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How Do You Drop That Bloody Roundness Of Palmer?

spencerian angualr round conflict

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21 replies to this topic

#1 JaxRiley

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 18:00

Hi All,

 

I finally found, for now, the perfect pen to continue my study of Spencerian. I'm not yet ready to tackle an oblique holder and nib AND learn a new method of cursive. So taking it one step at a time. I got the Pilot Falcon in EF and absolutely LOVE it. It has enough flex so I can begin adding the shades and is fine enough that my letters don't get filled in (even tho my Visconti's will always be my faves).

 

My question is, as  a school aged child in the 70's, I'm reasonably sure we were taught Palmer cursive or some ugly (to me) form of it. HOW do I drop that darn roundness? It's ugly and childish looking to me.  I try to write ALL the time since I got into fountain pens and as much as I seem to try to avoid it, it always creeps back in. 

 

Part of what attracted me to Spencerian was the sexy angular formation of the letters. It's a very handsome, sharp, classy looking script. I feel like I'm never going to get it. I go slow through my practice and even then it's not that sharp angular look Spencerian has and I'm not giving up. I will learn this hand even if it happens on my deathbed. 

 

Are there any exercises to try & erase this ugly shape from my muscle memory?

 

Attached is a sample...it's not really in Spencerian. There are elements but I'm just writing any and everything I can to try & break the 'bubble gum' look of that ugliness we were taught in school. If I go without thinking, I can get an angular look but it resembles an EKG reading more than a hand-written script. 

 

Thanks for any help in advance,

 

Jerry

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#2 Anderglan

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 19:04

Are there any exercises to try & erase this ugly shape from my muscle memory?

 

Hi Jerry, 

 

have you already tried the IAMPETH lessons: http://www.iampeth.c...getting-started ?



#3 JaxRiley

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 20:23

Hi Anderglan,

 

No, I've not tried IAMPETH yet. I started out with a 5 workbook/theory book set from Amazon then saw Michael Sull's book so I got that and have been using that. As soon as I finish dinner I'll surf on over to IAMPETH and have a look. Thank you for the link. I don't think it would hurt to join on general principle anyway. 

 

I just want to add, I hope I didn't upset anybody with my original post. It's not round lettering I'm opposed to (Uncial is the hand I was planning on after grasping Spencerian)...I like Copperplate very much even if I never attempt it but that stuff they taught us in grade school I just find hideous. 


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#4 ac12

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 23:47

I rather like your hand.

What you do is to look around for ideas to change the shapes of the letter form. Then start to practice that shape.
Example, I have yet to change the 'A' from a big 'a' to an 'A' like you did.

The only way I know of to change, is to pay attention to what you write, until the new/desired letter form becomes natural.
When I changed from finger writing to arm writing, it took me 3 months of daily practice, constantly watching that I did not regress back to finger writing. At about the 3 month point, I realized that I was writing with my arm and did not have to think about it.
Specific letters, especially upper case, can be difficult, as some letters are not written very often. So then you have to just practice writing those letters by themselves, or in combination with words that have the letter in it.

gud luk

Edited by ac12, 16 July 2016 - 23:47.

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#5 ac12

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 23:52

How do you hold the pen? Tripod grip or the traditional grip for spencerian and similar for a straight holder? I found it a LOT easier to use an oblique holder with my normal tripod grip, rather than the traditional grip that is in some of the old instructions. The index finger on top, and gliding on the finger nails of your last 2 fingers is difficult for me to do. Though I am slowly getting that grip as I practice. I've retired my straight holders in preference of the oblique holders, except for LARGE nibs that don't fit the oblique hodlers.

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#6 httpmom

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 00:53

Agree. An oblique holder and hours of practice are the easiest way to get where you intend to go. The Pilot pen is nice, especially with a Spencerian specific custom nib but still not quite the same flex you get with an oblique holder. The oblique holder is designed to keep your slant at the proper alignment to the paper as well.
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#7 Sasha Royale

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 01:55

If you are a "purist" , or competing in a "Palmer" contest, don't change anything.  Otherwise, make changes as you see fit.  It's your Palmer !   I won't judge you.

 

Write with joy.  


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Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen: 
Verweile doch, du bist so schön ! 


#8 Tootles

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 02:09

If you want Spencerian as an everyday hand then you do not need much flexibility. The shading is subtle. So the customizations for Falcon nibs are not really necessary.

 

If you want to go for a highly ornamental Spencerian style then a dip pen is going to be your best tool.  

 

In terms of practicing shapes, a pencil is your friend. :)



#9 akustyk

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 15:25

Hi All,

 

I finally found, for now, the perfect pen to continue my study of Spencerian. I'm not yet ready to tackle an oblique holder and nib AND learn a new method of cursive. So taking it one step at a time. I got the Pilot Falcon in EF and absolutely LOVE it. It has enough flex so I can begin adding the shades and is fine enough that my letters don't get filled in (even tho my Visconti's will always be my faves).

 

My question is, as  a school aged child in the 70's, I'm reasonably sure we were taught Palmer cursive or some ugly (to me) form of it. HOW do I drop that darn roundness? It's ugly and childish looking to me.  I try to write ALL the time since I got into fountain pens and as much as I seem to try to avoid it, it always creeps back in. 

 

Part of what attracted me to Spencerian was the sexy angular formation of the letters. It's a very handsome, sharp, classy looking script. I feel like I'm never going to get it. I go slow through my practice and even then it's not that sharp angular look Spencerian has and I'm not giving up. I will learn this hand even if it happens on my deathbed. 

 

Are there any exercises to try & erase this ugly shape from my muscle memory?

 

Attached is a sample...it's not really in Spencerian. There are elements but I'm just writing any and everything I can to try & break the 'bubble gum' look of that ugliness we were taught in school. If I go without thinking, I can get an angular look but it resembles an EKG reading more than a hand-written script. 

 

Thanks for any help in advance,

 

Jerry

 

Hi Jerry,

 

First of all, your handwriting looks very good already! The only thing it needs is a bit of consistency.

 

However, I really don't understand what you mean by "ugly Palmer roundness?" To me, the basic letter forms of Spencerian and Palmer look very similar. In fact, I often cannot tell them apart, except for the shading used by some Spencerian writers (but not all). Could you give an example?

 

Thanks!


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#10 JaxRiley

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 18:00

I rather like your hand.

What you do is to look around for ideas to change the shapes of the letter form. Then start to practice that shape.
Example, I have yet to change the 'A' from a big 'a' to an 'A' like you did...

 

HI AC...Thank you for the compliment, much appreciated. Yes, I think I've just hit a plateau and am getting frustrated. I've brought an illegible scribble up to something readable but still inconsistent.  I do need to keep looking at and I've also started just drawing the letters in my mind when I don't have a pen in hand-this way I'm 'seeing' the angular shape I'm looking for. As to my "A". There are a few letters I picked up through the years, I don't remember where I saw them but my capital A is one I quite like. I've been writing that for almost 2 decades.  My "Z" I also rather like, ditto "R". I think we hold the pen the same or similar...I tried to do the glide on the last two fingernails and the grip is just difficult-then again, it's new to me and it would feel difficult. I think I need to start over at the beginning ;) I will learn the glide as I think that's probably the most fluid way to get where I want to be. Thanks for your insight and help!

 

Agree. An oblique holder and hours of practice are the easiest way to get where you intend to go. The Pilot pen is nice, especially with a Spencerian specific custom nib but still not quite the same flex you get with an oblique holder. The oblique holder is designed to keep your slant at the proper alignment to the paper as well.

 

Hi httpmom...I got a Speedball oblique holder but there's some beautiful hand turned ones I've had my eye on. I think I will send for it and some nibs and give that a shot. I'm probably approaching this entirely wrong. This will be 3 distinct phases the way I'm doing this now-learning the business hand for every day, then I planned to learn the ornamental version then once I was comfortable with that, switch to oblique holder and re-learn it all with pointed pen-it seems, I don't know. Intentionally difficult? I'll never learn any other styles at that rate. Thank you for the reply & help!

 

 

If you are a "purist" , or competing in a "Palmer" contest, don't change anything.  Otherwise, make changes as you see fit.  It's your Palmer !   I won't judge you.

 

Write with joy.  

 

I won't be competing in any Palmer contest :)  I'll be happy just to get consistent in my lettering.  It's not my Palmer, the school forced that, if we had a choice I'd have chosen Spencerian. Writing is a joy. I'm just sorry it took me until my late 40's to discover the absolute joy of fountain pens and rediscover the art of penmanship. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Much appreciated. 

 

 

If you want Spencerian as an everyday hand then you do not need much flexibility. The shading is subtle. So the customizations for Falcon nibs are not really necessary.

 

If you want to go for a highly ornamental Spencerian style then a dip pen is going to be your best tool.  

 

In terms of practicing shapes, a pencil is your friend. :)

 

This is the 'problem' which may not even really be a problem. I do want Spencerian as my everyday hand which is why I thought the Falcon would be my best bet. To learn the basic letterforms, but I also want to learn the ornamental version so I can write passages out and display them, to just keep a notebook of favourite quotes, etc. I know I'll need the dip pen for that-this is why I'm wondering if I'm approaching this wrong. I'll be learning the hand twice-business then ornamental, but I don't see any other way. The ornamental will be the fun one too where I get to use all the wonderful thicker calligraphy inks I've been collecting that I wouldn't think of putting in my FPs. I'll get the pencil out :)  Thank you for your insight and help!  BTW- I love your signature LOL! Very cool.

 

 

 

Hi Jerry,

 

First of all, your handwriting looks very good already! The only thing it needs is a bit of consistency.

 

However, I really don't understand what you mean by "ugly Palmer roundness?" To me, the basic letter forms of Spencerian and Palmer look very similar. In fact, I often cannot tell them apart, except for the shading used by some Spencerian writers (but not all). Could you give an example?

 

Thanks!

 

Thank you so much, I appreciate that. I liked my writing when I was in my 20's but since then, obviously, computers have taken over more and more of our lives and before I knew it, I'd been banging away on keys and a pen seemed foreign, and my penmanship suffered. 

 

The "ugly Palmer roundness" I can only describe as bubble gum letters or balloon letters. I remember the teacher in school often scolding us if the letters weren't properly rounded. Spencerian isn't straight up and down round, it's sort of tipped on it's side. Palmer lowercase "a" looks like it'd roll like  quarter, Spenceerian looks more like it'd have trouble tipping over end because of the angular shape-if that makes sense. Maybe they should have given us Copperplate instruction in school instead-at least that's a beautiful one to look at tho I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The only visual I can offer is the woman I've been watching on YouTube do this, her channel is called OpenInkStand Art & Calligraphy~ many examples of what I'm after there. I watch her and it just carries me off at how easy and soothing it looks to do that. Of course it isn't easy. Michael Sull is a pleasure to watch write in this style too.  I know the shading in the business Spencerian is minimal but I don't ever recall any shading in Palmer. We were never given fountain pens or dip pens in school, I believe initially we started in pencil and the next year was pen

 

Thank you so much everyone!


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#11 ac12

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 04:39

I would go straight to the oblique holder and not bother with the straight holder. In fact Michael Sull teaches his basic Spencerian class with oblique holders. Although you did say you want to use Spencerian as your daily hand, then you may have to learn the traditional straight holder grip anyway.

However, I have seen comments by some people, that fourishing is easier for them with a straight holder. So don't throw them away.

Here are some oblique holders:
http://www.paperinka...en-holders.html
I started with this one. It was $13 when I bought it, now it is up to $15 :)
http://www.paperinka...com/peerls.html

Edited by ac12, 19 July 2016 - 04:39.

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#12 JaxRiley

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 17:35

I would go straight to the oblique holder and not bother with the straight holder. In fact Michael Sull teaches his basic Spencerian class with oblique holders. Although you did say you want to use Spencerian as your daily hand, then you may have to learn the traditional straight holder grip anyway.

However, I have seen comments by some people, that fourishing is easier for them with a straight holder. So don't throw them away.

 

I think that sounds the most logical way. Thank you for the links. I'm going to order a wooden oblique holder and some nibs. I'll hang on to the plastic straight holder for now-wood is my preferred material. I think I'm fighting a losing battle LOL


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#13 Rednaxela

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 06:01

On your original question, the Spencian system has this notion that pretty much every letter consists of a series of strokes, each one taken from a set of no more than seven basic ones. Within the system, each stroke has a number. It is suggested that, when writing one letter, you say out loud each number of each stroke as you write it. IIRC this was called 'stroke counting'. In any case, Plate 2 of The New Spencerian Compendium shows all this in great detail, though I'm sure it's also somewhere in your booklet set.

This is one of those things that is very easy to skip or overlook especially for cursive writers. Why write two pages full of entry strokes after all? The answer is, because one of the Spencerian entry strokes appears three times inside the letter 'm'. The other one can be found three times in the letter 'u', two times as part of the 'i', etc.

Approaching my letters as a series of basic strokes instead of complete shapes, has made me understand the script on a whole new level, and has tremendously improved my letter consistency. Looking at your sample, your writing might benefit of this too, and it could be the key to solving your roundness issue.

HTH.



Edit: correction of the number of type 2 strokes in 'u'.

Edited by Rednaxela, 21 July 2016 - 06:17.

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#14 JaxRiley

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 22:27

On your original question, the Spencian system has this notion that pretty much every letter consists of a series of strokes, each one taken from a set of no more than seven basic ones. Within the system, each stroke has a number. It is suggested that, when writing one letter, you say out loud each number of each stroke as you write it. IIRC this was called 'stroke counting'. In any case, Plate 2 of The New Spencerian Compendium shows all this in great detail, though I'm sure it's also somewhere in your booklet set.

 

Hi Alexander~ you're correct...guilty as charged. The 5 booklet +theory book I got off Amazon and Michael Sull's own , book, "Learning to write Spencerian Script by.... Michael and Debra Sull-that is in both of them tho implemented a bit differently. Amazon set has a 2 grid tall by by however many numbers of stokes made up a particular letter. And I looked at it, KNOWING this was part of the learning but said-how many letters have I written in 48 years? I think as long as I keep a rhythm going I should be ok. I see the glaring error of my way as easy represents an arc of straight line-lwhy I can't get my  "a" to look proper. I learnt piano by counting, this will be easier than music to count :wallbash: 

 

Thank you!


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#15 BBU

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 18:14

On your original question, the Spencian system has this notion that pretty much every letter consists of a series of strokes, each one taken from a set of no more than seven basic ones. Within the system, each stroke has a number. It is suggested that, when writing one letter, you say out loud each number of each stroke as you write it. IIRC this was called 'stroke counting'. In any case, Plate 2 of The New Spencerian Compendium shows all this in great detail, though I'm sure it's also somewhere in your booklet set.

This is one of those things that is very easy to skip or overlook especially for cursive writers. Why write two pages full of entry strokes after all? The answer is, because one of the Spencerian entry strokes appears three times inside the letter 'm'. The other one can be found three times in the letter 'u', two times as part of the 'i', etc.

Approaching my letters as a series of basic strokes instead of complete shapes, has made me understand the script on a whole new level, and has tremendously improved my letter consistency. Looking at your sample, your writing might benefit of this too, and it could be the key to solving your roundness issue.

HTH.



Edit: correction of the number of type 2 strokes in 'u'.

 

This is what I thought of, too. "Drawing" the letters with a uniform speed tends to make my letters look more rounded. Brisk (but controlled) strokes help me to produce the more angular look that a lot of people aim for. It takes a great deal of practice to be confident in these strokes. I'm still working on it myself.

 

Another thing that helps me is delaying the upward stroke at the beginning of a new letter. By that, I mean when you drop down after a letter is complete, such as after a lowercase A, try waiting longer before moving the nib upward for the next letter. This creates a sharper transition between letters and lends itself to a more angular appearance overall. Just be careful not to drop below the baseline.



#16 Rednaxela

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 20:24

Great to hear MoonMan!

BBU, interesting technique, gonna try this out.

This Flickr image might be of interest in this thread.

https://flic.kr/p/nFiF9z

It is part of an album containing more vintage practice results. Highly recommended.
~ Alexander

#17 wallylynn

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 04:23

Your "rounded" script is most definitely not palmer.  Palmer is a simplified spencerian, business script.  

 

You probably learned what I learned, "D'nealian"
https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/D'Nealian



#18 wallylynn

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 04:39

I also have the Mott 5-set.  But just for practice. For understanding the script I like this book best:
http://www.iampeth.c...ical-penmanship

I never did get past book1.  but I practice the word "minimum" when I'm bored.  Written correctly, it should be difficult to read, the differences in the letters are subtle.  



#19 JaxRiley

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 16:55

 

This is what I thought of, too. "Drawing" the letters with a uniform speed tends to make my letters look more rounded. Brisk (but controlled) strokes help me to produce the more angular look that a lot of people aim for. It takes a great deal of practice to be confident in these strokes. I'm still working on it myself.

 

Another thing that helps me is delaying the upward stroke at the beginning of a new letter. By that, I mean when you drop down after a letter is complete, such as after a lowercase A, try waiting longer before moving the nib upward for the next letter. This creates a sharper transition between letters and lends itself to a more angular appearance overall. Just be careful not to drop below the baseline.

Thank you for this BBU...I hit a rough patch and after getting up to letter "k" in Michael Sull's book and not happy with what I saw, I tore it all out and am going to start over. How I wish there was an instructor in the Boston area who taught this and calligraphy. Much easier, for me anyway, with an instructor to point out the things I'm doing wrong than carry on wrong until one day I see it or it's pointed out to me. Certain ones looked good, the majority was that funny business from school. The capitals scare me, I feel like I'll never learn them on my own but I'm not there yet so no use fretting over it yet. 

 

 

Your "rounded" script is most definitely not palmer.  Palmer is a simplified spencerian, business script.  

 

You probably learned what I learned, "D'nealian"
https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/D'Nealian

 

I owe a lot of apologies to people I may have torqued off with my op, I didn't mean to come off as ignorant which is what happens when you post blindly without double checking. Yes Wallylynn, thank you for positing that. It most definitely is the evil hand thrust upon us in school.I can see it now clear as day on a banner taped above the chalkboard. 


"To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”  Bill Wilson


#20 JaxRiley

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 17:23

Great to hear MoonMan!

BBU, interesting technique, gonna try this out.

This Flickr image might be of interest in this thread.

https://flic.kr/p/nFiF9z

It is part of an album containing more vintage practice results. Highly recommended

Thanks. It's been a bit of rough going but I'm getting back on track. Thanks for the link, I never think to look to Flickr for this sort of thing :doh:


"To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”  Bill Wilson






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