is Italic script the first hand to be taught when it is so much
harder to master than some of the other styles?
some programs where the students have made a long term commitment,
there is a better approach to the order of styles taught. The
round shapes of the Roman lowercase are easier to understand
and write. Therefore either a bookhand or Foundational hand
would be more successful. The problem with this is that most
programs that run 6 to 10 weeks have people who want to learn
"fancy" writing in as short of time as possible.The
bookhands are not "fancy" and look a lot like type,
so the students don't feel like they are doing "calligraphy".
The Italic hand and Copperplate seem to fit the bill for a useful
hand that the beginning student will be happy with. I rarely
have a call for bookhand for addressing envelopes and many students
take calligraphy so they can address pretty envelopes.
problem with Italic is the subtle branching curves and elliptical
shapes. They are much more difficult to understand and ultimately
to write. The spacing in Italic is also more sophisticated and
less natural than the closer spacing of the round Roman forms.
is hard enough in most Adult School and college programs to
attract and keep enough students to keep calligraphy classes
going so you have to compromise the "best" approach
for the most popular approach. Hopefully, the students will
continue taking various classes so they will learn all the different
styles, and decide for themselves which one fits their natural
style the most.
best advice, regardless of the style that you are learning,
is to really listen to what the teacher says, look carefully
at the exemplar (not what you think the letter looks like, but
what it REALLY looks like) and emulate it as close as possible.
Look at the exemplar frequently or you will just continue to
practice the wrong shape over and over. Watch the teacher write
and notice the way they sit, hold the pen and paper. Where have
they set the exemplar, what are they doing with their other
hand? This will help you learn much more quickly. Even though
it's slower to begin with (you'll only have one good page instead
of three bad pages) but you are training your head, hand and
eye to understand the movements and shapes. Lastly, try not
to be too much of a perfectionist so that you are never happy
with the progress that you are making. Have fun, which ever
style you're learning and enjoy the process!