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My New Addiction - Penmanship

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by gryphon1911, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I've always envied others who had very good hand writing. I've also appreciated the calligraphic art forms.

    For the longest time I never thought that I could have good hand writing, let alone be able to write in another hand altogether.

    Well, 2 weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to jump out of my comfort zone and do both. With the winter weather in this region, sometimes being outside is not an option, so I wanted something other than photography to do.

    I initially thought that I would give calligraphy a go, so got a few calligraphy pens and markers and paper. Did research and joined some forums specific to the art form. I'm currently teaching myself the Roman capitals(for upper case) and italic (for lowercase). Links provided for examples. Roman capitals are far more complex than you'd think.

    I'm well on my way and quite happy with my progress so far.

    Then, I snooped about the forums in other threads and started taking interest in improving my cursive. It is so bad, that I abandoned it years ago to make sure that anyone who needed to could read my hand writing.

    I decided to pick it back up. I started doing research and looking for ways to improve my penmanship.

    Another issue that I had was hand cramping writing cursive for long periods of time.

    Then I discovered fountain pens. Talk about the ability to get GAS all over again. lol.
    So far, I've gotten 3. Pilot makes a disposable fountain pen called Varsity for $5. Talk about a whole different writing experience!! It was love at first letter!!

    From there I ordered a Pilot Metropolitan. This is a re-usable fountain pen that uses ink cartridges or a refill converter. $15 on Amazon. Such a quality writer for the price. The thing is, the Japanese tip sizes (nibs) run small compared to the nibs made in Europe/NorthAmerica. While the pens write beautifully, they also make very fine lines, which are sometimes not desirable.
    I was at an office supply store and they had a Franklin-Covey Freemont medium nib for $15, so picked that up. I definitely see myself liking the larger tip size more.

    The images below are manufacturer's product shots and not mine, but they are teh exact pens I have.

    59318.

    Pilot Metro

    52005.JPG

    Pilot Varsity

    42168_lrgcase.

    Franklin Covey Freemont

    I keep the disposable on me all the time and journal with the other 2 at home.

    Prices range all over the place, just like camera gear. I've seen pens as cheap as $3 adn even ones more expensive than the last used car I bought.

    From MontBlanc $9,600 Meisterstuck 90 Years Skeleton 149 Fountain Pen

    I could go into a whole other discussion on paper.

    So now, I've got a writing and fountain pen GAS problem. lol.

    So anyone else get sucked into analog writing?
     
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  2. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Sadly, as a leftie I just can't use fountain pens much, for more than one reason. The particular slant at which I hold a pen doesn't work too well with a classic nib like those, plus I have to use extremely fast-drying ink as my hand will smear it. Western writing is really designed for right-handed folks!

    It's a pity as I really do enjoy penmanship, and got into calligraphy for a while years ago.
     
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  3. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    844
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    I love fountain pens, and have used them pretty extensively since I started with them in middle school (around when I started photography, too). I still have a collection of pens I have acquired over the years, but it has been increasingly harder to find good paper to write on, especially in notebooks. So if you pursue this more and find paper which does not blot, I would love to hear.

    I bought the Pilot Metropolitan from Amazon for my 13yo. She is kind of getting into it, and I liked the pen, so I bought one for myself as well. There are some nice pens in the 100-200 dollar range which you should try before you get the GAS for the Mont Blanc :)
     
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  4. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Wendy
    A long time ago, but yes! I was an artistic kid and my aunt gave me a calligraphy set when I was 12 or 13 and I thought that was the best gift ever, so I worked on my skills off and on for years. Then I spent my junior year abroad in France where everyone used fountain pens and the two interests blended together. I actually made extra money doing calligraphy for wedding invitations while my husband was in law school after we were first married. I love lettering, but sadly have not done it much in years as my life and job shifted to digital.

    FYI though I always had OK handwriting, I didn't feel that it was distinctive or unique, so as a young adult I decided to make a concerted effort to change my cursive writing style and develop a more interesting signature. It was fun and took me a few months of doodling and signing every piece of scrap paper in sight to develop a style I was happy with, but it really did work, and I have been writing that way for 20+ years, so I think your effort will pay off. The style I developed incorporates elements of calligraphy, including some interesting terminal flourishes and connectors. For me it was all about getting the angle of my cursive script consistent (it's harder than you think), and leaving enough room between lines for occasional little flourishes or the long ascenders/descenders that I prefer.

    Have fun, and enjoy your new pens!
     
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  5. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    We have been using fountain pens since I went to law school in the early '80's. My daily writers are Pelikans, my wife likes vintage Duofolds. Be sure to use good paper like Rhodia or Clairefontaine. Enjoy! Welcome to another G.A.S. club!
     
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  6. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    Ah, improving my penmanship has been my as yet unfulfilled New Year's resolution for years. :)
    I have a lot of fountain pens in my collection, so that's not my excuse, although my wife wonders why I have so many when I can only write with one at a time. :026:

    Someone asked about paper. I've often found that good quality multipurpose paper of middle thickness, like 24 lb Hammermill or HP premium MP paper often works for everyday use. For really nice feeling stuff, I recommend Rhodia, Clairfontaine, Exacompta, and especially Tomoe River. The latter is a thin, almost translucent paper that is almost impervious to feathering and bleedthrough. Remarkable stuff. You can find it loose or bound in various pads and notebooks from jetpens.com, nanamipaper.com, and paperforfountainpens.com, among others. Tomoe River paper takes a little time to dry, but most times it's for only a few seconds longer than regular paper. Note: paper that feathers FP ink is usually absorbant, but dries quicker and often bleeds through. Paper that doesn't feather or bleedthrough generally takes a little longer to dry. I don't mind waiting a little to use a paper that's FP friendly. The search for cheap paper that's FP friendly is a constant and never ending search. :wink:
     
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  7. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    One thing I learned from photography is that there is a way to get by inexpensively on some things, but others, you just need to shell out.
    I did a lot of research on what best to do to start out and as a bargain for the money almost everyone said Pilot Metropolitan or the Lamy Safari. The Lamy looked interesting, but the Pilot is easier to get here.

    Paperwise, I've been loving the Rhodia DotPad I picked up on Amazon. So far, the 3 pens I have work wonderfully on them. No bleeding or feathering and the ink dries rather quickly.
    I've heard that the Rhodia and Clairefontaine paper are the same or pretty close to the same.

    The current journal I am using is a lay flay Plumb Stack Book. The pages are very thick, no bleeding or feathering.

    I'm looking in interest at the Maruman Mnemosyne series of notebooks. The paper seems to be of high quality and can be found quite inexpensively.
     
  8. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    A lot of the good Japanese notebooks and filler papers are FP friendly because FPs are quite popular there. Apica, Life, Maruman, Kokuyo, Midori, etc. all have good paper. It varies by product, of course, but generally speaking, their paper is FP friendly.
     
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  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Llamy Safari's are fun and indestructible pens. I use them when camping, extra pen in my messenger bag, etc. I know a couple of people who use nothing but Safari's.
     
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  10. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    844
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Thanks for the recommendations. Ordered a couple of the Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks from Amazon. I have been using the HP paper at home and that works pretty well.

    As for pens, I own a number of Parkers from the 70s and 80s (the older ones came from my dad when he moved over to ballpoint). I started on a cheap chinese knockoff (Hero) in middle school and still have that pen. Life getting busier with kids and the challenges of not being able to walk into a store and buy ink/paper, etc. have reduced my usage, but I still try to use a fountain pen everyday. Something about the way the nib glides over paper. If the Maruman's work out for me, then I will start using a fountain pen more regularly for work as well.
     
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  11. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    That's how I got started on FPs too. I used to play with my Dad's 1950's Parker 51 and 1938 Sheaffer Balance when I was a kid. He wasn't using them any more. When I went to college and found that I hated to use ballpoint pens for taking notes, I grabbed his Parker 51. Then when rollerballs came out (dating myself here), I switched to them and the Parker languished in a drawer. Years later, I saw a friend using FPs for taking notes in meetings and started getting interested again. Found the Parker, cleaned it up, got the Sheaffer and had the sac replaced by a local pen expert, and then went on to accumulate way too many pens. Many vintage ones, as well as some modern ones. I use an FP at work everyday, as well as at home. Keep bottles of ink in my work desk. Even take FPs traveling with me.

    One of these days, I'll learn to take good photos of them and will post some. :)
     
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  12. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    You might want to check out BRIEM.NET

    He co-authored a book with Rosemary Sassoon that I think is a simple and elegant approach to improving handwriting. Nothing fancy, but it looks very effective.

    Improve Your Handwriting (Teach Yourself)
    by Rosemary Sassoon et al.
    Link: http://amzn.com/1444103792

    Now, to just stop being lazy and work on it. Practice, practice, practice. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
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  13. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    Another inexpensive pen in the price range of the Lamy Safari is the TWSBI ECO. It's about $29 which is very inexpensive for a piston filler. It needs bottled ink, but that's my preference anyway. TWSBI | Inspired by Writing I just bought a TWSBI Vac Mini and am loving that too.

    Yes, you can get a bad case of GAS when you dive into FPs! First, you get addicted to pens, then it's inks and papers. Some are addicted to journals. Some even go as far as buying or building a desk just to hold their pens and writing materials. You'll find that there are plenty of FP related websites and Facebook pages to fan your new addiction. But, you know, it's a community of wonderful people, just like those on mu-43.com. :)
     
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  14. Aushiker

    Aushiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Interesting and timely thread. Moving offices at work, I re-discovered one of my Waterman Experts and a bottle of ink. Thankfully the nib is still good nick and the ink flowed. Now I need to work on improving my handwriting so I can get more use and enjoyment out of the pen.
     
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  15. Aushiker

    Aushiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Thanks for the heads-up on the book. I have just ordered a copy for $12 so pretty happy with that.
     
  16. Tony Rex

    Tony Rex Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Apr 6, 2015
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Tony Rex
    It was the other way around for me. Hoarding fountain pens is my full time obsession, and had only been restarting photography as my secondary hobby.

    22194660290_cd47a4e5f0_b.
     
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  17. Diamondback

    Diamondback Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Oct 4, 2015
    PA, USA
    Mark
    Another fountain pen convert here. I have been using and collecting mainly vintage pens since the late 1980s. Attached are a few photos of some vintage Parker Duofolds and Montblancs taken before I improved my photography skills.

    6041634277_17e749d1b7_b. Duofold Seniors

    6041523245_6ca5429386_b. Duofold Juniors

    7745096438_81231c2aeb_b. Montblancs
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
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  18. dean43

    dean43 New to Mu-43

    4
    Aug 4, 2013
    NB,Canada
    Dean
    Ive also decided to TRY to improve my very bad penmanship . For a Christmas gift to myself I purchased 4 Jinhao pens on ebay ( cost $12.00 ) and a bottle of ink . Now the hard part begins .

    Dean
     
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  19. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Happy National Handwriting Day!! (USA)
     
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