Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oblique Pen Holder

The script lettering in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara was made by hand with a steel dip pen. 

The style of lettering is based on the roundhand scripts of the late 18th century, which were written with a goose quill. The standard reference examples for these forms were engraved in copper plates, giving the style the general name “Copperplate.”

The strokes have a strong slant, and they’re thicker on the downstroke. This requires heavier pressure as you pull the pen toward you. These heavier strokes are called “shades,” so this type of lettering is also called a “shaded script.”

Because of the variation in pen pressure, it’s slower to construct than the later American “Spencerian” and “Palmer” script styles, which are relatively less shaded.


To be able to control the pressure—and therefore the spread of the nib—a such an extreme slope, a right-hander like me needs an oblique or “offset” pen holder, also called an “elbow pen.” The cheap plastic pen holders work perfectly well, but I prefer the one at right, which I carved from a small sapling to custom-fit my fingers.

Lots of pen supplies at John Neal Books
Speedball Oblique Pen Holder
Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara
Previously: By Hand or By Mouse

7 comments:

Ernest Friedman-Hill said...

Fascinating! But if you were an 18th-century righty using a goose quill, I don't suppose you had any kind of oblique holder, so how did that work?

James Gurney said...

Yes, good point. You can get the right position by angling the paper and bending your wrist a bit to the side, but it's rather awkward.

patrick said...

I have a plastic ballpoint oblique pen. IT is a YoroPen
http://www.yoropen.us/
Very unusual.

MrCachet said...

I like the Woodwork! I'm left handed, and use an obliquely cut metal nib. I don't like it. It's easier for me to do the copperplate with a brush than a pen. True calligraphy.

Tami Traylor said...

Lovely script...It's pretty cool that you are a righty. I am, too.

I found out, in art school, as a right handed artist, I was in the minority.

Have you noticed, with all your interaction with other artists that you were the right handed, creative minority as well?

My Pen Name said...

Off topic 2011 optical illusion of the year 2nd place:
http://illusioncontest.neuralcorrelate.com/2011/grouping-by-contrast/
illustrates relative tone...

Carol said...

You found the sapling wood to carve the pen during your journey in the land of Dinotopia so we now know for sure it all really exists. Wooden proof.