Why I Decided to Cut My Calligraphy Practice Drills in Half

calligraphy, thoughts, traditional-calligraphy

I have finished learning Uncial hand from the book Mastering Calligraphy: The Complete Guide to Hand Lettering. It’s been roughly a year since I started learning from the book, beginning with Roman Capitals.

My goal is taking the long historical way to learn Copperplate and Spencerian (and ultimately analising a modern calligraphy script to create my own). In a sense one year is a short time, because in all three (Roman, Foundational, and Uncial), there is only one case to learn. That is to say – for Foundational you can use the Roman as the majuscule, and Uncial is considered a majuscule, so there’s no minuscule to learn. Beginning from the next hand, which is Carolingian, I will learn majuscule and minuscule letters for each hand, which means twice the learning time.

I begin to really take a look at the time it will take and do some calculations. If I continue learning with the old time frame (I spend 3 times per week practising, about an hour each time), I will need 8 months to learn the Carolingian hand, which means I will need another 2 years before even starting Copperplate (which I plan to learn after Carolingian, Gothic and Italic – skipping Versals and Neuland).

I considered my options. Should I just skip the three and start learning Copperplate straight away, then come back to them later after I also learn Spencerian? Copperlate is a popular hand and I’m often tempted to just dive into it. But I’m afraid that if I skip, I won’t find it interesting to come back to the broad edge. Another option is to practice more often, maybe every day. I don’t know how that will go but I don’t want to exhaust my interest or tire out from too much practice. But 2 years is really a lot of time. Well, I know it will take long, but I don’t want it to take that long.

So I decided to cut the learning time to half (cutting the drills to half). I figured I have had 3 hands’ worth of practice with the basic strokes, and it is more or less the same curves and lines with different proportions. I added more drills before because I’m not sure how I should do the ‘free roam’ practice, but now I know it would be useful to write out a page over and over. So now I plan to learn those three hands by next year, and I’ll start learning Copperplate then.


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