1. Pen position. Your nib should be pointing in the direction of your slant lines, like an arrow.
2. Check the slit (reservoir) in your nib. It should point straight up, toward the ceiling, when you are holding it and writing. Don’t let it rotate to one side or the other.
3. The nib should be placed in the pen holder so that the slit points up towards the ceiling.
4. Rhythm. Develop a rhythm that gives you even spacing . The open areas of the letters should be similar, and the slanted verticals should look like a picket fence.
5. Letters with loops (L, B, etc.) go all the way to the top of the ascender line. Letters without loops (P, T, etc), go halfway. This relates to the lowr case letters, not capitals.
6. Flourishes should be BIG, compared to the rest of the letters. We don’t want any flourettes!
HOMEWORK . . Working toward a “final” piece.
1. Don’t be scared off by the thought of a “final” piece.
2. Find a poem . . . not too long. Use 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper (if you like). Arches 90 lb, hotpress is recommended, but you can use any “good” paper that you like.
3. You can either draw lines on your paper, or put the line system under the paper.
4. Use your poem to practice with. Try it on practice paper, but also practice on some better paper/
5. Don’t spend a lot of time on a layout. You might use a large, initial capital to start your poem. Pencil in the cap and then go over it with your nib and ink. Could use a smaller, but still large, initial cap for a subsequent block of text.
Consider CONTRAST: size, color. Use a very flexible nib for the large initial caps, like Brause EF66 or Gillot 303.
6. Try using a set of Prang watercolors to do rainbow writing with your copperplate lettering. Palette your colors and work with watery colors, feeding with a brush.
7. Practice with different nibs and different sizes of writing. (Yikes!)
8. A great ink to write with is Pelikan’s 4001 with 1 heaping tsp. gum arabic added and Yasatomo vermilion ink in the round orange bottle.