

Offline Vlatorn

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2018, 08:12:09 AM »
@neriah
Sometimes I also know a letter or word is not formed correctly, but am unsure of just why without careful study, not having the keenness of eye of a master of the form like Ken Fraser or a teacher looking over my shoulder to correct me as I practise, so here is the method I use to more quickly approximate a well formed letter.

1. Select from your exemplar that which you wish to practise and affix it to the appropriately sized guide sheet.
2. Lay a blank piece of paper over your guidesheet with exemplar.
3. Noting where in your exemplar where the stokes begin, end, and intersect the guidelines, make your first attempt next to it (as example, I'm making an especially poor first attempt).
4. Move your top sheet such that the letter you just drew is directly over the exemplar and it becomes obvious what is wrong with your letter (in this example, a lot of things are wrong).
5. At this point, I pick one thing that is off, and in my second attempt, try to improve just that element. Trying to improve everything at once when there are many things off seems to lead me down a winding path that something is always off (in this example, I work on the initial downstroke--shape and width are really off).
6. Compare your second attempt to the exemplar by moving it over the exemplar as you did the first attempt.
7. If it is a good reproduction of the element you're working on, move on to the next element that is off (say, in this example, the left loop--too narrow, wrong slant). Continue working through each element that differs from the exemplar until you have corrected them all (the last picture is not the final attempt, but I can only post 6 photos at a time. The process continues until all the faults in the last picture are corrected).
You don't have to move every attempt over the exemplar if you know what your working on is not right and know how to change it. When you think you've got it, then check your attempt versus the exemplar.
I sometimes begin this exercise by tracing the exemplar to begin the muscle memory process in forming the letter correctly.
This whole process may sound tedious, but it actually goes quite quickly, and is certainly faster (for me) than endlessly forming the letter incorrectly until  I eventually correct all the errors at one go.
This process can also be used for entire words and sentences, which allows for corrections in spacing, uniformity of shading, and other aspects not germain to writing a single letter.

I love this method! This mankes SO much sense to me. Thank you!

Offline neriah

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2018, 05:06:12 AM »
I am a bit late with an update to this thread. All the suggestions were awesome, I still have a long way to go but this is where I am now.

I am still struggling with consistency. I think this P is a really good one, but I cannot reproduce this consistently. My biggest problem are compound curve and that left loop.

EDIT: And with transition from the left oval to the right shaded stroke. Sometimes it is smooth, sometimes not really oval.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 05:09:17 AM by neriah »

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2018, 09:49:43 AM »
You're doing wonderfully. In terms of consistency (and line shakiness), I think the best practice are drills. They develop muscle memory and strengthen your lines. Start with a pencil and do some oval drills. Although these attached are meant for Spencerian, they still do the trick.

Also, you may want to consider practicing without moving your wrist, more from your shoulder. That can also help eliminate shakey lines.

You have the form down - it looks gorgeous. With consistent practice, you will develop muscle memory and speed. That will help polish it up a bit and produce more consistency.  ;D
Truly, Erica
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2018, 10:02:29 AM »
Also, I meant to say, Dr. Joe Vitolo's Workbook is an incredible free resource which has outstanding instruction and specifically addresses the capital stem.
Truly, Erica
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Offline neriah

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Re: Need help with Engrosser's Majuscules
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2018, 04:59:12 AM »
Thank you!

To be honest, I think I never did enough drills. I tend to focus more on studying the forms and figuring out execution. The attached drills look really practical for getting consistent ovals, I'll incorporate them into my practice.

I did use dr. Vitolo's workbook before, but completely forgot about it since Zanerian Manual was published online.