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Learning Spencerian...



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I am going to learn Spencerian. This is a hand that I have wished to learn for almost a year. I figure that doing this with others as was done in SMK's excellent Copperplate Thread, will keep me on track. The two reasons for this type of thread which SMK gave are spot on:

 

  • "I hope that others will join in and we'll all learn in a collaborative manner - critiquing, advising and supporting each other.
  • I also hope to receive advice from members who are experienced in this hand from time to time."

 

My preparations thus far:

 

Nibs

I have decided to use Gillot 303 nibs for their flexibility and relative ease of purchase.

 

Holders

I am going to purchase a PaperInkArts Adjustable Oblique Pen Holder. It looks like this pen holder will provide excellent versatility and will allow me to try out the crow quills I have lying about!

 

Ink

I will be using Higgin's Eternal Black Ink. I have tried Iron Gall inks, but I have found them a bit to thin for my liking.

 

Paper

I will be using Michael Sull's Cross Drill Tablets, Spencerian Practice Set Copybooks, and his Spencerian Guide Sheet Practice Tablet. Until I secure funds to purchase these, I will be using the Spencerian Guide Sheet from IAMPETH.

 

Examplars/Guidance

I will be using Learning To Write Spencerian Script by Michael Sull. I have also found the DVD by Ron Tate on Spencerian, extremely useful. Any other suggestions?

I'm really getting excited about this!

http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/8703/letterminizk9.png "Of all of the instruments of war, diplomacy, and revolution, the pen has been the silent giant determining the fate of nations." -Justin Brundin

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I don't think that you can go wrong with any of your choices. I would just add that, in addition to Michael Sull's excellent "Learning To Write Sopencerian Script" another book which is worth buying is "F.W.Tamblyn's Home Instructor in Penmanship". Also, of course, there is a considerable amount of information on Spencerian on the IAMPETH site.

 

Ken

Edited by caliken
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I already started a couple of months ago, using a Blackwell holder (I also have the PIA Adjustable), Leonhardt EF Principal nib, and McCaffery's Penman's Ink. For reference materials, I also purchased reproductions of the Spencer copy books, as well as Michael Sull's book. Fortunately, I also have some personal letters written in this style. Seeing the simple, monoline versions of this hand as it was typically practiced has been immensely valuable.

 

My letter forms are not uniformly great (italicisms leak in from time to time) but my speed is good enough for Spencerian to have become my default mode. (I write several hours a day.) In contrast to my experience with copperplate, I've had greater success writing a bit smaller than my typical scrawl, with my x-heights now on the order of 1.5-1.75mm: at this scale my rhythm is better and my horizontal movement is more uniform. A hint to new Spencerians: long sleeves are a must, as is a light hand.

 

(Correction: After applying a ruler to my typical page, the x-heights look to be more in the range of 2-2.5mm. It seems my printer and print driver may have been doing a little rescaling to my guide lines.)

 

After my short acquaintance with it, I'm surprised Spencerian ever went out of fashion. It's beautiful (whether executed starkly monoline or radically shaded), highly legible, and easy on the hands.

Edited by Mickey

The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries

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ryanshanabarger

So glad I found this post! I just got the theory and spencerian copy books myself two days ago!

 

As for learning "together", what exactly are we doing? Just posting scans and commenting?

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So glad I found this post! I just got the theory and spencerian copy books myself two days ago!

 

As for learning "together", what exactly are we doing? Just posting scans and commenting?

 

That's pretty much it, but don't underrate the value of it. Take a look at the progress many have made in the Copperplate version of this thread. Some of it is quite remarkable. I also believe the mildly competitive nature of this process makes us more critical of our own work than we might be. I regret my lack of a scanner, as I would otherwise certainly like to make use of all the eagle eyes around here, Ken's in particular.

The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries

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ryanshanabarger

So glad I found this post! I just got the theory and spencerian copy books myself two days ago!

 

As for learning "together", what exactly are we doing? Just posting scans and commenting?

 

That's pretty much it, but don't underrate the value of it. Take a look at the progress many have made in the Copperplate version of this thread. Some of it is quite remarkable. I also believe the mildly competitive nature of this process makes us more critical of our own work than we might be. I regret my lack of a scanner, as I would otherwise certainly like to make use of all the eagle eyes around here, Ken's in particular.

 

Perhaps a local library scanner? Or cell phone picture? I've done the latter on here.

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I'll get the ball rolling with a little example of my own from about a year ago.

 

I hope that this topic receives the interest and support which has been demonstrated on the Copperplate thread. If so, I'm sure that we'll all benefit from the experience of others.

 

Ken

 

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd289/caliken_2007/Handwritingmustbereadable700.jpg

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ryanshanabarger

I'll get the ball rolling with a little example of my own from about a year ago.

 

I hope that this topic receives the interest and support which has been demonstrated on the Copperplate thread. If so, I'm sure that we'll all benefit from the experience of others.

 

Ken

 

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd289/caliken_2007/Handwritingmustbereadable700.jpg

 

Ok this was supposed to be about us learning together!! Not showing how well we already mastered it!! Lol

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I have often wondered whether the enormous shades in Spencerian samples are filled rather than a natural splayed nib.

Ken could you clarify please?

 

P.S. Thanks for the specimen for practise.

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fuchsiaprincess

Thanks for starting this topic, Texaspenman! I shall be keeping a close eye on this thread, although I'm not going to participate - need to master my Copperplate first :headsmack:

http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y331/fuchsiaprincess/Fuchsiaprincess_0001.jpg http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/036/2/2/Narnia_Flag_by_Narnia14.gif

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I have often wondered whether the enormous shades in Spencerian samples are filled rather than a natural splayed nib.

Ken could you clarify please?

 

P.S. Thanks for the specimen for practise.

 

The shades are accomplished with very flexible nibs such as the Principality or the Gillot 303. It does take a lot of practice!

 

I will scan some of my exercises tomorrow.

Edited by texaspenman

http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/8703/letterminizk9.png "Of all of the instruments of war, diplomacy, and revolution, the pen has been the silent giant determining the fate of nations." -Justin Brundin

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Thanks for starting this topic, Texaspenman! I shall be keeping a close eye on this thread, although I'm not going to participate - need to master my Copperplate first :headsmack:

 

Me too.

Ihtzaz

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Thanks for starting this topic, Texaspenman! I shall be keeping a close eye on this thread, although I'm not going to participate - need to master my Copperplate first :headsmack:

Same here, but very interested in the development of this thread

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Here are my first wobbly steps into this road.

 

post-51625-0-83799000-1318865198.jpg

 

Great timing for this thread. I branched into this style by accident while working on copperplate by spreading the letters too far apart, and really liked the way that seemed to let it breathe. Then I found out it was a sort of bastardized Spencerian, which I'm now actively trying to cop. The nice thing is that it seems a lot of the technique we've already learned pursuing Cplate seems to carry over to this hand, which is kind of like a head start.

 

Total newbie at this hand, but I'm loving it so far. I'm in particular really liking the Madarasz examples I'm finding. I'm looking forward to the progress of this thread as well.

Edited by Bierce
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Here are my first wobbly steps into this road.

 

 

Bierce, I would love to be able to wobble like that.

 

Salman

 

Thanks Salman. I don't know if you're working on this style yet, but you might be pleasantly surprised at how far you already are when you start, based on what I've already seen of your copperplate work. Not that there isn't a way to for us to go, as usual.

 

I need to know a couple of things at this point:

 

1. if the "t's" are traditionally crossed with whole arm movement or finger movement (I did mine whole arm, which is why they're sort of jerky seeing as they are really tiny, but if I try it finger movement I lose that really wispy thin look, no matter how lightly I press),

 

2. if the ornamented majuscules are done loops, letter, and shading all in one swoop or in separate strokes. If I start the initial loops, and go right into the shade all the way to the baseline, it's awfully difficult to target and wind up right on the baseline, which leads me to believe that maybe the loop is done first, then you start where the loop left off and slowly pull the heavy-shaded bit.

 

Anyone?

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2. if the ornamented majuscules are done loops, letter, and shading all in one swoop or in separate strokes. If I start the initial loops, and go right into the shade all the way to the baseline, it's awfully difficult to target and wind up right on the baseline, which leads me to believe that maybe the loop is done first, then you start where the loop left off and slowly pull the heavy-shaded bit.

 

Anyone?

 

I'm doing them with the minimum number of pen lifts, which seems to have been a point of pride for serious practitioners. For example, the letter R: the horizontal loop is followed without lift by the capital stem, which I presume you mean to shade. The right side of the R, starts within the loop and is also a single stroke with no lifts. I get the impression that unnecessary pen lifts were a big thing (to avoid) and that it's almost a game for the pros to find inventive (and beautiful) ways to complete 3 initial monograms and such with absolutely no pen lifts. (Look at the end of the Del Tysdal video I pointed you to in the Copperplate thread.) I think this desire to minimize strokes (and potential connection blunders) is why we see in some of the videos the penmen rehearsing complex strokes, then executing them as single gestures. Air-pen! (Someone at the SF show mentioned Saturday that as a child he used to kid his grandfather about winding up his arm before writing.)

 

BTW, pretty gorgeous stuff you're doing already. My goal is likely different than yours (I'm adopting monoline Spencerian as a working at speed, everyday hand) but I've got to admire good work and ability. Good work.

The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries

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Here are my first wobbly steps into this road.

 

post-51625-0-83799000-1318865198.jpg

 

Great timing for this thread. I branched into this style by accident while working on copperplate by spreading the letters too far apart, and really liked the way that seemed to let it breathe. Then I found out it was a sort of bastardized Spencerian, which I'm now actively trying to cop. The nice thing is that it seems a lot of the technique we've already learned pursuing Cplate seems to carry over to this hand, which is kind of like a head start.

 

Total newbie at this hand, but I'm loving it so far. I'm in particular really liking the Madarasz examples I'm finding. I'm looking forward to the progress of this thread as well.

 

I agree... I wish I could wobble like this!

 

Although I am having trouble getting my scanner to work, I will report my progress here. I am working on the below exercises to improve my whole arm movement and motor skills. So far I am having some difficulty, but I am slowly showing improvement. I can write the lower case letters with finger movements but it is slow and it causes bad spacing. Being that Spencerian is meant to be a fluid and fast hand I think these whole arm and forearm exercises are the best place to start. Does this sound like a good plan of action?

 

http://www.iampeth.com/lessons/spencerian/new_standard/spencer_new_standard_image3.jpg

 

http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/8703/letterminizk9.png "Of all of the instruments of war, diplomacy, and revolution, the pen has been the silent giant determining the fate of nations." -Justin Brundin

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Bierce,

 

This is nice, fluent Spencerian IMO.

One request/suggestion - could you possibly upload a slightly enlarged version with perhaps an increase in contrast? It's quite difficult to assess/enjoy handwriting when it's difficult to see. It just seems a shame that handwriting of this quality, can't be enjoyed to best advantage.

 

Ken

Edited by caliken
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