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The "correct" Angle To Position Pen V. Direction Of Writing

angle cursive nib paper line

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7 replies to this topic

#1 capillaryAction

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 22:34

Background: Right handed. Been using fountain pens on and off for a couple of years. Only recently gotten more serious about pens, cursive writing, nib types etc. My goal is to improve my cursive handwriting, and eventually to move on to calligraphy and advanced scripts.
 
So I recently got some flexible nibs, played around with line variation, and came upon an article that says the "sweet spot" is when the pen is under the lining of writing, and the nib is perpendicular to it. This makes a bit of sense to me, so I tried it out (quite weird to say the least!). My original way of writing is a kind of side writing. One thing I did notice upon switching to underwriting at 90 degrees is that pens write wetter and line variation much more achievable (esp for nibs previously thought to be nails).'
 
So I just want to throw this out to the community of much more experienced writers. Which is the more "correct" way to position the nib with regard to the direction of writing? Right now I find the need to rotate my page awkward and underwriting somewhat fatiguing to the wrist. Any tips of advice?
 
The bottom line is that I want to get started with the correct writing posture, that will serve me well if I move onto dip pens and calligraphy.
 
 
My original way of holding pen:

IMG_20160829_180249.jpg

 

New, correct?? way of holding pen:

IMG_20160829_180314.jpg

 

 



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#2 Randal6393

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 00:22

Yes, correct. The new way is good for flex-style writing, be it with a dip pen or a fountain pen. Suggest hitting www.iampeth.com and reading a few of the old books on Spenserian and Copperplate. That should help with an understanding of why you turn the pen this way.

 

Your old way of holding the pen is fine if you are using a stub for italic or a ball-point, non-flex fountain pen. Take a look at a book or two on Italic and Calligraphy hands, that should help with ideas on other hands to study.

 

Best of luck,


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#3 Rednaxela

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 16:32

This book is very detailed on the subject.

https://archive.org/...mentmetho00zane
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#4 capillaryAction

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 18:40

Thank you for your input, and I will check out the book, Rednaxela.

Randal, if I can read into what you're saying, does that mean there are 2 sets of best practices: 1 for flex writing, and another for italic/Palmer cursive?

#5 Randal6393

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 22:35

Each script, each hand, has its own best practices. Some items are common for all hands, some are unique for each.

 

Italic is based on the 45 degree angle of the pen to the writing line. And the use of the broad-edged, chisel-shaped nib. Italic encourages speed of writing, with line variation based on the natural thicks and thins of a broad-edge. So one just sits and writes.

 

Copperplate (and, to a lesser extent) and Spenserian depend on a flexible pen, pulled down with enough force to create a thicker line. The unflexed pen creates a thinner line. Not a very fast system of writing but, with practice, fast enough. (I am sure devotees of these hands have a different opinion.)

 

Palmer is a fast, Business Hand, aiming for a clear, easily read hand that can be written quickly. The pen most used is a ball-shaped fountain pen, leaving a monoline shaping to the hand.

 

And so it goes, each hand has its own quirks and needs to be studied in order to gain mastery. The tools of the trade are different for each hand, angle of writing is different, and so on. That is why I suggest reading a few manuals on penmanship to clarify what YOU want to do with YOUR handwriting.

 

Best of luck,

 

PS: If a local library carries -- or you wish to buy -- Eleanor Winter's Italic and Copperplate Calligraphy, your study may be made much easier. This book is an introduction to the tools and techniques needed to write both Italic and Copperplate, compares the two systems of writing, and makes clear the differences between the two styles. I heartily recommend it.


Edited by Randal6393, 30 August 2016 - 22:36.

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?
 


#6 capillaryAction

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 23:09

Each script, each hand, has its own best practices. Some items are common for all hands, some are unique for each.

 

Italic is based on the 45 degree angle of the pen to the writing line. And the use of the broad-edged, chisel-shaped nib. Italic encourages speed of writing, with line variation based on the natural thicks and thins of a broad-edge. So one just sits and writes.

 

Copperplate (and, to a lesser extent) and Spenserian depend on a flexible pen, pulled down with enough force to create a thicker line. The unflexed pen creates a thinner line. Not a very fast system of writing but, with practice, fast enough. (I am sure devotees of these hands have a different opinion.)

 

Palmer is a fast, Business Hand, aiming for a clear, easily read hand that can be written quickly. The pen most used is a ball-shaped fountain pen, leaving a monoline shaping to the hand.

 

And so it goes, each hand has its own quirks and needs to be studied in order to gain mastery. The tools of the trade are different for each hand, angle of writing is different, and so on. That is why I suggest reading a few manuals on penmanship to clarify what YOU want to do with YOUR handwriting.

 

Best of luck,

 

PS: If a local library carries -- or you wish to buy -- Eleanor Winter's Italic and Copperplate Calligraphy, your study may be made much easier. This book is an introduction to the tools and techniques needed to write both Italic and Copperplate, compares the two systems of writing, and makes clear the differences between the two styles. I heartily recommend it.

 

I am much indebted to your detailed suggestions. Currently I'm still mastering my comfort with cursive/Palmer, but budgeting in the time to get familiar with more advanced scripts. I'm a big believer of learning to walk before run, and your book recommendations are much appreciated.

 

Speaking from the FP nib's perspective, what kind of angle is ideal for a round-tipped nib writing Palmer cursive on a slant? To my limited mind, there is a "sweet spot" angle where both tines get equal wear and over time there's no deformation. Too much on one side, and the left tine gets overworn; too much on the other side, the right tine. Comments?



#7 Rednaxela

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 02:31

Thank you for your input, and I will check out the book, Rednaxela.


Palmer himself also offers some theory on pen holding, paper position, etc.

https://archive.org/...dofbu00palmrich




Edit: fixed link.

Edited by Rednaxela, 31 August 2016 - 02:34.

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#8 ac12

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 04:21

For my normal writing, I hold my pen pointing about 15 degrees to the left of center and I write with right slant.

For flex my pens, the nib is in line with the heavy downstroke.

So if I write with a flex fountain pen or straight dip pen, I write upright, with the downstroke vertical, and hold the pen so that the pen is vertical, and in line with the downstroke.

If I write with my oblique dip pen holder, I write normally, with a right slant.  The offset angle of the flange takes care of putting the axis of the nib in line with the downstroke.

 

I tried the method in the Palmer book, which is like the avitar on Rednaxela, and it is quite uncomfortable to write, for me.  Maybe if I give it a few months, I could do it.  But that is why I like the oblique holder.  It lets me use my normal hold and give the the nib angle of the hold in the book and avitar.

 

So as Randal said, different methods for different writing.


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