Author Topic: Salutations -- a North American transcendentalist between the Mountains  (Read 199 times)

Offline Unlikely_scribe

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Hello all from the foyer of the Midwest: Denver Colorado. I'm relatively new to our shared addiction, currently practicing my fundamentals: italic with Lloyd Reynolds and copperplate with Eleanor Winters. I like the Principal EF, the Brause 66EF and Gillot 170 for pointed pen stuff, and Brause Bandzug for broad-edged work. I recently got some Mitchell Roundhand nibs, and while I din't care for them too much at first, they seem to be growing on me. As for paper, I'm still just a beginner, so I use mostly Clearprint "vellum" and Strathmore's Calligraphy paper (which I was surprised to find one can see through enough to use guidelines). There's nowhere around here to buy oblique holders, so I've just been rotating my paper like 85 degrees and just using straight holders. I'm up to the two-letter combinations in Winters' book, and am a bit worried I won't be able to transition to an oblique holder when I finally get one. What else. Oh, I got an old drafting table recently? And am finding that working on an incline (at least 45 degrees) makes a huge difference. I'm still struggling with my upstrokes though. Any advice would be super-welcome, as Winters is mute on the subject. On a more personal level, I'm a middle-aged man who lives alone with his cat. I've lived in eight different states, worked in the music industry, the law and education. Loved working in education, not so much the law or music. I began to pursue calligraphy after a spiritual experience I had about eighteen months ago. Quite a lot happened as a result of this experience, and I emerged from it substantially changed. One of the things that I took from it was the realization that I needed to be surrounded in my life by beautiful things, kind of like William Morris? My pursuit of calligraphy is directed towards that goal: increasing the beauty in my life, which can be a struggle here in North America.
Anyways, excited to be a member and having folks to talk with about all this new stuff we're learning.
 Cheers!

Offline KacyBG

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Welcome, Unlikely Scribe!
Hope you enjoy the forum, I'm searching it almost daily for resources, hints, and information--while fighting Vintage Nib Addiction. I keep telling my dear husband, "I'm done buying nibs. I'm done."

Until Ebay points out a fascinating buy.

Have an amazing day, despite fog-snow-rain-sun! Summer is coming!

Offline Unlikely_scribe

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Thanks Kacy! "Until Ebay points out a fascinating buy." lol! It's unnerving, how good ebay is at pointing those out!

Offline KristinT

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Welcome to the forum!  I'm in the northern part of the state, myself.  Sounds like you're off to a great start.  For Copperplate, there's a great tutorial available here on the forum.  I don't think you'll have too much trouble transitioning to an oblique nib, you'll be adjusting the paper angle more than anything, so if you otherwise have pretty good habits they won't be affected.  My oblique pens are just cheap things from China (via ebay), but they serve quite well.  Anyway, there are great resources here and even greater company.  Welcome aboard.  :)

Offline jeanwilson

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I agree that it is helpful to try different holders - both straight and oblique and not get stuck with the impression that only one will work. Spending more time with a straight holder -at first- should not be an issue when you eventually get an oblique holder. John Neal has some very nice options - mail order. johnnealbooks.com

You asked about upstrokes - and if you are working on a 45-degree slant on your desk - that might be the problem.
You need gravity helping the ink flow off the nib and if you are at too much of a slant - the ink will not flow as nicely as it does with less or no slant.
A lot of pointed pen people prefer working flat or with a very slight angle.


Offline Erica McPhee

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Welcome!  @Unlikely_scribe

I enjoyed reading your intro and how to came to do calligraphy. The world needs more beauty in it and I find my practice of calligraphy to be quite meditative.

I would recommend once you have your oblique holder to use it for a week or two and not allow yourself to go back to the straight holder during that time. It will feel awkward at first and we tend to stick to what feels comfortable. But once you push past that feeling, you will then get a true sense of which one you prefer.

I worked on a slanted drafting table for decades and when the table didn't have a slant, I used a slanted light box. I love working on a slant and didn't find it interfered with my upstrokes or calligraphy in any way. If anything, it helped bring the work closer to me and I felt more comfortable.

Upstrokes are tricky as they require a bit of conscious thought in terms of *not* applying pressure. Once I realized this, I was able to achieve a much nicer upstroke.

Welcome to Flourish!
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Bianca M

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Welcome to the forum!  I second Erica's advice about conscious thought to not apply pressure.  What really helped me was focusing on letting the paper meet the pen on the upstroke, vs. putting the pen *down* on the paper.  With proper cushioning, the paper naturally rises up when you're not applying pressure on the downstroke, and it meets the pen's point on its own (to an extent, of course).  My hairlines forever changed when I shifted my attention to this.  We tend to feel that we need the support that pressure provides, but once you can let go of this, it's a wonderful release.  A breath in, a breath out.

Offline Unlikely_scribe

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Thanks everybody! I feel super welcome!

It's kind of weird -- today the upstroke thing kind of resolved itself, and it was pretty much what y'all said: easy does it. That, combined with rolling the pen, and doing the upstroke almost on one tine, kind of like how Hamid does in his videos? It makes a bunch of noise, but man, vive la difference!

Also, am I alone in positively loving the sound my nib makes when I drag it up the page?

Offline Bianca M

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Also, am I alone in positively loving the sound my nib makes when I drag it up the page?

You're in very good company there. ;)