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Best Palmer Method Workbook?



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theodore94

I'm interested in improving my handwriting. I *think* that the Palmer Method is best for me. I'm a student, so I think something fast like Palmer Method is better than Spencerian. Is there a workbook that others might recommend? I'll be buying online (because of the pandemic), so I don't really have the chance to flip through pages. 

 

In case it's helpful, I'm a 26yo who hasn't used cursive writing or really thought about handwriting since 3rd grade (~9yo). My handwriting is mostly legible but inconsistent. 

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arcfide

What sort of writing conditions are you going to be in? If you want Palmer method that is most adapted to modern life, but is still consistent with the traditional letter forms, then Sull's "The Art of Cursive Penmanship" is excellent, and provides all of the appropriate mechanics for modern Palmer in a way that works for most modern writing conditions. 

 

If, however, you are able to get a little more control over your writing conditions, such that you can optimize a bit more for the traditional clerk's forms, and you're willing to put in the time to practice, then you can pull out the original Zaner-Bloser or Palmer Method books that are available through IAMPETH. These will focus very strongly on the arm movement, which only works if you can anchor your arm appropriately on a desk, but if you get that luxury, then you can do a very high amount of writing with very little fatigue and it will be pretty fast. To get that fast, though, and stay legible, you will need to put in quite a bit more practice than what most people are willing to put into handwriting these days. 

 

If you're just looking for fast writing systems and are not as worried about the forms and structure of that writing, then I can highly recommend two/three modern curricula as both having very fast styles: New American Cursive's Teach Yourself Cursive, Briem's Handwriting Repair, and Getty-Dubay's Write Now. I believe NAC to be probably the fastest of the ones I've tried and learned to a high degree, but also the least "beautiful". Italic (Briem and Getty-Dubay) strikes a good balance between beauty, ease of learning, and speed, while Sull and Palmer deliver high beauty, good speed, but require much more practice to stay "excellent". I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them, provided that you practice. 

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theodore94

Thanks @arcfide! This is great advice!

 

I probably can't control my writing conditions too much. A lot of times, I'm going to be in classrooms and lecture halls, and I'll have to just use whatever I've got.

 

Speed is pretty important as a student, and I'd be fooling myself if I said that I'll be able/willing to put hours and hours of rigorous practice into handwriting. My goal is to develop nice handwriting so that I can write a legible and aesthetically pleasing "Thank You" note or postcard, not necessarily to have the absolutely most beautiful handwriting -- basically, I want "he has nice handwriting!" as opposed to "we should frame his handwriting and put it up on the wall". (= 

 

So, all that considered, I think I'll try Briem and/or Getty Dubay. I see the Getty-Dubay on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Write-Getty-Dubay-Program-Handwriting-Success/dp/0982776225/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Getty-Dubay's+Write+Now&qid=1617306688&sr=8-1)... is there a workbook for Briem? I'd like a workbook because I've never found printer paper to be fun to write on with a fountain pen at all.

 

Extra question: does the Briem/Getty-Dubay italic method require a special kind of nib? Round, stub, flex, wet noodle? If so, any recommendations for an inexpensive starter pen? (I have a small collection of pens, but they're basically all round nibs... I only have one stub and one modest flex).

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arcfide

Briem's book is here: Gunnlaugur SE Briem - Handwriting Repair (google.com)

 

None of the curricula mentioned requires anything more than a round pen tip, though if you want to experience the historical reasons for certain letter forms in Palmer or Italic then it helps to have a fine pointed pen for Palmer and a stub/italic nib for Italic forms (Briem or Getty-Dubay). However, all of the modern books will work just fine with any of your round point nibs. 

 

I would also recommend that you read Operina if you are going the Italic route: Gunnlaugur SE Briem - Arrighi's Operina (google.com) . This is the original handwriting manual, and covers the basic of the Chancery hand that serves as the inspiration for all of the Italic forms today. It is a good way to gain a sense of the form and aesthetics that drives those letterforms. 

 

To go along with those books, I'd highly recommend that you watch the Reynold's lectures on Italic handwriting that you can find on YouTube. 

 

Briem doesn't have a workbook, but it does have software that comes with a font that will let you produce your own workbooks. If you pick up some decent Southworth cotton paper or Strathmore Writing paper (available in reams) and print on that, you'll have a good writing surface, or you could pick up some Japanese loose-leaf sheets and print on those, such as Kokuyo or Apica paper, and those would be smooth papers that would be good for practice. You could also tear off Rhodia sheets and feed those through a printer as well if you wanted. 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
Kamuela

Great suggestions already.

Not "Palmer", but consider "Sull's", American Cursive which comes in a thick looseleaf stack that you put in your own binder. There are lot's of worksheets. Suggest making additional copies so you don't run out of the one's you use most.

I spent 1 year, every day, working diligently with these worksheets until my writing, "Palmer Business Script" (old), improved in clarity and consistency.

Here is a link to "Sulls", American Cursive course/folder on Amazon.com.

Amazon com Link To Course Book

About $33

 

j

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Sinistral1

I began to re-learn my cursive handwriting with the workbook "Cursive Logic".  With the information in this thread I just ordered on Amazon "The Art of Cursive Penmanship - A Personal Handwriting Program for Adults" by Michael Sull.  My goal is to eventually use my vintage flexible nibbed Watermans to write italic with expression.  Thanks for all the good suggestions for books and workbooks to support my goal.

Breathe. Take one step at a time. Don't sweat the small stuff. You're not getting older, you are only moving through time. Be calm and positive.

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Mysterious Mose
2 hours ago, Sinistral1 said:

I began to re-learn my cursive handwriting with the workbook "Cursive Logic".  With the information in this thread I just ordered on Amazon "The Art of Cursive Penmanship - A Personal Handwriting Program for Adults" by Michael Sull.  My goal is to eventually use my vintage flexible nibbed Watermans to write italic with expression.  Thanks for all the good suggestions for books and workbooks to support my goal.

You want Sull's "American Cursive Handwriting," Student edition.    It's available at Amazon and John Neal, or you can order it directly from the author.  That's the workbook that has loose leaf pages.  As I recall, "The Art of Cursive Penmanship" is spiral bound.  I bought the latter and exchanged it for the former.  I found ACH easier to work with because of its loose leaf format.  Otherwise, the two books are pretty much the same.

 

I've also been using "The Palmer Method of Business Writing" by Austin Palmer.  It's not as structured or complete as ACH.  You have to figure out what practice sheets to use.  Sull includes the practice sheets which you have to copy yourself.

 

I started following lessons around December, 2020.  I'm about halfway through each book.  I do two lessons a day, which takes about an hour.

 

It's important to settle on a style of writing you are interested in.  Italic is not cursive.  You really need an italic nib for italic writing. Spencer and Copperplate have too many flourishes and line variations for my taste.  Palmer and Sull have a 52 degree slant.

 

A plug for Sull's book: you can call the guy up and discuss things with him!  He helped me select a workbook and answered questions about which practice sheet to use for copying text.  He even analyzed my handwriting, before I embarked on these lessons.

 

Happy writing!

 

 

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude

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Sinistral1

Dan:

 

Thank you for your advice.  The book I just bought also comes in loose leaf format, so I'm good there.  I am aware that cursive and italic are different hands, but it is my eventual goal to learn both of them, cursive first.  I would be interested in seeing an example of your work.  Attached is an example of mine.

 

Nyleen

233A4237-B514-45BF-8BC1-9BFCDF1826B1.jpeg

Breathe. Take one step at a time. Don't sweat the small stuff. You're not getting older, you are only moving through time. Be calm and positive.

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Mysterious Mose
On 6/26/2021 at 9:02 PM, Sinistral1 said:

Dan:

 

Thank you for your advice.  The book I just bought also comes in loose leaf format, so I'm good there.  I am aware that cursive and italic are different hands, but it is my eventual goal to learn both of them, cursive first.  I would be interested in seeing an example of your work.  Attached is an example of mine.

I strongly suggest that you use an F or EF nib for this work.  Using any wider nib risks closing letters such as e or a.  Of my 8 pens, I found 3 suitable for this work.  They are Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris and Waterman Phileas.

 

As Sinistra1 requested, I have attached examples of my work.  These are from lessons 60 and 61 in American Cursive 

Handwriting by Michael Sull.  Note that if I found an error in how I wrote a word, I redid it, but didn't cross out the erroneous word.

 

These lessons, just as lessons 14 - 72, have three parts.  First is a warm-up exercise.  I didn't include that part.  Second is a Copybook Practice Sheet.  The black writing is what was supplied with the workbook.  Blue is my attempt to copy it.  The third part is copying text, from literature or poetry.  The instructions call for using Practice Sheet, Set 1, which has x-height of 1/8".  However, in our telephone conversation, Michael Sull suggested using practice sheets which have x-height of 1/16", or practice sheets having only guide lines and slant lines, of a size that I am comfortable with.  He suggested 1/2", but I found 3/8" more to my liking.  The second example page is 3/8" and the third example page has x-height of 1/16".

 

I am still struggling to keep the back of the pen facing my right shoulder.  It is difficult to overcome a lifetime of bad habits!

 

Handwriting.DSC_7641_5.thumb.jpg.6a2030c166b3ab8c3e050e431f34f37c.jpgDSC_7642_3.thumb.jpg.bbe752b65022ffbe46b6f6cbd0ac33cf.jpgDSC_7643.thumb.jpg.990db434cd4fa86ebcdd7da833738bbc.jpg

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude

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Sinistral1

Thanks, Dan, for showing your cursive lesson sheets!  They are much more detailed than my “Cursive Logic” ones (see below).  I am looking forward to receiving my new workbook by Mr. Sull.  For my lessons I am using a Montblanc Meisterstuck 146 with a fine nib.  My slants and spacing need the most practice!

9AAC8810-80F5-409F-B8E1-EA72F24E72B7.jpeg

Breathe. Take one step at a time. Don't sweat the small stuff. You're not getting older, you are only moving through time. Be calm and positive.

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arcfide

If you want to establish a highly traditional, elegant American Cursive hand, then Sull's work will be excellent, in either form. I actually prefer his Art of Cursive Penmanship, but as you see above, others prefer the his other book.

 

Cursive Logic is an okay textbook, but for someone dedicated to the craft, it's somewhat rudimentary and unrefined. It, like New American Cursive's Teach Yourself Cursive or Getty-Dubay's Write Now, are all targeted at getting a fast and legible handwriting in the cursive style (American Cursive and Joined Italic are both cursive forms) with minimum effort, but in doing so, they intentionally eliminate or reduce certain subtleties that Sull retains in his books that are responsible for the more traditional American sense of spacing and proportion that lends that extra elegance to one's letters. 

 

The older textbooks such as Palmer or Spencer's textbooks are very good, but are also for those who are familiar with or able to learn how to develop your own deliberate practice regimes. The Spencerian Workbooks and the Palmer books are both highly regimented in that they provide a clear progression of practice (through copybooks for Spencerian and through a progressive set of drills for Palmer), but actually *following* those programs requires that you are willing to be highly introspective and self-correcting, as well as disciplined enough to follow through on practicing the indicated amounts for each style. Neither is a "quick fix" sort of education. 

 

Italic is an excellent style, and when you use Briem's method, IMO, just as easy or easier to learn well as New American Cursive or Cursive Logic. However, the benefit of Italic is that it is highly scalable, meaning that it's easy to alter your penmanship to scale to a wide range of forms, including broad edged penmanship for calligraphy, or printed forms for various needs, to condensed spacing, and so forth. IMO, with American Cursive styles, this is much harder to do as easily, and learning to use a flexible nib well is very challenging compared to the same level of skill with a broad edge pen, though neither is "trivial." American Cursive is a fairly optimized form for the types of writing implements in which it developed. I am not convinced that it is any faster today than Italic with modern writing implements, but it *is* faster if you compare the traditional implements. 

 

The most important thing in any of these forms is understanding the movement pattern that drives the letter formations, which is different between Cursive Logic and Italic and Sull's and Spencer and Palmer. Understanding and focusing on the right movement pattern is what gives you the right sort of letters without strain. Otherwise you will have a tendency to "draw" rather than write the letters. 

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Sinistral1

Arcfide:

 

Thank you for your advice, it explains a lot about the differences between the plethora of handwriting books and workbooks, not to mention all the hands to choose from to learn.

 

 I am a left handed underwriter who was never taught how to write cursive in school because of being the only lefty in my 2nd grade class.  I used the Cursive Logic book as a primer and now am ready to continue with the Sull workbook.  This thread has been a real help to me.

Breathe. Take one step at a time. Don't sweat the small stuff. You're not getting older, you are only moving through time. Be calm and positive.

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