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New To The Ink Life, Need Some Advise To Get Off On The Right Strokes.


Tnpenman
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OK, I bought the old Speedball Caligraphy Collectors Set, and the Spencerian Penmanship Mott Media about a year ago maybe? And I set it aside after just a couple of uses. Now I am going to give it another go and I was wondering about a few things. The ink is dry, is there a way to fix this or should I just buy new ink and cleaner? It came with the really small bottles anyway.

 

I also read in another thread here where italic was recommended before moving on to Spencerian. I do not have any issues with this if it would be best. At this point handwriting skill is level ZERO. Can/Should I get a fountain pen to practice with? Or just stick with a dip pen?

 

Also is an oblique holder a must for Spencerian and other scripts? I have no problems with learning it. I was just wondering.

 

I am usually a pro lurker... but maybe this place will bring me more out of my shell.

 

Talk to you soon!

 

Michael

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I have found Old World Iron Gall to be excellent for use with pointed nibs. You can find that at John Neal Bookseller or Amazon. A regular fountain pen won't help you with calligraphy but practicing italic or Spencerian will help your handwriting which will make a fountain pen more enjoyable. Nobody on this forum will discourage you from buying a fountain pen, but if it's Spencerian you want to learn then let the dip pen be your constant companion and practice incessantly.

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I'm not sure why someone gave you the advice of trying italic before moving onto Spencerian, but that's not good advice. One is broad edge and the other is pointed pen so they're not transferable and it won't help because they need a totally different skillset.

 

Recommended ink is Higgins Eternal or if you have fountain pen ink with a large enough opening to dip the pen into, use that. The fountain pen ink, if you already have some, is less viscous but it's fine for just starting out and if you want to save the pennies.

 

The oblique holder is useful but not essential. It may be advantageous to go to IAMPETH and download some calligraphy guideline sheets, then print them off. You can find them here:

http://www.iampeth.com/collection/guide-sheets

The Copperplate sheets are just fine for Spencerian.

 

 

If you have the Speedball calligraphy set you don't need the fountain pen because the dip pen does the job so much better. Besides, it's difficult to find a decent enough flex pen anyway, and may end up being expensive.

Edited by Bluey
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The ink is dry, is there a way to fix this or should I just buy new ink and cleaner? It came with the really small bottles anyway.

Don't need any special cleaner afaik, nothing more esoteric than warm water & old toothbrush perhaps.

 

You can try reconstituting dried ink with water. I'd boil the kettle and use a glass eyedropper; or if ink jar is glass I've put them uncapped in the microwave to heat. Assuming you haven't used them much originally, try filling them halfway first.

 

I'd be more curious why they dried though. If caps work like they should, contents shouldn't dry out.

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Welcome to FPN, TNPenman. Two good names to know, for excellent, free instruction on video: Lloyd Reynolds on italic, available on the Reed College alumni channel on YouTube. Or Dr. Joseph Vitolo on copperplate, available as a free audio/visual book from www.iampeth.com. Take a look at which script you like best, choose one, and start watching videos and practicing. We'll be here to encourage you along the way.

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I have found Old World Iron Gall to be excellent for use with pointed nibs. You can find that at John Neal Bookseller or Amazon. A regular fountain pen won't help you with calligraphy but practicing italic or Spencerian will help your handwriting which will make a fountain pen more enjoyable. Nobody on this forum will discourage you from buying a fountain pen, but if it's Spencerian you want to learn then let the dip pen be your constant companion and practice incessantly.

 

OK thank you for the tips. I will check the ink out. I am also interested in the walnut ink since I will be doing lots of practice.

I'm not sure why someone gave you the advice of trying italic before moving onto Spencerian, but that's not good advice. One is broad edge and the other is pointed pen so they're not transferable and it won't help because they need a totally different skillset.

 

Recommended ink is Higgins Eternal or if you have fountain pen ink with a large enough opening to dip the pen into, use that. The fountain pen ink, if you already have some, is less viscous but it's fine for just starting out and if you want to save the pennies.

 

The oblique holder is useful but not essential. It may be advantageous to go to IAMPETH and download some calligraphy guideline sheets, then print them off. You can find them here:

http://www.iampeth.com/collection/guide-sheets

The Copperplate sheets are just fine for Spencerian.

 

 

If you have the Speedball calligraphy set you don't need the fountain pen because the dip pen does the job so much better. Besides, it's difficult to find a decent enough flex pen anyway, and may end up being expensive.

Maybe I read the information about starting with italic wrong. Maybe it was someone that wanted to learn a style that used a broad edge nib. And I am happy to see I don't need to buy another pen or anything at the moment. I will use you all's advice and just use my dip pens.

 

Don't need any special cleaner afaik, nothing more esoteric than warm water & old toothbrush perhaps.

 

You can try reconstituting dried ink with water. I'd boil the kettle and use a glass eyedropper; or if ink jar is glass I've put them uncapped in the microwave to heat. Assuming you haven't used them much originally, try filling them halfway first.

 

I'd be more curious why they dried though. If caps work like they should, contents shouldn't dry out

I will try to add water to the dried bottles tonight. I also would like to know why they are dry. I only used them a couple of times and then put them in a drawer. When I took them out I noticed they were dry. Best I can tell they were closed tight.

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Welcome to FPN, TNPenman. Two good names to know, for excellent, free instruction on video: Lloyd Reynolds on italic, available on the Reed College alumni channel on YouTube. Or Dr. Joseph Vitolo on copperplate, available as a free audio/visual book from www.iampeth.com. Take a look at which script you like best, choose one, and start watching videos and practicing. We'll be here to encourage you along the way.

Thank you Bobje, I have watched some of Dr. Vitolo's videos recently. I will mark the other ones that you mentioned as well.

 

I am ALSO interested in learning some of the other styles like Blackletter. But I know this is not a good idea to mix and match as I go. Is there one I should start with before the other? Or just pick one and go?

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It is not considered a good idea to learn Spencerian and Copperplate at the same time to reduce the chances elements of one style creeping over to the other. The same goes for learning two broad edged styles at the same time e.g. Italic and Blackletter. This is not to say it can't be done - just that you will make things harder for yourself if you try it this way :-)

 

My advice would be to pick one style (called a 'hand') you like and just stick with it until you achieve a decent level. You can always switch to a different hand if it turns out you didn't like the one you chose after all :-)

 

An oblique holder helps a lot for writing Spencerian but is not a necessity. An oblique holder places the nib at an angle so the tines flex evenly on the downstroke as well as lowering the nib-to-paper angle so the nib doesn't catch as much on the upstroke.

 

As far as difficulty goes, I would say Spencerian is at the high end of the spectrum. You will find excellent instructions at IAMPETH.com along with the materials you have already acquired.

 

Blackletter is actually a collection of several different hands. I think The Textura Quadrata variety is the easiest to learn as it doesn't invoice much nib manipulation and is made up of only a few basic strokes. See here: Gothic Alphabet - step by step

 

- Salman

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So which nib is best for my practice.

 

http://imgur.com/pUj20j1

 

Middle is a Hunt 513

Right is a Hunt 101

 

I was using the 513, but figured I'd try the 101 last time. The 101 seemed thick. Or at least dropped more ink. Maybe I need to have a lighter touch?

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I recommend the Hunt 101 for use in my workshops. It is sharp and quite flexible which means one needs to develop a light touch for the up-stroke and control of the shade on the down-stroke early on. It is capable of producing very good results.

 

Your nib most likely needs cleaning if it is dumping too much ink. Nibs come with a protective coating along with some oils from the production process on them. There are a number of methods for preparing a nib but my favourite is to wash it with toothpaste (the white kind works best for me). Be careful not to touch the tip once it is cleaned as the oils from our fingers can cause problems with ink flow as well. An occasional wipe with Windex works well after the original cleaning. I keep a little bit in a bottle next to my inks.

 

- Salman

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It's worth noting that a dash of toothpaste and an old toothbrush are great for cleaning nibs.

 

I've no experience of Hunts except Hunt 22B because they're a lot more expensive than other brands (maybe because they're American). These days I use Gillott and Brause but I started with William Mitchell(not my taste).

If you want to try other nibs, Hunt 22 is very good for a beginner as is a Brause 361.

Edited by Bluey
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I recommend the Hunt 101 for use in my workshops. It is sharp and quite flexible which means one needs to develop a light touch for the up-stroke and control of the shade on the down-stroke early on. It is capable of producing very good results.

 

Your nib most likely needs cleaning if it is dumping too much ink. Nibs come with a protective coating along with some oils from the production process on them. There are a number of methods for preparing a nib but my favourite is to wash it with toothpaste (the white kind works best for me). Be careful not to touch the tip once it is cleaned as the oils from our fingers can cause problems with ink flow as well. An occasional wipe with Windex works well after the original cleaning. I keep a little bit in a bottle next to my inks.

 

- Salman

 

OK thanks. I will keep using the 101. Also I will make sure the nib is cleaned.... I thought I had done this already, but maybe I only cleaned the 513 since that was the first nib I used when I got the kit.

 

It's worth noting that a dash of toothpaste and an old toothbrush are great for cleaning nibs.

 

I've no experience of Hunts except Hunt 22B because they're a lot more expensive than other brands (maybe because they're American). These days I use Gillott and Brause but I started with William Mitchell(not my taste).

If you want to try other nibs, Hunt 22 is very good for a beginner as is a Brause 361.

 

Thanks Bluey, I'll keep those nibs in mind too. And I WILL use the toothpaste method to make sure my nibs are cleaned.

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I love the Hunt 101 for its flex but not for it's ability to catch on paper so easily. If you're ever looking for a new nib, the blue pumpkin is the way to go! Also, I second the toothpaste for cleaning. Usually I just scrub the nib with dry toothpaste using a soft toothbrush then wash it all off. Works even for week old dried in sumi ink!

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