Author Topic: Hiya all  (Read 55 times)

Offline NateJ

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Hiya all
« on: August 24, 2019, 12:01:01 PM »
Hiya all,

My name is Nathan and i am from East Sussex, England.

All my life I've had bad handwriting and low self esteem so have always been disappointed with my efforts! Then 6 months ago a good friend of mine ended up in prison and this motivated me to pick up my pen and write to him in prison. This lead to me starting to write a journal and suddenly a desire to improve my penmanship developed. I printed of some handwriting guidelines and some google searches later on 'cursive handwriting' lead me to some great improvements in legibility and consistency. Along the way I've accidentally found a real pleasure in practicing and have found it to be very calming and almost meditative.

Anyway, found this forum due to having some questions and looking for advice if any one can help!
One question is: would you recommend continuing to practice a simple cursive; vaguely Palmer style to begin with and later on give Spencarian a try (it looks very appealing with the uppercase flourishes ;)?
And another question following on from this is: does your brain easily switch between styles in a similar way that a multilingual can switch between languages, once you have perfected a new style of handwriting?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Hiya all
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2019, 02:33:08 PM »
Hi Nathan,
Welcome! It is inspiring to hear about how you have worked on improving your handwriting. Believe it or not, my handwriting still isn't great after 30+ years of calligraphy so I have recently started practicing my handwriting again. Since it seems like you really enjoy the practice part of it (I agree, it feels meditative), I would definitely recommend trying Spencerian.

In terms of switching between styles, I try not to do that as I find it confusing and it makes my letter forms suffer. So I usually practice one style at a time for awhile and then move to a different one. With the exception that Palmer and Spencerian work well together because Spencerian is like a business hand with sparsely added shades.

Looking forward to hearing more about your journey.
P.S. You're a good friend for writing to your mate in prison. Not many people take the time these days.
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Hiya all
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2019, 07:46:58 AM »
You asked:
And another question following on from this is: does your brain easily switch between styles in a similar way that a multilingual can switch between languages, once you have perfected a new style of handwriting?

There is no 100% rule on this topic. Just as some people have a real knack for languages, some people have a knack for learning many different styles. Most people have trouble switching, but it is a very personal matter. I've seen people who can switch at will, but that is not typical. For me, if I need to brush up on a style I have not done in a while, it only takes about 20 minutes until I am happy with the results. If I have a whole day to practice, it will be even better.

Switching back and forth between styles during a 2 hour practice session is not going to be very helpful. But working on your italic one day and your copperplate the next day is fine - for some people. There is a lot of carry-over between styles. Learning to look at your white space and developing rhythm are two things that you need to work on - and it doesn't matter what style. You have to figure out what kind of learner you are. Some people are better learners when they can jump around a bit. It's not the way I learn, but as a teacher, I found out that it was better to let people  find their own groove. I started with broad edge and it was my comfort zone for quite some time. Pointed pen styles didn't feel right. Then, Mike Sull recommended Nikko G, McCaffrey's ink and Clairfontaine paper and it changed everything. Suddenly pointed nib scripts were my favorite.

IMHO, the key is finding that tactile sensation that makes you lose track of time - so that the practice is mesmerizing. Allow yourself to try as many different styles as you like until you find the one that feels the best. Seeking out the best nib-ink-paper combination is also a key component to the process. Don't forget to try the humble pencil when you do not have time to get out the nibs and ink.