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Author Topic: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof  (Read 3987 times)

ankhtahr

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When I posted about this in the blog thread, multiple people started talking about this, so I thought, why not dedicate a thread to this. If nobody wants to talk anymore, I can still use it to "blog" about what I'm doing.

I've decided to try and work on making my handwriting better. I still "draw" each letter, and that gives my handwriting a very cramped uneven look. The way I see it this can be changed through lots of disciplined training. I try to focus on the way I write (out of the shoulder girdle instead of the fingers or the wrist) and try to keep a good posture.

In addition to that I discovered my love for nice writing instruments. In school here you start with a pencil and switch to a fountain pen in second grade when you learn cursive. Several states in Germany have their own type of cursive to teach their students. I learnt the "Schulausgangsschrift" (literally "school exit script"), but the state has switched to the "vereinfachte Ausgangsschrift" ("simplified exit script") by now. I intend to learn the "Lateinische Ausgangsschrift" ("latin exit script") because it looks a lot nicer in my opinion.



Anyway, I was talking about writing instruments before I moved on to scripts. So in second grade you'll start using a fountain pen. It's supposed to help you learn writing in a clear manner, opposed to a ballpoint pen. You'll continue to use the fountain pen at least until the end of elementary school, so through grade four. In the next school (whichever that might be) most people will continue to use the fountain pen only for a few years, until they switch over to ballpoint pens. Only for some exams you have to use a fountain pen for whatever reasons. Typical fountain pen inks are erasable, so you aren't allowed to use them for official documents. For official documents you need an instrument which is indelible and to a degree waterproof / permanent. A property officially called "Dokumentenecht". So in University, one has to use a pen which is Dokumentenecht for exams. Most of the time nobody will really mind, but officially they could declare the exam as invalid, because it could have been manipulated afterwards.
Like I said, most fountain pen inks are erasable or not waterproof, so everybody just uses ballpoint pens here.

My handwriting suffers a lot when I use a ballpoint pen. Because of that I've spent some time researching what is permanent and what isn't. Turns out the black rollerball ink from Parker is permanent. So I bought a Parker Rollerball. I still like that one, even though it's scratchy. But a single ink cartridge is about 8€, so that's not really a viable longterm solution. I remembered how much I liked writing with the fountain pen in school. But not being allowed to write exams with it sucked. I looked some more, bought a converter for my Lamy Studio (a converter is a device which allows you to use bottled ink in a cartridge fountain pen), bought a bottle of Graf von Faber-Castell's Cobalt Blue which is Dokumentenecht, and was happy. Sort of. It's always been easy to get me really interested in a topic. While researching which inks are permanent I stumbled over a few fountain pen enthusiast forums. I started reading, and now I want to try various pens and inks. Luckily the pens are expensive, so I can't spend the little money I have on those. But I might be able to afford a bottle of ink now and then.

But as much as I enjoy writing with nice pens, as much I despised my handwriting. So now I've started spending about half an hour every evening sitting at my desk, just writing random things, or training single letters. I might pick up calligraphy as a hobby. It's actually a nice and soothing ritual. Turning off everything electronic and just enjoying the feeling and sound of the fountain pen on the paper.

Now I've bought some new nibs for my Studio, as I've discovered that oblique nibs fit my style of holding the pen better. Oblique nibs are ordinary nibs with the typical iridium ball tip, which have been ground in a way that the tip is slanted to the left. Sadly Lamy doesn't sell Oblique nibs anymore. But apparently that's only true in Germany. I've been able to buy one of two remaining Oblique Broad nibs at my local stationery, and as I realised how much better these Oblique nibs are for me I've bought a Oblique Medium nib from UK. I also bought a Lamy Joy. That's a pen for calligraphy and fine writing with a stub nib. That means that the nib doesn't have the iridium ball and has a flat tip. This results in a varying line width, depending on the angle of the nib. This is the pen I'll be using  for training. I like it very much, and it's relatively cheap. I swear I'm not doing advertisements for Lamy, but their pens are relatively affordable and good. And I absolutely love their Bauhaus influenced design. It's simple, kinda minimalistic, but very practical and sleek. If I can ever afford it I'll buy the stainless steel Lamy 2000. And maybe the Palladium edition of the Studio. That one has a gold nib (Gold really has a big influence on writing, it's not just for show). Anyway, my Lamy Joy is great, I'm currently using the cobalt blue ink in it, but am contemplating buying another ink for it. And because I want a nice color. Blue is a lot better than black an my book, and the cobalt blue is a very nice shade (even though I'm a bit jealous of a friends Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite ink, which is a fantastic shade of black/blue), but when I'm at home I want something different. At university you don't have much choice with the colors, red and green aren't allowed. So for at home I'm considering three inks.
The De Atramentis Nebelgrau (fog grey), which is a grey ink with a very slight hint of blue:


The Diamine Teal, which is hard to get here, it's a British brand:


And the Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris, quite cheap and easier to get, but I like the shade of the Diamine Teal a lot better:


Any opinions, experiences or anything? I'll probably post samples of my handwriting and my different pens soon, but now I just don't have the time.
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Barmymoo

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #1 on: 04 Sep 2014, 00:56 »

At my primary school, you weren't allowed to write in pen until your handwriting was neat enough, but they didn't teach us cursive and I don't remember doing handwriting practice once I'd learnt how to write, so I stayed writing in pencil until I left the school. I write a LOT neater in pen than in pencil, so I think this policy was ridiculous looking back. I also discovered I write much neater in fountain pen than ballpoint, so that's what I use exclusively now. We don't have any rules about permanency of ink or anything like that, but in work I have to write in black ink because it's easier to photocopy. I generally use a ballpoint because they're cheap, but some of the midwives use black fountain pens so I'm considering getting one - my handwriting is growing illegible in ballpoint.

I don't write my capital letters in cursive, I don't think, and really my script is just a form of cursive I essentially invented for myself based on various different examples. I switched from writing the letter f with the top loop going forward and the bottom loop going back to writing it with both loops going forward, because it looked neater to my mind, and using two loops means I don't have to take my pen off the paper to write an f.

In terms of ink, I've never got that interested in the different styles and never considered that I could use a colour other than the standard blue and black that Parker sells. My pen at the moment isn't actually a Parker, it uses the generic small ink cartridges that are pretty cheap anywhere, so that's good as Parker cartridges are more expensive by volume and not noticeably different.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #2 on: 04 Sep 2014, 01:14 »

May, care to draw an f for me? I am really confused by your description.

I use a bastardization of the first cursive in the example Ankh provided -  I also do a small f with two loops (although I am not sure we do it the same way) and my p has a closed loop as well (so it's basically just an inverted q). I never got the hang of the x and if I want to be fancy, I'll use the z of the third example.

There are also differences in writing of umlauts - I'll usually just draw a straight line instead of the diaresis (so I'll write ā and ū instead of und ), but apparently some (particularly the older) folks put a straight line above the u by default - which of course requires them to use the proper diaresis for the .
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Barmymoo

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #3 on: 04 Sep 2014, 01:26 »



The second sentence contains an f the way I used to write them (it was hard to do now that I'm out of practice!) and the rest is how I write now.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

Sorflakne

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #4 on: 04 Sep 2014, 06:22 »

I like fountain pens, but they're not really conducive to being used left-handed (which I am) unless you have a special tip.  Same with ballpoint pens apparently, but I almost never have issues with them.  That and lefties dragging their hand over the paper:


(imagine this with ink instead of graphite)

The last time I wrote a block of cursive writing that was more than just my signature was when I took the GRE.  Three sentences that copied the statement of understanding for the test, and it took me like five minutes to write it, since I had to stop and think about what some letters looked like in cursive and the fact that I hadn't written that much cursive at once in years.  Probably since elementary school.
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cesium133

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #5 on: 04 Sep 2014, 06:24 »

The last time I wrote a block of cursive writing that was more than just my signature was when I took the GRE.  Three sentences that copied the statement of understanding for the test, and it took me like five minutes to write it, since I had to stop and think about what some letters looked like in cursive and the fact that I hadn't written that much cursive at once in years.  Probably since elementary school.
Ah yes, I remember that. I think that may have been harder than the actual GRE (unless I'm getting confused and it was actually on the subject GRE. That thing was a pain in the ass.)
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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #6 on: 04 Sep 2014, 06:32 »

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Masterpiece

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #7 on: 05 Sep 2014, 07:58 »


ankhtahr

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #8 on: 05 Sep 2014, 08:01 »

That handwriting looks amazing.

And that pen with the stub nib, is that a Lamy Joy? The grip looks like one.
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Masterpiece

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #9 on: 05 Sep 2014, 08:02 »

It's a lamy, yes.

nekowafer

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #10 on: 05 Sep 2014, 08:20 »

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nekowafer

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #11 on: 05 Sep 2014, 08:22 »

So yeah my handwriting sucks and I want it to be better but it's tough to want to practice when it hurts so much. If I ease up my grip on the pen, it just looks messier and messier.
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Barmymoo

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #12 on: 05 Sep 2014, 14:23 »

Have you tried using padded grips or simply wrapping modeling clay round the pen where you grip it so that you can make a grip that's shaped to your hand?
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

nekowafer

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #13 on: 06 Sep 2014, 14:01 »

I've never tried clay, but I have used pens with larger grips. It hurts a little less but my handwriting seems to get loopier and larger when I use them.
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Masterpiece

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #14 on: 06 Sep 2014, 14:34 »

That's not a bad thing, in fact it might be a good start into figuring out how to improve your handwriting

ankhtahr

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Re: Analogue writing implements and the use thereof
« Reply #15 on: 14 Sep 2014, 09:40 »

A friend of mine got me the De Atramentis Nebelgrau for my birthday. It's a very fascinating ink. Grey is a very cool colour for writing, especially in contrast to the typical black or blue. I'm also still in love with my Lamy Joy. Currently with a nib width of 1.1mm, but I think I'll try the 1.5 and 1.9mm ones as well. The stub nib works very well with my handwriting. Maybe I'll post some samples when I get to a place with better lighting.
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