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Thread: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

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    Default Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    I couldn't think of a better topic for this. There is another thread currently running about improving one's handwriting. Being an abstract thinker with too much time on my hands (thanks to the COVID restrictions) it was only natural for that discussion to lead me off on a tangent.

    I began wondering what is the right height ratio of upper case (UC) to lower case (LC) letters for cursive. Was there a set ratio? Was there some rule of thumb being taught, or were there differences? I had been taught, or so I believe, that the lower case letter, with the exception of those with extenders (b, d, f, g, etc.), should be half the height of the upper case letters. And, that is how I have written ever since. So through the magic of the internet, I found that I what I believed I had been taught 60 plus years ago, a 1:0.5 (UC:LC) is a current teaching.

    Now the twin questions, if I haven't bored you completely, are have others been taught a different ratio, say 1:0.75 perhaps, and what ratio do you use when you write?

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Looking at french ruled paper it seems the ratio is different there versus in the US (Palmer, Zane Bloser, New American...)



    Last edited by azkid; November 19th, 2020 at 10:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    This is the standard for Spencerian, and I assume Palmer too (which generally is the same). At some point teachers encourraged to develop a personal style, and I guess most of us has. Slanting will vary a bit from script to script. Does anyone know of a set ideal for copperplate?


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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    It appears that the the French ruled paper and Spencerian example have a 1:0.33 ratio (UC:LC).

    I know the 1:0.5 ratio I've adopted was trying to mimic the size and spacing of typed print when I had to write out school assignments. This also explains why my hand writing is so small even now.

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Quote Originally Posted by An old bloke View Post
    INow the twin questions, if I haven't bored you completely, are have others been taught a different ratio, say 1:0.75 perhaps, and what ratio do you use when you write?
    I was taught 2:1, and--after countless applications of the edge of a ruler to my knuckles when I deviated--that is how I continue to write all these decades later.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Funny to see the similarities and (small) differences with the system I was taught in the 70s in NL:


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    Default Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    I now realize this picture I found on the web is a modern representation of the same system, apparently it is still in use, did not know that but makes me smile, as in the 70s we certainly did not have the euro...or the @-sign...times do change!

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by An old bloke View Post
    INow the twin questions, if I haven't bored you completely, are have others been taught a different ratio, say 1:0.75 perhaps, and what ratio do you use when you write?
    I was taught 2:1, and--after countless applications of the edge of a ruler to my knuckles when I deviated--that is how I continue to write all these decades later.
    Hmmm...maybe that's what I needed to fix my chaotic penmanship....some good old corporal punishment.

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    I have issue with the letter I posted above.
    When writing the word "Igloo" in cursive, how do you get the "I" to not look like a capital "J" due to the connection of the "I" and "g"???

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    I prefer the 1:.33 ratio as taught in Sull's American Cursive Handwriting and I try to do that.

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    I have issue with the letter I posted above.
    When writing the word "Igloo" in cursive, how do you get the "I" to not look like a capital "J" due to the connection of the "I" and "g"???
    I had a similar question at school age about some upper case cursive letters appearances -- specifically that they were too unlike the printed version. I simply used a printed version of F, G, I, etc. In place of the cursive letter I was being taught.

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    I have issue with the letter I posted above.
    When writing the word "Igloo" in cursive, how do you get the "I" to not look like a capital "J" due to the connection of the "I" and "g"???
    Cursive "J" has a lower tail; "I" doesn't.

    I learned a new word. I've heard of "miniscule," meaning tiny, but "majascule" is new to me. According to Google, Majuscule, in calligraphy, capital, uppercase, or large letter in most alphabets, in contrast to the minuscule, lowercase, or small letter.
    Dan Kalish

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Majiscule--nice. That's new to me, too. Brief tangent, the terms uppercase and lowercase come from printing press typesetting terminology where capital letters were in separate type cases located further, and higher up, from the typesetter.

    The NL hand is interesting and seems a bit more efficient than various common American cursive hands—such as with lowercase t. We [in English] have the saying of dotting our 'i's and crossing our 't's (making sure no details are forgotten in putting together a plan, say).

    I find it curious that 52° was the slant chosen for Spencerian. It seems so arbitrary. Like, why not a round number? Would 50° really look so much worse?

    The thing that helped my writing look a bit neater is widening the kerning. I had somehow learned to write with very narrow letter spacing (I wasn't taught this) and it looked cramped and weird. I shoot for a 2:1 height ratio. I had a French ruled notebook for awhile but I just couldn't bring myself to do 3:1. FWIW, I was taught D'Nealean in the late 70s.
    Last edited by azkid; November 21st, 2020 at 09:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    The NL hand is interesting and seems a bit more efficient than various common American cursive hands—such as with lowercase t. We have the saying of dotting our 'i's and crossing our 't's (making sure no details are forgotten in putting together a plan, say).
    We have the same expression in English. Except I often cross my z's.

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid
    The thing that helped my writing look a bit neater is widening the kerning. I had somehow learned to write with very narrow letter spacing (I wasn't taught this) and it looked cramped and weird. I shoot for a 2:1 height ratio. I had a French ruled notebook for awhile but I just couldn't bring myself to do 3:1. FWIW, I was taught D'Nealean in the late 70s.
    "The standard measurement of all lowercase leters is based on the shape of an oval. The perfect oval that we use in handwriting is two times as tall as it is wide. That is, its length, or height, is twice the size of its width." American Cursive Handwriting, Robert R. Sull, pg. 97.
    Dan Kalish

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Marion Richardson an early 20th Century art teacher, developed a script that was used in some schools in the UK and in Australia that was simple and easily teachable. It is basically what I use now. It is somewhat similar to the French pattern shown above. Of note is the form of the upper case letters.

    Richardson script: https://i.pinimg.com/236x/88/5c/bc/8...alligraphy.jpg

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    I found this article this morning. For your consideration: [Wrong link deleted.
    Last edited by An old bloke; November 21st, 2020 at 09:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Cursive, handwriting and a digression

    Quote Originally Posted by An old bloke View Post
    I found this article this morning. For your consideration: [Wrong link deleted.
    Correct link: http://www.unask.com/website/handwri...cquisition.htm

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