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What Approach To Take In Picking Up A New Hand?



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SIrNibCollector

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.

Edited by SIrNibCollector
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wallylynn

whether you practice 1. 2. 3. or 4. the key is to consciously, mindfully, practice. Deliberate movement, not blind motion. Say to yourself "upstroke, downstroke, curve left, curve right, etc."

 

I passively practice Spencerian (been slacking off), but even though I've only learned half the alphabet, I'll write whole words in my journal. But I'll strive to get the letters I learned correct. I don't write words, I write connected letters, spelling them out in my head.

 

Constantly critique your work (but don't berate yourself) and try, try again. 5 minutes of hard work is better than 30 minutes of doodling. You don't want to learn the bad habits, which then need to be broken.

 

As for style sheets, I'm not sure you need them for the book hand. I learned D'nealian in school. Looks very similar to the book hand. (there's another hand based on round-hand but the name escapes me)

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Waski_the_Squirrel

It depends. I despise handwriting practice myself. I've hated it ever since I first had to do a handwriting practice in elementary school. I've leaned more Spencerian lately, but I practice it with my normal writing, just making the habit more conscious. Maybe not the best, but this is something I actually will do.

 

In short, make sure the practice is a type you will actually repeat over and over.

Proud resident of the least visited state in the nation!

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As regards learning a new alphabet; this has been my method for many years.
It's a bit labourious but it does work.

I write out the whole minuscule alphabet a few times and then study each letter
carefully, being really critical. There are usually one or two letters which are OK
first time. These I put, mentally, to one side and write out just the remaining letters
again. I do this repeatedly, discarding the letters which look OK until I'm left with
two or three letters which still give me trouble. After repeatedly writing just these
letters, I finally arrive at the point where I'm happy with the whole minuscule alphabet
and can write it all easily, without too much trouble. I then repeat the whole process
with the majuscules .Once I have the whole alphabet down, I then move on to
combinations of letters and finally, words.

If this is done properly, it's possible to build a good repertoire of styles which stay in
the memory and can be used as required, without undue reference to exemplars.

 

Ken

 

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SIrNibCollector

 

whether you practice 1. 2. 3. or 4. the key is to consciously, mindfully, practice. Deliberate movement, not blind motion. Say to yourself "upstroke, downstroke, curve left, curve right, etc." I passively practice Spencerian (been slacking off), but even though I've only learned half the alphabet, I'll write whole words in my journal. But I'll strive to get the letters I learned correct. I don't write words, I write connected letters, spelling them out in my head. Constantly critique your work (but don't berate yourself) and try, try again. 5 minutes of hard work is better than 30 minutes of doodling. You don't want to learn the bad habits, which then need to be broken. As for style sheets, I'm not sure you need them for the book hand. I learned D'nealian in school. Looks very similar to the book hand. (there's another hand based on round-hand but the name escapes me)

 

 

Yes, I’m familiar with the concept behind deliberate practice and mean to apply it as I try to pick up these new hands; however, I also know that having a clear, goal-oriented approach with reasonably sized objectives hastens the rate of mastery.

 

 

It depends. I despise handwriting practice myself. I've hated it ever since I first had to do a handwriting practice in elementary school. I've leaned more Spencerian lately, but I practice it with my normal writing, just making the habit more conscious. Maybe not the best, but this is something I actually will do.

 

In short, make sure the practice is a type you will actually repeat over and over.

 

I know what you mean, though I find I, myself, tend towards the opposite end of the spectrum. Also, I have found that trying to learn by doing is a more effective approach when a sturdy foundation has already been put in place; otherwise, it’s easy to form and reinforce bad habits.

 

 

As regards learning a new alphabet; this has been my method for many years.

It's a bit labourious but it does work.

I write out the whole minuscule alphabet a few times and then study each letter

carefully, being really critical. There are usually one or two letters which are OK

first time. These I put, mentally, to one side and write out just the remaining letters

again. I do this repeatedly, discarding the letters which look OK until I'm left with

two or three letters which still give me trouble. After repeatedly writing just these

letters, I finally arrive at the point where I'm happy with the whole minuscule alphabet

and can write it all easily, without too much trouble. I then repeat the whole process

with the majuscules .Once I have the whole alphabet down, I then move on to

combinations of letters and finally, words.

If this is done properly, it's possible to build a good repertoire of styles which stay in

the memory and can be used as required, without undue reference to exemplars.

 

Ken

 

I like this approach of identifying which letterforms one has difficulty reproducing easily and naturally, so that they can be isolated for correction. Do you use guidelines to help you at all, or do you find that it’s faster and more effective in the long run to force your eyes to pick up on the differences without additional aids? Also, once you have the letterforms down, how and when do you work on the spacing between individual letters and words? With my current penmanship, untrained as it is, irregularities in spacing are, at least to me, frustratingly obvious. I have heard it recommended that the spaces between words be replaced by a miniscule ‘o’ that is written lighter and lighter until its presence as a spacer is no longer necessary. Your thoughts?

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thang1thang2

I prefer to study exemplars, and then break down all of the letterforms into their "fundamental strokes", I find it engaging and fun to do. Sort of like factoring in math. Once you do that, you can simply practice all the forms until you can do them very well. Then you put them together into letters, and then practice the letters. Then you focus on spacing and get inter-letter spacing correct. Then inter-word spacing correct, then inter-line spacing correct. After that, all you have left to do is maintain your script through the repetition and practice of letterforms and/or fundamental strokes.

 

Now, that might seem like a boring sort of method, it just happens to be the most efficient one for me, and the one that I enjoy the most. As long as you're working methodically towards an ideal, you can't really go "too" wrong.

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Do you use guidelines to help you at all, or do you find that it’s faster and more effective in the long run to force your eyes to pick up on the differences without additional aids? Also, once you have the letterforms down, how and when do you work on the spacing between individual letters and words?

 

I don't think that there are any hard and fast rules ; usually straight lines are furthest apart and curves closest together.

An old tip which helps, is to view a finished line of writing upside down. In this way, any really irregular spacing is more obvious.

 

Ken

 

 

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dickydotcom

I have found it useful to watch video of someone writing, just to see how letters are formed. Especially useful for picking up how one letter leads into another.

There are quite a few on youtube.

 

Dick D

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