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Beginner's Materials

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B3891. How To Write Copperplate / Ebrahimi
How to Write Copperplate by Hamid Reza Ebrahimi. 2010. 40pp English, 28pp Persian (Farsi). 8.5"x11". Paper

A good, thorough, and beautiful introduction to Copperplate script with letter-by-letter instruction and guide sheets. Use the book with Hamid’s online videos for comprehensive instruction. The English text, written in the author’s elegant script, is printed in dark brown on cream colored pages. 8 full-color illustrations. Hamid has taught the script since 1997.



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B1109. Mastering Copperplate / Winters
Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Manual by Eleanor Winters. 1989. 192pp. 8.25" x 11". Paper.

A self-contained manual for serious students, including beginners. Part one places Copperplate in historical context. Part two begins with a glossary and detailed information on pens, paper, ink, and other materials. It includes indispensable technical tips, guidelines, how to use the pen, and 99 pages of detailed instruction covering minuscule, capitals, numbers, punctuation, and writing in various sizes.
Part three deals with writing in color and the design and execution of simple projects, such as envelopes and small poems.




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B3098. Calligraphy Alphabets for Beginners
B3098. Calligraphy Alphabets for Beginners:The Easy Way to Learn Lettering and Illumination Techniques by Mary Noble and Janet Mehigan. 2008. 256pp. 6.5"x8". Hardcover, concealed spiral

Presents instruction for Uncial, Foundational, Carolingian, Italic, Flourished Italic Copperplate, Gothic, Lombardic Capitals & numerals. Letters are presented in groups of similar forms with ductus and stop-action photos. Final section presents adding metallics and color to letters and pieces using some newer techniques.

REVIEW: These small format hidden spiral hardcover books are very popular. They don't take up area on your work space, and unlike paperbacks, they lie completely flat. No matter how you learn best, there is instruction for you. In this instructional manual each letter is presented individually with ductus, that is the combination of the letter with the little arrows and numbers indicating stroke sequence and direction. For those who like written instructions, this stroke order and direction is put into words as well. And finally there is a three panel strip of stop action photography showing the pen as it constructs the letter. That is not totally accurate. The pen is not actually stroking the letter as there is no ink in the pens used. However, this is actually a visual plus. Because the tip of the pen is not coated in black ink, you can see how more clearly how the the pen is placed on the paper. The letters of each hand are presented in a logical sequence. Generally letters with similar shapes are presented before moving on to other letters of similar shapes. At the bottom of each page, there are one line exercises to develop rhythm & help with spacing.

The hands (alphabets) are also presented in a logical sequence. Uncial is first. Stan Knight has proposed this as beginning alphabet over Italic. Unlike italic, there is no slant to the letters. There is only a majuscule (capital) alphabet to learn. So the student can gain working facility with a basic Uncial alphabet more quickly than italic. From Uncial its Foundational minuscule (lowercase), Roman majuscules, Carolingian, Formal Italic, Flourished Italic Copperplate, Gothic, Lombardic Capitals. They finish up with numbers and the ampersand. Instruction is given only for an upright set of numbers, exemplars are provided for Carolingian and Gothic. You are left on your own for Italic, Copperplate and Lombardic Capitals. If you already own instruction books by Mary Noble and Janet Mehigan that cover these hands, you may already have the material in this book.

There is a thirteen page final section on adding color and gold to calligraphic pieces. The authors present a lot in a few pages only allowing for concise instructions.




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B1816. Learning to Write Spencerian/Sull
Learning to Write Spencerian Script
By Michael Sull & Debra Sull. 1993. 75pp. 6.75" x 8.5". Paper.

An instructional manual for Spencerian covering equipment
and tools, practice, and extensive instruction on the individual letters. This book gives the main instructional material from Volume I of Spencerian Script and Ornamental Penmanship, which is no longer available.



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B2769. Foundations of Calligraphy / Waters
By Sheila Waters. 2006. 126pp. 9"x11.25". Concealed spiral binding. Now in its third printing. Hardcover.

In the 110 pages of exemplar alphabets, instruction, and hints, Sheila shares with you the knowledge she has gathered over her decades of study and practice. She provides insightful analysis of forms and constructions and helps you learn and work toward mastery of the alphabets. The presentation is honed by her vast experience teaching calligraphers how to advance their skills and art. Sheila Waters is not only a master scribe, but a master teacher. She has made both her life's work.

Chapters include Basics & Beyond, Analysis & Practice, Design & Layout, Conception to Completion, and Applying Design Principles. Foundational, Blackletter, Gothic Cursives, Uncial & Half Uncial, Carolingian, Italic, and Italic Variations are covered with thorough instruction for each. Foundational and Italic receive particular attention.


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Reviews & Comments

Read more about Sheila and her work, courtesy of The Gettysburg Companion.



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N69. Brause Rose Nib (pointed)
The Brause Pen Company worked to manufacture a nib with the qualities of vintage nibs. This flexible nib was a John DeCollibus favorite at IAMPETH. Brause 76.

Quantity discounts available at 10 & 50




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N113. Nikko G Nib
These nibs from Japan are hand cut, extremely smooth, and long lasting. They are chrome plated and have a medium flex. Great for Spencerian. Smooth writing with no burrs or scratchiness. Highly recommended by Michael Sull. Extremely popular with pointed pen men and women!



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N74. Gillott 404 Nib
A popular nib. Fairly stiff nib, suitable for writing at x-heights from 3/16" to 1/4", on all surfaces from smooth to textured. Good choice for beginners (or those with a heavy hand.) Because they require more pressure to create the swells, stiffer nibs are easier to control. Thicker hairlines than others, making it a good choice for work for reproduction.

Recommended by Eleanor Winters in her Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy (B1109) for beginners and professionals because they "provide fine line quality without being too fragile." Satisfactory for Spencerian Script.



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N72. Gillott 303 Nib
One of the most popular nibs for copperplate. Good flexibility - not too stiff, not too flexible. Very thin hairlines and good swells. Works for scripts 3/16-1/16". Sharp point, but will work on slightly textured surfaces. Tends to catch on upstrokes.
Mentioned by Eleanor Winters in her Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy (B1109). Satisfactory for Spencerian Script.



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I37. McCaffery's Penman's Ink
McCaffery’s Penman’s Ink
1 oz. jar.

This oak gall ink was developed with the help of leading penmen of today to provide an ink similar to that used during America’s golden age of Ornamental Penmanship in the 19th and 20th centuries. With a newly opened bottle, the ink writes brown but turns a dense black. Good for fine hairlines. See Colored Inks for colors and ivory McCaffery’s (colors and ivory are not oak gall inks).
Formulated for the pointed pen which is used for Spencerian, copperplate, etc, not for the broad-edged pen used for italic, blackletter (gothic), etc.

Click to read what Michael Sull has to say about using McCaffery's



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