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What are your routines and habits for improving your handwriting?


askwyatt

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I firmly believe in the power of practice in order to improve your skills and abilities in any given field, discipline, hobby, art, etc. 

 

What are your routines and habits, or even best practices, for improving your handwriting?

 

Which ones did you find the most helpful?

 

How did you choose which style, or fonts you wanted to practice?

 

Are you interested in only improving your ability, or are you also interested in viewing your writing as an art?

 

What makes the process or journey of practice rewarding for you?

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My most effective practice is to go cold turkey and use whatever handwriting style I am trying to learn for everything that I do, and to slow down and not allow myself to get lazy or inaccurate with the forms during my practice. Thus, everything I write becomes practice, and I force myself to be slow if that's what it takes to get the right practice in. 

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1 hour ago, arcfide said:

My most effective practice is to go cold turkey and use whatever handwriting style I am trying to learn for everything that I do, and to slow down and not allow myself to get lazy or inaccurate with the forms during my practice. Thus, everything I write becomes practice, and I force myself to be slow if that's what it takes to get the right practice in. 

How many handwriting styles do you do?

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I take quotes and write them, I also send cards and letters.  I've also written the constitution in my journal and the other day I practiced by writing the  Gettysburg address.

 

PXL_20220205_204623039_MP.thumb.jpg.1a233a052eaea83e99709e685684f562.jpgPXL_20220208_040425520.thumb.jpg.93b8b8422ca2767dd9a9e274c55967ce.jpg

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Create a Ghostly Avatar and I'll send you a letter. Check out some Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 

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10 hours ago, amberleadavis said:

I take quotes and write them, I also send cards and letters.  I've also written the constitution in my journal and the other day I practiced by writing the  Gettysburg address.

 

PXL_20220205_204623039_MP.thumb.jpg.1a233a052eaea83e99709e685684f562.jpgPXL_20220208_040425520.thumb.jpg.93b8b8422ca2767dd9a9e274c55967ce.jpg

That's a great idea! To grab some fun documents and use it as text for the practice. 

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22 hours ago, askwyatt said:

What are your routines and habits, or even best practices, for improving your handwriting?

I’m making a handwritten version of Jules Verne’s “20.000 leagues under the sea” for my nephew. That’s a win win, he loves adventure stories and I practice my handwriting ✍️

"Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity." – Khang Kijarro Nguyen

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1 hour ago, Recursion said:

I’m making a handwritten version of Jules Verne’s “20.000 leagues under the sea” for my nephew. That’s a win win, he loves adventure stories and I practice my handwriting ✍️

Wow, that's super ambitious and awesome!

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My primary way of improving my handwriting is "slowing down" my writing.

PAKMAN

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9 hours ago, Misfit said:

Stub and italic nibs help as well. 

 

Seconded. I found that this improved my writing with minimal extra effort. My letter forms stayed basically the same, but as the nib slows me down and the italic line variation gives them flair, the overall effect is quite pleasant.

 

On the flip side : smooth fine nibs are the worst for me. They let me write fast and the line's thinness brings out every imperfection.

 

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2 minutes ago, katerchen said:

On the flip side : smooth fine nibs are the worst for me. They let me write fast and the line's thinness brings out every imperfection.

But wouldn't this only make you want to improve with the smooth fine nib?

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20 hours ago, askwyatt said:

How many handwriting styles do you do?

 

Through my life, a ton. I used to take notes in the handwriting style of my classmates in a given class just for fun, and then did some of my homework in Textualis Quadrata once or twice. But these days I stick mostly to Textualis, Italic (mostly Briem), Spencerian, Palmer, Zaner-Bloser, New American Cursive, and SmithHand. I often have a friend or two that has a distinct preference for one style of handwriting or another, so I oblige them at times by communicating in their preferred style of handwriting, as they get a kick out of it. For example, some friends love to get missives in Spencerian or Palmer, and others have a distinct preference for Italic, so I'll sometimes (not always) adapt my style for the audience. At other times the writing layout of page restrictions makes one style significantly better than another for use. 

 

ETA: The pen makes a difference, too. Right now, I'm really in love with laying down as much ink as I can get away with on the page, and so having a handwriting that allows me to use the broadest nib possible in the smallest line spacing matters. 

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12 hours ago, PAKMAN said:

My primary way of improving my handwriting is "slowing down" my writing.

I think this definitely helps. I do better with my standard nib pens when I slow down and make the effort.  Sometimes in letter writing, though, my hand has to keep up with my thoughts. 

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14 hours ago, Misfit said:

Sometimes in letter writing, though, my hand has to keep up with my thoughts. 

 

This may or may not work for you, but the hand often needs to warm up to perform its best. You may find that a page or so of deliberate and slow work warms up your hand for faster writing in a letter. This was one of the things the old professional penman did before starting serious work. 

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9 hours ago, arcfide said:

 

This may or may not work for you, but the hand often needs to warm up to perform its best. You may find that a page or so of deliberate and slow work warms up your hand for faster writing in a letter. This was one of the things the old professional penman did before starting serious work. 

Thank you for the suggestion. I could test all the pens I planned to use to do that. 

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@arcfide  WOW WOW WOW you can just switch styles and take notes in something like Spencerian?

 

 

Now that I thought about this topic again, this most important step is just doing it!  Find a way to make it interesting to you.  

 

I agree that your penmanship will improve with slowing down, and with practice.

 

So, what make you want to write more?

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Create a Ghostly Avatar and I'll send you a letter. Check out some Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 

Don't know where to start?  Look at the Inky Topics O'day.  Then, see inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, amberleadavis said:

@arcfide  WOW WOW WOW you can just switch styles and take notes in something like Spencerian?

 

Now that I thought about this topic again, this most important step is just doing it!  Find a way to make it interesting to you.  

 

I agree that your penmanship will improve with slowing down, and with practice.

 

So, what make you want to write more?

 

I used the purchase of a MB 149 Calligraphy and MB Permanent Black ink to inspire me to work on a significant portion of the first parts of my doctoral thesis, which I wrote in Spencerian. It was the use of Spencerian that inspired a lot of my time to do the writing, which helped to get over some writer's block. I also wrote a lot of it in New American Cursive as a test to see how well that cursive was able to handle long writing sessions. I actually did that test with a number of Unibal pigmented inks on Tomoe River paper as a comparison against Platinum Carbon Black in my fountain pen. 

 

I think a key is actually learning the generalist skills of many different styles. This makes it much easier to switch between various handwritings, because I think you gain a better segmentation in your brain about how to do any one style, partly through contrast. 

 

I want to write all the time, it's how I think, so I don't find it hard to want to write, but harder to find things to write about. So, for example, I do plenty of programming on paper. Here's some in Spencerian:

 

Paper is dead, long live Paper Programming (sacrideo.us)

 

I also do my calendar and planning and journaling on paper. Morning Pages is a great way to get writing. I also find that I want to engage more with my pen and paper when I have the right ink and the right pen and paper. So, getting a nice bottle of ink that I want to play with is a perfect thing to make me want to do some penmanship practice. 

 

 

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On 2/12/2022 at 4:43 AM, askwyatt said:

But wouldn't this only make you want to improve with the smooth fine nib?

 

Exactly my thoughts. If I'm practising something as a learner, then I'd want my mistakes and shortcomings pointed out to me, again and again, without disdain or malice, but just “it is what it is”. Software that checks my work (e.g. a compiler), a pen that shows me every imperfection in the motion of my pen strokes, etc. would be exactly what I want to be on hand when I'm trying to improve in a discipline. Even when I was practising martial arts keenly, I relied on others to penetrate my defences and punch me in the face or on the torso to tell me without a doubt that my technique needed improvement (and how). Not getting the jarring (visual or physical) impact when I've done something that sorely needs improving would not be helpful to my learning, even if it momentarily shields my ego from being bruised.

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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13 hours ago, arcfide said:

I also do my calendar and planning and journaling on paper. Morning Pages is a great way to get writing. I also find that I want to engage more with my pen and paper when I have the right ink and the right pen and paper. So, getting a nice bottle of ink that I want to play with is a perfect thing to make me want to do some penmanship practice.

I always do my morning pages. They are nonnegotiable. But they are also a precursor to other writing I do. 

 

Sometimes I want to use morning pages to practice . . . but that always ends with me going on some wild tangents.

 

10 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

If I'm practising something as a learner, then I'd want my mistakes and shortcomings pointed out to me, again and again,

This can be tough at times, but as a learner, it helps to be able to see the mistakes so you can recommit to the process or learning, analyze how to move forward, and proceed. 

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There are some great ideas posted in this topic.

 

For the past several years, I have switched from the Palmer-style cursive I learned (sort of) in elementary school to italic as my everyday handwriting. But I also practice foundational, carolingian and various gothic styles. All of these use an italic-type nib. For learning a new style, a nib that writes a line at least 2mm wide is most helpful. It makes errors more obvious.

 

In general, it is useful to have an excellent exemplar in the style you are practicing and to start your learning by trying to duplicate it. With most of these styles, figuring out the appropriate pen angle, x-height in nib widths, letter slope and, in some cases, pen manipulation (changing pen angles in the course of writing a letter) is an important step. Then, you practice critically - write each letter and compare it to your model. Determine how you need to change your writing of it, and do so. Write as slowly as you need to. Your goal at this point is to achieve consistent accuracy in letter formation. Speed will come later, once motor memory for letter formation is established. So, the learning strategy is reflective practice. (My mentor called it "critical practice." i like "reflective" better.)

 

Note that letter and word spacing are also very important. So is page layout. If these are ugly, your page will not be beautiful, no matter how perfect each letter is.

 

For each practice session, a "warm up" period is helpful. This can consist of writing the alphabet, writing letter chains, e.g., anbncndnen ... etc) or repeated basic strokes, e.g., arcades of mmmmmmmmmm or lines of o's. Practicing can be made more interesting by copying a text or pages of words using various  beginning letters, e.g., names of animals or flowers, or pangrams (sentences that use every letter in the alphabet), "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" being the best known one.

 

Hope these thoughts help.

 

Happy writing!

 

David

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