The agreeable eye

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Citation (70)

Practice the arcade rapidly at first, to give your fingers no chance to interfere. When you can write the elliptical shoulders of h, m, and n with wrist action only, then try combining wrist and finger action in the exits.

The moment you find that you are getting the arcade with wrist action, try using it in a word—such as moment. Whenever an h, m, or n goes spiky, go back to the arcade. Do not do any exercise in a thoughtless, mechanical manner. Keep alert every moment to what is happening and mend the mistakes without repeating them.

Few students acquire the arcade at once. Take as much time as you require, and do not become impatient. If it takes a month to get it, then be happy that it takes only a month. (Plate 15)

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Working to music (such as Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor) and concentrating on listening will teach you much about possibilities of rhythm in pen touch and movement. And by listening rather than watching the pen fearfully, you may find that the tactile and kinetic images of the letters are safely in your hand—and you can stop worrying. Writing with the eyes closed is also a good test of what your hand and wrist know and whether you can trust them.

A master writer is aware of what his hand is doing, but he can think of the meaning of the text instead of shepherding his fingers. (Plate 17)

—Lloyd J. Reynolds (Italic Calligraphy & Handwriting: Exercises & Text)


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