Author Topic: Angle of pen to paper  (Read 97 times)

Offline Empty_of_Clouds

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Angle of pen to paper
« on: March 14, 2019, 08:06:24 PM »
I am a little confused (a common complaint as it is) with the angle of the pen point as it is presented to the paper.  Why? Because in quite a few videos of accomplished calligraphers the pen seems to be held nearly vertical to the paper, while a lot of books recommend a low angle.

Clearly there is something that I am missing here.

Perhaps the angle is irrelevant?

Wiser heads, please put me out of my misery. :'(

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Angle of pen to paper
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 01:16:11 AM »
If you want the tines to spread you need to hold it at a shallow angle. The shallower the angle the easier it is to spread. But what you want is a compromise between practically horizontal, and an angle that fits your hand. The best I can tell I hold mine about 30-degrees, but I use a straight holder. One advantage of an oblique holder is that it tends to hold the nib at a shallower angle.

Iím sure others have even more to contribute.
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Offline Empty_of_Clouds

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Re: Angle of pen to paper
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 05:59:50 PM »
That's what I thought too, from reading about it. 

However, in this video there are examples of more vertical position that also achieve good swells.  First example starts at about 1:11.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNmu8buHrm4

Offline KristinT

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Re: Angle of pen to paper
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 10:12:18 PM »
I have seen videos like this as well, and I would be curious what others have to say about it.  My best guess is that their camera-work is a bit less obvious than it seems to be?

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Angle of pen to paper
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2019, 07:24:54 AM »
I canít speak to someoneís video I can only tell you what Iíve experienced, which happens to basically agree with the advice given by every instructional book by every penman in the last 200 years. But new things are learned all the time. Try both.
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Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Angle of pen to paper
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2019, 07:57:03 AM »
During my years of taking classes with people like Mike Sull and then graduating to teaching - it has been my observation that changing the angle of the nib is just one more variable to consider. I remember teachers telling me to hold the pen so that it was flatter -sometimes- and other times - adjust my grip so that the nib was steeper. I have one holder adjusted for flatter angles and another adjusted for steeper angles as I would not want to keep changing the flange. I can also change my grip to change the nib angle, giving me even more options.

The type of nib as well as the style of writing will influence my nib angle. For me, when I am using a stiffer nib, I tend to have the nib more vertical - but it also depends on what style I am writing. I'll flatten the angle when I am writing faster. If an envelope job comes in with some paper that is not friendly, I might resolve some of the issues by changing not only the nib and ink but also the nib angle.

At this point, it is very natural for me to not stick to just one nib angle. For beginners, experimenting with different nib angles will probably help - but remember that your nib-ink-paper are all variables, too. So, you have 4 things to think about. You will still want to have some consistency in your choices for practice. But knowing that your nib angle has options will be very helpful.

You might run into people who have one nib angle that works for them 100% of the time. You might find that you prefer one nib angle. It will be a personal choice after you try a few different options.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 08:20:16 PM by jeanwilson »

Offline Ken Fraser

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Re: Angle of pen to paper
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2019, 06:58:08 PM »
I think that KristinT may have made a good point. I think that certain video examples of Copperplate, tend to give the impression that the nib is at a higher angle to paper than is actually the case.

If I'm right, I think that this subtle optical illusion may, in part, be caused by filming the writing with the paper at a slope as opposed to straight on as we always see it when writing.