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Italic Hand Position And Movement

italic arm writing

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7 replies to this topic

#1 knarflj

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 16:44

For several months I have been attempting to learn cursive italic - or maybe what Tom Gourdie would have called simple modern hand - well enough to use as an everyday script.  I am becoming increasingly frustrated because I can't seem to master the basic hand and arm motion, or even figure out what those are.  Skating along on the tips of the fingers for business hand is so relaxing and sustainable, but I can't find an analogous movement for italic - or at least not one that doesn't generate a very narrow and spiky hand.  Lloyd Reynolds in his videos is scornful of the business hand technique, but as far as I've watched the series, the camera never seems to pull out enough for me to see how his own hand and arm move.  Is there a video or description anywhere that would let me see or understand how to write a fluid, everyday italic at speed without planting my hand and/or tiring quickly?

 

Jenny


"To read without also writing is to sleep." - St. Jerome

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#2 torstar

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 16:47

If it ain't working after that much time, do whatever you want, be creative, you might come up with something new....



#3 Randal6393

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 13:26

Cursive business uses a hand and arm rhythm that is based on circular or oval motion. Italic is based on a rhythmic up and down finger motion. Just concentrate on forming the letters, not on how your hand moves. Best writer I know of on this is Arrighi. Why not look up his La Operina and read what he says about "tratta"? (Stroke)

Best of luck,

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?
 


#4 knarflj

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 16:22

Torstar, thanks.  I do keep trying slightly different things, and every once in a while I feel I've just about found "it" - but then next time I pick up the pen I can't remember how to replicate whatever I did. 

 

Cursive business uses a hand and arm rhythm that is based on circular or oval motion. Italic is based on a rhythmic up and down finger motion. Just concentrate on forming the letters, not on how your hand moves. Best writer I know of on this is Arrighi. Why not look up his La Operina and read what he says about "tratta"? (Stroke)

 

Thanks, Randal.  Can you point me to an English translation of La Operina? 

 

I think one of the things that is making this hard for me is that I am by nature a "rule follower", and my training in other skills has reinforced the idea that the right - and only consistent - way to the desired result (in this case, properly formed letters) is to master the correct technique.  That works for learning business hand, because all the authorities pretty much agree on how you should hold the pen, how you should hold your arm, etc., and if you follow directions it works.  The only reason my business hand isn't spectacular is that I don't practice enough. 

 

But if italic folks have a consensus about technique, I haven't been able to discover it.  Alfred Fairbank says more or less, "Oh, most people hold their pens this way with the two little fingers bent inward, and Edward Johnston did, too, so that's probably a good idea, although I hold mine differently."  Tom Gourdie says, "Don't you dare bend those little fingers, that will cause tension; hold it this way instead."  Some say it's all about finger motion, others say, "Don't use your fingers: it's called HANDwriting for a reason."  Eager says that when you speed up the hand will naturally gain a horizontal flow, but my own experience has been exactly the opposite - which says to me that my technique is in some unknown-to-me respect very different from Eager's.  

 

I started this thread hoping that someone would point me to a resource I'd missed, so that I wouldn't have to invent my own individual italic technique "wheel".  Maybe Arrighi will be what I'm looking for.  If not, I guess I'm back to the wheel-inventing shop. :)  (Too stubborn to just quit!)

 

Thanks for letting me rant, anyway.

 

Jenny


Edited by knarflj, 02 May 2017 - 11:50.

"To read without also writing is to sleep." - St. Jerome

#5 KateGladstone

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 22:58

Cursive business uses a hand and arm rhythm that is based on circular or oval motion. Italic is based on a rhythmic up and down finger motion. Just concentrate on forming the letters, not on how your hand moves. Best writer I know of on this is Arrighi. Why not look up his La Operina and read what he says about "tratta"? (Stroke)
Best of luck,

The advice is excellent, which is why I have forborne to give advice of my own (I would have said much the same thing) but the word in question (Italian for "stroke") is "tratto" (not "tratta").
Regardless, Arrighi's LA OPERINA is available free on-line (bilingual edition including English translation and annotations by the translator, a calligrapher/italic handwriting teacher in Iceland) at operina.com (The same site also offers other cost-free calligraphy/handwriting-related e-books).

#6 knarflj

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 12:01

Thank you for the link.  Off to read it now. :)

 

Jenny


"To read without also writing is to sleep." - St. Jerome

#7 Inkantadora

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 13:30

Hi,

When I arrived to the French Schooling system at age 7 m, I was forced to write in cursive with fountain pens.

I wrote right-handed from the right side holding the pan horizontally as I wrote and not perpendicularly from below as the books say. It never stopped me from having a decent cursive everyday handwriting style.

I started to work on the more recommended position once I had written cursive for over 20 years and it was not to difficult because it was just a change in position to do what I was already doing.

Try whatever is comfortable to you first and switch when you feel is right.
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#8 Randal6393

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 17:03

Well, Jenny, I feel your pain. Pretty much in the fingers and back of the hand. Going to refer you to the triangle grip and Search function. I assume you use a version of the triangle trip when writing business hand. Pen angle is no different between business hand and italic. Say, 30 to 45 degrees. And just relax and write. And have fun!

Best of luck,

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?
 






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