Since having my right arm out of commission for a few days I focused on my artwork and black and white doodle art, which then got me thinking about Calligraphy. I have been interested in learning calligraphy for a long time, every since I learned what it was I guess, but could never really get the hang of it. It wasn’t until the other day I had figured out why, it was the whole left-handed thing.
Lefties are at a major disadvantage when it comes to handwriting and penmanship in general. When we are first taught how to write we learn the basics – how to hold a pencil, where the paper should be, and that we write from left to right (in the western languages). For right-handed people, the pencil is pulling away from the left side of the paper when forming letters, words, etc. For lefties, we are pushing the pencil towards the right which requires more effort, stabilization of the pencil and paper, and often leads to the “death-grip” way of holding a pencil. Other disadvantages lefties face include blocking the path of writing from sight. When a righty is writing across the page they are able to see clearly what the are writing, lefties, however, end up covering their writing with their hand making it difficult to see. The other issue is smudging their work. There are ways to try to avoid these things. Many lefties will “hook” their hand over the line of writing, some will turn their hand under (this is basically how I write), or vertically by turning the paper 90* and form the letter from top to bottom.
Now, I understand why it’s been difficult for me to learn Calligraphy and why my handwriting abilities tend to struggle. But now, what do I do about it!?! Well, after much research on YouTube and Google, I have figured it out. Not only do I understand the basics of Calligraphy and what I need to do in order to learn it, I’ve learned the best way for me to improve my handwriting and how I write! Woohoo! Anyway, there are a few ‘fonts,’ shall we say, that are easier for lefties than righties (who knew???). It also just happens to be the more popular, too! No Way!!! It’s the Engrossers/Engravers or otherwise known as Copperplate.
There are variations to Copperplate which make up more script styles (ie, Spencerian). The way the Penman/Calligrapher holds the pen is what makes this particular script unique. The way the pen is held is natural for lefties, but not righties. Righties have to either “hook” their hand or turn their hand in another awkward position in order to achieve this script. Pretty much every other script or calligraphy style is the opposite for lefties. There is a handy little invention that makes Calligraphy easier for both lefties and righties.
It is the Oblique Pen Holder which allows lefties to be able to hold the pen at a comfortable position for most calligraphy styles (for copperplate and its variant and straight pen holder is fine) and allows righties to be comfortable to work the copperplate style.
So now I am set with the pens needed (and the ink, etc) I just need to learn how. I’ve printed off some practice sheets from The Zanerian which offers free lessons with video tutorials and started to practice the basic shapes. I’ve also ordered Left Handed Calligraphy, and The Calligrapher’s Bible.
Not only have I become somewhat obsessive about Calligraphy, but also Fountain Pens. I have been drooling, ok maybe not DROOLING, but definitely in lust of some very beautiful pens. I’ve always been a pen hoarder, fiend, etc., and also known to be very obsessive over my pens with a little dash of cleptomania when it comes to really awesome pens. But now, I’ve been introduced to a whole new world of beautifully elegant, smooth-writing, Fountain Pens. I just bought this lovely pen:
which I also bought Neil for his birthday or Christmas or something one year and he never used (more pens for me!). It’s not an expensive pen, but a good starter pen. I also fell in love with this little beauty: It’s a short pen and I got the one in pink, of coarse. So I am really excited to receive my pens, they should be here in a few days!!! The Fountain Pens are different from typical calligraphy pens in that they write much smoother. They are “writing” pens and not for ornamental writing such as Engrossers.
So there you have, a lot of information that may interest some of you, but probably bore the rest!