Practice Tip 01
|August 13, 2012||Posted by fozzy under Practice Tips|
“In [these] exercises, it is not well to attempt to see in detail the forms as they fall from the pen, as the pen must travel faster than the eye can travel and observe detail. Instead of looking intently either at the top of the exercise or at the bottom while making it, the better plan is to look at the exercise as a whole, keeping the pen moving horizontally across the page…”
Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship by C.P. Zaner
Don’t think. This may as well be the most frequent things I’d say to students as they write: hunched so closely to the page trying to control the pen’s movement, with furrowed brows and barely taking in air. Its a moment of clawing through the strokes that I’m as well guilty of. It doesn’t usually result to pretty.
Mr. Zaner brings the truth forward so perfectly – that your eye will never be able to see each detail. And if you do try, you’ll eventually forget what you’re supposed to be doing next. An upstroke? A downstroke? What letter again? Huh? You’ve then successfully rendered your brain cross-eyed.
There are times when the brain just wants to take over, and I actually hate this when this happens. We cannot avoid it, it’s I guess how our heads were screwed on anyway. Though from reading Zaner’s guide, here’s a good trick to help you unthink, place trust in your hand, and let the muscle memory flow.
The normal nature is to focus on the letters. What you’re writing is on the foreground of your vision. We carefully scrutinize where the pen goes. And watch the fingers. And monitor the shape, the shading, the flexing. You’d notice that the more you do this, the more serious you become, the more mistakes you make. Frustration leads to tension. Ker-splat! Not good.
The trick is: to defocus your letters. Don’t watch it. Instead, make the lines of your page the sharpest thing you see. And just write. Get lost in it. You’ll find that the arm and the wrist relaxes, moves more freely. You’re not hunched and your muscles don’t ache. When you finish you’ll even wonder how it happened.
I do hope that this little trick helps. Now just go ahead and write! Anything!