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Getty & Dubay - Results So Far


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#1 Uncle Bulgaria

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 22:56

I've been working on Getty & Dubay "Write Now" for 3 or 4 weeks now (not continuously! -- just grabbing a spare half hour when I can). I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book but I thought I'd post a "before and after" (or, "before and so-far") progress picture. The scrawl is what I'm trying to get away from, and although I'm still at the "rank amateur" stage, I think at least my legibility is improving :-)

 

One thing I've found useful is to start a "Commonplace Book", for my more careful efforts. I do keep notebooks and a journal, and for all of those I've now switched to italic from my old mess. But because they're "working" books, I still write reasonably quickly in those, so they're not the best place in which to hone my italic. I also sometimes forget I'm trying to improve, and slip back to old style for a few letters or words.

 

By contrast, by its nature a Commonplace Book is, unlike the general notebook or journal, primarily for copying quotes from other people. Since I'm not thinking about *what* to write, I can focus on how I'm writing it. I also write much larger (for now) in my CP than I do in my notebooks and journal, so I can work on details of the letters. (I'm also still practicing in the Getty/Dubay workbook). The "after" in the picture is in my CP.

 

 

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#2 Randal6393

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 15:38

Great improvement, easily read and looking nice. I notice you are writing on every other line and making ascenders and descenders half the height of the miniscules. Works, but try every third line and make your ascenders and descenders the same height as the miniscules. That is the classic proportion and gives a freedom to the writing that you may like more than the packing that occurs now.

 

Yep, I do a lot of quotes for practice and to work on letterforms. Eventually, you may want to go to using italic for grocery lists and other free-form writing. By then, you should have the letterforms down pat. Just dashing off a line or two in italic makes an impression, I find.

 

Cursive italic is done at a letter height of two to three pen widths, usually. As you practice, might want to start working on that as well. Work slowly and try to feel how changing the letter height-width relationship affects the action of the pen. It's great fun for me.

 

Enjoy,


Edited by Randal6393, 01 October 2013 - 03:05.

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?
 


#3 cellmatrix

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 16:29

Quite a dramatic change! Getty Dubay really helped me reboot my handwriting a while back too. If you have a chance, try the two stoke 'e' option they recommend, it can be fun, and helpful too in making some of the letter joins.



#4 Uncle Bulgaria

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 02:58

Randal, thanks for the advice.

 

Great improvement, easily read and looking nice. I notice you are writing on every other line and making ascenders and descenders half the height of the miniscules. Works, but try every third line and make your ascenders and descenders the same height as the miniscules. 

I just figured that out, and to be honest I judge "Write Now" a little bit for not making that clear up front. It is only towards the end that they clarify, and I *much* prefer the full size ascenders/descenders (and the fact that the former are higher than capitals). I know G&D are doing it to allow for speed, but I'd have preferred they'd made that clear at the start.

 

I particularly like Chancery, with the extra flourishes. Another subtlety I like that I've spotted in videos but that G&D don't mention is the slight left turn at the top of the two forward sloping lines in a "w". 

 

Overall, what I'm finding both fascinating and just plain enjoyable, is the heightened attention to detail this handwriting repair is bringing to me. I can begin to see why calligraphy in Japan is sometimes linked to Zen. There is definitely something meditative and "mindful" in the slow and careful production of each stroke of each letter.

 

 

Cursive italic is done at a pen height of two to three pen widths, usually. As you practice, might want to start working on that as well. Work slowly and try to feel how changing the pen height-width relationship affects the action of the pen. It's great fun for me.

Yep, I hadn't noticed how significant that was until yesterday when I watched some Youtube videos by Lloyd Reynolds.  He said that the x height should be 5 times the nib width and that explains why my letters are overly chunky (that and, I imagine, the fact that I'm pressing too hard). My x height, guided as it is by the ruling in the G&D book, is too small for my pen.

 

But is that what you're talking about? You mentioned "pen height" and "pen widths" -- did you mean "letter height" and "pen widths"? 



#5 Uncle Bulgaria

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 03:01

... If you have a chance, try the two stoke 'e' option they recommend, it can be fun, and helpful too in making some of the letter joins.

Yeah, when they first mention it as an option, I decided not to bother with it. It seemed an unnecessary additional stroke, but that was when I was still using a monoline pen. The edged pen makes the two-stroke e come into its own. And I think it also makes sense of other apparently overly-complex aspects of some letters -- like the multiple strokes on an uppercase N. I do think G&D could explain these things more, but I suppose they're getting the job done anyway.

 

Thanks for the advice!



#6 Randal6393

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 03:16

Yep, my senility is showing. Somehow, I can't seem to get everything right. Letter height, NOT pen height, already edited in the original.

 

I love the YouTube videos by Lloyd Reynolds. Just sit down and watch one for tips on things I may be doing less well than I should. In fact, after 35 years of writing mostly italic, I find I still have lots to learn and must discipline myself to practice something new every day. Often, just a quick jot on a three by five card or scrap of paper.

 

If you like the lectures, would suggest going through Arrighi's La Operina. It's on the web. If, like me, you don't know Italian too well, Benson has The First Writing Book, a facsimile of La Operina with an English translation. His translation is done in italic and is a page-for-page match to Arrighi's book. But, take Arrighi with a grain of salt -- he states when he should suggest, sometimes. There are many good writing masters that produced texts in the 16th century. Arrighi, Cataneo, Pallatino, Mercator, and the list goes on. Well worth studying them a bit. The more modern writers are Fred Eager, Mary Angel, Margaret Shepherd, Getty & DuBay, Alfred Fairbanks, Edward Johnston, Graily Hewitt, etc, etc, etc. Many are available on the Internet -- not only can they be read for free, you can enlarge the print and really see the penstrokes.

 

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?
 


#7 brunico

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 04:28

I particularly like Chancery, with the extra flourishes.

 

I'm not a big fan, personally. Chancery italic isn't the best thing for writing at speed, and the flourishes can be a distraction for a beginner. If the handwriting is still hesitant, still not fluent, they can look awkward and contrived, as if bolted on rather than flowing into the downstroke. And there's no need to copy them slavishly, either. One of my favourite everyday hands is an old example from Ludwig Tan: make sure to blow up the picture to see the energy and rapidity in all its glory. This is a hand that isn't constrained by a textbook, and the result is, I think, very natural and harmonious. Some loops, some swirling descenders and other idiosyncrasies, but unmistakably italic, with a nod to the sixteenth century.

 

Flourishes can come later, if you want them. They're easy enough to incorporate once you have confidence.

 

I'm unsure about Getty-Dubay. It seems to me to be principally a school textbook for legible handwriting. And while the basics of italic are important to master - and I have to admit my own grasp of them has deteriorated over the years - it isn't a single style, though I sometimes get the impression people think it is, and a single manual can have a stultifying effect.

 

So I'm glad you've discovered Lloyd Reynolds. The more widely you can read and practise, the more you can discover your own take on italic.

 

Finally, I leave you with an example of perfection. I doubt Cataneo could take down an address over the phone this beautifully, but if you can keep this picture in mind, some of the magic may rub off!

 

Oh, and some other bookmarks:

 



#8 Uncle Bulgaria

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 11:18

I'm not a big fan, personally. Chancery italic isn't the best thing for writing at speed, and the flourishes can be a distraction for a beginner. If the handwriting is still hesitant, still not fluent, they can look awkward and contrived, as if bolted on rather than flowing into the downstroke.

One attraction for me though is pure nostalgia. My dad tried to teach me it when I was in high school, to try to undo the handwriting damage done by my elementary school. He in turn had been taught by an old priest in Scotland who, for all I know, was part of a calligraphic lineage going back a few centuries.

 

For years I'd wondered what the style was my dad used, and then when I saw it in G&D I though "OMG! That's it!". It was like finding the Rosetta stone :-)








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