Pointed Pen Predicaments

Well, “predicament” sounds a bit much, but I wanted the alliteration.

In any case, I’m gingerly branching out into pointed pen after having spend a year behind the broad-edge. There are a lot of reasons for this, but mainly because I’ve seen such beautiful work done with that instrument that I’d like to one day be able to do it myself.

From Iampeth.com

My first target was Spencerian script. This is the kind of writing you would have been likely to see in business correspondence back in the early 20th century, and I like it for its spidery precision.  It’s meant to be written quickly, with a minimum of flourishing (except perhaps in the capitals). I wanted to get to know it mainly because it straddles that line between handwriting and calligraphy.

Unfortunately, it’s a real pain in the ass.

My Spencerian so far is rough and doesn’t look nearly as effortless as the various exemplars I’m seeing. Mind you, I’m a beginner – it should look awful. That doesn’t keep it from being a bit disheartening every time I look at what I want it to look like versus what it should look like. And, to be fair, I ran into this with broad-edge calligraphy as well. My italic was just a mess for a good while until I finally figured out how to make it look good. Perhaps the same will happen with Spencerian.

Spot the differences!
Spot the differences!

In the meantime, I’m going to start tinkering with Copperplate, mainly because where Spencerian is meant to be written quickly, Copperplate is slow and deliberate, and I think I have a better chance with slow and deliberate than I do with quick and dashy.

To that end, I bought Eleanor Winter’s Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy, which breaks it down into bite-sized pieces. We’ll see how that works.

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