I mentioned before that one of my projects for the year is to improve my handwriting. I’ll write a longer, more detailed post about the process at some point. The first step was to work through the last book in the Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Series, which we’ve used to teach all our kids. That was quite enjoyable, and cleaned up my handwriting quite a bit.
Then I moved on to The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting: Cursive and Calligraphic by Fred Eager, who is quite adamant in his book that you follow his instructions to the … uh, letter! I was skeptical of his insistence, but was in no hurry to get the job done either, so I determined that I would do just as he said.
The first section uses a broad round-nib pen to teach the letter shapes, tracing and then copying them. The grid is huge, three lines on wide-ruled paper for ascender/body/descender, and my hand is unsteady enough that I found this part very frustrating. The results were shaky and ugly to my eye. But I kept at it, eventually copying about twenty sheets worth of examples twice. What I could do at the end was much improved over where I started, but still shaky and ugly.
The second section of Eager’s book moves on to using an edged pen on a smaller grid. I had bought a suitable fountain pen awhile back, so this evening I assembled it and filled it with ink. I made a few strokes, then on a whim wrote the letter a. That turned out nicer than I expected, so I wrote the rest of the alphabet.
Wow, was I surprised! Written at proper scale with an edged pen, the results were majorly better. And as I formed each letter I could literally feel the payoff of all the frustrating work I’d done with the broad round-nib pen making letters 5 times the size.