Spencerian-Copperplate Fountain-pen



CHOOSING THE BEST FOUNTAIN-PEN FOR COPPERPLATE OR SPENCERIAN,
WITH A ZEBRA MANGA G NIB FOUNTAIN-PEN:

Use of a Fountain-Pen fitted with a Zebra Manga G nib, is the very latest adaption in calligraphy arts. It applies to the flourished styles of writing, like Spencerian & Copperplate, etc.
A fountain pen used for these styles, means that the traditional dip-nib pen may become defunct, as the continuous flow of ink from a fountain-pen, enable the writer to concentrate fully on the writing details of these intricate, & tricky styles of writing.
NO MORE NIB DIPPING INTO INK !
Generally fountain-pens rarely wear-out when using a hand-writing nib. But this can happen relatively frequently for those who use dip-pen nibs. It is just so with the newly adapted fountain-pens, that now use this flexible sharp-pointed calligraphy dip nib. However the Zebra Manga G nib is very hardy & amongst most other copperplate nibs, it will last a good while before wearing out.

Zebra Manga G Nickel-Titanium nib

Zebra Manga G Nickel & Titanium nibs

Besides this fountain-pen adaption to traditional dip-pen copperplate, Ornasonova is introducing what can be called the 'Icing on the Cake'.
Here is the reason: A few reviews & forum posts noted that 'even with a Zebra G nib fountain pen, it still doesn't match using a dip-pen on an 'elbow' handle'. This tool of ours updates that problem, adding unique pen handling ability. The thing is, our latest development now allows a Zebra G Fountain-Pen to be used in an 'elbow' angled handle (see the images below). The pen shown is a hybrid, Fountain-Pen with Zebra Titanium nib.
The Zebra G adapted Fountain Pen shown, fits into our adaptable angled handle-holder. Correcting any arguments about the 'excellence of use' of the old 'dip-nib elbow handles'.
A Fountain-Pen with Zebra G Nib, in an Elbow Handle

In fact, nearly any of the current range of Fountain-Pens that have been adapted to take a Zebra G nib, will fit into our Elbow-Handle adaptor. Besides the John Neal Zebra G model, it successfully accommodates the wide-body Jinhao 159, x450 & x750 models, & others on the market, as the space/diameter of the pens handle can be up to around 12mm maximum. It must be said that some of the pens used with the Zebra G adaption are a bit heavy to hold. So, some support with the underfinger (the middle-finger as shown in the picture above), will help hold up the pen while writing. But this is not so with the John Neal Zebra G, which is really light to hold.
FOUNTAIN-PEN CALLIGRAPHY PRACTISE
SETTING UP A CALLIGRAPHY WORK AREA.

To help you get set up & eliminate any pitfalls during practise or finished work. This next section will show you just how to master your own calligraphy.

(Extracted image from the Spencer family series of books).

FIG. 4. Front position. Arms & paper viewed from above, whilst sitting at your desk/table. (Updated image shows an elbow angled nib handle).

How To Tips: Summary for good results.
Expecting results without covering the groundwork, is like the saying 'go to work on an empty stomach'. So for safe & well finished work, 2x methods for guidelines are needed:
1. Always use a sheet of A4 5mm square graph tracing paper, as your stable, bleedproof, learning surface.
2. Printout the angled guidelines page, & with 2x small paper clips, attach both sheets together. Turn the A4 sideways (to landscape), use this for all writing exercises.
Scan the finished piece @600dpi, & clean up the image. Then with 2x finished page-files create a professionally written A4 letter.

About the image above: When writing Spencerian or Copperplate with the traditional Elbow Handle & a Dip-Nib, the concept of the Bodies-Centreline, allows the user to retain the sense of uprightness when doing the required ITALIC stroke angle. This maintains the ITALIC angled appearance, along with the skewed paper sheet angle.
It may seem odd to do, but 'THIS IS IT'.
Then when using the newly introduced Ornasonova angle holder with a Zebra G Fountain-Pen, the control of the pen is made with similar results.
Remember: Even the French master copperplater, Jean Larcher, drew up the work area in pencil, with both the horizontal & angle guidelines, before doing the work. Along with some foresight into what the finished artwork, with flourishes would look like.
Whole Page Setup A4 Templates Page Close Up Skewed Template Pages

1.The 2 template pages. 2.Using 2 paper-clips. 3.The angled page skewed to upright, for practise.

SKEWING THE TEMPLATE-PAGES ON THE DESK/TABLE.
Using the angled lined lines as if upright, automatically corrects the writers ITALIC style lettering. It means that you do your calligraphy, on an angle, as shown in image 3 above. So that, although italic was written as if upright, when it is viewed as a finished piece, all italic angles are perfectly the same, throughout the completed work. If using the A4 tracing paper as recommended, be sure to write on the non-graph-printed back-side, not on the graph-printed surface. Writing with the thinish fountain pen ink, is likely to repel & run-off the printed lines & break-up any written line into pieces.
# Jump to see our Fountain-Pen Inks webpage.

Glycerol BP bottle

# Here is one of the best tips for thickening a watery fountain pen ink. For every 10ml or so of ink add 1 or 2 drips of glycerine (Glycerol BP), & stir well in. You will need to test these specifications with your particular ink brand, to get the ready-mixed ink that works in your pen. So freely adjust the amounts for an improved version of this basic recipe. Many forums & articles on the web mention using this additive, so check them out if you have any queries.
(Local Supermarkets stock it).

Print the 'angle-line' page in greyscale mode on a printer, as a backing sheet template. Using it under the tracing paper, allows both normal lines & the Spencerian angled lines to become a guide for your writing. So place the angle-line page behind, align & fit them together with a couple of flat paper clips, as seen in the pictures above.
(Spencerian angle-line page for printing found in: Download this file, saving it to your disk & print it out on an A4 size page. Keeping the original image size & ratio the same, so as not to distort the angles of the lines.)
Along with using the 'skewing' of the page for writing on, you should also use the A4 pages sideways for practise work - in 'landscape' mode, this allows a lot of words to be written across the page, without running out of width of available paper. Typically 8 to 10 words can be written per line. As this section is about 'Spencerian' calligraphy, as taught by P.R.Spencer & sons, in their more than adequate books. You will find all of the reasoning behind how & why this style is done as it is, down to the minutest detail. Even the reasons why? for the creation of the letters basic shapes.
A TEST PAGE TO COMPARE EARLIER & LATER VERSIONS OF YOUR WORK
This image uses the computer font Antique-Spencerian, freely downloadable from the web, for those who get-by with a computing solution, & don't mind cheating their own creative abilities.
Use of this font to write up the following sample text, is what could be called perfect Spencerian letters. Even though the spacing/joinings are a little disjointed.
Spencerian font sample text

Here is a sample of my latest handwritten version, after learning & practising this style using the same basic wording. This was after 3-4 weeks of learning original Spencerian, with as many finer functions as I could manage, incorporated into this result.
Handwritten Spencerian sample text

The following are extracted illustrations from a few of the original Spencerian series of books. The scanned images have been cleaned-up, as the originals are on very old paper with many staines, etc, also a few modern-updates have been added. To get the complete series, visit the IAMPETH website to download them for your own study:

Spencerian Instruction Manual, Spencer Bros, Page 4

Spencerian key to Practical Penmanship, Page 106

Spencerian key to Practical Penmanship, Page 107


The Spencer Family recommended books: Three books stand out from the number published by the Spencer Family, as follows.
1. "Spencerian Key to Practical Penmanship", by H.C.Spencer.
2. "New Spencerian Compendium of Penmanship", by P.R.Spencer's sons.
3. "Theory of Spencerian Penmanship", by Spencerian Brothers.

A download of these books (freely available on the web), will complete an advanced study of this extraordinary development in traditional European Copperplate.



ADVANCED SECTION: Making it all a 'Working Model'.

Many terms used here, are things a more advanced calligrapher & desk-top-publisher (DTP) would know, you may need to seek out further details, to get up to speed, over unfamiliar word terminology.

There are added benefits from using the items listed here, for your learning cycle. The same equipment & setup, can be used for professional finished work. Without the old dip-pen techniques of having to rub out pencil guidelines after the ink is dry, & many other old time foibles - like re-ink loading a dip pen.
All that is needed is a scanner attached to a computer, & some good image processor like 'Photoshop' or other similar software.
Beginning with a text file, representing the correctly-spelt wording for the project is necessary. So there is no confusion when writing a layout, i.e;
1. The width of written words per line, generally of 8 to 10 words, for comfortable reading.
2. The correct use of dots, commas & diacritics, etc.
3. The Capitals used & a general allowance for their space-eating, flourished nature.
4. With the whole piece (say, a letter) having it's white spacing balanced with the written lettering.
5. When doing the lettering, make the angled line as the 'centerline' & as if upright on the desk/table.
So, here are some specific details to understand, if a sideways-turned A4 page is written-up & finished. These are the results of that written page:
At 5mm for the x-height of lower case letters, Spencerian uses 5x of these 5mm horizontal line spaces for all lettering in the alphabet, including capitals, numerics, ampersands & whatever else, on one just line. A 12 or 13 line finished A4 page, will be the result of correctly transcribing a prepared text file, into lettering on this A4 page. Just 2x of these finished pages will make up a fully formatted A4 portrait page. Making 24 to 26 lines of writing total. This can include any heading inserted at the top, if the said letter needs it.
Now the hand-written lettering original will be approximately 27cm wide & only after processing in the image software, can it be reduced, you should retain the ratio sizes, for the correct aspect of the lettering, so as not to distort the overall image, to fit the WIDTH of an A4, which is up to 21cm wide maximum.
From the colour scanned image, at say 600dpi. The resulting (.tif) image file can use the image-processors 'magic-wand', & select all blue or green coloured lines, used in the printed graph squares, then delete them. With the same deletion of any left over light grey areas, between the now removed printed squares. This will leave the raw black written letters, for any corrections & deletions needed to make the page 'look good'.
Convertion from color to a greyscale is recommended at this point, for a smaller saved filesize. Both original pages can then be joined to make a single A4 portrait page, which image can be adjusted, while keeping the ratio of the original image, to fit well into the A4 page. Then it can easily be used for printing, web use, or whatever use you may have for it.
The use of the guidelines when writing, that is both horizontal from the graph line guides, & the angle guideline page. Should make very presentable lettering, with the correct horizontal & italic angles, that show off nicely styled words. See the previous handwritten finished work.


MAKING SPENCERIAN OR COPPERPLATE STYLE CALLIGRAPHY POSSIBLE.

John Neal Zebra-G Fountain-Pen.

John Neal Zebra-G Fountain-Pen
John Neal Zebra-G Fountain-Pen

$130.00 each

Parcel code 1
1x Zebra-G Fountain Pen

John Neal (Osprey Scholar) Zebra-G Titanium nib Fountain Pen. The pens chief feature (making it a hybrid), is the adaption of a classic handwriting pen to use the Zebra-G nib, it can use either the Titanium or Nickel-coated Zebra G nibs. The supplied Titanium nib allows twice the life, compared to the Zebra G Nickel nib - before the need to replace it. Complete instructions are included for when you need to re-fit a new nib & have it up & running. Selling at AUD$130.00, (cheap in Australia), with the Black-Cap & Barrel, including the Zebra Titanium nib, a screw-in ink converter, small ink tester bottle & extra supplies/equipment.


Zebra Manga G Nickel nib.

Zebra G Nickel
Zebra G Nickel nib

$2.85 each

Parcel code 0
1x Zebra G Nickel nib

Zebra Manga G Nickel coated, for a sharp, crisp line sketching nib.
Used for Copperplate it has a medium-stiff 'FEEL'. Selling for $2.85 each.
# The Zebra Manga G used mostly for its excellent
Manga Cartoon drawing & as a copperplaters nib. A large
nickel coated nib, that has been highly rated as the 'perfect'
Copperplaters nib, able to adapt to either fine or wide
strokes instantly, by the command of the experienced hand.
Nowadays, it will fit on some models of Fountain-Pens,
see the Osprey Zebra G pen above. Over time it will need replacing
as the nib wears out, or corrodes from fountain-ink.
For packs of 3x of this item - goto Zebra G 3x pack.
Sorry - we don't carry the Titanium version of this nib.
This nib was designed for dip-pen use, if you would like to use it "the old way", then goto our dip-pen handles webpage, for a range of handles to choose from (recommended: Tachikawa T-25).


Fountain Pen Angled/Elbow Handle.

Fountain-Pen Elbow Handle
Fountain-Pen Elbow Handle

$16.00 each

Parcel code 1
1x Fountain-Pen Elbow Handle

Ornasonova's specially developed Fountain-Pen Angled/Elbow Handle. For right handed Spencerian/Copperplate users. This device makes a Fountain Pen with Zebra G nib, function just like a Dip-Pen with Elbow holder.
A great aid for Copperplate or Spencerian lettering enthusiasts, free up better writing ability with this angled handle, give the right "angle" expression to your broad & fine strokes. Selling for AUD$16.00 each.
For more information about this NEW item you can buy from us, see the paragraphs above, or read No.1 & 2 FAQ-Notes below.



FAQ-Notes about this pages equipment:
1. Fitting our Angled-Holder/handle to the John Neal fountain-pen.
For the best copperplate results using the pen, it is to be fitted directly at its round-waisted finger grip area. It shouldn't be over tightened, but just until it holds firmly. At this position, (even with other brands of pen), it will be at the default position, that is, were the nibs point is in line with the main axis of the long black plastic handle, & not over-reaching that alignment to much. This provides a 'balance' position for the user to better gauge the nibs ink use on the page, by the pressure of nib-stroke.
Zebra Fountain Pen mounted in handle
2. The John Neal fountain-pen we sell with its fitted Zebra G nib, could be used for either Manga-cartoon styles of drawing or for Copperplate styles of lettering. The Angle-Handle is only used for Copperplate style lettering, as it aids the "Italic" angled writing used exclusively in these styles, for right-hand users only.
3. We have expanded this webpage with a Spencerian outline, so that users can learn this early American Copperplate & find the simplicity of its learning-curve. Copperplate, being the last of the 5 main European styles is often classed the most difficult to learn, as it involves what we call our modern handwriting, with more complex broad & thin strokes of the pen. The Spencerian style simplifies this complexity with its stages of development, as outlined by the original creator & source Mr P.R. Spencer & his sons. To go further than our thorough but brief outline, a number of publications from the Spencer family are available on the web, see a short-list of the books we chose.
4. "Much - Much Easier". This is our catch phrase for the development of hand written Copperplate calligraphy.
Looking back to what started this joined letter, italic leaning style, it was originally done with a sharpened quill (feather). Hand shaped & trimmed, the feather was dipped frequently in ink, producing amazing results - for just a quill.
With the spring steel dip nib, the cutting feathers job became redundant, as every pointed nib was the same, & steel nibs held their springiness, better than a quill.
Fountain-pens made the writing job even easier, with modern handwriting making dipping pens a thing of the past. The loss of copperplate styling to handwriting was the problem, as the fine-art developed by this important style became neglected. Nowadays a small revolution has occurred, by careful choice of well structured copperplate nibs - being fitted onto fountain pens. Thus reviving the 'old' art style, with modern benefits.
Taking care of broad & fine strokes in a fountain pen, means its internal ink gully is carefully enlarged to allow both extremes of ink-flow use. Something good brands of fountain-pens have now done sucessfully.
But a feature of using the older 'dip pens' for Copperplate writing, gave rise to the "Angle-Elbow" holder, something a fountain pen cannot do!
Until our newly developed "Fountain-Pen Angled-Holder", which now allows the "Icing on the Cake". That is doing any Copperplate style of writing, taking advantage of the corrected lettering angle, by using this accessory. Made for right-handed writers only, as lefties naturally use the similar angle, without this handle.
So, "YES, COPPERPLATE WRITING IS NOW MUCH - MUCH EASIER".
  Last minor update April 2022