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Tips for Writing Styles?



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RudeBoyEEEE

I'm currently trying to get better at writing with fountain pens in my traveler's journal, but I can't seem to make the results look very appealing. I looked up the style of Modern Italic just recently, and started practicing that. However, part of me wonders if I should just try to establish my own style of writing for my own usage. I'm not trying to put out any groundbreaking new way of writing, I just want to find my own way to make my writing look good. Have any of you done something like that? If so, any tips? If not, how do you write instead? I'm still starting out with this, so my apologies if I need things spelled out for me. Thanks guys!

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Mysterious Mose
33 minutes ago, RudeBoyEEEE said:

I'm currently trying to get better at writing with fountain pens in my traveler's journal, but I can't seem to make the results look very appealing. I looked up the style of Modern Italic just recently, and started practicing that. However, part of me wonders if I should just try to establish my own style of writing for my own usage. I'm not trying to put out any groundbreaking new way of writing, I just want to find my own way to make my writing look good. Have any of you done something like that? If so, any tips? If not, how do you write instead? I'm still starting out with this, so my apologies if I need things spelled out for me. Thanks guys!

You'll be fine with any book that teaches handwriting.  It will teach you many essentials -- posture, pacing, how to hold the pen, leaving letters such as a, o, e open, spacing of letters, and stuff like that.

 

I say this because I've been studying with Michael Sull's American Cursive.  As I go writing through the lessons, I try to pay attention to lots of these things.  I'm up to lesson 110 and still have to consciously pay attention to holding the pen and my hand the right way.  My writing with regular script - a different style, has vastly improved.

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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You may want to look at the Forum called Paper and Pen Accessories here, then find the Subforum Handwriting and Handwriting Improvement there.  There will be many threads there that you may find useful.  It would probably be a good idea to re-post your request in that forum, and I would urge you to include a photograph of a few lines of your usual writing for members to see, which will lead to more cogent comments.  Improvement is a journey, usually made in increments, so think about what your basic goals are for your hand.  Sometimes small things, like working on spacing of letters, can make significant improvements in one’s hand.  Good luck.

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RudeBoyEEEE
19 minutes ago, Mysterious Mose said:

You'll be fine with any book that teaches handwriting.  It will teach you many essentials -- posture, pacing, how to hold the pen, leaving letters such as a, o, e open, spacing of letters, and stuff like that.

 

I say this because I've been studying with Michael Sull's American Cursive.  As I go writing through the lessons, I try to pay attention to lots of these things.  I'm up to lesson 110 and still have to consciously pay attention to holding the pen and my hand the right way.  My writing with regular script - a different style, has vastly improved.

 

19 minutes ago, Carrau said:

You may want to look at the Forum called Paper and Pen Accessories here, then find the Subforum Handwriting and Handwriting Improvement there.  There will be many threads there that you may find useful.  It would probably be a good idea to re-post your request in that forum, and I would urge you to include a photograph of a few lines of your usual writing for members to see, which will lead to more cogent comments.  Improvement is a journey, usually made in increments, so think about what your basic goals are for your hand.  Sometimes small things, like working on spacing of letters, can make significant improvements in one’s hand.  Good luck.

 

Thank you both very much! Just took a quick look, and this one set of books on Spencerian Penmanship seems to be a good start. However, I do want to try working on my print handwriting as well as my cursive. Before I repost this in that forum, I would like to ask if there is a specific way to do so? A specific style to study?

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A Smug Dill

Welcome to FPN.

 

1 hour ago, RudeBoyEEEE said:

I can't seem to make the results look very appealing …‹snip›… I just want to find my own way to make my writing look good.

 

Wouldn't you first have to identify and understand how you personally judge aesthetic appeal in handwriting, then? If you don't want to adopt with a particular established script, hand and/or style of handwriting for your own purposes, then the obvious approach would be to survey and review many examples of established styles, and distil out of them the specific characteristics you find appealing and articulate them (even if just to yourself), then either construct a new system that ticks as many of those boxes as possible, or adapt your current way of writing step-wise to include those characteristics through practice.

 

1 hour ago, RudeBoyEEEE said:

If so, any tips? If not, how do you write instead?

 

I use three distinctly styles. The first — but the least used these days — is the style I've written with most of my adult life (with some evolution along the way), effectively ‘printed’ letters that are joined in probably unorthodox ways that simply proved to work for me. It's what I default to when I need to write (quickly or mindlessly) without paying conscious attention to the movement of my hand or the form of the ink marks (i.e. letters) on the page. The shapes of some of the strokes are influenced by strokes in the Chinese kaishu script; and there's a certain graffiti vibe to it, which is enhanced by the use of a Stub nib, as it results in marks made with rectangular-tipped or chisel-tipped permanent markers. It's no calligraphy or work of art, but as long as I'm not in too much of a rush to write along relatively straight lines and with consistent spacing (between letters, between words, and between lines of writing), I think it looks OK.

 

The second is right-leaning cursive, using what I was taught at school as a base, and gradually modified by little pieces I've either seen elsewhere and/or chanced upon when I made those marks unintentionally (and decided they were improvements to how I usually write those letters). For example, I was taught to use short and straight cross-strokes for my minuscule ‘t’, but over the past two years I've adopted swishy cross-strokes and they've become increasingly long, looking more like embellishment.

 

The third is just formal italic but reduced by personal laziness, and so continuous lines of ink (e.g. in the minuscule ‘s’) are drawn with single pen strokes from start to finish, instead of drawing joined segments the proper way with left-to-right, top-to-bottom strokes.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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RudeBoyEEEE
2 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

Welcome to FPN.

 

 

Wouldn't you first have to identify and understand how you personally judge aesthetic appeal in handwriting, then? If you don't want to adopt with a particular established script, hand and/or style of handwriting for your own purposes, then the obvious approach would be to survey and review many examples of established styles, and distil out of them the specific characteristics you find appealing and articulate them (even if just to yourself), then either construct a new system that ticks as many of those boxes as possible, or adapt your current way of writing step-wise to include those characteristics through practice.

 

 

I use three distinctly styles. The first — but the least used these days — is the style I've written with most of my adult life (with some evolution along the way), effectively ‘printed’ letters that are joined in probably unorthodox ways that simply proved to work for me. It's what I default to when I need to write (quickly or mindlessly) without paying conscious attention to the movement of my hand or the form of the ink marks (i.e. letters) on the page. The shape of some of the strokes are influenced by strokes in the Chinese kaishu script; and there's a certain graffiti vibe to it, which is enhanced by the use of a Stub nib, as it results in marks made with rectangular-tipped or chisel-tipped permanent markers. It's no calligraphy or work of art, but as long as I'm not in too much of a rush to write along relatively straight lines and with consistent spacing (between letters, between words, and between lines of writing), I think it looks OK.

 

The second is right-leaning cursive, using what I was taught at school as a base, and gradually modified by little pieces I've either seen elsewhere and/or chanced upon when I made those marks unintentionally (and decided they were improvements to how I usually write those letters). For example, I was taught to use short and straight cross-strokes for my minuscule ‘t’, but over the past two years I've adopted swishy cross-strokes and they become increasingly long, looking more like embellishment.

 

The third is just formal italic but reduced by personal laziness, and so continuous lines of ink (e.g. in the minuscule ‘s’) are drawn with single pen strokes from start to finish, instead of drawing joined segments the proper way with left-to-right, top-to-bottom strokes.

 

Yikes, I suppose it would be much more complicated than I initially thought! But hey, I'm here to learn, after all. I like what you said about your own ways of writing. Finding a style (or several styles) and adapting them to fit my own way would probably be the best route to take. I'll definitely look around at more styles and think about it. Thank you for your reply!

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A Smug Dill
24 minutes ago, RudeBoyEEEE said:

However, I do want to try working on my print handwriting as well as my cursive.

 

Consult one of any number of books that provide an overview of many different styles; for example, The Calligrapher's Bible: 100 complete alphabets and how to draw them by David Harris.

 

Italic and Copperplate Calligraphy: The basics and beyond by Eleanor Winters is also a very good book, and get deeper into technique for two distinctly different general styles of lettering. Copperplate is visually cursive, but adjoining letters are not in fact produced with continuous pen strokes, so essentially it would be what you probably categorise as ‘print’ handwriting with each letter being drawn separately. Fairly late in the book, in Chapter 11, the author talks about calligraphic handwriting,

The letterforms of Italic and Copperplate can be used to develop a personal calligraphic handwriting. In the past, penmanship instruction was based on both of these alphabets.

…‹snip›…

To turn our formal calligraphy into a less formal script, we use simplified forms of the letters which can be joined to make words. The number of pen lifts is reduced so that writing can be, to some extent, continuous.

and then describes a complete approach to that in detail.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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RudeBoyEEEE
1 minute ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

Consult one of any number of books that provide an overview of many different styles; for example, The Calligrapher's Bible: 100 complete alphabets and how to draw them by David Harris.

 

Italic and Copperplate Calligraphy: The basics and beyond by Eleanor Winters is also a very good book, and get deeper into technique for two distinctly different general styles of lettering. Copperplate is visually cursive, but adjoining letters are not in fact produced with continuous pen strokes, so essentially it would be what you probably categorise as ‘print’ handwriting with each letter being drawn separately. Fairly late in the book, in Chapter 11, the author talks about calligraphic handwriting,

The letterforms of Italic and Copperplate can be used to develop a personal calligraphic handwriting. In the past, penmanship instruction was based on both of these alphabets.

…‹snip›…

To turn our formal calligraphy into a less formal script, we use simplified forms of the letters which can be joined to make words. The number of pen lifts is reduced so that writing can be, to some extent, continuous.

and then describes a complete approach to that in detail.

 

Interesting. I'll check that out for sure. Plus, after looking through the forums, I found Improve Your Handwriting (Teach Yourself) by Rosemary Sassoon. It apparently helps you to work on your current handwriting, rather than study a whole new one. I decided to go with this for the moment, and then start other styles later on down the line. But that book you mentioned sounds very interesting! I'll have to get a copy sometime soon.

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Basic tips for learning better penmanship. None of this is novel, just basically what you'll learn from any penmanship book.

 

Compile an "exemplar" or collection of letter shapes you want to be the standard. Draw them yourself, if they're non-standard. 

 

Then practice writing. First the individual letters. Then when you feel more comfortable with letters, and your consistency is pretty good, then start with words. Combine letters in different ways. 

 

When practicing, write a bit, then stop and compare against what the letters or words should look like. 

 

Consistency, spacing and completeness (not leaving off parts of letters) are key for legibility. Get these three right through focused practice and review, and you should have a very nice "hand" regardless of the "style." 

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

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RudeBoyEEEE
4 hours ago, AAAndrew said:

Basic tips for learning better penmanship. None of this is novel, just basically what you'll learn from any penmanship book.

 

Compile an "exemplar" or collection of letter shapes you want to be the standard. Draw them yourself, if they're non-standard. 

 

Then practice writing. First the individual letters. Then when you feel more comfortable with letters, and your consistency is pretty good, then start with words. Combine letters in different ways. 

 

When practicing, write a bit, then stop and compare against what the letters or words should look like. 

 

Consistency, spacing and completeness (not leaving off parts of letters) are key for legibility. Get these three right through focused practice and review, and you should have a very nice "hand" regardless of the "style." 

 

I like this advice! I'll totally get to that once I have some of the simpler exercises down. I think this book by Sassoon and Se Briem will help me out a lot, too.

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JulieParadise

If the overall shape of your letters are nice enough for your liking and you just want to spice it up a little without learning a completely new style, try slanting your letters (consistence is key here to make it look good!) or play a bit with the heights.

 

Sometimes the same shapes/letterforms you have always used look a lot more interesting if you just elongate the tails downwards or the upper length parts upwards plus/or reduce the x-height for small letters like a, c, e, i, m, n, ... 

 

For this you might employ the help of guidelines: Take a lined page (or draw lines on a blank page with the desired line spacing) and add a line for the desired x-height as well as some lines to remind you of the desired slant. It might then look like this:

 

 

2017-09-08 unterlegblatt guiding sheet.jpg

 

PS: These sheets are meant to be placed underneath your writing paper, so preparing the guide sheets once is just a small effort but will serve you a long time. 

PPS: Play around with different combinations of slants, x-heights, width of letters, upward-/downward flourishes and be surprised how malleable even normal writing can be.

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RudeBoyEEEE
13 hours ago, JulieParadise said:

If the overall shape of your letters are nice enough for your liking and you just want to spice it up a little without learning a completely new style, try slanting your letters (consistence is key here to make it look good!) or play a bit with the heights.

 

Sometimes the same shapes/letterforms you have always used look a lot more interesting if you just elongate the tails downwards or the upper length parts upwards plus/or reduce the x-height for small letters like a, c, e, i, m, n, ... 

 

For this you might employ the help of guidelines: Take a lined page (or draw lines on a blank page with the desired line spacing) and add a line for the desired x-height as well as some lines to remind you of the desired slant. It might then look like this:

 

 

2017-09-08 unterlegblatt guiding sheet.jpg

 

PS: These sheets are meant to be placed underneath your writing paper, so preparing the guide sheets once is just a small effort but will serve you a long time. 

PPS: Play around with different combinations of slants, x-heights, width of letters, upward-/downward flourishes and be surprised how malleable even normal writing can be.

 

Very interesting! I'll totally give this a shot. Thank you!

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RudeBoyEEEE
9 hours ago, linneasandel said:

If you wants to improve your writing style then try to use custom ballpoint pen which has a great quality nib and ink to provide you smooth handwriting. Many people prefer to use these pens due to its quality ink and cost-effectiveness. 

 

Truthfully, I like using the fountain pens I have a lot better than ballpoint. If I want to write nicely, I'm definitely using them. But what do you mean by a custom ballpoint pen?

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halffriedchicken
On 9/16/2021 at 2:06 AM, JulieParadise said:

If the overall shape of your letters are nice enough for your liking and you just want to spice it up a little without learning a completely new style, try slanting your letters (consistence is key here to make it look good!) or play a bit with the heights.

 

Sometimes the same shapes/letterforms you have always used look a lot more interesting if you just elongate the tails downwards or the upper length parts upwards plus/or reduce the x-height for small letters like a, c, e, i, m, n, ... 

 

For this you might employ the help of guidelines: Take a lined page (or draw lines on a blank page with the desired line spacing) and add a line for the desired x-height as well as some lines to remind you of the desired slant. It might then look like this:

 

 

2017-09-08 unterlegblatt guiding sheet.jpg

 

PS: These sheets are meant to be placed underneath your writing paper, so preparing the guide sheets once is just a small effort but will serve you a long time. 

PPS: Play around with different combinations of slants, x-heights, width of letters, upward-/downward flourishes and be surprised how malleable even normal writing can be.

This is such a helpful post. I would also try to adjust the spaces between letters and words. I watched a calligraphy series on YouTube by Lloyd Reynolds and he talks about designing the letters. He suggests that the space around the letters is also important to consider when writing. 

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Probably need to take a step even further back and stop trying to improve writing in such a cramped space as a traveler's notebook.  An nice big sheet of A4 would be better for practice. :)

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19 hours ago, linneasandel said:

If you wants to improve your writing style then try to use custom ballpoint pen which has a great quality nib and ink to provide you smooth handwriting. Many people prefer to use these pens due to its quality ink and cost-effectiveness. 


On the contrary, although my handwriting is no model, I find that I can achieve best results with a fountain pen that writes wet and moves smoothly over the paper without needing any effort from me. Ball point pens require downward pressure and stiffen the hand, adding unwanted tension, whereas one‘s hand and arm need to be free and relaxed to guide the pen horizontally.

 

I also advise practising on expensive paper that encourages the pen to glide. A book is a good idea, as you can compare progress easily. You will take more care to achieve a beautiful result when you are inspired to attempt to complement the beauty of the paper!

 

Alternatively, a very soft pencil (5B?) requires less pressure.

 

Just write a page a day, but do it with care. This is an exercise akin to making every effort to drive without touching the brakes!

 

David

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RudeBoyEEEE
7 hours ago, halffriedchicken said:

This is such a helpful post. I would also try to adjust the spaces between letters and words. I watched a calligraphy series on YouTube by Lloyd Reynolds and he talks about designing the letters. He suggests that the space around the letters is also important to consider when writing. 

I know, right? JulieParadise knows what she's doing! I've been trying to slant my letters more since I saw this, but I really should take the advice all the way and spice up my writing a bit more. As for spacing, I've noticed that more often recently, and try to have an appropriate spacing between letters now. It's just something I have to keep in mind, y'know?

 

5 hours ago, Aether said:

Probably need to take a step even further back and stop trying to improve writing in such a cramped space as a traveler's notebook.  An nice big sheet of A4 would be better for practice. :)

You make a good point, as writing in this traveler's notebook does get difficult at times. I also have some Rhodia notepads, 6 x 8 1/4 size, but I mainly use them for small notes or scribbling to warm up.

 

5 hours ago, david-p said:


On the contrary, although my handwriting is no model, I find that I can achieve best results with a fountain pen that writes wet and moves smoothly over the paper without needing any effort from me. Ball point pens require downward pressure and stiffen the hand, adding unwanted tension, whereas one‘s hand and arm need to be free and relaxed to guide the pen horizontally.

 

I also advise practising on expensive paper that encourages the pen to glide. A book is a good idea, as you can compare progress easily. You will take more care to achieve a beautiful result when you are inspired to attempt to complement the beauty of the paper!

 

Alternatively, a very soft pencil (5B?) requires less pressure.

 

Just write a page a day, but do it with care. This is an exercise akin to making every effort to drive without touching the brakes!

 

David

Truthfully, I only recently changed my writing style a tiny bit. I had been making my letters in very different ways from what I've seen instructed for, say, Modern Italic style, for example. So, I picked up on the way to write most of those letters, and (after transcribing some old creative writing prompts I answered in the past over to different format notebooks), I've noticed my writing has already improved immensely! Plus, keeping everything like spacing in mind has helped too.

 

Thanks everyone for the great advice so far!

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I spend quite a bit of time on the phone in business and keep a small journal with me at all times to write down thoughts and notes on calls and conversations.  All of my writing is with a fountain pen and most of the time it is hurried out of necessity which, of course, does nothing to improve the quality of one's handwriting yet I have seen improvement without even trying.  I used to use a Pentel rollerball 11 years ago and if I go back and look through old journals I can see improvement since then that would have to be attributed to my transition to fountain pens.  Having said this, I can't help but see the ironic humor in the John Adams quote below in my signature. He and his contemporaries wrote with quills and lived in a time when penmanship was was seriously taught yet the quality of handwriting was something to joke about.  His friend, Thomas Jefferson, was known for his penmanship.  I am not.

 

Cliff

“The only thing most people do better than anyone else is read their own handwriting.”  John Adams

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RudeBoyEEEE
4 hours ago, Bristol24 said:

I spend quite a bit of time on the phone in business and keep a small journal with me at all times to write down thoughts and notes on calls and conversations.  All of my writing is with a fountain pen and most of the time it is hurried out of necessity which, of course, does nothing to improve the quality of one's handwriting yet I have seen improvement without even trying.  I used to use a Pentel rollerball 11 years ago and if I go back and look through old journals I can see improvement since then that would have to be attributed to my transition to fountain pens.  Having said this, I can't help but see the ironic humor in the John Adams quote below in my signature. He and his contemporaries wrote with quills and lived in a time when penmanship was was seriously taught yet the quality of handwriting was something to joke about.  His friend, Thomas Jefferson, was known for his penmanship.  I am not.

 

Cliff

 

I'd love to keep this journal on me, but I don't know what to write most of the time! Maybe just to practice, if anything. And you gotta hand it to those who could write so well back then, they had damn good penmanship.

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31 minutes ago, RudeBoyEEEE said:


And you gotta hand it to those who could write so well back then, they had damn good penmanship.


Think of it this way: they saved time by not learning to type and by not having to figure out Micro$oft products; and they used the time saved to work on improving their handwriting....

 

David

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