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Hand position for copperplate.


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To begin with, lets see what people did in the past. Here we have a generic quill holding position:





and the next one is from Mr. Pickering's site. This position is perfect for italic calligraphy because it places the pen at the 45 degree angle that is suggested for italic.



(http://www.jp29.org/cal104.JPG and http://www.jp29.org/cal107.JPG)



Copperplate(-ish) work is different. As you can see from my suggestion below, to achieve maximum flex with minimum force, the nib slit has to line up with the slope of the letters.





This is "difficult" in the "classic" position because the pen is at a relatively large angle with respect to the slope of the letters:





To avoid this problem the copperplate practitioners employed the oblique holder that was correcting the angle of the nib with respect to the slope of the letters:





One possibility is to rotate further the paper like this:





What I usually like is this one. I like it because: (1) it make the holding position of the pen even lower (and this reduces the force needed for flexing - the lower the easier to flex), and (2) my index finger is quite strong if I really have to press hard. For everyone else - whatever works :)



Edited by antoniosz
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  • KCat


  • wimg


  • Leslie J.


  • antoniosz


Many thanks, Antonios.


Will try to post my first attempt at flexing my pen soon.

You can't always get what you want... but if you try sometimes... you just might find... you'll get what you need...

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Thanks much antonios - I've been holding my pen (the flex one that is) very close to the position shown in the last picture.


I tried some larger letterforms yesterday and it wasn't bad... i'll never flourish like a pro... but i was able to keep the forms fairly consistent.

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Hi Antonios,


Thank you for sharing that. For some reason I never thought of rotating the paper, while I always have the greatest problems to get maximum flex in the direction of the descenders. I have tried to locate one of those off-set nib holders over here, locally, but not been able to find one yet.


I'll try rotating the paper a little later this coming week.


Thanks again!


Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever

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I actually always write with my paper turned that far CCW. :o My only flex nib is a WM Ideal No. 2 on a WM 52V, but what I really can't do is get the extra fine line out of it. Just too wet noodly perhaps? It really doesn't require much pressure at all to get the flex, but the regular line is not fine enough I think.


I think my other flaw is that my natural grip is angled too high. This is not easy stuff!

Edited by Leslie J.

Never lie to your dog.

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  • 3 years later...

Antonio, thanks very much for such a lovely explanation.!

May you have pens you enjoy, with plenty of paper and ink. :)

Please use only my FPN name "Gran" in your posts. Thanks very much!

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  • 4 years later...

I just purchased a Waterman 52 with the Waterman Ideal No. 2 nib. This is my first flex pen and I've searched online but couldn't find anything about the nib. My question is, do flex pens generally lack tipping material? Or is my nib just really worn down?

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