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Question Regrading The Forefathers Of Copperplate And Spencerian- And Their Paper


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Nowadays, when one wants to begin to learn copperplate,or spencerian, one of the first questions I usually see is "well, what kind of paper should I get?" Granted, there is nothing wrong with wanting the best paper for the job, and in todays market, there seems to be a plethora of paper types that are made spegifcally for pointed pen calligraphy, which I am admittedly extremely thankful for.

That being said, I always wonder if the pioneers of pointed pen calligraphy were as spoiled as us when it came to paper selection. In my mind, I cant help but imagine that, in its infancy,calligraphers had very few types and weights of paper to choose from. I know that as calligraphers today, we are fortunate that there is seemingly "special paper" designed to be used in the different disciplines of handwriting/calligraphy. Can anybody offer me some insight as to whether or not a copperplate calligrapher could go out and buy practice pads specifically for use in copperplate or spencerian scripts, or did they have to make due with what they were able to obtain ? Just a question that I have always thought about bur figured if I askedn it here, I'd be thought of as some one who had a very limited knowledge of what penmanship consister of in the early days of the Golden Age of penmanship.

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I think "able to obtain" might apply. However, note that papers were usually hand-made, use of ink for writing was universal, and there are instances of penman buying in BULK. Ben Franklin, for example, was noted for borrowing his neighbor's wheelbarrow to bring a lucky buy home in.


Paper was, relatively, more expensive but of higher quality -- made from linen rags and fibers, no cheap wood pulp in those times. So I don't feel that selecting a paper was near the hassle as finding quantities to buy.




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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Greetings and welcome to the forum.

Paper in their time was often handmade, and typically not satin-smooth like more modern types - although there are probably certain methods in producing exceptionally smooth paper in the past. If you go about asking for the most ideal paper to use, many people will often suggest that you use Rhodia or Clairefontaine. Personally, I don't like using these papers because they don't have "feel" when you write; they are far too smooth for my likes. Though it may be debatable if your hairlines suffer or not. People often suggest these papers because they are ridiculously smooth and ergo suitable for beginners that have a very heavy hand - I really dislike smooth papers when I am penning, mainly because my hand is very light <4 g of pressure/weight on the nib.

If you do a quick browse over at IAMPETH's artistic galleries, you will most likely find that paper was often speckled and had significantly larger grain. Especially so with the watermarked "Zanerian" papers. I most certainly agree that speckled paper is the way to go because it gives feel to the nib, and also it decreases the surface contact with the nib thus allowing you to generate better hairlines, ceteris paribus with regards to ink and nib.

Here's a sample of the late Lupfer's work http://www.iampeth.com/sites/iampeth.com/files/artwork/Lupfer01.jpg

In modern times, good paper has been increasingly annoying to find. For my current work, I use Strathmore's Writing 25% cotton bright white/natural white, Wove finished. This will set you back about 5 cents a page, which is somewhat expensive, but it depends on how you economize your practice. Zaner et. al. have use cross-practicing strategies in which you practice your forms on one set of lines, then continue to perform the rest of your forms on a set of lines orthogonal to the original. Personally, I do this rather often. It is also worthy to note that like most papers, one side will have a different speckling/grain and/or feel to it. This means that one side of the paper will be smoother than the other. However, this does not affect ink absorption/flow significantly.

You can find that paper here. https://www.amazon.com/Strathmore-Writing-Stationery-90-bright-Watermarked/dp/B0007KNYEM

Incidentally, considering that you are a beginner, there are some really cool options that Strathmore has recently released. They have released a lined paper pad on the previously mentioned paper. Unfortunately, the price per sheet is significantly higher, upwards of 15 cents per page. And it's only lined on one side. I have all these materials, and use them all on a regular basis.

Here's the lined paper pad. https://www.amazon.com/Strathmore-Writing-Lined-Sheet-Natural/dp/B00XQ8O8UQ

Edited by Iso*

In Ornamental Writing, the beauty of light line and shade must be harmonious.

... The best ornamental penmen write each word one letter at a time, the best they can, the same as you do.

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    • A Smug Dill
      Even so, you'd end up with a fragmented list, and it becomes an O(N²) process for each prospective requestor to check what is available: effectively recreate the list of currently active servers (without any reliable up-to-date info upfront about the inks and number of samples on offer in the thread) from the sequential list of posts, which may be spread over two or even more pages, and then query each server independently to check what is currently on offer.   It comes down to not hav
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    • A Smug Dill
      I read your idea as getting willing givers to publicly register as members of a set of heterogenous servers, in a system in which a client would explicitly select an available server from a list, to which he/she will then send a request privately and asynchronously. Request handling in the system is unmanaged, and individual requests are handled by the targeted servers completely independently on each other. I think the model is fine, although there are some operational concerns you may want to
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