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.
Edited by knarflj, 02 May 2017 - 11:50.
"To read without also writing is to sleep." - St. Jerome