How to Hold a Calligraphy Pen

Calligraphy pens for left handers


If you're left-handed - try not to despair!

Among the better calligraphers and letterers are left-handed, so any troubles you might experience is overcome. One of the most popular calligraphers worldwide is Gaynor Goffe, that is left-handed.

The greatest issue you will definitely encounter is of pen position. If a right-hander desires to keep the pen at 45° towards horizontal to publish Italic letters, then that's not a problem. For a left-hander, however, keeping the pen similarly ensures that the letters will likely be created with a 'mirror image' angle. So that the pen must certanly be held in different ways and several left-handers realize that special remaining oblique nibs help them within. You can utilize straight-cut nibs, as right-handers do, and simply twist the wrist left to ultimately achieve the correct direction, but this may trigger stress and strain.

However, there are some lettering styles, particularly Uncial, or Half-Uncial in which the pen is held either at 0° towards horizontal, or very nearly 0°, and these never provide quite a lot of difficulties for left-handers.

It may additionally assist to set your board up in a somewhat various method, as shown right here, although having the paper right is normally recommended.

Setting up a board for left-handers

Setting up a board
  1. Pad of white blotting report which will make a comfy cushion.
Extracted from the British Library Companion to Calligraphy, Illumination and Heraldry by Patricia Lovett MBE

Hints for left-handed calligraphers from Gaynor Goffe

You can find three feasible hand positions for left-handed calligraphers:
  1. Underarm – this is actually the usual writing position used by left-handers, where in fact the hand rests under the type of writing.
    Taken from Calligraphy Made Simple by Gaynor Goffe
  2. Hook – this pen hold is when the pen writes letters from above the range, and the hand tends to make a hook-shape.

I suggest the underarm hand position (place 1 above), the main advantage being that all letter shots have actually exactly the same course for right-handers (which can be incorrect with position 2 above where push shots become pull shots and the other way around. Others advantageous asset of position 1 is that the paper/writing range is within the same place as for right-handers (which can be incorrect with place 3 above, see diagrams).

The underarm strategy can feel difficult to begin with, particularly if you are widely used to everyday handwriting with your hand in the hook place, however there are many different methods to minimise any problems:

  • Use left-oblique nibs. This will make it simpler to have the steeper pen angles, such as those needed for Italic.
  • Use a broad drawing board, approximately 30 ins or 75 cm or more, because it helps write along with your left hand slightly left of this human anatomy to obtain the required pen perspectives without constricted supply movement.
  • Go the writing paper to the left a couple of times a range in the first place, this could help in maintaining the steeper pen sides. An individual will be used to the underarm writing position it will not be essential to go the report left much or anyway.
  • Though I prefer the writing sheet horizontal (since it is simpler to judge page slope), it may help to start with to slant the sheet down towards right to assist have the steeper pen sides (see drawing above).
  • Switch the left hand straight back to the left, the steeper the pen perspective the greater amount of the hand must turn, a flexible wrist assists!
  • Move the remaining arm as easily as possible through the neck whenever writing and steer clear of a tight, confined shoulder. Practising big letters with a chisel-edged felt-tip pen helps encourage activity.

The 'hook' position, (2 overhead), might appear much easier if you currently handwrite that way, which is easier, initially, to maneuver the arm freely within position and easier to get all pen angles (although the nib is upside-down). But most of the pull shots of letters become push shots and the other way around applying this place, and also this is a considerable downside on flow regarding the writing.



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