been trying to do copperplate but am very discouraged.
I'm able to do most hands in calligraphy but this one
is a struggle! My nib picks up paper fibers or the nib
sticks into the paper. My up strokes are shaky and hairlines
seem like an impossible drea. Is there something I can
do to make this process work or should I just leave
well enough alone?
maintain that anyone who can do calligraphy or wants
to do calligraphy can do copperplate. I think it's a
matter of using the right nibs with the particular paper
and the right fluid, whether it is ink or gouache or
watercolor. It's important that you learn about many
different nibs and which one is best suited for the
for instance, the Gillot 303 is rather flexible
and sharp, so it will give a nice hairline on smooth
surfaces. But on a pebbled surface or soft paper with
lots of loose fibers it can be impossible.
a rough surface watercolor paper the Hiro 41 is
good because it's dull and not very flexible so it doesn't
stick into the paper and pick up fibers.
The Hiro 40 and the Brause Steno nibs
are very similar looking but the Hiro 40 (blue pumpkin)
is sharper. This is good if you are working on smooth
paper because it makes great hairlines, but if the paper
has texture or is soft it will stick but the Steno nib
works better because it's a little bit duller. Some
nibs work well for writing small and some are better
for large. It is important to try many different nibs
on different papers, and make notes on all the nibs.
I have xeroxed the nibs and make notes under the picures
of each nib.
other factor is the paint or ink that you use. I add
gum arabic to the Higgins Eternal ink. I find it very
helpful to rub gum arabic onto each new nib until it's
thoroughly broken in. The object is to get the ink to
stick to the nib and not flood out so fast. So if you
only get a couple of strokes out of the dip then this
will help. This also works with new chisel point nibs.
If ink doesn't hold the bridge during a pressure stroke
then a little more gum arabic in the ink will help.
your up strokes are shaky, it can help to put your left
hand onto the writing surface and put your body weight
on it. This relieves any pressure on the right hand
which should have as little pressure as possible. (Of
course, the opposite hand for a left hander). Keep a
guard sheet under your hand. You can also use a brush
or pencil in your left hand to hold down the paper and
relieve pressure on the nib.