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My First Attempts At Copperplate



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Well, after some preparation and buying, now I'm really able to devote some time to calligraphy. Following txomsy's advice, I bought "Italic and Copperplate Calligraphy" by Eleanor Winters, which I received last week. I intend to practise both alphabets at the same time, though I've started with Copperplate, simply because it's the one that I had in mind first.

 

I'm using a practise notepad with guide lines for Copperplate, a Noodler's Ahab fountain pen (again, with a nod and a thank you to txomsy) with Pelikan 4001 blue black ink.

 

After practising the lower case letters for a couple of pages, I've writen the full ABC plus a short sample text there is in the book, plus some simple flourishes. I feel very clumsy, but I think the result's not bad, considering how little I've written so far.

 

Of course, I need lots of practise, even before moving on to the capital letters. But I'd like to hear from you what my most serious mistakes are, and what I need to pay more attention to. I find it especially difficult to draw the long descendent lines (like in b, l, d, g...) because, indefectibly, the nib either dries or railroads halfway, no matter how slowly I go (and, on top of that, of course, the slower I go, the wobblier the lines are).

 

Thanks a lot in advance!

 

Copperplate 0001.jpg

Edited by Cassotto

It isn't true that you live only once. You only die once. You live lots of times, if you know how. (Bobby Darin)

 

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go. (Oscar Wilde)

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Very nice sample! Although I use other exemplars, I return to Eleanor Winters again and again.

 

I think your pen is your biggest problem right now. If it is railroading and drying up in the middle of an ascender or descender stroke, you will not be able to develop a smooth rhythm in forming your letters. Also, it does not seem to be producing much line variation for you—the thicks and thins that are characteristic of copperplate letters. The letters in your sample look more or less like attractive monoline. Nothing wrong with that, but that doesn’t seem to be your goal.

 

A Noodler Ahab can be modified to produce acceptable copperplate script by replacing the standard nib with a Zebra G nib. It is easily done.

 

Another option would be a dip pen—either a straight or oblique pen holder with a few inexpensive flexible pointed nibs.

 

I think you will be amazed at how your copperplate will improve when you are working with a truly flexible nib. Good luck and enjoy your practice.

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Yo! What a wonderful script! Not that I am any calligrapher at all (what, with my clumsy writing and all) but to me it looks like you are doing amazingly well.

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IThinkIHaveAProblem

looks great, especially for a "first attempt"

 

:)

Just give me the Parker 51s and nobody needs to get hurt.

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Looks great!

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Looks wonderful.

 

Yo! What a wonderful script! Not that I am any calligrapher at all (what, with my clumsy writing and all) but to me it looks like you are doing amazingly well.

 

looks great, especially for a "first attempt"

 

:)

 

Looks great!

 

 

Thanks a lot! Yes, I'm proud of it because it's really the 3rd and 4th pages I write. The problem is I'm very good at making acceptable first attempts, but very bad at improving afterwards. That happens in general with whatever I do.

 

 

Very nice sample! Although I use other exemplars, I return to Eleanor Winters again and again.

 

I think your pen is your biggest problem right now. If it is railroading and drying up in the middle of an ascender or descender stroke, you will not be able to develop a smooth rhythm in forming your letters. Also, it does not seem to be producing much line variation for you—the thicks and thins that are characteristic of copperplate letters. The letters in your sample look more or less like attractive monoline. Nothing wrong with that, but that doesn’t seem to be your goal.

 

A Noodler Ahab can be modified to produce acceptable copperplate script by replacing the standard nib with a Zebra G nib. It is easily done.

 

Another option would be a dip pen—either a straight or oblique pen holder with a few inexpensive flexible pointed nibs.

 

I think you will be amazed at how your copperplate will improve when you are working with a truly flexible nib. Good luck and enjoy your practice.

 

Thanks a lot for the tips! I'll try to increase the contrast between thin and thick lines (though, to me, it looks more like a matter of making the thin ones thinner, rather than making the thick ones thicker). And, yes, I'll eventually buy dip pens and fully flexible nibs, though I'm wary of that move, as another thing I'm very good at is at having ink all over the place, and I'm afraid of having an open ink bottle on my desk which I must put the pen into all the time.

Edited by Cassotto

It isn't true that you live only once. You only die once. You live lots of times, if you know how. (Bobby Darin)

 

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go. (Oscar Wilde)

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Cassotto: Congratulations on your beautiful handwriting and your initiative! I don't write as well as you, so I am not in a position to give advice. But I am inspired by your efforts and wish to work more on calligraphy and have fewer pens :)

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Cassotto: Congratulations on your beautiful handwriting and your initiative! I don't write as well as you, so I am not in a position to give advice. But I am inspired by your efforts and wish to work more on calligraphy and have fewer pens :)

Thanks a lot! Apart for some "normal" pens for "normal" writing, having just one pen with a flex nib and one pen with an italic nib allows spending lots of hours of fun time practising Copperplate and Italic, which is exactly what I intend to do! From the very short time I've been doing it, I'd recommend calligraphy and good background music as the most relaxing of activities for this summer!

It isn't true that you live only once. You only die once. You live lots of times, if you know how. (Bobby Darin)

 

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go. (Oscar Wilde)

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I'll try to increase the contrast between thin and thick lines (though, to me, it looks more like a matter of making the thin ones thinner, rather than making the thick ones thicker

Perhaps a little of both perhaps? But you’ll soon find your own rhythm. Practicing copperplate is like meditation. When all is going well, you get into the “flow” of increasing and releasing pressure on the nib as you move your hand across the page. So many small adjustments to learn until they become instinctive, such as using the lightest of touch at the start of the descent from the tip of the miniscule “s” into the swell of the curve of the body of the letter. And the miniscule “x”...now, that’s a challenge that you seem to have already mastered.

 

Sheila Waters’ recommendation to write out prose passages (rather than just individual letters and words) is really helpful for improving spacing and rhythm. Made a big difference for me.

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Perhaps a little of both perhaps? (...)

 

Sheila Waters’ recommendation to write out prose passages (rather than just individual letters and words) is really helpful for improving spacing and rhythm. Made a big difference for me.

 

Great pieces of advice. I'll make sure to pay attention to them.

It isn't true that you live only once. You only die once. You live lots of times, if you know how. (Bobby Darin)

 

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go. (Oscar Wilde)

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That's a lovely idea. I can imagine doing it in a Swiss alpine hut, or by the lake on a picnic table, or just at home late in the evening... I recently started to appreciate more fine and flexible nibs from vintage pens. Enjoy your calligraphy!

... I'd recommend calligraphy and good background music as the most relaxing of activities for this summer!

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  • 7 months later...

Beautiful start into copperplate. 

It is nearly perfect start!! CONGRATS!! :) 

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