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Technical Question Regarding James Pickering Bookhand Writing

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Hello all,


I've been trying to improve my Penmanship when I stumbled upon James Pickering's website. (I was ecstatic to learn that he was a FPN member, too!) I've been practicing his book hand style and love the encouraging words that are written on his website.


I have a few questions about some of the technique of writing these letters:



- In his examples, he has the word, "written" Does he connect the i and the two t's in a single stroke, or is this because of his nice spacing? Same thing with "out" is the u and the t connected? Or the i and the l in April?


On his website he states, "I find this half uncial based bookhand particularly suited for everyday use - the roundness of the letterforms and the the coupled letters being well suited for rapid and free flowing execution." This is why I'm asking if when he says the coupled letters that he mean two letters that he write where one leads into the other.


- The placement of the crossing of the f and the t. I've always struggled with this from a very early age. With the f, does the crossing go at the same height of the crossing of the t? And are these locations at the same height as the top of the letter s (for example)?


- Last question: To confirm what I think.... the dots for the i and the j, these are at the very top of the line (so where the top of an l would be).


Thank you for anyone who can help!

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • Julie5415


  • Randal6393


  • faheld


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Oh, my, Pickering is an excellent writer and is attempting to show what may be achieved with the regular tools of ballpoint pen, pencil, roller-ball, etc. as well as with fountain pen. So I hope you allow for his years of experience in making very difficult letter forms look easy. As far as I can tell, he generally writes out his hand without being too concerned about his joins. Mostly, he probably doesn't use many. His excellent spacing may well make letters more connected than they are. In order to get the most out of his website, I would recommend reading Johnston's Writing and Illuminating and Lettering. Using half uncial for everyday use is good, but I find Italic to be rendered faster and more easily. Especially if using a cursive variety of Italic. Maybe take a look at both?


Well, the cross line of the f and the t usually occur just below the top of the c, a, e, s, etc. To practice, I would use a guide-paper that has several lines -- a lower-case line, an ascenders line, a descenders line, and a capitals line. Again, see Johnston's WIL.


The marks for the i and the j are usually about the capital line.


The above comments apply to italics and the way I write. Your mileage may vary.


Best of luck to you,


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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  • 8 years later...

For those looking for his site and bookhand you can find it on the internet wayback machine.  Here is the link I am using.



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