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#1 crazystan

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:12

I am fairly new to fountain pens (< 1 year), and haven't written in cursive since 1988. I am really interested in both improving my penmanship, and learning Spencerian or Copperplate, and have a few questions.

1. Would it be easier to start with business, which is similar to what I learned in school, or, should I just jump in the deep end with something else?

2. Is it necessary to use a dip pen/pen holder, or could I get going with a fountain pen?

I am just dipping my toes in the water here, so any advice is welcome.

Thanks!

#2 dust4tears

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:25

I am fairly new to fountain pens (< 1 year), and haven't written in cursive since 1988. I am really interested in both improving my penmanship, and learning Spencerian or Copperplate, and have a few questions.

1. Would it be easier to start with business, which is similar to what I learned in school, or, should I just jump in the deep end with something else?

2. Is it necessary to use a dip pen/pen holder, or could I get going with a fountain pen?

I am just dipping my toes in the water here, so any advice is welcome.

Thanks!




I am new to Copperplate and haven't tacked Spencerian yet.

There are some fountain pens that you can use to get a generic look of copperplate (example the Noodler's Ahab/creaper and then more expensive pens I have not had the pleasure of using. You can also get a craftsman to make specialty nibs for you too to try to achieve a CP type look) .

However, to get the 'real' copperplate you should really use a good copperplate/spencerian nibs. I like to use a good crowquill or
a Gillot 303, 404, and Learnardt EF Principal, or Brause 66ef.

You should use the right equipment to get the right effect.

As far as should you start w/ business script first, I believe (and keep in mind there is a ton more knowledgable folks on here) I think that if you know how to write cursive, the you should just go
straight into CP or spencerian. Really, writing business is just as much as an art form as the other two and will come with time anyway.

That is just my thoughts on it~~

Good Luck with the endeavor!
Ride hard or go home

#3 crazystan

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 13:24

Thanks for the advice dust!

#4 Randal6393

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 15:03

Concur with dust4tears, if you want to learn Copperplate or Spencerian, start with that. Business script is a separate study and, just like with learning a language, it seems to be a bit easier if you study one at a time.

A complication is that flex fountain pens are expensive. I know, the Noodler Ahab and Creaper pens work well -- for some people some of the time. Personally, I have found them to be more trouble than they are worth. So I stick to dip pens and the elbow oblique holder for Copperplate. Spencerian also works out well with an elbow oblique holder. Nibs, yes, the Leonardt Principal EF and the Brause Rose nib are two of the better ones. I also like the Gillott 303. Intend to try the Nikko and Zebra G nibs, hear good things about them as well.

If you go to dip pens, would advise learning a bit about acrylic gouaches and using a good one for your work. A lot easier than fighting with most inks available. Just put a dab of gouache in a dish, add a few drops of water and a drop of gum arabic, stir, and write. Ziller has a set of gouache inks, premixed, in 1-ounce lots. Mostly, I use the Liquitex tubes. For $5.00, I can get enough ink to outlast several bottles.

As far as studying cursive with a view to using fountain pens for a daily cursive, I would recommend the Palmer method. It has a large following and, in the 1950's, was taught throughout America. A classic monoline cursive, not too difficult. However, there are several other good cursives available at IAMPETH for your study and choice.

Best of luck to you,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#5 xxloverxx

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 15:08

IMO…
1. It's been 30 years, so think of it as starting again — learn whichever one you like the look of. More motivation as well.

2. Use an FP for now — dip pens are harder to get used to (especially finding good paper/ink to go with your style and not dripping).
On the other hand, dip pen nibs are much cheaper (especially flex nibs (compared to FP nibs)) — if there's any chance you might wreck the nib…copperplate in particular needs regular flex and it might not be kind to your budget to practice flexing with a gold nib.

All this coming from someone who's still working on legible writing, hence starting the post with "IMO".

Edit: Just read Randal's post. AFAIK oblique holders are designed for right-handed people (I'm left-handed and tried using a (cheap) oblique holder a while back — whatever position I tried, it just didn't work/make sense).
I use a Nikko G at home. Quite springy and the most flexible nib I've tried (although I have seen videos of those nibs that're more like brushes than nibs), so you need to be light (I use no pressure at all when writing "normally" with it — monoline writing with a flex nib…heh.)

I use both Noodler's Bad Black Moccasin and Quink (both diluted and undiluted) with the dip pens, but stopped using Bad Black Moccasin in my FPs because it was clogging them up a bit. I found that diluted Quink didn't flow so nicely in my FPs (lot of skipping).

Edited by xxloverxx, 20 February 2012 - 15:14.


#6 Randal6393

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:34

Yes, this is true. Right-handers have a hard time moving the nib to get it aligned with the 52-degree angle that is considered proper for Copperplate, Spenserian requires an angle close to the Copperplate one. Left-handers line up pretty much naturally. See a few of the diagrams on IAMPETH and it will become apparent.

Enjoy,

IMO…
1. It's been 30 years, so think of it as starting again — learn whichever one you like the look of. More motivation as well.

2. Use an FP for now — dip pens are harder to get used to (especially finding good paper/ink to go with your style and not dripping).
On the other hand, dip pen nibs are much cheaper (especially flex nibs (compared to FP nibs)) — if there's any chance you might wreck the nib…copperplate in particular needs regular flex and it might not be kind to your budget to practice flexing with a gold nib.

All this coming from someone who's still working on legible writing, hence starting the post with "IMO".

Edit: Just read Randal's post. AFAIK oblique holders are designed for right-handed people (I'm left-handed and tried using a (cheap) oblique holder a while back — whatever position I tried, it just didn't work/make sense).
I use a Nikko G at home. Quite springy and the most flexible nib I've tried (although I have seen videos of those nibs that're more like brushes than nibs), so you need to be light (I use no pressure at all when writing "normally" with it — monoline writing with a flex nib…heh.)

I use both Noodler's Bad Black Moccasin and Quink (both diluted and undiluted) with the dip pens, but stopped using Bad Black Moccasin in my FPs because it was clogging them up a bit. I found that diluted Quink didn't flow so nicely in my FPs (lot of skipping).


Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#7 crazystan

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:53

Thanks all for the additional thoughts. This has been really helpful. I am a righty, so the oblique is probably the way to go. I think I am going to go with the Peerless plastic one from PIA, and the Hunt 101s, just to get things going. Not sure though. I put out an email to Michael Sull, as his wooden pen holder looks pretty darn good. I am also considering an adjustable, though I think I will probably take the less expensive road for now, just to see if I can stick with it.

Any recommendations on inks?

Edit: I just re-read Randall's first reply about the Ziller inks. I will probably try their Soot Black for now, but I am certainly open to other suggestions.

Edited by crazystan, 21 February 2012 - 03:54.


#8 HDRoot

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:44

Spencerian is handwriting with a dip pen and shaded capital letters. Copperplate (English round hand and etc.) is a different animal. It's not writing, it's drawing letterforms. It's art. If you like drawing beautiful things that others can read, by all means, try copperplate. You can get everything you need to get a serious start for $20, including $9 for a pad of Rhodia. Troll eBay for a penholder and nibs, and don't spend more than $15. Get a box of stuff with a variety of nibs and see what you like. The only requirement here is to make sure the nibs aren't rusty. Use any old FP ink. Then go to iampeth.com, download a guide (VERY important) and take (free) lessons. Commit to serious practice and many repetitions of basic strokes. Spend an evening drawing an "i" three hundred times and you'll start getting the hang of it. I've been playing around with copperplate and find it very enjoyable, very relaxing, like holing up with a good book. If you decide it's dumb, you're out $20 but you still have the Rhodia.

#9 Ken Fraser

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:40

Spencerian is handwriting with a dip pen and shaded capital letters. Copperplate (English round hand and etc.) is a different animal. It's not writing, it's drawing letterforms. It's art.

With respect, I disagree.

Engravers or Engrossers script as demonstrated on the IAMPETH site is a drawn letterform. However, there is a written form of Copperplate (English Roundhand) which is just as valid as any other type of handwriting.

Indeed, that is the subject of my book (below).

Ken

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Edited by caliken, 21 February 2012 - 09:57.

Available at :   www.kenfrasercalligrapher.com

 

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#10 HDRoot

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 16:27

Thank you for your comments. Obviously, I have much to learn about these beautiful writing techniques. I tried to identify myself as a novice dabbler with the comment that "I've been playing around with copperplate and find it very enjoyable." Joe Vitolo's lessons and Hamid Reza Ebrahimi have me spellbound. Whatever it is, I like it. I hope I made the point that one doesn't need to worry too much about equipment and supplies in order to give it a try.

Given my interests and level of knowledge (or ignorance!) which of your books would you like to recommend for a guy like me?

#11 Mickey

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 17:48

I am fairly new to fountain pens (< 1 year), and haven't written in cursive since 1988. I am really interested in both improving my penmanship, and learning Spencerian or Copperplate, and have a few questions.

1. Would it be easier to start with business, which is similar to what I learned in school, or, should I just jump in the deep end with something else?

2. Is it necessary to use a dip pen/pen holder, or could I get going with a fountain pen?

I am just dipping my toes in the water here, so any advice is welcome.

Thanks!


Contrary to some answers you've gotten, The fundamentals of Spencerian can be learned with a FP, even with a pencil. (I believe this is equally true for Copperplate and Round hand.) In fact, I've seen recommendations for students to begin with a pencil. Learn the correct strokes and letter shapes, first then worry about shades.

If you eventually get serious about Spencerian (or Copperplate) you will almost surely want to purchase an oblique holder and appropriate nibs. (Writing these hands with a flexible-nibbed fountain pen is possible, but considerably more difficult than with an oblique holder). For a first foray, however, a pencil, fp, or rb should be fine. Just remember, whichever instrument you choose, keep a relaxed grip and uniformly low pressure between the point and the page (unless you are applying a shade).

But I believe that since my life began

The most I've had is just a talent to abuse.

Hey ho, if love were all.

 

With apologies to Noel Coward


#12 Ken Fraser

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 22:12

Given my interests and level of knowledge, which books would you like to recommend for a guy like me?


I am self-taught from "Copperplate Calligraphy" by Dick Jackson. Although out of print, it is possible to find copies on e-bay. It deals entirely with the handwritten form.
Another good handwriting book is "Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy" by Eleanor Winters. However, I have to say that I find her letter forms, less attractive.
"Calligraphy in the Copperplate Style" by Kaufman and Homelsky and "The Technique of Copperplate Calligraphy" by Gordon Turner, are both worth a look.

Nowadays, I tend to take my exemplars and inspiration from the monumental "The Universal Penman" by George Bickham. This book of engravings from the 18th century was the start of it all for many who write (or draw) in this style. The quality of the lettering throughout, is absolutely mind-boggling and this is the one book in my collection which I'll never be without. My first copy fell apart with use. I separated the pages of my second copy for use as worksheets, and I have a third copy in mint condition....just to have!

Whatever books you get on the subject, make sure that you get that one!

Good luck, and welcome to the Copperplate fraternity!

Ken

Edited by caliken, 21 February 2012 - 22:23.

Available at :   www.kenfrasercalligrapher.com

 

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#13 rodolfolascano

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 15:04

Hi Ken,
Could you please suggest where to get a copy of "The Universal Penman" book....
I have being searching, but it is a little confusing. I see many different ones and huge
differences in prices....from $15 in amazon to thousands of dollars in other websites.

Thanks,
Rodolfo.

Edited by rodolfolascano, 22 February 2012 - 15:05.


#14 Randal6393

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 19:37

Hi, Rodolfo,

Here is the link to a store that offers the Universal Penman. I often shop at John Neal, Bookseller for calligraphy supplies and have not found any better source.

Enjoy,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#15 rodolfolascano

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:24

Hi Randal,
Thanks a lot.....

Cheers,
Rodolfo.

#16 rodolfolascano

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 00:35

I received my book today (The Universal Penman) and I have to say that it is the most
Impressive calligraphy book I have ever seen..... it is absolutely incredible!!!
A must have, for any calligraphy fan; and especially for the inexpensive price.

Cheers,
Rodolfo.

#17 HDRoot

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:45


Given my interests and level of knowledge, which books would you like to recommend for a guy like me?


I am self-taught from "Copperplate Calligraphy" by Dick Jackson. Although out of print, it is possible to find copies on e-bay. It deals entirely with the handwritten form.
Another good handwriting book is "Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy" by Eleanor Winters. However, I have to say that I find her letter forms, less attractive.
"Calligraphy in the Copperplate Style" by Kaufman and Homelsky and "The Technique of Copperplate Calligraphy" by Gordon Turner, are both worth a look.

Nowadays, I tend to take my exemplars and inspiration from the monumental "The Universal Penman" by George Bickham. This book of engravings from the 18th century was the start of it all for many who write (or draw) in this style. The quality of the lettering throughout, is absolutely mind-boggling and this is the one book in my collection which I'll never be without. My first copy fell apart with use. I separated the pages of my second copy for use as worksheets, and I have a third copy in mint condition....just to have!

Whatever books you get on the subject, make sure that you get that one!

Good luck, and welcome to the Copperplate fraternity!

Ken



I got Bickham, but Jackson was a bit more elusive. They're rather dear at the usual book auction sites. Tonight, though, I won what sounds like a pretty good copy on eBay. $8.99, I was the only bidder. Hey, if it worked for you it might work for me! (I can dream can't I?)

Herb