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How To Get Started – Smashing Magazine

How To Get Started – Smashing Magazine

Lettering and calligraphy are shortly changing into desired expertise in a designer’s toolbox. Designers akin to Marian Bantjes, Jessica Hische, Sean Wes and Martina Flor, simply to call a number of, have turn out to be not solely an inspiration to the remainder of us, but additionally a regular. Their work isn’t solely client-based; they’ve turn out to be their very own model by offering merchandise to their followers as nicely. Other designers have adopted swimsuit, and now it will appear that lettering and calligraphy are in every single place.

Thus, there’s rising curiosity amongst designers and non-designers to be taught. However, the vast majority of the sources and classes out there are for right-handed folks. And when one finds a useful resource to get began with brush lettering for left-handed folks, it won’t be as complete. As an educator, I’ve realized that one of the difficult facets for an aspiring left-hand letterer is to use all the things right-handed particular person is instructing. It is sort of like doing psychological gymnastics.

In my two earlier articles, “Brush Lettering: It Only Gets Better After Practice,” half 11 and half 22, I talked in regards to the causes for the recognition of lettering and about provides, inspiration, the fundamental rules and about forming the letters, and I additionally supplied some movies. After I wrote the articles, I noticed that I provided no theoretical or sensible recommendation to those that need to be taught lettering and who’re left-handed.

While I’m not in a position to assure your fame and notoriety, I can provide help to get began with the basics of lettering with the left hand: the place and placement of the arm and wrist, the place of the paper, and holding the device (brush pens). In this text, I’ll share theoretical in addition to sensible recommendation, demonstrating some factors utilizing my pupil Talondra Keetonthree, who’s left-handed, to create lettering. She began again in January, and all through the semester she has been constantly bettering. Let’s get began.

Further Reading on SmashingMagazine: Link

What’s The Difference? Link

This final semester, I taught a “special topics” class on the college the place I work, titled “Explorations in Lettering and Scripts.” There had been three college students within the class who’re left-handed. Since then, I’ve been making an attempt to assemble sources and examples to assist them with the sensible facet of the teachings we coated. I’ve come throughout a number of articles and weblog posts. Some are extra scientific than others, and others are extra centered on sensible ideas.

One of essentially the most fascinating issues I realized whereas researching for this text is that Dr. M.Ok. Holder, who’s govt director of the Handedness Research Instituteeight, states that writing with the left hand isn’t merely the other of writing with the correct hand — neither is it sufficient to show the other means. The predominant and most essential distinction is that, whereas right-handers write away from the physique, left-handers write in the direction of the physique. Rest assured, there’s hope and plenty of good examples of letterers and calligraphers who’re left-handed and who create attractive work.

According to some researchers, left-handers account for 10 to 12% of the inhabitants. Neal from LeftyFretz9, an internet site for left-handed musicians, has put collectively an ideal submit reporting the share of people who find themselves left-handed, by 12 months and nation. Though it varies, there’s an general enhance within the share of people that self establish as left-handed. However, he states that there’s nonetheless some stigma about being left-handed. If you might be left-handed and are studying this, please know that you’re in good firm. A large number of well-known folks had been and are left-handed, amongst them, Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh. And in accordance with BuzzFeed10, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Bill Clinton, Jim Carrey, David Letterman, Bill Gates, David Bowie, Prince Charles, Prince William and even Barack Obama are all left-handed.

Hand, Wrist And Paper Link

I grouped these three facets as a result of they’re intently associated: the place of the arm and wrist go along with how the paper is positioned. Below you will notice a number of opinions on the matter.

Jodi Christiansen, calligrapher and member of the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting11 (IAMPETH), writes in her submit “Calligraphy and the Left-Handed Scribe12” that there are two varieties of left-handed methods to carry the pen:

  • Curlers curve their hand across the pen to imitate the writing angle that right-handers obtain naturally.
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  • Non-curlers write with out bending their wrist.
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Based on the article, evidently curlers might need a tougher time doing lettering and calligraphy than non-curlers. The purpose for that is that it’s onerous to see what you’ve simply written. If your hand curls over the road of textual content you simply wrote, it will be tough to find out how a lot area to depart, not to mention whether or not the ink remains to be moist. That would trigger loads of smears.

In addition to Christiansen’s hand positions, Jim Bennett, creator of the e book Calligraphy for Dummies17, talks about the way to place the paper. Bennet lists three positions for the paper:

  • It will be held at 45 levels to the left, making a diamond form:
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  • It will be held at 35 levels:
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  • Or it may be held usually, at 90 levels:
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The paper’s place and angle and the way the hand rests on the paper are vital. Some will discover it comfy to rotate the paper to search out one of the best ways to create the letters.

However, Dr. Holder stresses that the very best place for the paper is “to the left of the child’s midline, and tilted so that the top right corner of the paper is closer to the child than the top left corner.” He explains that this place permits the hand to be positioned “to the left and away from the body at the start of writing line…” He provides that the angle will differ in accordance with the particular person’s choice. However, an important factor to remember is “to keep the arm perpendicular to the bottom of the page,” retaining the wrist straight and “the hand below the writing line.”

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Claire from Heart Handmade UK26, who needed to relearn to write down after struggling an harm, advises a number of issues and lists a number of instruments in her article “How to Improve Handwriting Skills for Adults That Are Left Handed27.” Among these, she advises to attempt to maintain the elbow near the physique, to maintain the arm straight, to not curl the wrist and to as an alternative transfer the paper to a 45-degree angle, which can “automatically bring the hand to the correct writing position.”

Below is my pupil, Talondra, demonstrating how she locations the paper. You will discover that she locations the paper at roughly a 45-degree angle.

Holding The Pen Link

The greatest benefit of brush pens is their flexibility. The brush tip can flip to the left or the correct. Notice within the video beneath how Talondra holds her brush pen.

Matt Vergotis28, emblem designer and letterer, has very sensible recommendation for left-handed letterers. He is left-handed, too, however he factors out one thing I had not thought of, in an interview performed by Daniel Palacios29 on his weblog:

Brush pens have that 360º flexibility to the tip, in order that they’re not like chisel tip pens or calligraphy pens the place the nibs break up. Those pens are often suited to particular angles whereas a brush pen with that 360º vary of flexibility, isn’t an obstacle to leftys.

Even extra fascinating is that he tends to carry the comb pen above the phrase. In different phrases, he tends to curve his hand over the letters. But his prime recommendation is that this: repetition. He recommends working towards 15 to 20 minutes a day, and over time you will notice enchancment.

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I’ll add that one other component to repetition is endurance and a willingness to be comfy with being uncomfortable. Learning a brand new ability, irrespective of how a lot we prefer it, will convey moments of discomfort. But it’s that endurance and willpower to beat the discomfort, which equals deliberate apply, that can provide help to get higher and higher.

Talondra, my pupil, discovered that the extra she practiced, the higher she received at making every stroke. When she began, she discovered that her hand would shake, making her strokes wobbly. Here is an image of considered one of her first apply drills:

Talondra Keeton's first practice sheet
Talondra Keeton’s first apply sheet

Eventually, she got here up with a novel strategy to apply the fundamental strokes that made sense to her. She begins writing on the correct facet of the web page and works her strategy to the left. I requested her if that’s higher for her, and he or she mentioned that, sure, it helps her to manage her hand shakiness. Here is a video of the apply:

However, when she writes a phrase, she begins from the left and works her strategy to the correct facet. Here are two movies of her writing phrases from two angles:

Notice that she consistently adjusts the pen and the paper to have the ability to create some strokes. She may be very acutely aware of the distinction there must be between thick and thins, so she tries to perform that.

Another helpful tip from Dr. Holder is to carry the pen or pencil about 1 inch or 1.5 inches away from the purpose of the pen or pencil, with a view to see what’s being written. He stresses that, whereas the grip may be tight and tense whilst you’re studying it, with time and apply it will enhance. Another tip is to write down massive letters at first, which can assist with enjoyable the grip, then decreasing the scale of the letters as one will get extra comfy.

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Let’s sum up among the recommendation we’ve got gone by to date:

  • Dr. Holder advises to grip 1 to 1.5 inches away from the tip of the comb, pen or pencil.
  • Position the paper in order that your arm rests perpendicular to the correct facet.
  • Practice huge letters and your arm motion first, that will help you loosen your grip on the instruments.
  • Brush pens are versatile.
  • If you’re all for pointed calligraphy, there are nib holders made for left-handers.
  • Repetition, repetition and endurance.

Here’s one other piece of recommendation to remember from Winston Scully4636, in an interview37 with Sean Wes38: Let go of the psychological barrier. He additionally has nice tips about creating stunning work, akin to begin with pencil after which ink the piece; use a grid (parallel strains); and when you get a phrase the place you need it, hint it writing it backwards — he says within the interview that this trains your eye to deal with spacing points.

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One factor I discovered very fascinating about Talondra’s progress is that she taught herself to do some drills with out lifting the pen. That alone was an ideal accomplishment as a result of, as I discussed earlier, she used to expertise loads of hand shakiness. Take a take a look at this video of her doing M’s:

Lettering is a piece in progress, the place one strikes from bigger motion management to smaller motion management. That is why a willingness to fail, to be comfy with being uncomfortable, and repetitive apply will probably be your finest mates. In the meantime, we will all take a look at others’ work to be impressed to be higher.

In this subsequent half, I’ll record letterers and calligraphers who’re left-handed, on your inspiration. But earlier than we proceed, take a second to consider and apply among the issues you have got learn right here. I’ll wait.

Inspiration Link

In my journey as a brush letterer and now working towards with the pointed pen, I’ve realized that, earlier than taking a look at folks’s work, I’ve to consider what I need to be taught from them. For occasion, on this case, as you take a look at the examples and go to their pages, take note what you have got learn to date: arm and wrist place, paper place, and holding the pen. Ask your self some questions:

  • How far (kind of) from the purpose are they holding the comb pen, pencil or pointed pen?
  • How are they positioning the paper?
  • How are the arm and wrist positioned relative to the paper?
  • At what angle do they place the paper and the pen?

Also, remember the fact that until the particular person you’re looking at teaches, they may have developed a strategy to work that they aren’t in a position to absolutely clarify to you. I point out this as a result of generally all of us do issues by reminiscence, not absolutely conscious of every step we’re taking. I’ve included examples utilizing each the comb pen and the pointed nib.

Ready to see some nice work? Here is a listing of left-handed calligraphers and letterers. I do know there should be extra nice ones on the market, so please be at liberty to share within the feedback!

Matt Vergotis41Link

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Winston Scully4636Link

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Ciara LeRoy51Link

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Taryn Nichols56Link

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Sarah Pearson61Link

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Julia Broughton71Link

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Michel D’anastasio76Link

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Alyssa Hart81Link

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Pam Stevenson86Link

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Younghae Chung91Link

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Amanda Houston96Link

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Javi Alcazar101Link

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Conclusion Link

Learning lettering is enjoyable, but it surely may also be a tad irritating for a lot of causes. Among these causes, being left-handed in an setting the place the bulk are right-handed can really feel daunting. In this text, I hope you’ve discovered ideas, sensible recommendation, examples and inspiration. Beyond these, nonetheless, I hope you are feeling that it’s attainable and that you are able to do it.

When I began, I made a decision to apply daily. Maybe all you have got is 15 minutes, or possibly you have got extra time. What issues is to apply. Maybe you wish to be taught songs — then use lyrics to apply. Or possibly you wish to learn books — if that’s the case, you should use excerpts that will help you apply. Just be sure that to not promote one other particular person’s excerpts or lyrics. Practicing is OK, however promoting it might (and most likely will) get you in hassle.

There are loads of letterers on Instagram who maintain month-to-month apply challenges. One of my favorites after I began was hosted by Caroline Kelso106. Now my favourite is one other account named Hand Lettering for Beginners107. While you have interaction in these challenges, maintain watching your favourite letterers and calligraphers. Experiment. And have endurance. Practice makes progress, and keep in mind: It solely will get higher with apply! With that in thoughts, take a look at my apply sheets right here108 and let me know what you consider them. Use can use SMASHING5 as a code to get a freebie once you purchase one. Have enjoyable and please share your progress with me right here or on Instagram109. I’d love to listen to from you!

Articles Link

  • “Here’s Why Some People Are Left-Handed, According to Science110,” Katie Silver, Science Alert
  • “Study Reveals Why Lefties Are Rare111,” Live Science
  • “How Many People are Left Handed?112,” Lefty Fretz
  • “Handedness Statistics113,” Luke Mastin
  • “11 Little-Known Facts About Left-Handers114,” Katie Kens, Huffington Post
  • “59 Famous People Who Are Left-Handed115,” Emily Hennen BuzzFeed
  • “Hand choice and age within the United States116,” A.N. Gilbert and C.J. Wysocki, Neuropsychologia
  • “Calligraphy and The Left-Handed Scribe117,” Jodi Christiansen, IAMPETH
  • “Left-Handed Calligraphy and Lettering with Brush Pens118,” Daniel Palacios
  • “Hand Lettering as a Left-Hander: Are You Doomed?119,” Sean McCabe

Resources Link

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Front web page picture credit score: Amanda Houston125.

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