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  1. Greetings. I’m interested in picking up and becoming proficient with both a form of cursive and non-cursive. While my goals are largely aesthetic, I want to avoid sacrificing speed and efficiency in the long term, though I understand their loss is unavoidable during the initial training phase. At the moment, I have my heart set out on J. Pickering’s Practical Book Hand, but am unsure as to which style of cursive I would like to pursue; Spencerian and Business Hand, which are so frequently recommended, are unfortunately not to my taste. If I had to pick right now, I’d likely go with a form of Simple Modern italic cursive. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m interested in finding out what training approach is most widely recommended and why. I understand that aesthetically pleasing writing comes from consistent letterforms and consistent spacing between and around both individual letters and whole words. However, I figure there are four ways to train: 1) trace over the letter forms from a suitable exemplar of the hand; 2) practice reproducing the letterforms while occasionally regarding the exemplar, perhaps using paper with guidelines of some sort until you get used to the size and potential slant of each letter; 3) practice producing lines, circles, and ovals of correct slant and proportion relative to the hand of interest, before moving on to one of the other approaches; and 4) writing complete words and sentences in the hand, while aiming for the aforementioned consistency. I imagine approach 4 would not be recommended as a starting point, which leaves me with the first three. If using approach 2 or 3, which I know is often recommend at least at some stage of development, I figure I’d need sheets with guidelines on them specific to my hand. While several of the more popular styles have them premade, I don’t believe Practical Book Hand does. What approach would one take in generating these sheets as someone who has never studied penmanship with any seriousness before? Apologies for the size of the post, but thanks in advance for any responses.

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