Friday, January 15, 2010

Spencerian, Part II--v, o, au, and e

I've been busy since the first try at Spencerian, but thought I'd better practice or I'd forget what the difference between 1, 2, and 3 are and how to make them. Continuing with the small letters are v, o, au, and e. Again, looking at this on the paper and actually doing it with a pen are two different things. I was going to use my Namiki Falcon II metallic, but then realized I had been warned not to use a flex nib in the first stages of writing. So I pulled out my Namiki fine point black celluloid with Iroshizuku's Tsutsuji Azalea ink and sat down to do a few strokes.

I have to say that I didn't like most of what I'd written out. I've circled a few that I though looked passable. In the first picture of the lowercase v, a few on the left side seemed to be good, while the rest were merely decent. I kept having to remember the strokes of the v: 3-1-2-dot-2. I usually give up and just intone the letter in my mind ("veeee, veeee, veeee") and rely on my first grade Catholic school cursive writing lessons to get me through.

Lowercase o is interesting, the width is one-third of the length. I haven't measured my own, I'll leave that for later. I like the "opposite sides equally curved," wondering what other options their might be.

The lowercase au was fun to do but looks awful. I'm not used to pulling the letter u all the way up to the top so as to be the same height as the lowercase a. To me it looks like a modified w, and I found I was really uncomfortable and didn't do it. I wonder if there is some time of writing memory in the hand, wouldn't be surprised if there were.

Then we come to the letter e. I love the instructions: width one-third of space; loop two-thirds of length. I really had to think about the admonition to turn short as possible at top and base without stopping. It's a think loop, like a roller-coaster--why stop at the top and base? (2-stop, wait, what's this?-3-down to the base, where am I?-2-finished?) Well, I guess.

Finally, I did connect a few of the letters to try and write an actual word or something like it. To me, writing vau felt forced and not natural. I'm thinking that this style of writing needs to be practiced every day for an hour or so, as I would have done 50 or 100 years ago. I'll add it to my list, and find some time. Onward to more letters, and then I'll be finished with book 1.


  1. Do you think it would help if someone came over and stood over you with a ruler - ready to rap your knuckles if you don't improve? ;o)

  2. Does that ever bring back memories. How about someone wearing a long black gown with a veil, roaming up and down a makeshift aisle?

  3. Yep. Aahh, memories! Sr. Dominic was nice but Sr. Mary Francis was mean, mean, mean!!

  4. Thanks for the update, PB! I'd hit on a few penmanship Web sites a few years ago, which jogged my thinking. "Authenticity", "one's public graphic", "it's not the pen, it's the product", I went on with my shade-tree philosophizing. Or try this: what if penmanship were banned, or socially marginalized? or, contrariwise, actively encouraged? Thanks again. Jack/Youngstown