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Improving Handwriting For Everyday Purposes - Getty-Dubay, Fred Eager, Palmer Method Or Spencerian?


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#1 Verdict

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 13:20

Hello everyone, I'm a newbie to the world of fountain pens and I'd like to start by improving my handwriting.  My job requires me to write a lot more than I expected so I'd like to make an effort to improve it.

 

There are times where I'll have a proper desk to work in, and other times where I won't, so practicality and adaptability is key. I won't be able to choose what type of paper I write with, so using fine inks or special nibs won't be appreciated, sadly.

 

I've bought a couple of Pilot V-Pens, disposable fountain pens, to get started. I've used these before and the ink doesn't bleed through the paper I encounter everyday and doesn't blob. 

 

Based on my research, the following books/methods seem to be popular for improving handwriting:

 

  • Write Now: The Complete Program For Better Handwriting by Barbara Getty and Inga Dubay
  • The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting: Cursive and Calligraphic by Fred Eager
  • The Palmer Method of Business Handwriting (is this the title of a book or just the system? Not sure.)
  • Spencerian Handwriting 

From what I know, Spencerian handwriting requires a proper desk to write on and requires proper form which I won't be able to execute properly on a daily basis. Eager's method seems to require specific nib sizes and I only have the V-pen to start with. 

 

My other concern is that I want to eventually develop my personal style of handwriting and not just replicate a single style letter for letter. I read somewhere that this is quite childish as adults will have incorporated their own character to their handwriting, even if it's based on an existing system.

 

Based on the above, what resource would you recommend to improve handwriting, or would you suggest something differently entirely?

 

I appreciate your help and look forward to reading your posts.  


Edited by Verdict, 12 July 2018 - 13:21.


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#2 PAKMAN

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 13:23

Write now worked for me.


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#3 putteringpenman

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 14:02

I have used both the Palmer Method and The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting: Cursive and Calligraphic. The Italic Way was not helpful for me especially for everyday writing. I am currently going through the Palmer Method and find it helpful for improving everyday handwriting. You can find the full book online here: is a slow calligraphy script so it's not very good for everyday writing, but your handwriting will look beautiful.

 

Anyway you go, the most important things for improving handwriting are to learn are good arm movement and keeping letter heights and widths consistent. The Palmer Method teaches those things as does many other methods like the Zanerian Manual. You'll probably want to try a few methods out pick the one you like the best.



#4 Verdict

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 13:01

Write now worked for me.

 

Thanks.

 

Does the book provide any sort of insights onto how to develop your own style of handwriting?



#5 Verdict

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 13:02

I have used both the Palmer Method and The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting: Cursive and Calligraphic. The Italic Way was not helpful for me especially for everyday writing. I am currently going through the Palmer Method and find it helpful for improving everyday handwriting. You can find the full book online here: is a slow calligraphy script so it's not very good for everyday writing, but your handwriting will look beautiful.

 

Anyway you go, the most important things for improving handwriting are to learn are good arm movement and keeping letter heights and widths consistent. The Palmer Method teaches those things as does many other methods like the Zanerian Manual. You'll probably want to try a few methods out pick the one you like the best.

 

Thanks for that. I've heard good things about Eager's book, but perhaps I'll give it a go when I'm ready for more decorative rather than practical writing. 



#6 knarflj

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 20:38

A personalized style of handwriting develops itself naturally as you become familiar and comfortable with whichever script you are learning.  Iow, once you get to stage where you don't have to think about letter formation, slant, etc., and can just think about what you're writing, your handwriting will start personalizing itself.  

 

As for which text to use, I would suggest choosing the script first.  If you love the script, you will practice it.  If you don't, you won't. :)  

 

So if you really admire italic and want to learn that, go for Mr. Eager's book.  (I haven't seen Write Now, so that might do the trick for you, too, but I have and can highly recommend Eager's text.  I do have another Getty-Dubay text out of the library at the moment: Italic Letters: Calligraphy and Handwriting; that one looks good, too.)  

 

If you want to learn a more traditional American-style cursive hand, go to iampeth.com, browse the texts on business hand available for download in the rare books section there, and pick the one you like the look of best (Palmer method is basically just one variant of the business hand).  Mills' Modern Business Penmanship is frequently recommended on these forums.

 

Any handwriting is best executed at the right desk and chair, but any hand can be written in less ideal situations.  And although formal Spencerian needs a flex pen, you can use a regular nib - or any writing instrument - for business situations.  Same with italic: the prettiest versions use a broad nib, but you can use any writing tool.

 

Jenny


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

#7 RoyalBlueNotebooks

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 16:48

A few suggestions:

 

Ames' Guide to Self Instruction in Practical and Artistic Penmanship by Daniel T. Ames

 

Lessons in Practical Penmanship by H. P. Behrensmeyer

 

The Champion Method of Practical Business Writing by Mary L. Champion

 

The Palmer Method of Business Writing by A. N. Palmer

 

Palmer's Penmanship Budget by A. N. Palmer

 

The Arm Movement Method of Rapid Writing by C. P. Zaner

 

All vintage and most likely rare books now, but if you can get ahold of at least one, you're set.


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#8 gmax

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 18:20

Interesting references RBN - thanks for sharing  :)

 

I found a PDF version of "The Palmer Method of Business Writing" and there is also a whole website devoted to it here...

https://palmermethod.com



#9 aalmcc4

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 14:30

The Palmer Method of Business Writing is the best, I have found.  Palmer and the other early 20th century business writing methods (Mills etc.) are all variations on each other.  I just found the Palmer Method booklet (vintage copies available on the bay for cheap) seem to explain the "method" better.

 

Don't fall ink the trap of jut copying the "Palmer" letters.  Follow system and learn the method of using the whole arm.   It takes a while, but eventually you'll get it and your effort will be worth it.

 

Pay attention to details like how to place the paper and how to hold the pen.  I cannot stress holding the pen properly enough.  I can write endlessly and my hand NEVER cramps up.  Never.  Many people say hold the pen however you want.  No, hold it the Palmer way.  No tripod grip, no death tip or other ways to hold a pen.  Hold a pen like these methods all show.  No wrist on the desk.  Don't rest the side of your hand on the desk.  No finger writing.  The only thing touching the desk is the point of your pen, the meaty muscle of your forearm just distal to your elbow (elbow itself should not be on the desk), and the tips (nails) of you pinky and ring fingers.

 

There are only one or maybe two people on You Tube that claim to be using the Palmer Method, and are actually doing it correctly.  (I'll do a search and report back) The others are only drawing Palmer letters. 

 

I'm telling you, The Palmer Method works.  Don't get caught up in the drills of endless circles.  Do them, but they are just muscle memory exercises.  They are not art work.

 

Practice, and practice more.  Chances are tat you'll feel like you're learning to write all over again.  And you will be.

 

Good luck!



#10 aalmcc4

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 14:50

Pull up the you tube vids done by "perfect biscuit" and "in pursuit of penmanship", they demonstrate Palmer the proper way.

 



#11 ParramattaPaul

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 19:16

I suggest this book: https://www.amazon.c...M1FZ55MC7G065BB



#12 sidthecat

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 02:00

My guides have been eccentric in the extreme. I love the look of 16th century Secretary Hand, which is virtually unreadable, but I adopted its swashes and backward ascenders.
Then I stumbled across Edward Johnston: not Foundational or anything easy, but I lost my heart to the casual script he used in his letters - the ones with the big initials. The ones that aren’t collected anywhere or systematically analyzed. Nevertheless, I’m writing in a version of that these days.
The point is: look at a lot of stuff. There’ll be something out there that will express the you-ness of you.






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